Texas Theatre

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Texas Theatre
Texas Theatre during renovations in 2006
Texas Theatre is located in Texas
Texas Theatre
Texas Theatre
Location within Texas
Texas Theatre is located in the United States
Texas Theatre
Texas Theatre
Texas Theatre (the United States)
Address231 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Dallas, Texas
United States
Coordinates32°44′36″N 96°49′32″W / 32.74333°N 96.82556°W / 32.74333; -96.82556Coordinates: 32°44′36″N 96°49′32″W / 32.74333°N 96.82556°W / 32.74333; -96.82556
OwnerOak Cliff Foundation
OperatorAviation Cinemas
Typemovie palace
Acreage0.2793 acres (0.1130 ha)
Current useCinema
OpenedApril 21, 1931 (1931-04-21)
ArchitectW. Scott Dunne
BuilderOak Cliff Amusement Co.
The Texas Theatre
Texas Theatre
Architectural styleItalian Renaissance
MPSOak Cliff MPS
NRHP reference #03000187[1]
RTHL #17723
DLMK #H/112
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 1, 2003
Designated RTHL2013
Designated DLMKOctober 10, 2001[2]

The Texas Theatre is a movie theater and Dallas landmark located in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. It gained historical significance on November 22, 1963, as the location of Lee Harvey Oswald's arrest for the killing of Dallas police officer J. D. Tippit. Today, it hosts a mix of repertory cinema and special events.


When first opened in 1931, the Texas Theatre was the largest suburban movie theater in Dallas and was part of a chain of theaters financed by Howard Hughes. It was the first theater in Dallas with air conditioning and featured many state-of-the-art luxuries.

On November 22, 1963, Warren "Butch" Burroughs, who ran the concession stand at the Texas Theatre where Oswald was arrested, said that Oswald came into the theater between 1:00 and 1:07 pm; he also claimed he sold Oswald popcorn at 1:15 p.m.[3][4] Julie Postal told the Warren Commission that Burroughs initially told her the same thing although he later denied this.[5] Theatre patron, Jack Davis, also corroborated Burroughs' time, claiming he observed Oswald in the theatre prior to 1:20 pm.[6]The films presented that day were Cry of Battle and War Is Hell, which Oswald briefly viewed.

As a commemoration of the historic capture, the words "Lee Harvey Oswald, November 22, 1963" were later inscribed in gold paint on the chair Oswald (supposedly) occupied — three rows from the rear, five seats from the aisle. However, the actual chair was removed by then manager "Butch" Burroughs, who took it home and replaced it with another which the FBI confiscated the next day for evidence thinking it was the original Oswald seat.[7]

The theater closed in 1989 and the Texas Theatre Historical Society (TTHS) purchased it the following year. This allowed Oliver Stone to remodel the exterior façade for his 1991 film, JFK. However, by 1992, the Society was no longer able to fund the property and the theater closed again. Former usher and sign changer Don Dubois of Texas Rosewin-Midway Properties saved the theater from the wrecking ball in 1993, but two years later, it was nearly destroyed by a five-alarm fire, forcing another closure. In 1996, Pedro Villa stepped in to rescue the theater from another plan which would have demolished the structure and replaced it with a furniture warehouse. However, he was unable to obtain financing to restore the theater and it defaulted to Texas Rosewin-Midway Properties. The fire-damaged building remained vacant for three years, open to vandals, stray animals, and the elements.[8]

In 2001, the Oak Cliff Foundation acquired the structure and began renovations after receiving $1.6 million from the Dallas Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership. Since then, the board of the Oak Cliff Foundation has raised an additional $2 million of the estimated $9 million needed for the complete renovation of the theater.[9] The foundation used the funds to secure and restore the building needed after years of neglect and fire damage and the venue began hosting movies and special events soon after.[10]

In September 2010, Aviation Cinemas, Inc. signed a lease to operate the theater as an independent and repertory cinema with hopes of presenting live theatre and concerts in the future.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Madeleine B. Johnson (October 10, 2001). "Ordinance No. 24750" (PDF). City of Dallas. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Douglass 2010, pp. 290, 466.
  4. ^ Turner, Nigel. The Men Who Killed Kennedy, Part 4, "The Patsy", 1991.
  5. ^ "History Matters Archive - Warren Commission Hearings, Volume VII, pg". history-matters.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  6. ^ Marrs 1989, p. 353.
  7. ^ Selwyn-Holmes, Alex (22 November 2013). "Aisle 2, Row 3, Seat 5, Texas Theatre, 231 West Jefferson Boulevard, Dallas, Texas". Iconic Photos. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  8. ^ "History of the Texas Theatre". Theatre Historical Society of America. 28 April 2010. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  9. ^ "History". Oak Cliff Foundation. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  10. ^ Donaughey, Adam (6 September 2010). "Historic Texas Theatre — New Lease on Life". Theatre Historical Society of America. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  11. ^ Appleton, Roy (3 September 2010). "Dallas-Fort Worth filmmakers to take Texas Theatre in new direction". Dallas Morning News. dallasnews.com. Retrieved 2014-03-14.

External links[edit]