10/9/09

The producers documented one of the few remaining movie theatres from Interstate's circuit that continues to show first run movies. The Eastland Majestic was acquired by Interstate in 1939 when it was still called the Connellee Theatre. Originally built in 1919, the Connellee was opened to the boom town of Eastland that was exploding with new residents arriving to service a large oil discovery in the region. Shows during its early years were a mixture of Vaudeville and motion pictures.

In 1947, Interstate upgraded and redesigned the Connelle with an art deco style and renamed it The Majestic. It would operate under Interstate until 1973, then was sold to a variety of independent operators, none of whom could make a go of it. Finally, in 1987, the nonprofit Eastland Fine Arts Association was formed to run the theatre as a performing arts center for the city. Today, it shows movies five nights a week and programs other live presentations and performances on its stage on the remaining nights.

After a full day of shooting and interviewing the theatre's manager, Ed Allcorn, the crew rested by watching a screening of The Proposal with Texas native Sandra Bullock. A great film, perfectly projected. Interstate founder Karl Hoblitzelle would have been proud.

Also on this trip, the crew covered an event in nearby Abilene. ArtWalk, a downtown community art festival brought a large crowd out to visit all the many new downtown galleries, shops, and restaurants. The vitality of downtown Abilene is very much a result of the city's restoration of their Interstate movie palace, the Paramount. It was the first major business to be renovated in what was a very dead city center, and its popularity made possible the rebirth of the the urban core.

 


   
 
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