Between 1934 and 1950, over two dozen independent theatres
opened in Houston.
The first one to open was onlya short jaunt down Main Street
to Richmond the Delman Theatre. The Delman was a
genuine sign of the times that movies would now go to the
audience, rather than the other way around. It was also
the first Houston theatre to be built specifically for sound
pictures. The independent theatre was owned by I.B. Adelman
of Dallas, and featured a design by architect W. Scott Dunne,
who soon after developed the Interstate Tower Theatre.
The march of the independents was on. with the Delman
followed in 1937 by the Park Theatre and the Joy, while
nearby Pasadena got its Pasadena Theatre. The Rice University
district gained its first theatre at this time, the University.
The year 1939 is generally considered to be Hollywoods
true golden year. Four new theatres opened that year, all
during the month of November, making the pre-Christmas season
a busy one for moviegoers. Interstates Alabama Theatre,
was the first and largest out of the gate, and the only
one that was not an independently owned house. This was
followed by the Stude Theatre in the Heights, the Navaway,
and the River Oaks Theatre.
The forties brought about the Queen, Lyons, Lindale (later
known as the Al*Ray), State, Sunset, Plaza, Holman, Rainbow,
Deluxe, Don Gordon, O.S.T., Avalon/Capri, and the Bellaire,
to name a few.