Theater opens in Far East El Paso, residents remember downtown theaters

Theater opens in Far East El Paso, residents remember downtown theaters
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 5:29pm

The ever expanding Far East El Paso is getting a new state-of-the-art movie theater. But before we delve into the future of movie-going, we’ll look into El Paso's past.

Three prominent movie theaters thrived in Downtown El Paso, now only one stands but El Pasaons fondly remember what going to the movies was all about.

Decades have passed since the colon was a theater and not a retail business.

"Yeah, my mom told me about back in the 50s and 40s it used to be a theater,” Mario Tegeda, a Downtown El Paso resident said.

And just as much time has tick-tocked away since anyone walked through a building called the Alhambra Theater. "I have a go with my father and mother and my sister go watching movies,” Oralia Vitela-Chavez, of San Elizario explained. It's now known as Tricky Falls, but Vitela-Chavez remembers watching cartoons there when she was a little girl. "It's very exciting. Very, very excited."

One historic theater managed to stay put and has been renovated - The Plaza.

With El Paso’s growth, residents are seeing theaters built all over the Sun City, including in the Far East. "This is one of the areas that El Paso is growing and it just makes perfect sense to have a brand new movie theater,” James Meredith, the Head of Marketing of Cinemark said. The new Cinemark ‘Next Gen’, is the first of its kind in El Paso. "All of the latest and greatest amenities in customer preferred options are all in one place, under one roof."

Movie goers can even buy alcohol -- and get popcorn at self-serve concessions. "Every single auditorium has 3D, 2D capability so you're able to watch the movie the way you would like to watch it."

A lot has changed since these theaters were built. It's not just where we watch our movies that's changed over the past 50 years, it's also how we watch them. "Instead of relying on 35 mm film, which tends to wear out,” Meredith explained. Now, they watch it on a hard drive. "The very last time you might see a movie. It will be as sharp, as crisp, and as clear as the very first time that you saw it"

For some El Pasoans, it’s fun to remember, but they’re even more excited about the future.

Cinemark Next Gen will be opening on Friday. Cinemark Bistro on the West side, is slated for opening in mid-November.

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