Isle Theatre

2110 Market Street,
Galveston, TX 77550

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Isle Theatre

The history of theaters at this location goes back to 1909 when A. Martini opened the Dixie No. 1 Theatre and then in 1913, the Dixie No. 2 Theatre in the same building. After Dixie No.1 & 2 came Dixie No. 3 Theatre, later known as the Carver Theatre then La Plaza Theatre. His fourth theatre was the Key Theatre, followed by the acquisition of his first Martini Theatre in 1924.

The Galveston Daily News noted that Martini was born in Italy in 1867 and came to Galveston in 1890. On April 20, 1935, it was reported that Mr. Martini and Karl Hoblitzelle were combining forces to create Galveston Theatres, Inc., a subsidiary of Interstate Theatres. Involved were the Dixie No. 1 Theatre, Key Theatre, Queen Theatre, and Tremont Theatre.

The 300-seat Isle Theatre opened on October 16, 1940 in a remodeled building with air conditioning. F.W. McManus, the new owner, called it “Independently owned and locally operated.”

The Isle Theatre’s claim to fame came in August 1949 when they announced that they were the first theatre in Texas to use the revolutionary noiseless popcorn bag. “Our non-popcorn eating patrons have been enjoying the new noiseless popcorn bag for the past two months.”

On June 3, 1951, Martini Theatre Enterprises published this advertisement: “The above mentioned theatres (Tremont Theatre and Key Theatre), plus the Isle Theatre are now owned and operated solely by members of the family of the late Mr. A. Martini, who was a pioneer in show business in Galveston and in Texas (1909-1942).”

A Martini’s heirs were extensive. A legal notice published in 1953 reported that the Martini Tremont Theatre was divided among 28 family members.

The Isle Theatre presented Spanish language films to about 1955 and from 1963 to 1966 the building was taken over by the Galveston Little Theatre for their community productions. The building later became a Goodwill store and then a furniture store.

Contributed by ron pierce
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