Centre Theatre

408 N. Chaparral Street,
Corpus Christi, TX 78401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Robb & Rowley-United Inc., Rowley United Theatres Inc.

Architects: Jack M. Corgan

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Mid `50's photo of the Centre Theatre on the right. Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Land Facebook page.

Built by Robb & Rowley-United Inc., the Centre Theatre finished construction in December, 1941, and was immediately acclaimed as one of the finest of the numerous Southwest cinemas designed by architect Jack Corgan. It was opened on February 10, 1942 with Frank Morgan in “The Vanishing Virginian”.

Here is a description from the 1942 Film Daily Year Book: "The frontage of unsymmetrical design is dominated by a tower with a large center panel of illuminated, rose-tinted Vitrolux glass, divided into 24" squares by aluminum settings. The marquee and four line interchangeable letterboard is vividly illuminated with multi-colored tubing forming a flowing design toward the center. The large, spacious foyer is indirectly illuminated with neon. The walls covered with Avodire Flexwood Veneer give a rich, warm atmosphere. Aluminum display frames are recessed in the walls at various places. Standee area with restrooms off each end has the walls spaciously done in striped peach Sanitas washable cloth. The ceiling is in canary yellow and illuminated with three circular recessed light coves.

Mezzanine is divided in two levels with a rail dividing the upper level and overlooking the lower level. The walls and ceilings are treated in a similar manner as the standee area. The auditorium is funnel-shaped toward the stage, and walls and ceiling step down in sections. Each section is broken by a light cove. The wall coves have dim house lighting and the ceiling coves bright house lighting. At each cove, a flowered baroque design in turquoise blue is worked in on the coral acoustic plaster background in a pleasing colorful effect. The entire theatre is done in a simple modern style, with colors, lighting, comfort, and convenience being given foremost thought."

By 1957 the Center Theatre was operated by Rowley United Theatres Inc. It was closed by United Artists on September 5, 1988 with Steve Martin in “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” & Paul Hogan in “Crocodile Dundee II”. The building was sold to developers in 2011, but stands vacant in 2019.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

sarider on September 9, 2009 at 4:46 am

August 2009 photo of the Centre Theater:
View link

rivest266 on September 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Opened on February 10th, 1942
ad at View link on page 4

amg2000 on July 15, 2010 at 4:54 am

Here’s a shot from my July 2010 trip to Corpus Christi:


Jay Phagan
Jay Phagan on March 30, 2012 at 4:12 am

The Centre was sold to local developers late last year (2011). Here is a link to a news article which includes interior photos of the theater: http://www.caller.com/news/2011/nov/01/second-set-of-developers-invests-in-chaparral/

rivest266 on November 26, 2020 at 9:58 pm

Grand opening ad posted

Justwideman on August 16, 2021 at 12:59 pm

I went the 8 years ago and this was a bad and forgotten part of town. Developers have made a condo across the street and the city has made fancy sidewalks and planted palm trees along this street. It is a matter of time before the other side of the street is replaced too. The sign is half missing and the city did murals across parts of the old buildings to “beautify the block”.

rivest266 on August 29, 2021 at 4:36 pm

Closed in September 1988 by United Artists

dallasmovietheaters on December 25, 2022 at 5:39 pm

United Artists closed both the Centre and the Ayers on the same date - Labor Day, September 5, 1988. Both had been repositioned as sub-run dollar discount theaters. The Centre shuttered with “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “Crocodile Dundee 2” either for a dollar a seat.

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