Mickey Mouse, safecrackers on tap for Texas Theatre anniversary

Oak Cliff-based artist Lauren Gray with the Texas Theatre safe. Photo by Katie Bernet
Oak Cliff-based artist Lauren Gray with the Texas Theatre safe. Photo by Katie Bernet

The Texas Theatre celebrates its 85th anniversary this week, and as part of it, they’re pulling a Geraldo.

The theater will run the same programming as its 1931 opening night, starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 21: a 16-mm MovieTone newsreel, a 16-mm Mickey Mouse cartoon, announcements, and the feature “Parlor, Bedroom & Bath” on 35 mm.

Guests are encouraged to wear a tuxes or ballgowns or dress in pajamas like the theater’s original owner, the eccentric Texas billionaire Howard Hughes.

The first 100 tickets will cost 35 cents (the cheap seats are still available online).

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Afterward comes the Geraldo portion of the evening, when professional safecrackers will open the mysterious Texas Theatre safe, broadcast over a live stream starting at 9:30 p.m.

If you’re too young to remember when Geraldo Rivera was a media superstar, much less his 1986 TV special, it was a doozie. On April 21, 1986 — exactly 30 years ago! — Rivera opened a vault belonging to Al Capone on live TV. The two-hour event — two hours! — was called “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults” and was hyped  the likes of “Who Shot J.R.?” Would there be bodies? Jewels? Money? Liquor?

Thirty million people watched. In the end, the vault contained a few empty bottles.

Anything could be in the Texas Theatre safe. Or nothing. Find out Thursday.

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