108 E. Main Street,
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Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Johnson opened their new Ritz Theatre next door to the Hamilton Hotel on December 1, 1932 with Will Rogers in “Down to Earth”. But the Depression era brought a number of folks down to earth and the Murphys - who had taken on the lease of the theatre - were among them as the theatre was locked by the local sheriff for lack of payment on the equipment following the May 16, 1933 double feature of Ralph Bellamy in “Destination Unknown” and “The Sea Beast”.
The venue was relaunched on October 29, 1933 as the Olney Theatre with Jean Harlow in “Bombshell”. The theatre was part of the Paschal-Texas Theatres Circuit. In 1947, the theatre got a Streamline Moderne style makeover with the interior now cream and red, a black marquee and a blueish-green front. It was then under TEI Circuit or Theatre Enterprises Inc.
Billy J. Wilson took on the venue and downgraded it to weekend-only operation in 1952. It’s unclear but it appears that later in the decade Frontier Theatres acquired all of the theatres closing the Olney Theatre and retaining the drive-in and the Westex Theatre. In 1961, the Olney Theatre was totally refurbished for the Olney Chamber of Commerce which was still there into the 2020’s.
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