The Preston Royal Theatre closed in 1983. Photo courtesy of Cinema Treasures.

The Preston Royal Theatre would have been 61 years old in November, had it not been closed in the early 1980s.

When it opened in 1959, the theater was the main attraction of the new Preston Hollow Village shopping center, created by Henry S. Miller Jr. and Trammell Crow.

Up to 1,000 people could sit in the theatre, which showed The House of Intrigue as its first feature.

Harold Berry was the architect behind the Preston Royal. The building, owned by B.R. and Gordon McLendon — a father-son duo — cost about $140,000 to make, and another $125,000 was spent on equipment, including air conditioning, according to a December 1959 issue of Boxoffice magazine.

Years later, people are still talking about the Preston Royal.

One contributor on Cinema Treasures recounts the significance of the theater.

“The first movie theater that I remember going to was the Preston Royal, being dropped off by Mom with a few siblings to see some ‘kid’s film’ and waiting in a very long line that snaked around the building, to enter the 1,000 seat theater,” he says.

He also says the photos included in the Boxoffice issue “scream 1960’s to me, with one wall heightened by floor to ceiling fiberglass draperies, figured with hour glass designs in black, turquoise and tangerine on a natural background; a mirrored wall above the theater doorway; another wall of Honduras mahogany paneling and vinyl.”

Another contributor to the website says he was a projectionist at the theatre in the 1970s. Some films he ran in 70 mm were The Wind and The Lion, Camelot and Patton.

The theater was a local favorite until 1983, when McLendon Theaters shut the building’s doors. Later, Blockbuster began leasing the space.

According to Cinema Treasures, a liquor store stands where the Preston Royal once did.


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