Crystal Theatre

405 23rd Street,
Galveston, TX 77550

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The Crystal Theatre, located next door to the Tremont Theatre, was operated by G.K. Jurgenson and was listed in the Galveston Daily News starting in 1908. It later became A. Martini’s third theatre.

On November 29, 1924, it was announced that a Toy and Gift shop would be opening in the old Crystal Theatre building. The theatre page also listed a Crystal Palace Theatre ‘on the beach’.

On October 10, 1964, The Galveston Daily News interviewed Arthur Thibodeaux, age 70, who had been a Galveston projectionist for 54 years. In 1910 Thibodeaux started his career for G.K. Jurgenson at the Crystal Theatre at a dollar a day for seven days a week.

In 1964 Mr. Thibodeaux was president of the Galveston Motion Picture Operators Union, for which he had carried a union card for 50 years. He was currently working at the State Theatre, with no plans for retirement, but said he had worked at all 13 theatres in town, taking a break in 1917 for army duty.

Contributed by ron pierce

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 6, 2016 at 9:08 pm

George K. Jorgensen (the most common spelling of his surname in the trade publications) was mentioned in quite a few items in the trades of the 1910s. He had control of several theaters. This item is from the May 25, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture News:

“Confirmation of recent rumors of a consolidation among the moving picture shows in Galveston came Monday, April 22d, with an announcement of Geo. K. Jorgensen, proprietor of the Crystal Vaudeville, Crystal-Majestic Vaudeville and Crystal moving picture shows here, as well as the Crystal theatres in other cities. The announcement of Mr. Jorgensen was co-incident with the dispatch announcing that at Austin there had been granted the charter of the Galveston Theatre Company of Galveston with a capital stock of $15,000. The incorporators of the new corporation are G. K. Jorgensen, I. A. Walker and A. L. Scudder.

“The moving picture shows taken in by the new corporation, Mr. Jorgensen announced, are the Casino, the Vaudette and the Leader, which have been purchased from the interests represented by E. H. Hulsey. The earnest money has been paid down and the deal is to be formally closed at once.”

Another interesting item appears in Motography of June 3, 1916:
“G.K. Jorgensen is building a new theater at Galveston, to be known as the New Crystal Palace. The new house will cost about $6,000.”
David Welling’s Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex says that Jorgensen, who had previously toured fairs and carnivals with his own projector and collection of films, opened his first nickelodeon in a rented storefront at 410 Main Street in Houston on January 1, 1907. He sold the enterprise at a profit one month later and moved to Galveston where he opened the first Crystal Theatre with an investment of $180.

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