Ector Theatre: Rejuvenating a blast from the past


ODESSA, Texas (FOX 24/ABC Big 2) – An Odessa landmark has lots of fond memories for many in our community.  The Ector Theatre first opened in 1951.

“On Saturdays, the lines would go up and down both sides of the deal here because that was a big deal to go to the theatre,” said Gary Duesler, Odessa resident.

He once worked there as a projectionist.  

“You would smell the popcorn when you walked in,” said Duesler.  “There was a pair of velvet drapes that kept you from going into the theatre and kept the sound in and you would open it up and there it was in all of its magic.”  

Randy Ham is the Executive Director of Odessa Arts.  “I will never forget this for my entire life.  I was 5 years old and Fort Stockton didn’t have a movie theatre and my grandmother pulled me out of school and drove me up here to Odessa to the Ector Theatre to see Star Wars.”

He gave us some insight into the renovations.

“It really keeps a lot of the 1950s, mid-century architecture but bringing it into the 21st century,” said Ham.

Duesler is glad to see it revived.

“You can’t cookie cut history.  It’s here and once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” said Duesler.

The Odessa resident says he can’t wait for this pandemic to end so people can see this piece of history for themselves.

“It was a wonderful experience.  I don’t think people have that anymore, so if you get a chance to preserve the history in your town, fight for it.”

Something unique about the Ector Theatre is that it’s considered a multi-purpose facility.  It can be used for keynote speakers, theatrical productions, live music and to watch movies.

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April 22 2021 09:00 am