I think most everyone who can remember November 22, 1963 can pinpoint the place they were when they heard the news of President Kennedy's assassination.
I was in 10th grade, on my way to my civics class when the announcement came over the intercom. The halls were instantly silent, except for quiet weeping and shocked gasps. When I walked into my classroom, the teacher was sitting on his stool as usual at the front of the class, but this time he had a radio playing and a stunned look on his face. We listened to the radio and he did his best to console us. That year our class paper was to be on either the assassination or on some other subject that I don't remember -- I think all but one student wrote about Kennedy. I still have my report.
Like the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded and 9/11/01 when our world was forever changed, I will always remember the day Kennedy's life was cut short and where I was and how I felt.
Our local ABC station was the one that broadcast the news that day to the citizens of the Dallas area and it is now doing a series of news stories and videos that are behind the scenes looks at the history of that day -- then and now -- leading up to the 50 year anniversary. Although I didn't live in the Dallas area at the time of the assassination, I have lived here for about 35 years and so am very familiar with such landmarks as Dealey Plaza, the Texas School Book Depository (which houses the Sixth Floor Museum) and the Texas Theatre.
One day recently I was happy to see that the story was about the Texas Theatre (check it out, there's a great video!) -- and am proud to say that my son, Adam, is a partner with three others in the ownership of that theater.
The Texas Theatre was first opened in 1931 in Oak Cliff (a Dallas suburb) and was part of a chain of theaters owned at one time by Howard Hughes. It was an upscale theater and the first with air-conditioning in the Dallas area.
It was also where Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested.
Three rows up, five seats in
After a series of ups and downs and almost demolitions, the Oak Cliff Foundation purchased the building, did some renovations and offered it up for a permanent lease. Enter Aviation Cinemas (the name is a nod to Howard Hughes) of which my son is a part -- which took over the lease and has done more renovations, turning the theater into a venue for art films, indie films, and blockbusters in 35 mm. No digital there! The Texas Theatre is old-school! They are helping to revive their area of Oak Cliff, focusing on the arts and participating in local happenings. Go here for some interesting facts on the theater!
Checking out the 35 mm film
The theater itself has become an enjoyable hangout for the artistic set with a bar where only vinyl albums are played on a funky little portable record player....
and walls where local art is displayed.
Art like crazy movie posters
Old cartoons are shown on the wall in the lobby. You can watch while you're enjoying a beer or cocktail and a visit with friendly folk.
A sea of red seats
There are 645 seats downstairs and there will be 300 to 350 more in the balcony when they get that opened. It was Dallas' largest theater when it was first built.
blankets are there for the patrons' use
(the theater gets cold!)
Sometimes you can play chess
Previous owners had walled over some of the great old architecture, but our guys scraped off what they could without jeopardizing the structure. Now there are "peep holes" that show the beautiful craftsmanship of old.
This shows the original stairs going to the balcony
Note the scroll work on the stair ends
If you would like to see videos and read more of the history surrounding that fateful day in Dallas, you can check out "JFK: Dallas, 50 Novembers." It's a pretty interesting read! I have bookmarked it so I can keep up with it if I miss one of the WFAA newscasts.
Please note: with the exception of the photos of Kennedy and Oswald, all of the photos were either taken by me on excursions to the theater, or from my TV as the story on the theater was aired.
---- For this week's music ----
"Abraham, Martin and John" by Dion
sharing over at Miss Jenny's for Alphabe-Thursday where we are studying the letter F
and at Cottage Sweet Cottage for Rednesday