Alabama Theatre

2922 S. Shepherd Drive,
Houston, TX 77098

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Showing 1 - 25 of 74 comments

RyanToDaF2044 on July 12, 2021 at 1:25 pm

Bookstop was the name of the bookstore.

rivest266 on November 23, 2020 at 3:18 pm

The Alabama Theatre opened on November 2nd, 1939, and closed in 1983. Grand opening ad posted.

ejones880 on July 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm

What year did the Alabama Theather close and stop showing movies?

Theaterbug on October 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Alabama Theater is now a Trader Joe’s grocery store. The facade and marquee are still in place, but there is almost nothing left of the theater decoration inside.

This link has several photos of the building:

Alan Bell
Alan Bell on September 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

According to The September 2012 issue of Signs of the Times, the Alabama Theater tower sign is being restored by Coast Graphics and Signs of Stafford, Texas.

JMoreland on July 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Remember seeing “The Poseidon Adventure” here, among other films. Great theater.

HowardBHaas on February 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Proscenium arch & murals destroyed!

HowardBHaas on February 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Cement going into floor t level it for Trader Joes,

rogerscorpion on December 12, 2011 at 5:27 am

westawesta, don’t let your guard down. Fight as hard as you can. Weingarten’s only care about what hits their pocketbook. There’s been mention of Trader Joe’s moving into the Alabama. Most recently, though, the report is that murals have been removed & the floor filled in with sand & no mention of Trader Joe’s whatsoever.

_1WilliamMacdonald on October 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Stan. That link didnt work. You are probably right that is not the interior of the Alabama.

The Alabama ran some of the big 70mm road shows. Sound of Music ran for over a year. Lawrence of Arabia played there. It was magnificant. The Tower was the first 70mm house. Mike Todd was there for the opening of Oklahoma. He made them take out the pop corn machine to add some dignity to the occasion. They replaced it when he left. There was a push to equip theaters with 70mm. The Delmon, Village, The Uptown, and some others made the expensive switch.

Stan_Gilmore on September 10, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Here is an interior shot of the Alamaba Theatre

kgtband on May 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Weingarten Realty doesn’t seem to worry too much about PR. They depend on people having short memories. Fortunately the Alabama is still standing. I think it has more to do with the bad economy than anything positive happening.

westawesta on March 18, 2011 at 7:39 am

We’re having an issue with Weingarten Realty here in St. Louis MO. Can anyone tell me what the outcome of the Houston Theater demoltion plan was? Was Weingarten worried about the impact on their PR? Is the theater stil there? Thanks!

JackCoursey on February 13, 2011 at 11:43 am

The theatre appears to be in excellent condition and as grand as ever. Curious as to what its fate will be. How about a Midwest venue for the AFI? Bookstop (e.g. Barnes and Nobel) did a great job in restoring the theatre and keeping it up. It is a beautiful work of art both inside and out. Photos from February 2011:
1, 2,3

rogerscorpion on January 17, 2011 at 6:16 am

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema company has shown some interest.
Even better, our Angelika Film Center, downtown, suddenly closed, about 2 months ago. Landlord disputes. I see a physical theatre needing a tenant & a living film company, needing a home.

TLSLOEWS on March 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Good luck on no demolition.

sepiatone on September 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

The Alabama Theatre’s grand opening was at 7:15 p.m. on November 2, 1939. The premier feature was “Man About Town” with Jack Benny and Dorothy Lamour. The building contractor was George P. O’Rourke Construction Co.

rogerscorpion on September 21, 2009 at 12:14 am

Oppinger, the Barnes & Noble manage said:

“The decision is less about sales than about offering
more at the new store. We’re able to add a full range of services
that we couldn’t retrofit into an old building like this.”

That means it’s still about sales. Perhaps not the sale of books, but the sale of services.

rogerscorpion on September 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Sept 15th—it closed.

Weingarten’s Realty, the owner, issued a statement, meant to reassure the public, saying they have no intentions, of tearing down the theatre.

Interpreted, this means, they haven’t yet received an offer, which would make tearing it down, profitable for Weingarten’s Realty.

This does not assure us that they have intentions to NOT tear it down—or that they’d turn down any such offers.

We need stronger preservation laws here.

HowardBHaas on August 10, 2009 at 6:17 am

The Houston Chronicle Thursday August 6, 2009
3 STAR EDITION/THISWEEK; Pg. 3 RIVER OAKS Bookstop to close, reopen at West Gray Historic preservationists concerned about Alabama Theater By ROBIN FOSTER, CHRONICLE CORRESPONDENT Barnes & Noble Booksellers will close its Bookstop location in the revered Alabama Theater, 2922 SouthShepherd, on Sept. 15 and reopen Sept. 16 in a new store tailor-made for a larger audience just up the street in the River Oaks Shopping Center at West Gray Avenue. The new store brings more books, music and DVD sections, an expanded children’s area and a full-service Barnes & Noble
Café to the well-heeled neighborhoods that surround it. Manager
Jacques Oppinger, a native of the Inner Loop community, envisions a
shared customer base and media tie-ins with the neighboring and equally
revered River Oaks Theater. Plans for the Alabama But the announcement
inevitably leaves Houston’s preservationists, who rallied to save the
River Oaks Theater from demolition as part of that shopping center's
redevelopment, wondering what sort of transformation might befall the
Alabama Theater. A new tenant has not been found, said Brooke Harvey,
leasing director for Weingarten Realty Investors, which owns the River
Oaks and Alabama Shepherd shopping centers where both of the old marquee
theaters are located. Until then, he can’t speculate about how the
cavernous, Art Deco interior, which retains its balcony and terraced
first floor, might be used going forward. “We love the building. We're
just leasing it as is,” Harvey said. “We have no plans to make any
changes. You just won’t be buying books in there.” No more
redevelopment There are no plans for further redevelopment at River
Oaks, either, beyond marketing the new space anchored by the new Barnes
& Noble and a couple other vacancies, he said. “We’re very healthy
there and very excited about what’s going on there,” Harvey said. “If
you disregard the new development section, almost every space in the
shopping center is taken.” With more than 13,700 square feet, the old
Alabama Theater is considered retail anchor space in its strip center,
which is also home to a PetsMart, Whole Earth Provision Co. and Zake
Japanese Cuisine. Based on his 20 years in the business, Harvey said
it’s doubtful the space will reopen before 2010 because of the time
involved for a tenant to redo a new store’s interior, bring in needed
fixtures and inventory. No one would want to open right at Christmas,
he said. It was those types of what-if’s that concerned
preservationists three years ago, when redevelopment of the River Oaks
Shopping Center was proposed, said filmmaker Jeffrey Mills. Mills, who
owns IO Communications in Bellaire, is making a documentary film about
the Interstate Theater chain, which from 1906 to 1976 operated movie
houses throughout the Southwest, including at least a dozen in Houston.
“The last one operating is the River Oaks, and the last large theater
still standing is the Alabama,” Mills said. Interstate, which was once
part of Paramount and later ABC, opened the two movie houses a month
apart in 1939. The Alabama Theater operated until 1983. Mills recalls
the “Save Our Shrines” rally held in 2006 to curtail redevelopment and
save the River Oaks Theater, now part of the Landmark chain. “The
preservationists felt that the more threatened one was the Alabama,"
Mills said. "Its conversion to a bookstore didn’t really alter the
interior of the building, but any other tenant would probably gut it."
Oppinger, who grew up in the area and saw movies at both historic movie
houses, understands the sentiment. But Barnes & Noble has outgrown the
Bookstop store, which it acquired in the early 1990s, he said.
"Operationally, it doesn’t bear much resemblance to what we usually
have,” he said. “The decision is less about sales than about offering
more at the new store. "We’re able to add a full range of services
that we couldn’t retrofit into an old building like this.” For now,
the marquee out front advertises a clearance sale, which will be ongoing
until the store closes, Oppinger said. Surprisingly, most of the
store’s unsold volumes won’t be moved, but will be returned to the

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm

The Alabama Theatre was designed by the Dallas firm of Pettigrew & Worley. An article featuring photos of both the Alabama and the River Oaks Theatre, designed by the same firm, was published in the April 27, 1940, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 5, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Paul Smith’s photo of the Houston Granada here and its twin the Capitan in Pasadena.

kencmcintyre on November 5, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Landmark designation report from May 2007:

blstroud on May 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I remember the Granada Theater very well. I spent many Saturdays in that theater. It cost $.25 to sit all day long and watch several movies and cartoons. I don’t believe it exists any longer. We occasionally went to the North Houston theater also. My cousins lived in Ella Lee Forest so when I was visiting them we would go to the Garden Oaks theater. Yep, I remember them both very well.

dbush on March 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Current interior and exterior photos of the Alabama and a historic exterior are online at

The theater’s architect was W. Scott Dunne.