Lake Theatre

It’s Saturday night in 1974 in Lake Jackson, TX, and you are 15 years old. Where are you thinking about going? To “the show”! “The show” back in those days meant the Lake Theatre in downtown Lake Jackson. Nestled under large oak trees, the Lake Theatre was designed by Alden B. Dow. Built for a cost of about $35,000, it had a seating capacity of 500, according to The Lake Jackson Chronicles: A History of Lake Jackson, Texas.

 

J.R. Hollomon and B.C. Gibson opened the theater on February 1, 1945, with Tahiti Nights being the first movie shown. The theater originally ran second run films. These were films first run by larger movie theaters, according to John Huebel, owner from 1952-1997. The population of Lake Jackson in 1952 was 2,562, and

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the Lake Theater was a great source of family entertainment. On Saturday, a string of cartoons, Huebel called a cartoon carnival, along with an adventure story was run as a double bill. “Kids would stay as long as they had a penny in their pockets," according to Huebel.

 

A twist of fate occurred when Huebel had the opportunity to run Giant on a first run. After that, the theater ran first-run films. Back in the early fifties, Huebel said it cost anywhere from $15 to $75 to buy a picture. He said, “The detective stories were very poor draws, but any kind of action picture and the good westerns did well. The cowboys outdid the detectives 10-1!” He also talked about controlling the types of pictures he showed. To ensure good behavior on Friday night and the double feature on Saturday night, he had to hire extra workers to “help control the house." He said, “The kids were good, but when you put that many together, it required lots of supervision!”

In the early 70's, the theater was remodeled with a plantation façade, and an additional theater, Lake II, was added to the complex. It was located where Taco Cabana stands today. In 1997, however, both theaters closed. The original theater was eventually purchased by a local entertainer, Bobby Reed and his wife Carolyn, in order to be a live performance theater. It still stands today and is available for commercial use.