Ranger Exes Memorial - Ranger, Texas Old theaters in Ranger

In 1920, there were ten theaters in Ranger, TX. Today only one of these theaters (Columbia when shut down) remains standing. ARCADIA Arcadia theater in Ranger The Arcadia was built in 1927 and known as the most beautiful theater between Fort Worth and Abilene. It was located on Main Street next to the old city hall. A small soda fountain and refreshment stand was adjacent. The glistening fresh popcorn popper kept the inviting aroma in the ornate lobby and no one could resist a bag. Frequently, the theater had "amateur nights" with live local entertainment and prizes and there were the "china" nights when china was given away. Ranger High School "scavengers" used to check the trash bin in the alley behind the theater for discarded film from breaks on a reel which made wonderful smoke/stink bombs. At one time there was a bowling alley on the east side of the theater. The Arcadia showed the latest movies and was richly furnished. The well known owner/manager of the Arcadia for many years was Brann Garner pictured below on the left), known as the "picture show man". His wife Burla Jane assisted in the operation. The theater caught fire and burned down in March, 1952. Later the remaining structure was torn down and made into a parking lot. The Tower and Arcadia were the last two movie theaters in downtown Ranger. The picture above on the far right is of Gloria Graham, Betty Reuwer and Wanda McKinney (RHS Class of 1949) purchasing tickets from Burla Jane Garner for a Saturday matinee in 1947. B.E. Garner & inside of Arcadia Theater Brann Garner Inside of Arcadia (owner & manager) The Garner's only child, daughter Gail, is married to David Pickrell and they live in Ranger. Burla Jane died in 1986. Her sister was Cora Marie Kohn (RHS Class of 1925). Photo of Arcadia in 1939 showing "Union Pacific". COLUMBIA Columbia Theater in Ranger The only theater that is still standing is the Columbia which is located in downtown Ranger on Austin Street across the street from the old Anderson Chevrolet Co. The Columbia is remembered by most as the "Shoot-um-up"! It was built as the Lone Star theater and later became the Columbia. Presently the theater building including the one next door are being renovated into a dinner theater with a 2016 opening. Columbia Theater in Ranger Remains of the Columbia Theater Columbia Theater in Ranger Renovations started in 2015 EASTSIDE - was located on Strawn Road. ELITE - location unknown. HIPPADROME Hippadrome Theater in Ranger Hippadrome was located in the 300 block of W. Main which was the Ranger Auto Parts Store.
LAMB Lamb Theater in Ranger Lamb theater was located in the 300 block of W. Main and was replaced by the Arcadia Theater.
LIBERTY Liberty Theater in Ranger The picture on the left is the first Liberty Theater which was located in the 200 block of S. Rusk Street down by the Masonic Lodge. It was owned by the same person that bought the Majestic and renamed it the Liberty. Later the National Guard used the Liberty building. When the Liberty Theater was opened in 1919 or 1920 it was an entertainment facility that ANY CITY could brag about to induce visitors to come to the city. It had a large floor seating capacity, a balcony and several loge stalls for high priced seats. In 1927 with several other boys looking for bits of film clips cut in film splicing, I noticed a huge mass of discarded tickets. They had a price range of $15.00 down. At a time when good wages in Ranger was bringing in sixty cents an hour, this was "silk stocking row." The Liberty may have been intended to be an OPERA HOUSE. In 1927, as a 10 year old boy, I along with 200 to 400 boys ages 9, 10, 11 and 12 attended the Saturday afternoon ten cent matinee of one hour silent western movies. These featured Tom Tyler, Ken Maynard, Harry Careyry, Hoot Gibson, Jack Hoxie and all the others "They went that way gang" except Tom Mix. Tom Mix showed at the Lamb Theater for twenty five cents. In 1928 "Talking Movies" came to Ranger. The old Lamb Theater was razed and replaced with the Arcadia Theater. It had 700 padded seats, air conditioning and "Talking Pictures." There was no way the Liberty Theater could compete with silent pictures, hard seats and no air conditioning. Not long after opening of the Arcadia Theater, the Liberty terminated their theater activities. I remember a few vaudeville acts. The stage lighting was all that could be asked for. The acoustics were superb. When dialogue and musical acts were performed you could hear clearly every sound without any amplifiers. I regret that I never saw a presentation of "Raymon Teal and His Ducklings." I do remember that above the theater, the Liberty Hotel with its 100 rooms stayed in business for several years, but died because it had no elevator. Three floors of stairs are not inviting to a tired traveler, especially when he has no place to park his auto- mobile. (Based on article by Warren Reynolds Cozby-RHS1934) Liberty Theater in Ranger Remains of Liberty Hotel & Theater LONE STAR Lone Star Theater in Ranger Lone Star Theater was located in the 100 block of S. Austin and later became the Columbia Theater. See Columbia theater above.
MAJESTIC - was located in the 100 block of S. Rusk Street and later became the Liberty Theater. There was another Majestic theater prior to this one which burned during the great fire of April 6, 1919. OPERA HOUSE Opera House Theater in Ranger Opera House theater was located in the 300 block of Pine Street (north side between Austin & Marston).
QUEEN Queen Theater in Ranger Queen theater was located in the 200 block of Pine Street. The building burned in the great fire in 1920.
RANGER DRIVE-IN Ranger Drive-In near Ranger The only drive-in theater in Ranger was the Ranger Drive-In. It was built in the early 1950s by Herbert Rapp who carved it out of the side of Ranger Hill east of Ranger. His wife, Alice, helped with the operation of the business. After Herbert retired in 1978, the drive-in was sold and operated until around 1986 when it closed. Noel Judy & Mac Jacoby at Ranger Drive-In Remains of Ranger Drive-In Noel Judy & Mac Jacoby Snack Bar at Ranger Drive-In Projection Room at Ranger Drive-In Snack Bar Projection Room Herbert's old Chevy truck Herbert's pickup-Pecos(sitting) & Jack Noth (R) REX Rex Theatre opened Nov. 24, 1922 in Ranger featuring Douglas Fairbanks in "When The Clouds Roll By". The Ranger Band played in front of the theatre. The manager, J.M. Palmer, had opened the Liberty in 1918 which was later sold to his brother. Location of the theatre is unknown. TEMPLE Temple Theater in Ranger Temple Theater was located in the 100 block of S. Austin and later became the Tower Theater.
TEXAS Texas Theater in Ranger Texas Theater was located in the 300 block of Walnut Street. TOWER Tower Theater in Ranger Ticket from Tower Herbert Rapp built and operated the Tower Theater which was located in downtown Ranger on Austin Street next to the once Anderson Chevrolet Co. It was part of the Southland Hotel. When Herbert was young, he had worked for Brann Garner at the Arcadia Theater. Later he began to drive from town to town with a projector in the back of his car showing movies in Santo, Gordon, Strawn and Mingus. He finally settled in Strawn and started the Strand Theater. After the WWII, he came back to Ranger and opened the Tower Theater. He did everything in the planning and building of the Tower. Herbert even painted the two huge murals on each side of the theater. One was Neptune riding sea horses and the other was Lady Godiva on her famous horse. He had two water coolers installed and red velvet curtains. The seats came from some high school auditorium but were replaced later with cushioned seats. His wife, Alice, sold tickets and Herbert ran the projectors. He had Bingo and kiddie matinees on Saturdays. Later in the early 1950s he expanded by opening the Ranger Drive-In. (Gail Rapp Hargar) Tower Theater in Ranger Murals on each side of the Tower - painted by Herbert Rapp Tower Theater in Ranger Billy Harper in space suit for "Destination Moon" Tower Theater in Ranger "Money Tree"-James Faulk & Jimmy Arrendale Herbert Rapp Tower Theater in Ranger Remains of Tower Theater
Pictures & information by Jeane Pruett (Ranger Historical Society), Jack Waddington, Gail Rapp Hagar, W. T. Eaton, Alfred Rogers, & Mac Jacoby
Old Texas Theaters