Last year a good friend of mine took me to see “Into The Woods”, which was performed at the restored Woodlawn Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. This year I was thrilled when she invited me to a performance of “Once” held at my favorite theatre of all times, the Majestic.
Being there brought back lots of memories. I used to love going there. I spent so much time gawking at the décor it’s a wonder I paid any attention to my date or the movie that was showing. The atmosphere was and still is captivating…the decorated box seats, the stage, the mezzanine, the ladies’ lounge and especially being able to look up and see the stars.
The Majestic is one of the city’s oldest and largest theatres and was designed by architect John Eberson, for Kar Hoblitzelle’s Interstate Theatres in 1929. The Majestic was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993 and has been home to the San Antonio Symphony for some time. It opened its doors on June 14, 1929. At the time, it was second in the nation only to Atlanta Georgia’s Fox Theatre was the first theatre in Texas to be fully air-conditioned, something that alone was a major attraction in the 1920s South. A cast-iron canopy covered the sidewalk, which opened to a cave-like single-story lobby including lanterns and ceiling murals. The auditorium featured mask-like carvings alongside the stage and under the mezzanine. In direct translation of atmospheric theater design, the Majestic’s blue ceiling “cloud scape” disguises the interior dome as an evening sky in conjunction with a cloud projector and small bulbs simulating stars. The bulbs are actually positioned according to consultations with experts at the National Geographic Society who instructed the designer as to the positioning of the real stars on the night of the theater’s opening.
During the early years of the depression the Majestic closed its doors for several weeks, until it was able to reopen “because Americans were turning to movies for escape.” It continued to provide that escape with a schedule of films and live entertainment throughout the 40s and the 50s. World premieres held there include The Texans (1938), The Lusty Men (1952), To Hell and Back (1955), Selena (1997) and The Alamo (2004).
Many thanks for another memorable evening, Beverly!