The Texas Theatre, 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

The Texas Theatre is a survivor.

Built amid the Great Depression in 1931, it once was owned by Texas tycoon Howard Hughes.

Now it’s the home of the Oak Cliff Film Festival, a hub for historic Jefferson Boulevard and a center for art and culture in our neighborhood.

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But the Texas Theatre always will be famous as the place where presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald sneaked in without a ticket, leading to his arrest.

After the Kennedy assassination, “an urgency to hide, deny and destroy it tore its way through Dallas,” according to a history of the theater.

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The theater’s original “Venetian” interior was covered in stucco, and the façade was covered in a “six-flags-of-Texas theme.”

“The front stairwell was turned 180 degrees, to prevent others from sneaking in without a ticket,” the history states. “The box office was moved inside the theatre — another local first.”

The theater closed in 1989. The following year, director Oliver Stone had the façade remodeled for the film “JFK” to look similar to the original.

The building sat vacant for years in the late ’90s until the nonprofit Oak Cliff Foundation bought it in 2001 and owns it to this day. A group of filmmakers took over operations in 2010, giving it a whole new life.

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Illustration by Brian Smith
Illustration by Brian Smith
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