"The original theater was across the street and that's where we got the sign," said Kael Denton, general manager of Texas Theater. "Honestly, that was the popular theater and then it burned down, and this one before was the minority theater."
In August 2012, Big Country natives, Paul and Katy Morrow, bought the theater, and began renovation. For the last 18 months, crews worked around the clock to restore the once popular structure. The sign Denton speaks of is a large-sized neon with lettering that reads out "Texas" and shines bright red at night.
"I really don't even remember what it was like because it was just terrible. It looked like a ghost town."
Denton says he's not sure why the Morrows chose to buy the theater. But he says rumor is that the purchase was the result of a friendly bet. Plus, Denton says, he believes the couple wanted to buy into an interesting and rare opportunity. Whatever they're reason may be, Denton says it was time to provide the people of Ballinger with another option for entertainment.
"In small-town America everyone is tired of driving 40 minutes to do something fun. Everyone is tired of spending $20 on gas just to get there."
Denton says the theater's prices will be affordable, from the ticket booth to the concession stand. He says the menu will consist of nine items, all fit to share. Denton says there will be speciality nights, like Blockbuster Saturdays and time-travel Tuesdays, in which movies shown will be targeted towards a specific type of moviegoer. There will also be discount nights, during which Denton says customers can expect concession prices as low as $2.
The theater will not show new releases due to its contract with a third-party movie provider. Instead, the list of movies will include old favorites and "Redbox selections". Moviegoers can also expect entertainment other than actual movies. The theater will offer live comedy acts and other entertainment.
"We will kind of march to the beat of our own drum. We don't want to be Tinseltown or Cinemark." Denton explains, "they have the market for that in Abilene and in San Angelo, but our market's different."
Everyone who plans to attend the grand opening of the theater on January 17th will see just how different of a movie experience it will surely provide. The night of the grand opening will feature a full lineup of special events, including a live variety act from world class juggler and comedian, Mark Angelo.