As a seventh and eighth grader in 1959 & 1960 at Saint Gregory’s Catholic School, my mother would give me a dollar to take the bus to go downtown on a Saturday and spend the entire day hanging out at the double features showing at the Majestic Theater. I could take the VIA bus for 20 cents round trip, watch a double feature for a quarter, buy popcorn for less than 15 cents, a coca cola for a nickel and come home at the end of the day, sometimes with a few cents in my pocket. Usually the double features included at least one monster movie like Dracula or Frankenstein horror flick. Those were the days. Many San Antonio residents may not remember that on November 21st 1963, the JFK motorcade traveled down Houston St. in front of the Majestic Theater waving to the excited crowd.
The photo was taken from the Gunter Hotel balcony. Later the motorcade showed up in Dallas where the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Built in 1929, the Majestic first opened on June 14th, and is now the prime venue in the city for performing arts. It is maintained by the Art Center Enterprises, Inc. The architecture reflects Baroque and Mediterranean influences. Elaborate ornamentation, walls with creeping grape vines, statues, a tiled roof and many other design elements make this venue really cool. I personally don’t recall paying attention to the architecture back in the 50’s since I was just 14! It now hosts touring Broadway shows and is home to the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. The renovated theater, has a huge stage and grand lobbies, and also plays host to private and corporate events. The $3 million San Antonio building, houses an auditorium, with a seating capacity of more than 3,700 seats, is considered one of the largest movie house in the South and the nation. The Majestic, with the latest lighting and sound equipment, a 3,500-gallon artesian well, and elevator access to balcony and mezzanine areas, was also the first fully air conditioned theatre in Texas.
In the 80’s I saw Dick Gregory, comedian and Black Political Activist speaking to a full house. I was thrilled when he walked into the audience shaking hands and he suddenly turned and looked at me and said, “How you doing brother?” Shocked, I responded, “doing great.” With that he shook my hand. I also attended a performance in the 80’s of “Fiddler on the Roof.” It will do a repeat performance here once again, March 27 th . I recall seeing the “Temptations” and the “Four Tops,” perform in the late 90’s, as well as “Tuna Christmas” and “Red and White Tuna” with the same two character actors who had been doing it for years. The “Temptation’s” are one of my favorite singing groups. Upcoming shows will include: “Dancing with the Stars,” Feb.-21st, “Sound of Music” March-8 th , “Earth Wind and Fire,” March 13 th , “Beach Boys,” March 19 th , and “Fiddler on the Roof,” ”March” 27 th . And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”