The first time I saw this photo, shot by by Ed Zabel in the ’80s, was a few months ago, when I picked up “John F. Kennedy Sites in Dallas-Fort Worth,” the new book from Mark Doty and John H. Slate.
According to the book:
“In a continued effort to compete with modern theater complexes and distance the site with the Oswald arrest, the operators of the Texas removed the ‘TEXAS’ sign and marquee along with other decorative features and covered the exterior with a more modern slip cover in 1965. The Texas continued showing first- or second-run movies until it was closed in December 1989.”
“JFK” director Oliver Stone paid to have that facade stripped in 1991. He also paid for some exterior renovations, including a temporary marquee and “TEXAS” sign, according to the book. A new permanent marquee to match the historical one was installed in 2002, and the new “TEXAS” sign was installed in 2007 as part of renovations funded by a $1.6-million grant from City of Dallas Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership program and $2 million raised by the Oak Cliff Foundation.
The theater’s current management team, Aviation Cinemas, has no desire to distance the theater from its Oswald connection. When the team took over the theater a few years ago, they printed logo T-shirts bearing the image of Oswald’s police mugshot.
And next month, the theater will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination with a day of events Nov. 22.
It begins with a screening of “War is Hell” at 1:20 p.m. Admission to that movie and a 2:45 p.m. screening of “Cry of Battle” will cost the 1963 price of 90 cents. The lobby will be open to the public throughout the day with a photo exhibit curated by Slate, who lives in Oak Cliff and is the Dallas city archivist.
At 6:30 p.m., actors will portray theater employees Julia Postal and Butch Burroughs as well as shoe store employee John Brewer in a theatrical recreation of their Warren Commission interviews. And at 8 p.m., Oliver Stone’s “JFK” screens.