Plaza Theatre

117 N. 3rd Avenue,
Durant, OK 74701

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Rowley United Theatres Inc.

Architects: W. Scott Dunne

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

117 N. Third Street. Durant's downtown building program this year was featured by construction of a new theater by T. Miller Davidge...1936

Built on the site of the Liberty/State Theatre which was damaged by fire on October 31, 1934. (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures). The Plaza Theatre was opened on July 3, 1936 with Chester Morris in “Counterfeit” and was operated by T. Miller Davidge. By 1957 it was operated by Rowley United Theatres Inc. The Plaza Theatre was closed on January 6, 1991 with Sylvester Stallone in “Rocky V”. The building still stands in 2021.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on March 23, 2008 at 12:36 pm

A 1984 photo of the Plaza Theater taken in 1984 when it was still open and showing movies.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 16, 2009 at 9:39 am

“The Plaza was originally opened as the Liberty in the 1900s by Robb and Rowley. They were associated with the Davidge family who created a succesful theater business that spanned half a century in Durant. It closed for a few weeks in 1932 and was reopened as the State by the Davidges and Chester McSwain. Operating only a couple of days a week the State closed the same year. The Plaza was opened in that location July 3rd, 1936 by Davidge, Robb and Rowley. As late as 1984 the Plaza was open and showing movies but has since closed”


seymourcox on April 9, 2009 at 10:29 am

Movie stars Roy Rogers & Dale Evans were married in Durant, OK.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on September 29, 2009 at 5:26 pm

A few photos from 2009 of the Plaza Theater in Durant. Notice the barber shop which occupies part of the theater building. For whatever reason the sight of a barber shop in or near a theater building is a common thread in hundreds of theater photos. A look through the window of this particular shop was like looking back at least fifty years into the past.

dallasmovietheaters on July 22, 2021 at 6:53 pm

The Plaza Theatre was a new-build facility for T. Miller Davidge who held a naming contest to give a handle to the W. Scott Dunne architected venue. It launched as the Plaza Theatre which replaced the fire-damaged former Liberty/State Theatre which had been on the lot prior to its demolition. The fire took place on Halloween of 1934 closing the State Theatre permanently. It had become the State Theatre when John Terry took over the Liberty from Robb & Rowley and relaunched as the State Theatre on March 4, 1932 with “The Big Shot.” The Plaza opened July 3d, 1936.

50sSNIPES on October 24, 2021 at 6:01 am

Opened With Chester Morris In “Counterfeit”, Along With A Popeye Cartoon In “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard”, And A Performance By Russ Morgan And His Orchestra In “Music In The Morgan Manner”.

50sSNIPES on April 1, 2023 at 6:53 pm

In its later years, the Plaza Theatre went through some ups-and-downs.

The Plaza Theatre became the only first-run movie house in Durant after the other first-run theater in Durant, the Ship Drive-In, closed its gates for the final time on August 4, 1985.

In April 1986, the Plaza Theatre closed its doors for only a single year due to extensive remodeling and new installations, leaving Durant and Bryan County without a theater for the first time since 1910.

Surprisingly, this only lasted for a year until former Ardmore Tivoli Theatre operator Glen Smith reopened Durant’s Plaza Theatre on April 24, 1987 with “Firewalker” as a 3-day test run, before the Plaza held its grand reopening on May 1, 1987 with “Crocodile Dundee”, which went under the name “New Plaza Theatre”. Smith said that the “New” Plaza will only open initially on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays instead of the usual seven-days-a-week, with a dollar per ticket. Smith only operated the theater for a short time before Thelma Pearl Scribner took over the theater a short time later.

There were major changes compared to the original and the 1987 remodel. The capacity in the remodel was downgraded from the original 721 seats to just 271 seats in the 1987 remodel, due to Smith wanting people to have more leg room. The remodel received new carpets and a new projection and the walls and drapes were carefully restored.

Since then, the theater went into a string of robberies but nothing too severe. Only a couple goes as follows: On the evening of June 6, 1987, a person broke into the theater and stole $430 in cash without damaging the property, and after closing for the night on September 25, 1988, Thelma told Durant Police one week later that a microwave, a light-up CocaCola wall clock, $50 of both money and candies, and a dark yellow Trimline telephone were all stolen. A north door on the west side of the theater was discovered wide-open and the total estimate of missing items was $300 in total.

New management took over the Plaza Theatre in September 1990 after a short closure. One month later on October 7, 1990, damage was reported after a group of poor spelling vandals vandalized on the walls and caused other damage, estimating $500 in property damage. According to owners, the screen was ripped and misspelled obscenities were painted on both the walls and the popcorn machine at the concession stand. The suspects got away by going on the roof through a door and making their way down. Before leaving, they took assorted candy from the lobby with a value of $150. It was repaired and reopened but unfortunately it didn’t do well in business.

The Plaza Theatre closed its doors for the final time as a movie house on January 6, 1991 with “Rocky V” (However, the Plaza continued operating as a special events house until the 2000s). This left Durant without a movie theater for the next three years until the launch of the Durant Twin Cinema (later the Durant 4 Cinemas) in July 1994.

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