New Majestic Theatre

108 W. Commerce Street,
Eastland, TX 76448

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Additional Info

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Melba Theatre

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James Carrigien launched the New Majestic Theatre on June 2, 1919 narrowly beating the Alhambra Theatre to its July 1, 1919 date. With the Connollee Theatre being built and the Princess Theatre already there six months along with the Eadanbill Airdome, someone wasn’t going to be around. It was the New Majestic that struggled out of the gate. It closed and had a very brief resurrection under D. M. Howard under the Melba Theatre nameplate. When that closed, Eastland would see the Majestic moniker used again when Interstate changed the name of the Connollee Theatre to the Majestic Theatre.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 26, 2018 at 4:48 pm

A description of the Majestic in a letter from the manager of the Alhambra Theatre (the two houses were then under the same ownership), F. K. Davis, was published in the November 1, 1919, issue of Motion Picture News, and it is not very flattering to the house:

“We had one house here, The Majestic (and still own it) located in the heart of the business section. It had location and fine lobby and that’s all that could be said of it. It had two rows of posts down the centre of the house, and to this day has no intake or exhaust fans (merely a dozen well oscilating fans). The floor did not have the proper grade, so many of the rear seats were set on blocks. The original owner (lasted six weeks) had put a transverter in the house and that made so much noise you couldn’t play the organ softly and have it heard.”
I’ve found two other mentions of the first Majestic in the trade journals. The September 20, 1919, issue of Motion Picture News has this brief item: “The Majestic theatre at Eastland was sold to James Carrigan by Tom Harrell, for a consideration of $40,000.” The second item from the March 10, 1923, issue of Motion Picture News: “Old Majestic Theatre at Eastland, Texas, has reopened under the name of the Melba. D. M. Howard is manager.”

This has nothing to do with the Majestic, but it’s an interesting sidelight about James Carragien (Carrigan was one of his aliases, according to a November 2, 1919, article in The Baltimore Sun about one of his many run-ins with the law.) Carragien was a con man with a career spanning decades, and one of the cities in which he practiced his art after leaving Eastland was Bisbee, Arizona.

There, in 1921, he became manager of the Eagle and Central Theatres, promoting a glowing article about himself in the April 24 issue of the Bisbee Daily Review. By July 2 the paper was publishing an item about Carragien’s trial for passing bad checks in Phoenix, noting that after the trial he would be brought back to Bisbee to face another charge for the same offense in that city.

The thoroughly disabused Daily Record ran another article about him in its issue of July 23, 1921, in which it described him as “…he of the raucous voice, cheery smile and ability to get ‘in again and out again’ with remark able ease and celerity….” This article focused on Carragien’s recent attempts to take control of the Lyric and Casino Theatres in Yuma, Arizona.

Carragien seems to have been one of those grifters who is drawn to show business and loves basking in the limelight despite (or perhaps because of?) the risk such attention-seeking can bring to one who habitually operates outside the law. But maybe his ability to ‘in again and out again’ minimized his risk. He was still at his trade in 1930, when the September 18 issue of the Jacksonville, Illinois, Daily Journal published this article about him. He had been charged with passing a bad check to a local dentist, meanwhile bragging about the (fictitious) fortune he had made in the theater business in Arizona, and promoting a project to build the “…biggest motion picture theater in St. Louis….” Once a grifter, always a grifter. I think we all know at least one of his sort.

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