Oak Cliff Tribune
Texas Theatre Air Conditioning units Airlifted by Helicopter
By Jo Ann Holt, Columnist
Oak Cliff residents and early morning commuters were treated to an air show last Tuesday Oct. 23, when a helicopter airlifted a 60 ton AC unit and two 20 ton AC units to the Texas Theatre between 7:30-8:30 a.m. The AC units were too heavy to be delivered via flatbed, so the alternative is to airlift them directly to the Texas Theatre, 231 West Jefferson Boulevard, which has been undergoing an extensive renovation and restoration process since 2002.When the Texas Theatre was built in 1931, its systems were state of the art. The cooling and ventilation system, which blew 200,000 cubic feet of air per minute through a water-cooled system pumped from a 4,000-gallon tank, made “The Texas” the first theater in Dallas with air conditioning.
Since that time, the theater has had many owners and somehow escaped the wrecking ball after falling into disrepair in the late 1990’s.
In the latter part of 2000, Dallas Summer Musicals Management Group, a division of Dallas Summer Musicals, made a proposal to the City of Dallas to develop the theater into a critically needed community performing arts center. Preferring to stay in the theater management business as opposed to theater ownership, Dallas Summer Musicals Management Group, along with the City of Dallas approached the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce and its philanthropic arm, the Oak Cliff Foundation, with a plan to manage the theater if the foundation would purchase it.
In 2001, the Oak Cliff Foundation was awarded $1.6 million from the City of Dallas Neighborhood Renaissance Partnership Program to purchase and renovate the theater. The foundation agreed to raise additional funds to complete the renovation and contract Dallas Summer Musicals Management Group to manage the performing arts center.
An extensive renovation and restoration project began in 2002 and continues today.
On November 22, 1963 at approximately 1:45 p.m., nearly 15 Dallas police officers converged on the Texas Theatre in search of a man who had entered without paying. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald—President John F. Kennedy’s accused lone assassin.
Commemorating the 44th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza has joined WGBH Educational Foundation, Oak Cliff Foundation, and Dallas Summer Musicals to stage a free public screening of Oswald’s Ghost Monday, at 7 p.m. November 19 at the Texas Theatre.
Produced by acclaimed director Robert Stone (Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst, Radio Bikini) for American Experience in association with the BBC, the documentary film blends historical footage and contemporary interviews to create a thorough account of the Kennedy assassination and aftermath, while examining why this event continues to haunt the nation. After the screening, the Museum’s curator, Gary Mack, moderates a question-and-answer session with Stone, American Experience executive producer Mark Samels, author Josiah Thompson, and journalist Hugh Aynesworth.For more information about the free public screening of Oswald’s Ghost, visit http://www.jfk.org or call the Museum at 214-747-6660.
For more information about American Experience, visit www.pbs.org/americanexperience.