FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2012
Contact: Kanya Lyons | (512) 974-7379
Movies have entertained and enlightened us for over a century. Just as important as the films themselves, the spaces where we experience them has a major impact on how these motion pictures impact our lives. The Austin History Center’s new exhibit, “The First Picture Shows: Historic Austin Movie Houses,” explores the many film venues throughout Austin’s history, from the first motion picture screening in 1896 to the rise of the multiplexes. The exhibit will be on display from March 20 until August 19, 2012 at the Austin History Center, 810 Guadalupe St.
Through hundreds of historic photographs, documents, and architectural drawings, the exhibit showcases the early Nickelodeons and storefront theaters that sprang up along Congress and 6th Streets, the grand movie palaces designed to provide moviegoers a lavish environment, and the dozens of movie houses that cropped up around town to provide ample space for the hundreds of films produced during Hollywood’s golden age. Visitors will also learn the fate of most of these movie houses, the ones that continue on as theaters as well as those that have found new life as drugstores, coffee houses, or comedy clubs. The exhibit will include the AHC’s very own modern “Kinetoscope” to transport visitors back in time to experience motion pictures as they were first made available over 100 years ago.
Join us for the exhibit's opening reception hosted by the Austin History Center Association on Tuesday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Austin History Center. The reception will include a moderated panel discussion with Jay Podolnick, Jim Maloy, and John Stewart. Jay Podolnick's parents founded the Trans Texas Theater Co. in Austin in the 1950s along with his grandfather, Louis Novy, who started in the theater business in 1917. Jim Maloy is a retired projectionist who worked in the movie theater business in Austin for over 40 years. John Stewart is the current projectionist at the Paramount Theater and has worked as a projectionist in Austin for 40 years. The panelists will share their experiences and inside stories about the movie theater business. Light refreshments will be served.
The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For more information please call 512-974-7480 or visit library.austintexas.gov.
1. Majestic Theater (now Paramount), ca. 1920. PICA 14618, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.
2. Texas Theater, ca. 1916. PICA06737, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library.