The Oak Cliff Foundation, which owns the Texas Theatre on Jefferson Boulevard, had just about pulled the plug. The money was running out and the theater wasn’t bringing in any revenue, the foundation was only a few weeks away from closing it. Built in 1931 and once the heart of Oak Cliff entertainment life, the Texas officially closed in 1989. Since then, there have been mortgage foreclosures, a five-alarm fire and various attempts to re-model it, restore it, even turn it into a historical museum (it’s where Lee Harvey Oswald hid after shooting police officer J. D. Tippit — and where he was caught by Dallas police).
But now it truly looked like the end of the road for the Texas. Then Aviation Cinemas, Inc. entered the picture (named for Howard Hughes, the Texas’ original owner). It’s a partnership of several independent producers and filmmakers: Barak Epstein, Adam Donaghey, Eric Steele and former Baptist General songwriter/art collective founder Jason Reimer. Aviation offered to run the theater and turn it into a revival house or repertory cinema. Reimer was working for the Oak Cliff Foundation and he tells us in the Think TV interview that it was a happy match-up, a “symmetrical” opportunity.
We talk to Reimer about how a revival house might survive in a world of digital downloads, what films he hopes to program for the theater, will they transform the balcony into another screen and whatever happened to Lee Harvey’s seat.