Lone Star Picture Shows
Texas History
8 x 11, 224 pp.
130 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 02/01/2001
Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce
Price:        $34.95


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Lone Star Picture Shows

By Richard Schroeder

When a Dallas audience in 1897 viewed the first motion picture ever shown in Texas, the state began a love affair with the movies. From the early nickelodeons to later drive-ins, Texans have spent countless hours and many dollars to watch moving pictures shown in small towns and big cities alike.

In a span of sixty-three years, from 1897 to 1960, Texans witnessed the rise and fall of the silent film, the introduction of “talkies,” the drive-in, and 3-D. They saw how World War II affected the movies and watched movies transform again when the advent of television brought a new kind of competition. They even had their own movie production centers in the early years. El Paso and San Antonio vied in the race to become the nation’s movie capital.

In Lone Star Picture Show Richard Schroeder does more than examine the evolution of the movie industry in Texas - he re-creates the environment of the darkened movie theater. Drawing on interviews with theater managers, cashiers, projectionists, and general workers, Schroeder captures the theater-going experience of the past and uses their recollections to describe life in the movie business throughout the century. Schroder also considers the racial and ethnic makeup of Texas and the movie houses of the Hispanic and African-American communities.

The fascinating and well-written narrative offers a lively glimpse into the movie palaces of the past. Those who would like to remember the days when a nickel bought a Saturday afternoon of entertainment in a palatial, darkened theater will find Lone Star Picture Shows a charming and informative slice of Texana.

Richard Schroeder, an independent historian with a doctorate in education from Texas A&M University in Commerce, taught communications, broadcasting, and film for eighteen years.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . a well-illustrated study of the history of the motion pictures in Texas from 1897 to 1960. . . . As a source of information on the evolution of the Texas motion pictures theatres, the book is of value. Since the Texas scene varied but little from the national, for the reader interested in the history of motion pictures a variety of thorough, well-written, and well-organized motion picture histories is available.” --East Texas Historical Association

“. . . mix nostalgia and history in the way that good books can. . . . Richard’s love affair with the movies–and the people and events that influence films in Texas–is contagious. And frankly, the pictures alone, as they say, speak volumes.” --Texas Highways

“Richard Schroeder meticulously researched, splendidly written history, and wonderfully illustrated history. Highly recommended reading for students of American popular culture, as well as nostalgic movie buffs.” --The Bookwatch


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