Movie Theater Spotlight - The Inwood

As a fan of movies, it only stands to reason that I've become a fan of movie theaters, too. Over the years, I've seen countless movies in countless places. Sure, cable, laser discs, VCRS, DVD players, blu-ray, laptops, I-tunes, pirate downloading, hulu, youtube, I-Pods and I-Phones all offer that precious "on demand" movie-watching experience. However, there are times when one should venture to the big screen.

Going to the movies is not a passive experience. It's an affirmative shout out from you to your community that you are engaged, whether it is at the tricked out multiplex, the dollar theater or a special 'location' screening in a quirky place. Sure, there are times to stay in and watch a flick, but there are times when you need to get OUT and GO see a movie!

With that idea in mind, I've decided to take a little time and spotlight some cool venues to catch a movie.

The Inwood Theater

Just like going to a movie whisks you away to another world, so too does going to the Inwood transport you to another time.

It's the details that mark the Inwood's history. Your first point of contact lets you know you're in for something special. A soothing marine theme sweeps over you -- from the lush carpet to the pastel neon lights, the Boticelli-like murals of water nymphs and the 'floating' etched glass of aquatic life that floats along the railing as it curves up to the balcony. One look around as you enter the soaring lobby and scope out the Inwood Lounge beckoning you from behind glass block tile, and you may find yourself wishing all movie theaters were this cool.

The Inwood opened its doors in 1947 with a screening of Red Skelton's The Show Off. Built by the Texas-based Interstate Amusement Company, the Inwood was a one screen movie house that boasted the latest in film exhibition technology and comforts. The original auditorium seated 1,100 with enough room between rows that seated patrons did not have to stand to allow others in and out. A special new acoustical plaster, produced and developed in California, was used on the auditorium walls. But, best of all, the Inwood was air-conditioned, and it had a top-of-the-line RCA Sound System.

Over the years, the Inwood, like so many single-screen theaters, fell victim to dwindling attendance as movie audiences sought newer theaters with newer equipment. In 1980, when the theatre began running as a discount house, a devastating fire closed its doors. Fortunately, in 1981, the Inwood re-opened, with the addition of a second theater. The following year, the balcony added a third theater, and the Inwood Lounge opened. Films in the balcony screening room are shown from the original projectionist booth.

In 1988, Landmark took over the struggling arthouse in the same year that the Inwood Tower sign was designated an official landmark by the Dallas City Council. That same year, the USA Film Festival hosted the Joe Bob Briggs "World Drive-in Movie festival" at the Inwood. Landmark's love for old theaters is reflected in the manner in which they have lovingly kept the Inwood open over the years as well as maintaining the structural integrity of the building as much as possible. A silent remnant of another time in movie history still hangs forgotten on one of the walls, a heavy black Stromberg Carlson in-house communication system which bears the Graybar Electric manufacturers patent of July 7, 1914.

In January of 2005, following the purchase of Landmark Theatres by Dallas based Todd Wagner & Mark Cuban, the Inwood Theater was extensively refurbished. Maintaining the integrity and beauty of the original theater, the theater's murals were touched up and re-lit, its historical neon sign was re-built and the upstairs auditoriums were transformed into screening rooms replete with leather lounge chairs. In addition to new carpet, seats, sound and screens, the concession stand and bathrooms were also upgraded.

In May of 2008 Landmark Theatres introduced its newest Screening Lounge Auditorium at the Inwood Theatre. This unique auditorium - the first and only one of its kind in Texas - gives audiences an unparalleled movie-going experience. Working in partnership with the LoveSac Furniture Company, Landmark completely re-invented the first-floor auditorium of the Inwood with a variety of unique seating options including couches, loveseats, chairs and ottomans, as well as the original LoveSac. A private bar also was added, allowing patrons to purchase cocktails and soft drinks without ever leaving the auditorium.

Lucky for us. Now you can enjoy independent, first run and foreign-language films on any of their three screens from this one of a kind, only-in-Dallas movie theater.

So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!