Posted on November 4th, 2007
The movie house will forever be remembered as the place where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured, 90 minutes after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Oswald also shot and killed Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit before seeking refuge in the darkened auditorium.
For years, the icon on Jefferson Boulevard in the heart of Oak Cliff has been in a state of disrepair—but no longer. The Texas Theatre reopens Nov. 19 with a screening of the PBS movie Oswald’s Ghost.
Standing just a few feet from the seat where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured, Oak Cliff Foundation Chairman Monte Anderson said the nine-year, $3.5 million renovation is nearly complete. “This blighted theater what it was, back in action, is very important for the culture of this neighborhood and the restoration of this neighborhood,” Anderson said.
The Oak Cliff Foundation says a professional management company hopes to book the Texas Theatre 200 dates a year, with concerts, movies and other events—even Broadway showson tour. “When you come to a theater, you’re coming there for fun and excitement, enthusiasm, and Jefferson Boulevard needs that,” Anderson said. “It’s already on its way up.”
The Texas Theatre was built by Howard Hughes during the depths of the Depression. It was the first air conditioned theater in Dallas, and one of the biggest. Now its 665 seats have been restored; the cushions will be installed in a few days. New carpeting is also on the way.
Restoring the balcony and adding those 400 seats is the next big project. The movie theater with a rich legacy is getting another chance to entertain a new generation. “It can’t ever be torn down, so we’ve saved it from that,” Anderson said. “It kind of gives me goose bumps to think about it a little bit.”