Collin Creek Cameo Theater
North Central Expressway,
North Central Expressway,Plano, TX 75075
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Previously operated by: ABC Theatres, Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc., Plitt Theatres
Architects: Jack H. Morgan
Previous Names: Cameo Theater
The Collin Creek Cameo Theater was opened as a single screen on November 18, 1970.
Contributed by Billy Smith / Billy Holcomb / Don Lewis
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Recent comments (view all 6 comments)
This theatre was part of the Plitt Theatres chain (which took over the remaining theatres in the ABC-Interstate chain in the late 70’s). Collin Creek Mall was later constructed in close proximity to the theatre. In the 80’s, as more modern multiplex theatres were added nearby (AMC, GCC and Lowes) the renamed “Collin Creek Cameo” twinned it’s auditorium and became a dollar theatre. Eventually, the theatre closed and was demolished. Shortly thereafter the theatre footprint, parking lot, and much adjoining land was consumed by construction of a large retail building. There is no trace of the Cameo today.
The Dallas Public Library’s Interstate Theatres Collection includes 15 sheets of plans for the Cameo Theatre in Plano. They are dated June 16, 1969, and November 3, 1969. The architect was Jack H. Morgan.
Hunt Properties built the Dallas North Shopping Center in Plano which with an announced grocery store in 1962 at the corner of North Central Expressway and 15th Street. But the Center wouldn’t officially officially open until August 1967 when additional businesses including Mott’s Five and Dime and Illinois fast-food chain Mr. Quick joined the shopping complex connected with a climate-controlled sidewalk. Fifth grader Vickie Wesch then wrote a letter to Interstate Theater Circuit’s John Q. Adams saying that the shopping center and Plano needed a movie theater gathering 83 signatures on a petition to persuade the circuit. Kismet. Hunt Properties would build a movie theater in its North Shopping Center and leased it to Interstate Theaters. In 1969, Jack H. Morgan was the architect and drew plans. But ABC and Interstate would merge operations becoming ABC-Interstate necessitating a minor change and second set of architectural drawings. Construction began on May 4, 1970 with a ceremonial ground breaking using a shovel made of film reels and canisters. Plano Mayor Connor Harrington and Interstate President John Q. Adams were among the featured guests.
The delayed project would finally open as a stand-alone building in the Center technically on Janwood St. It was ABC-Interstate’s 84th Texas theater beginning service November 18, 1971 with the film “Scrooge.” Wesch, the student who had suggested the concept of the theater, received a one year’s free pass. The grand opening featured the burying of a time capsule in a crypt to be opened in 2005 on ABC Interstate’s 100th anniversary. (Spoiler alert: maybe they should have moved that date up by 20 or so years.) While the population was growing in Plano, picking a successful spot within the sprawling suburb proved challenging.
The Cameo was not a success story for Interstate. Fifth grader Wesch had apparently not done enough demographic research or crafted policies that would lead to success for the theater chain. During a showing of “The Cross and the Switchblade” in 1971, the blades were out as young patrons slashed theater seats. Another boy lit a sparkler during a show and underage smoking was a problem for the theater. Patrons complained that loud talking made movie-going a chore at the Cameo. ABC Interstate apologized for the six-month old theater which even they admitted now looked many, many years old. This forced the manager to quit and the city council to look into the situation. Even with a new manager on board, the theater was not profitable and was closed by the chain.
On June 7, 1974, ABC Interstate decided to give the Cameo property second life opening with “American Graffiti.“ The rebirth was not a success and ABC Interstate closed the property again. But by decade’s end, the population trends had improved. In 1979, Plitt Theaters which had acquired the Interstate circuit reopened the Cameo for the third time in the same decade with a grand re-re-opening on April 6, 1979 showing “The Deer Hunter” in the renamed Palisades Shopping Center. The circuit under its revised name of Plitt Southern decided to close the theater a fourth time — this time temporarily — to twin the theater and rebrand it as the Collin Creek Cameo.
The twin-screen theater launched with a grand re-re-re-opening in the shadow of the Collin Creek Mall whose first store had opened back on October 20, 1980. The theater’s longest stretch of being opened happened under Plitt Southern as they operated the Collin Creek Cameo to what appears to be the end of a 15-year, disappointing lease cycle that wasn’t renewed. The theater was shuttered as a downgraded, second-run discount house. Neither the Interstate Circuit nor the Cameo Theater had survived long enough to open the time capsule on the overly-optimistic 2005 date stated during the theater’s grand opening. In the realm of DFW film exhibition luminaries, the Collin Creek Cameo had but a cameo. Among its distinctions was having been closed four times by the same operator (not including the one for remodeling) and four celebrated openings. A rarity in this area. Its exit came via demolition as the Collin Creek’s footprint grew with many non-descript strip shopping centers supplanting the Palisades Shopping Center. The good news was that local moviegoers could go across the street and down a dead-end road if they had an awareness that General Cinema Corp. had constructed a six-screen theater well-hidden from the mall for which the circuit’s theater was named: the GCC Collin Creek VI.
This was still a single screen theatre in 1981—-saw “The Clash Of The Titans” there. One of Interstate Theatres late-‘60’s gems—-too bad it wasn’t successful.
Actually, According To The Plano-Star Courier. It Opened On November 18, 1970, Not 1971.
In 1984, I saw Gremlins there, so at that point, there were at least two screens.