Alabama Theatre

2922 S. Shepherd Drive,
Houston, TX 77098

Unfavorite 20 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 50 of 74 comments

HowardBHaas on January 3, 2008 at 6:57 pm

is this a photo of the bookstore that was in the auditorium? is it still open?

dplomin1954 on July 23, 2007 at 8:49 pm

YouTube has a lovely tribute to this theater with a song by Death Cab For Cutie called “I WILL FOLLOW YOU INTO THE DARK”, which seems appropriate for people or places, seems none of us will last forever. Good luck on keeping the theater building alive!

gsmurph on June 20, 2007 at 11:57 am

Another example of a theater’s convesion to a bookstore respectfully is the Varsity in Palo Alto (CA), converted to a Border’s.

rogerscorpion on February 10, 2007 at 5:40 pm

Yep. Gorgeous. A friend of mine manages the cafe.

JackCoursey on August 27, 2006 at 4:20 pm

Here are some great shots of the Alabama when it was in it’s prime. Let’s hope that Houston does not lose this or the River Oaks.

rogerscorpion on August 2, 2006 at 11:07 pm

The former Isis & McCrory’s is now the Mercury Room—an upscale night club, which still contains tidbits from the Isis.
About the River Oaks issue, preservationists DID attaend the City Council meeting, on 8/2. So did State Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. She spoke out in favor of preservation. Houston Chronicle, of 8/3, ran an article stating that, “with the Landmark River Oaks Theatre threatened, more are joining the drive to change preservation laws.”

RobbKCity on August 1, 2006 at 10:36 pm

I find it interesting that Weingarten Real Estate brags about the historic nature of River Oaks, and its significant architecture, on the shopping center’s Web site, and then proposes tearing part of it, and the theaters, down. After all, they openly state that it’s a historic landmark.

“Aside from being one of Houston’s premiere shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, River Oaks Shopping Center is also a historical landmark!

River Oaks Shopping Center is the oldest shopping center in Texas and the second oldest shopping center in the nation (Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri is the nation’s oldest).

Hugh Potter, the center’s designer, began building River Oaks Shopping Center in 1937.

River Oaks Shopping Center is one of Houston’s premier examples of Modern architectural design. When you visit, take notice of its pair of curved sections facing Shepherd Drive, followed by the long horizontal units on either side of West Gray. These features are representative of typical Modern design. In addition, many classic ‘30’s and '40’s motifs and materials- rounded corners, “porthole” windows and light fixtures, black glass and stucco- can also be seen among the center’s Modern design details."

View link

I mean, jeez, talk about wanting to have it both ways.

rogerscorpion on July 31, 2006 at 10:31 pm

Actually, robnrva, don’t credit Barnes & Ignoble with this. The Bookstop Corp converted The Alabama Theatre into the Bookstop. B& N bought The Bookstop Corp & simply retained the marquee—-probably considering it cost-prohibitive to alter it. I’m SURE they have historical respect for it.

seweccentric on July 26, 2006 at 6:03 am

…and the petition you posted is for the River Oaks (this page is for the Alabama)
If you want to save these theatres, it’s going to cost you a few more seconds than adding your name to a list online. GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND ACTUALLY HELP.
The Greater Houston Preservation Alliance suggests that everyone that
has a concern to write a letter to the following person at Weingarten
Realty, and copy the Mayor and Council Member Ada Edwards with the
concerns. They recommend that the letter should include points such as
the historical significance of the buildings, cultural significance of
the theatre, that it meets the needs of the community it serves, and
that there are few places in Houston where one can walk from their
homes to enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment.

This is the contact information:

Mr. Drew Alexander, CEO Weingarten Realty
PO Box 924133
Houston TX 77292-4133

cc Mayor Bill White City of Houston
PO Box 1562
Houston TX 77251

cc Council Member Ada Edwards City of Houston, District D
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston TX 77002

robnrva on July 26, 2006 at 2:33 am

This theater is in danger of demolition!

Please read the following for more details.

What a shame if they get their way on this.

asadsack on January 19, 2006 at 6:17 pm

Hello Houston,
I lived in Houston for about 20 years. While there, I enjoyed learning about old buildings and Houston history. For example,
if you stand in fromt of the Rice Hotel, facing the intersection of
Texas and Main and look across the diagonal side of the intersection, there is a small building on the corner that for many years was a McCrory’s. I don’t know what it is now, but from 1911-1929, it was The Isis Theater. The Houston Chronicle once ran
a small story about the building in the mid 90s when a new buyer
was supposed to purchase the place. The paper ran a cool file photo
of the theater as it looked in the 1920s.

tdcalonzo on December 5, 2005 at 4:16 pm

Has anyone seen the Granada Theater on the corner of Jensen and Tidwell in N.E.Houston? And does anyone have any info on this closed theater that has a resemblance to the Garden Oaks Theater.

evilatwill on November 28, 2005 at 2:56 pm

In the late 60’s, they had closed circuit telecasts of the Indy 500 at the Alabama (also downtown at Majestic or Metropolitan). Very popular event since Houston’s favorite, AJ Foyt, was often a winner in those days.

Glad that the Book stop has saved the place.

seweccentric on September 2, 2005 at 6:26 pm
I would LOVE to get some OLD pictures inside the Alabama posted!

seweccentric on September 2, 2005 at 6:25 pm

We are having a 30th anniversary show SEPTEMBER 23 & 34, 2005 at the RIVER OAKS THEATRE (2009 W. Gray) – just down the road. We will have a special “alumni” seating area for the Alabama alumni! Come see your old friends!!

telliott on August 5, 2005 at 5:43 am

This is the same kind of conversion that happened to the former Runnymede theatre in Toronto. It is now a Chapters book store and the interior is very much the former theatre. The former balcony has been re-built and now there are escalators instead of the former 2 staircases on either side of the lobby. The children’s department is now located up there. There was a small Starbucks cafe up there as well with tables at the edge overlooking the rest of the store but that has now been removed. The sloping main floor is still there and there are a series of steps gradually down the middle of the store to take you to where the screen was. The screen is gone and now you can go up onto the stage area where the magazine section is located. It is interesting to look up to the ceiling of the backstage area and see where the curtains and screen would have been. An excellent restoration of a beautiful theatre. Too bad more theatres could have been converted this way to at least keep the interiors as they were as movie theatres.

doneil on August 5, 2005 at 4:21 am

I saw the Rocky Horror Picture Show here back in 78-79? Great job that Book Stop has done in maintaining the original feel of the theatre. Everytime I walk in there I smell popcorn!

robnrva on August 3, 2005 at 8:24 am

I found a link to this location, which includes an updated picture of the marquee… the original Alabama sign by the road still reads Alabama…the marquee was changed to bookstop.

View link

robnrva on August 3, 2005 at 8:12 am

I had the pleasure of visiting this former theater last month while in Houston. I commend the company for the restoration and preservation of this great building.

robnrva on August 3, 2005 at 8:11 am

It’s called “Book Stop” and is actually a division of Barnes & Noble bookstores. Any specialty locations such as this get the “Bookstop” name.

RJS on August 3, 2005 at 7:54 am

Does anyone know the name of the bookstore or if they have a website?

Coate on June 9, 2005 at 10:06 am

“By 1960, Interstate needed another 70mm Roadshow House in Houston, so the Alabama was chosen. It played LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and of course, THE SOUND OF MUSIC.” (Ennis C. Adkins)

“I read that The Sound of Music was at this theatre. TSOM ran for many weeks and broke record attendances!” (Patsy)

The Alabama’s roadshow engagement of “The Sound Of Music” lasted for 90 weeks (Mar. 31, 1965 – Dec. 18, 1966).

View link

Patsy on June 9, 2005 at 8:49 am

belmontdrew: I totally agree with….“Would’ve been cool to have kept those seats and turned the place into a hybrid bookstore/movie theatre!”

belmontdrew on June 9, 2005 at 7:29 am

Up until the mid 90’s the Alabama still had all of its balcony seats. Before they added those balcony bookshelves and coffee shop there were some glass doors that were locked and led onto the balcony. You could look through and see the seats! Would’ve been cool to have kept those seats and turned the place into a hybrid bookstore/movie theatre!