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VOLU M E 2 / W I N T ER 2 017/ ’ 18 E DI T ION















16th-Century ADVENTURE






Linklater The face of the Texas film industry



THIS MAGAZINE is a labor of love for those

of us who put it together each quarter. Telling the true stories about this state’s amazing culture is an honor, and we strive to be the best storytellers possible. In this issue we explore a discipline centered on storytelling as we profile the Texas film industry. The state has a rich heritage as a location for filmmaking, its history has been the plot for many movies and television programs, and the industry has changed the landscape with theaters from border to border. We hear about a film, watch a movie trailer, head into the theater, and stop for some snacks before settling into our seats. We are most often transported to places far away to meet fascinating characters and travel with them through some emotional journey. When it works, we feel that we’ve met these people and connected with them in some way. At their best, films change us and become a part of us. The state of Texas has been shaped by this industry; it’s part of the culture and part of a diverse collective state identity. In the pages to follow you’ll find these historic Texas theaters and discover the many places movies have been made around



the state. You’ll also meet the people who’ve helped craft the industry and even learn about a Texas candy maker who might have provided your sweet theater snack. If you’re just getting to know Authentic Texas, you might enjoy knowing that the magazine is owned by five nonprofit Texas heritage trail regions.The heritage trails program was created as 10 themed travel trails in 1968 to encourage people to explore the cultural heritage of the entire state. In that spirit, we hope the stories in this issue will inspire you to get out on the road to visit the real places and people of Texas and that your travels will become a part of you. We believe history and travel are both essential to living a full life — how much better when you combine the two, and what better place to do that than in Texas? Thanks and Happy Trails,

Jeff Salmon, Director, Frontier Texas Texas Heritage Trails LLC

Jeff Salmon is the executive director of Frontier Texas, a history museum in Abilene, and the director of the Tribute Film Festival. He’s a former tourism director of Fort Worth and Plano.

Contents WINTER 2017/’18








Richard Linklater, the director behind Slacker, Dazed and Confused and, most notably, Boyhood, eschewed Hollywood for Texas — in the process becoming both the face of the Texas film industry and one of the most innovative and iconoclastic filmmakers of his era.

It’s been more than 60 years since George Stevens elected to shoot his 1955 Western drama, Giant, in Far West Texas. The combination of Marfa’s isolation and cultural richness provided an ideal backdrop for the film, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean.

Those who grew up during the golden age of cinema enjoyed the shared experience provided by a community movie theater. (It helped that movie houses tended to be the only air-conditioned buildings in town.) We honor 10 such theaters from across the Lone Star State.




Contents LEGACY



A History of the Film Industry in Texas

Beginning with a 1900 movie of the Galveston hurricane, Texas has a rich history of motion pictures.


Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Founded in 2002, the Texas Archive of the Moving Image is piecing together a shared past.


Tom Copeland Childress


The earliest surviving print of Melton Barker’s The Kidnappers Foil was shot in the Texas Panhandle.




Texas Red Grapefruit

The Lone Star State’s official fruit birthed an industry and, at one time, made the Rio Grande Valley the citrus capital of the nation.




The Hope Floats setting received the first “Film Friendly” designation from the Texas Film Commission.


Corpus Christi’s Shipwrecks

A 16th-century Padre Island adventure involves storms, shipwrecks, buried treasure and a lone survivor.

Archer City

Larry McMurtry and The Last Picture Show keep the curious coming to this North Texas town.




Inwood Lounge and Theatre Atkinson Candy Co.


Film Festivals

The historic movie theater — now the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center — was where Hispanics could, at one time, hear music or see films in Spanish.

More than 100 film festivals take place throughout Texas each year. We provide a helpful sampler.



Fort Worth’s Rose Marine Theatre


A journey to the outer reaches of Far West Texas — inspired by film — results in discoveries both practical and profound.



Classic Films Trails

Three trails invite you to visit film locations throughout the state.



Bill Wittliff

The twangy screenwriter responsible for Lonesome Dove is an art enthusiast whose Wittliff Collection at Texas State is, he says, “authentic Texas.”

Trails in This Issue Brazos 34,59 Forest 36, 48, 56, 59 Forts 37, 89 Hill Country 35, 48 Independence 22, 48 Lakes 24, 30, 36, 48, 54, 59

Mountain 22, 34, 48, 59

Pecos 34, 48, 59 Plains 26, 36, 48, 59

Tropical 28, 37, 48, 59

TRIVIA QUIZ P. 68, name that Texas actor



The former director of the Texas Film Commission made icons of everyday Texas sites.

TRAILS MAP THE TEXAS HERITAGE TRAILS program is based on 10 scenic driving trails created in 1968

by Gov. John Connally and the Texas Highway Department (now the Texas Department of Transportation) as a tool for visitors to explore the Lone Star State. The trails were established in conjunction with HemisFair, an international expo that commemorated the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio. In 1997, the State Legislature charged the Texas Historical Commission with creating a statewide heritage tourism program. The THC responded with a program based on local, regional and state partnerships, centered on the 10 scenic driving trails. Today, each trail region is a nonprofit organization governed by a regional board of directors that supports educational and preservation efforts and facilitates community development through heritage tourism.


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The Palace Theatre, Marfa, Texas

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Grapefruit The official fruit of Texas has been grown in the Rio Grande Valley for nearly 100 years by


THE FIRST-EVER patent awarded to a grapefruit — U.S. Plant Patent 3,222


— was filed in November 1970 and read as follows: “This patent discovery pertains to a new and distinct variety of grapefruit tree that had its origin as a mutation of an entire seedling tree grown from a seed of a little known variety that had been irradiated with thermal neutrons in an atomic reactor.” The treated seed was planted in the spring of 1959 at A & I University Citrus Center in Weslaco, in Hidalgo, Texas. By the summer of 1960, a bud was taken from those seedlings and planted; then, in the winter of 1961, a budded tree was planted in a field. Five years later came the first observation of fruit, and by the third season, that tree produced a season high of 240 grapefruit. The peel featured a red blush, and the flesh was three times redder than the Ruby Red. And with an average of four seeds per grapefruit — and more than three-quarters of a cup of juice — it seemed the perfect citrus specimen. In a few short years the Texas Red Grapefruit had birthed an industry. The Rio Grande Valley area became known as the citrus capital of the nation for some time, and, at present, Texas is the third-largest producer of citrus.

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which, at the time, consisted primarily of cotton and sugar cane. Trains arriving in the western portion of the Rio Grande Valley during the 1920s brought visitors from the Midwestern states. Promoted tours, “excursions” as they were called, were

Citrus served to lure developers and investors to South Texas. Imagine, instead of a winter of harsh weather conditions, one could awaken to mild winter mornings and a citrus grove that could serve as a return on one’s investment. And growers would ship nationally and FRUITFUL EXCURSION: A group poses in front of a grapefruit tree in Edinburg — in Hidalgo County — in 1959.

timed to feature the mild winters of South Texas. Visitors would step off the train and be given a South Texas grapefruit. Road-weary travelers still wearing their fur coats posed for photos with their Texas-sized grapefruits.

internationally. Texas Red Grapefruit found its way all over the United States and the world, bringing with it an exotic citrus experience representative of the semitropical weather of south Texas and what science could produce. Then in 1993, the 73rd Texas State Legislature designated the Texas Red Grapefruit as the official state fruit of the Lone Star State. As for applications, in its simplest form it’s a beautiful breakfast centerpiece. Cut in half, the sections can be easily removed from the membrane. But beyond breakfast, recipes


First documented in the 1750s, the grapefruit was known as the “forbidden fruit,” then as “shaddock” or “Shattuck” for Captain Philip Shaddock of the East India company — who is rumored to have left seeds for the plant in Barbados — until a Jamaican farmer in the 19th century gave the fruit its accepted name. But why “grapefruit”? Because they grow in a cluster, like grapes. It was also a crop that would grow easily in the subtropical climate of the Rio Grande Valley. But Texas growers, as in Florida, found a less than enthusiastic market — grapefruit was just too sour. After the 1906 discovery of the pink grapefruit and with the advent of an earlier version of Texas Red Grapefruit hybrid in 1929, that was about to change. The Texas Red was known for the sweetness of its beautiful, rich red flesh, its distinctive blush on the peel and a flattened to round shape. It singly served to expand the agricultural picture of South Texas,

expand to include grapefruit cake, grapefruit pie, grapefruit cheesecake, grapefruit chicken salad, broiled grapefruit, grapefruit marmalade, grapefruit in cocktails, grapefruit mimosas, grapefruit salsa, grapefruit and avocado salad, to name just a few. There are also other practical uses for this citrus, ranging from grapefruit scrubs to a disinfecting cleanser or a household cleaner. Grapefruit is also rich in antioxidant properties, and grapefruit essential oil can be used as an antidepressant as the sharp scent reinvigorates and stimulates. Perhaps one of the things the grapefruit is most known for is the Grapefruit (or Hollywood) Diet. Debuting in 1930, this phenomenon added to the mystique of this tropical produce. Though enzymes purported to promote weight loss have never been proven, the consumption of a grapefruit before a meal can act as an appetite suppressant, making the grapefruit a diet staple for over 80 years. From the seedling planted in Weslaco in 1959 to the plant patent in 1970, the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas has produced a unique culinary experience with the Texas Red Grapefruit. And ideal weather conditions ensure year-round availability. As the 73rd Legislature’s designation reads, “WHEREAS, as distinctive as the proud state from which it originates, the Texas Red Grapefruit will serve as a fitting emblem for the bounties of nature which our state is blessed.”

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Texas communities can be ideal settings for films and TV shows — ask Smithville






Hope Floats turned out to be more than just the name of a movie filmed in Smithville in 1997. “Hope Floats” could easily be the community’s motto, printed on a banner wide enough to stretch across Main Street. Because after the filming of the movie that starred Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr., hope did float in Smithville, Texas, and it continues to rise today, 10 years after Smithville was named recipient of the first “Film Friendly” designation by the Texas Film Commission. And how did Smithville, a community of approximately 4,000 residents in Bastrop County, get so lucky? “They found us,” says



Adena Lewis, director of tourism and economic development for Explore Bastrop County. But the folks in Smithville didn’t sit back and wait for the next producers to find them. They set about becoming what they’d later be known as — “Film Friendly.” Today, Lewis tells a story about the first encounter the filmmakers of Hope Floats had with then Mayor Vernon Richards. The producers had located a house in Smithville, which was perfect for the setting of Hope Floats. The problem was that the story was set in a community in Arkansas, so the Smithville water tower would have to be painted with that town’s name.




Hope Springs Eternal

GLIMMER OF HOPE: Smaller communities like Smithville, who make it easy for filmmakers to ply their trade, benefit financially while enjoying some fame.

All of rural Texas has an opportunity, she says, because filmmakers are looking for the varied scenery Texas possesses — mountains, forests, prairies, seacoasts. Since Hope Floats was filmed in Smithville, dozens more films, including movies and TV shows, have been at least partly set in the city. Other small towns in Texas, looking for an infusion of cash and a little bit of fame, can do what Smithville did, Lewis advises. Now, more than 100 certified “Film Friendly” communities are participating in the program. A starting point is the Texas Film Commission’s website. It’s worth the effort, Lewis says — and not just for the money. “There’s a lot of pride you feel,” she says, “when you get your community on that video.”


Thinking practically, the mayor asked why the writers didn’t just change the name in the story to Smithville. Because, the filmmakers explained, it would cost too much money and take too much time to get the rights from the city of Smithville to use its name in the movie. Richards asked the man if he had a dollar in his pocket. When the dollar was produced, the problem was solved. “You’ve just bought the rights,” the mayor said. The moral of that story is to make it as easy as possible for filmmakers to do business in your community. Lewis now travels with the Texas Film Commission to Texas communities, sharing tips and strategies for becoming a movie set. “Everybody benefits when these productions come to town,” Lewis explains. “They leave money and memories behind.”

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LIFE AND ART: The author and his friend reflect on the privileges of youth (left), celebrated in Fandango (right). Opposite page: the movie’s cast (left) and the road trip’s cast of characters (right).


The search for DOM by


FAR WEST TEXAS is a land perfectly suited to contemplation, reminiscing and reflection. Its breathtaking vistas, vast skies and ruggedness inspire a sense of awe so powerful you’ll find yourself exploring not just the region around you but also the meaning of your very existence. It’s a place where you can come of age, no matter what age you’ve already attained. It’s also a region that beckons you to partake in one of the great privileges of being an American: the classic road trip. In 1985, a Baylor University graduate named Kevin Reynolds had his directorial debut in a film called Fandango. Starring Kevin Costner in his first lead role, the movie is the story of five friends, known as the Groovers, who are students at the University of Texas in the early 1970s. With two of them facing the draft and the others ready to embark on the journey of adulthood, the Groovers



set out on a final adventure together — a road trip to West Texas to go out in the desert and dig up Dom. [Spoiler alert.] Fandango blends two common movie themes: the coming-of-age story and the ultimate road trip. It’s fitting then that the movie is set in Far West Texas. Shot in locations like Alpine, El Paso, Pecos, Marfa, Fort Davis, San Elizario and Big Bend State Park, the film is a 91-minute moving postcard, enticing the viewer to explore the beauty of the region. The film itself was a commercial flop when released but has attained cult status. Cast members reunited on the film’s 30th anniversary and did a tour of the movie location sites. Unfortunately, I found out about the tour after it had taken place. Even more unfortunate, I discovered I had driven by Dom’s (fictional) burial site many times over the years, completely unaware I was yards away




An infatuation with Fandango results in a Far West Texas road trip


from a movie scene. That’s when I decided I’d share my love of West Texas and Fandango with my own Groovers. I set out to map my own West Texas road trip with a stop at Dom’s burial site. Our road trip began on a Friday afternoon at Random Beer Garden in Boerne, which seemed an appropriate launch point since most of us are members of the Boerne Moontime Rotary Club, which meets at Random as well. We took the fastest route down IH-10 to get us most of the way to Alpine, which would be our base of operations for the next three days. The next day we began our own Fandango road trip and pointed our convoy of 4x4s to Marfa, then southwest along FM 2810 — the Pinto Canyon Road. Pinto Canyon begins as a welcoming road, both wide and comfortable and suitable for any type of vehicle. Beautiful grasslands surround the road, and one scene of beauty is slowly melded into another, creating a trance-like state of calm and serenity. But some 30 miles down the road, the pavement ends, and the terrain becomes rugged. The road twists and turns through switchbacks as it soars into the heights of the Chinati Mountains. The isolation is startling. From outside Marfa city limits to the road’s end in Ruidosa, our group encountered only two other vehicles — one occupied by two Border Patrol agents and another filled with young people looking for a party. From Ruidosa we ventured on FM-170 to the town of Candelaria, which is barely a town; its inhabitants number in the twenties. It’s a small place on the end of a road that seems to come from nowhere and ends nowhere. It appears desolate, lonely and a place of suffering. But there’s a beauty in the place, a beauty that can only be seen by those who understand that suffering is the ultimate practice of love. We walked inside and around the grounds of the lonely but proud Catholic church. Its old walls but tidy appearance stood as a testament to faith and hope — two things, it would seem, one would need to have in abundance to live there. Back in our jeeps, we moved along to Presidio. It was there that the Groovers splintered. Tired and thirsty from the driving, six of the Groovers went back to Alpine for dinner, drinks

and rejuvenation. But five of us carried on, which seemed fitting since there were five Groovers in Fandango. Following FM-170, the River Road, through Big Bend State Park, we found Dom, his location just yards from the roadway I’d traveled so many times. In the movie, after resurrecting the Lazaruslike Dom — a magnum of Dom Perignon champagne — from its resting state, Kevin Costner leaps onto a rock overlooking the Rio Grande and toasts to the “privileges of youth.” Only two of us new Groovers were willing to take the same leap, myself and my friend, Michael Stratis. The other three were paralyzed by the height and slimness of

the rock Michael and I were perched upon. At first glance, West Texas appears barren. But Texas is a land of unyielding promise, and it is the Friendship State. There, high above the Rio Grande, I sat with my friend, enjoying the privileges of our youth — as youthful as one can be in their 40s. And I recognized we did more than find Dom: we rediscovered the privilege of the road trip and found that coming of age can happen again at any age so long as you’re willing to take that ultimate road trip with friends. “Here’s to us and what we were . . . and what we’ll be.”

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ONE FOR THE BOOKS: (clockwise from below) The Royal Theater, a performing arts venue; Larry McMurtry in his Booked Up store; a still from The Last Picture Show featuring Cybill Shepherd.


Larry’s Place

113 E. Main St. Archer City, TX 76351 (940) 574-2489

The Last Picture Show makes Archer City a popular stop for movie buffs




WHEN TOURISTS visit Archer City, Texas, says onetime Archer County judge Gary Beesinger, they inevitably arrive with one particular objective: “They come for Larry.” Larry is, of course, native son and Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Larry McMurtry, who’s had many of his 30-plus novels adapted to television and screen and has earned some 26 Academy Award nominations in the process. Originally a bookman by trade, McMurtry still maintains his Booked Up store in Archer City (despite having famously sold off much of his collection in 2012). The first of McMurtry’s own books to bring Hollywood calling, The Last Picture Show (1971), shot many of its scenes in Archer City, and McMurtry’s hometown hasn’t been the same



Booked Up

216 S. Center St. Archer City, TX 76351 (940) 574-2511

since. A sequel, Texasville (1990), was filmed there almost two decades later. “In whatever role I’ve served in Archer City,” Beesinger said, “there are people who just show up and look around. They want to see the bookstore, Larry’s house, the Royal Theater — or just walk around.” An Archer City resident since third grade, Beesinger has served the community in a variety of roles, including county judge from 2007 to 2014, probate officer and producer of the Texas Opry in the revitalized Royal Theater — the setting of the movie title (although true film aficionados know that many of the interior picture-show scenes were shot at the now-demolished Wes-Tex down the road in Olney). Beesinger knows firsthand the impact of The


Thurs.– Sat. 1–5 pm Mon.–Wed. by appointment





Royal Theater

Last Picture Show on his city. In 1970, as an Archer City High incoming senior, Beesinger got wind of a movie that was filming in his hometown. He signed up to be an extra. Within a few days a production assistant from The Last Picture Show called and told him when to show up at his school’s gym. “I was one of the pissants,” Beesinger says, recalling that long-ago day with a chuckle. “There’s a scene in the movie where some of the boys are running laps in the gym, and the coach says, ‘Pick it up, you pissants.’ I was in that scene.” When the gym filming was finished, Beesinger was allowed to watch the graduation scene in the high school auditorium and witness stars Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd and Timothy Bottoms through all of their takes. “I played basketball with Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms between scenes,” Beesinger says. “They weren’t that much older than me.” (In 1970, Bridges was 20 and Bottoms was 19.) According to Sam Welch, Archer City’s current economic development director, who also oversees Visit Archer City, “Every week 10 to 15 people show up just because of Larry. That’s how many people come in asking about the movies, the bookstore, his house.” It’s not difficult for curious literary and movie fans to spot McMurtry’s Archer City home, though in recent years the author has spent most of his time in Tucson, Ariz. The distinctive two-story brick structure situated along the main highway once housed the Archer City Country Club and was featured in a 2000 issue of Architectural Digest. “I tell them they can drive by the house,” says Welch. “And I tell them that they can still visit the bookstore.” Booked Up originated in March 1971 on a corner in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Georgetown, Va. McMurtry operated it there for 22 years, selling a general mix of fine and scholarly books. He eventually opened additional stores in Houston, Dallas and Tucson. Rising rents, however, drove McMurtry to eventually consolidate all of his bookselling operations in Archer City, where Booked Up’s five storefronts transformed the city into a veritable booktown. In recent years, Archer City has seen a revitalization, much of it driven by McMurtry’s literary cachet. The Royal Theater reopened in 2000 as a performing arts venue, and the renovated Spur Hotel (with its slogan of “Down the Road from Ordinary”), according to its website, “plays host year-round to book enthusiasts browsing Larry McMurtry’s book store, guests of the famous Royal Theater, various workshops and retreats, hunters from all over the country, as well as the businessman or family looking for a small town stop in their travel plans.” If they come for Larry, these days there’s even more to stay for. W IN T E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8


Palace Theater

206 N. Main St. Childress, TX 79201


“If It Hadn’t Been for Those Meddling Kids ...”

Childress County Heritage Museum 210 3rd St. NW Childress, TX 79201 (940) 937-2261


Childress, Texas, and The Kidnappers Foil








should’ve been a tipoff. Step right up, it seems to bleat with carnival brio, and I’ll make you a movie star. In the depths of the Great Depression, when the Our Gang comedies with Dallas child star Spanky McFarland were filling theaters nationwide and Shirley Temple was lighting up the silver screen, Melton Barker, an itinerant filmmaker from the Dallas area, launched a scheme that promised a degree of fame to

Filmmaker Melton Barker

aspiring child actors. The Kidnappers Foil, of which University of Texas scholar and film historian Dr. Caroline Frick estimates Barker made hundreds of versions across the country from the 1930s to the 1970s, involved a troupe of youngsters and a corny storyline. Little Betty Davis (yep, that was the leading character’s name) is abducted from her birthday party and held for a $1,000 ransom — which groups of neighborhood youths vie to claim.




KIDS’ STUFF: The corny plot of The Kidnapper’s Foil (below) involves a kidnapping, a ransom and a post-rescue song-and-dance party. Childress’ Palace Theater (left) recently hosted a showing of the film as a fundraiser for the building’s restoration.


Following the rescuers’ victory over napping kidnappers, a party provides ample opportunity for festive song-and-dance numbers. Barker advertised in the local paper and charged a few bucks ($9 was the figure one participant recalled) for kids to appear in the short film with the promise that upon production the movie would screen at their hometown theater. He delivered a print to each house for that purpose, but apparently kept no archive for himself; thus, fewer than 20 versions of the film remain. The earliest surviving print was shot in Childress, in the eastern Panhandle of Texas, and can be viewed today on the website of the Texas Archive of the Moving Image. A second version was filmed in the city in 1948; a print of this version is extant as well. “Though the plot is the same in every movie,” Frick told the Amarillo Globe-News in 2012, “what is unique about each version is it depicts Texas life during that era.” The Kidnappers Foil was added to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in 2012, an acknowledgment of its historical and cultural significance. Supporters of Childress’ under-renovation Palace Theater (rebuilt in 1937 after the first two movie houses were destroyed by fires) recently leveraged a showing of The Kidnappers Foil as a fundraiser for ongoing restoration. And residents continue to provide their memories, adding to the store of knowledge about the film’s curious history. As Toronto artist Gareth Long observed in 2014 about his installation combining numerous iterations of The Kidnappers Foil, the sound and image of the first Childress version were particularly good. “It seemed like [Barker] cared a bit more at the beginning,” he said. “It’s on film, so the quality is more precise.” Barker’s claim to have “discovered” Spanky McFarland before launching him on the road to fame predated The Kidnappers Foil, but he doesn’t seem to have created any stars with his lifelong project. He did, however, leave behind a singular segment of Texas’ film history, and a story that captures the imaginations of film buffs and historians alike. W IN T E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8



The Ultimate Beach Adventure Story

UNKINDEST CUT: Aerial photograph of Mansfield Cut. Padre Island, including contiguous Mustang Island, encompasses Port Aransas on the north, extending though Corpus Christi and ending at South Padre and the Rio Grande on the south.

Revisit the 16th-century tale of a catastrophic voyage off Padre Island RICK STRYKER

A VISIT TO Padre Island can be

enhanced by experiencing the tale of unfortunates who lost both their treasure and their lives — and the lone survivor whose tale lives on. It’s a fascinating story of deadly storms, shipwrecks, buried treasure and mass murder — and it took place in 1554. Even today, boats are helplessly grounded by the series of sand bars that line waters off the Padre Island shore. But those on board no longer encounter a deserted and seemingly neverending expanse of sand and sea. The beach might seem less

28 28




inviting if you were faced with a walk of more than 300 miles to the nearest town, as was the case in the 16th century. In April 1554, four Spanish ships set sail from Veracruz, Mexico loaded with cargo and passengers bound for Spain. Only 35 years after Hernán Cortés led the expedition that established Spanish control, “New World” goods were already the subject of an active trade monopoly. Spanish merchant vessels by the hundreds were crossing the Atlantic bearing “treasure.” These vessels — a new type of sailing ship

called a Nao — were armed because rival mariners from other countries considered these shipments to be plum prizes to be pirated for their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Although the nao was designed with consideration for both cargo capacity and positive sailing characteristics, venturing into open waters with complete reliance upon ocean currents and the vagaries of wind speed and direction for power was less than an exact science. After the 1554 storm, only one of the four Spanish ships made it to Cuba, the intermediate


Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History 1900 N. Chaparral St. Corpus Christi, TX 78401 (361) 826-4667 HOURS Tues.–Sat. 10 am–5 pm Sun. 12–5 pm

Treasures of the Gulf Museum 317 E. Railroad Ave. Port Isabel, TX 78578 (956) 943-7602






being surveilled, on the seventh day the group was surrounded by about 100 armed Indians. Signs of peace were offered, and the Spaniards accepted. But during a meal of fresh fish over a fire, arrows flew, and Spanish crossbowmen returned fire, killing three Indians and wounding others. This was the first of many attacks as the unfortunates resumed the trek over coastal dunes and through marshes. Five days into their journey, they were consumed by thirst and overcome by the elements.

Attacks continued along the way until “all the Spaniards were killed with arrows. The Indians left, thinking everyone was dead; but one friar [Marcos de Mena], covered with wounds, arose. He traveled at night; during the day he stayed in the earth, by digging holes to hide in.” Fray Marcos did recover from his wounds but not entirely from the experience. He was the lone survivor of that fateful 42-day march. Thanks to the research and recovery efforts by the State of Texas beginning in the 1960s, these treasure ships are a window into the 16th century as they were recovered by marine archeologists using rigorous scientific methods. The artifacts received extensive conservation, and the archival documentation was thoroughly researched. There is now public access to the story both in print and in museum exhibits. The place to find the story in Corpus Christi is at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Designated the State Marine Archeology Repository, the museum is a steward for many significant marine collections, including La Salle’s ship, Belle, which sank in Matagorda Bay in 1687. The exhibit includes a short movie about the 1554 shipwreck from a survivor’s perspective and a partial recreation of the deck of one of the ships. The place to find the story at the other end of Padre Island is the Treasures of the Gulf Museum in Port Isabel, just across Laguna Madre from South Padre Island.

REMNANTS: (from top) “Survivor’s Quote,” from Treasures of the Gulf Museum in Port Isabel; three astrolabes were found at the shipwreck site, including this instrument, the oldest known dated astrolabe in the world (marked 1545), perhaps made in Portugal.

stop on the way back to Spain from Veracruz. The other three, San Esteban, Espíritu Santo and Santa María de Yciar ran aground on the sand bars off Padre Island with full cargo and about 300 people on board. As they tried to outrun a fierce storm, the three ships lost steering and ran out of sailing room. Anchor chains were snapped, and the ships ran aground where their hulls were broken open, spilling treasure and supplies into the surf. Of the 304 souls aboard, 250 drowned. Thirty or so made it to Veracruz by boat. Twenty-six huddled on shore for five or six days as lighter cargo beached with the incoming waves. It was thought Panuco, the nearest town, was no more than two or three days’ travel, and provisions were left behind as the group began the trek. In truth, Panuco was more than 350 miles from the shipwreck site. Unaware they were W IN T E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8



Barrio Jewel

Fort Worth’s historic Rose Marine Theater — now the Arts de la Rosa Cultural Center — is a vital and vibrant Latino touchstone




about the life of Dolores Huerta, who, with Cesar Chavez, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association. Huerta, 87, was present at the screening. Much to her surprise, so was José Maria DeLeon Hernandez, better known as “Little Joe” and founder of the popular Tejano band Little Joe y la Familia. “He came in singing ‘Las Nubes,’” Herrera says. “To the farm workers, that was their national anthem.” The title translates to “The Clouds” and

was popular with oppressed farm workers, Herrera says, the people Huerta fought to help. “Music,” she says, “was their way of letting out their emotions.” During part of its history, the Rose Marine Theater was a place Hispanics could hear music or see Spanish-language films. Today, it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has received numerous prestigious awards, including a 2005 Kennedy Center Award as one of the nation’s standout ethnic-specific


Artes de la Rose Cultural Center

1440 N. Main St., Fort Worth, TX 76164 (817) 624-8333




ORIGINALLY a movie theater and for years an art and cultural center, perhaps the best description of Fort Worth’s Rose Marine Theater, now the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center, comes from a woman with firsthand knowledge. “It’s this little jewel in the barrio of the northside,” says Rosa Herrera, a former board member of the Cultural Center. “I’d go there as a little girl.” Similar characterizations have, no doubt, been repeated hundreds, even thousands of times, by visitors to what began in December 1917 as the Rose Marine Theater. The Cultural Center’s centennial was celebrated Oct. 12, 2017, with the screening of a documentary


A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME: The theater today (left) — now the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center — and in the 1920s as the Rose Marine Theater (right) has a legacy of presenting Spanish language films to Fort Worth’s Hispanic population.


CENTENNIAL: The theater recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary with a screening of a documentary about Dolores Huerta, co-founder, along with Cesar Chavez, of the National Farm Workers Association. Huerta was in attendance at the screening.

performing arts organizations. The Cultural Center’s mission statement reads that Artes de la Rosa “is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and interpreting the art, culture, lives, and history of the Latino community.” All of that is important to people like Herrera and founding and current board member Steve De Leon. Two key figures in the life of Artes de la Rosa were Louis Zapata and Jim Lane. In fact, if it hadn’t been for them, De Leon notes, the cultural center might not exist today. They were instrumental in getting financial support for the conversion from an aging movie theater to a modern cultural center. Zapata, who died in 2014, was Fort Worth’s first Hispanic city councilman. “He had the original idea,” De Leon says, “of converting the theater.” Lane is a Fort Worth lawyer, former city councilman and board member of Artes de la Rosa. Lane and Zapata, in fact, gave De Leon his first tour of the theater. A retired engineer with Lockheed Martin, De Leon also loves the arts. But when he saw the dilapidated building, his first thought was that it would be cheaper to bulldoze it than try to restore it. But the bulldozer never arrived, thanks to Zapata, Lane, De Leon, Herrera and others who cherished the theater’s legacy and saw its potential. That legacy and potential was evident the night Dolores Huerta came for the screening of the documentary about her life. Herrera, a close friend, says high school and college students were among the guests — an important audience to hear about the culture and struggles of Hispanics. The documentary, and the woman herself, made an impact on the younger generations that night. Herrera was pleased it happened in the historic Rose Marine Theater. “They went away with so much emotion,” she says. “We never knew.”

Loretta Fulton is a freelance writer in Abilene. Following a career with the Abilene ReporterNews, she began writing for numerous publications and is the author of three books. W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8

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COMEBACK STORY: Alpineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Granada Theatre opened in 1929 but was reopened in 2008 after being closed to the public for more than four decades.



ACTION! Throughout Texas, historic theaters have served as brightly lit beacons and communal hubs by



HEN YOU pull off a Texas highway, bound for any

small town, you often wonder how much of a town you’ll actually find. What will signal that you’ve arrived in the heart of a small community? You may pass a Dairy Queen and wonder if that’s going to be the peak of commerce and community. Spying a turn that looks promising, you might ask yourself, “Is this the main street?” Antique shops, check. A ladies' boutique, check. Then you see it: the shining marquee, surrounded in lights, calling to you. You’ve found the old movie house and, likely, the very heart of the town. It’s no accident this scene is fairly consistent across Texas. It was a simple strategy for the movie studios from the 1920s through the late 1940s. Find the center of town and build your theater there, ensuring that your films will strike at the hearts of the citizens and deep into their pockets. The strategy worked, until a 1948 U.S. Supreme Court antitrust ruling that made the studios sell off their theaters.

Many growing up during the golden age of cinema (roughly 1930 to 1960) defined their sense of community around the shared experiences enjoyed in these theaters. In some cases these “temples to movies” were the only air-conditioned buildings in town, making the local theater not only a place to escape into new and exciting fictional worlds, but also an escape from the scorching Texas heat that stretched across the calendar. As the movie industry declined in the 1960s and 1970s — paralleled by shrinking populations in rural Texas — many theaters were forced to close their doors. Over time, these boarded-up, dilapidated theaters would become a symbol of the loss of small-town culture not just in Texas but in the country as a whole. In more recent times, small-town communities across Texas have realized the architectural and cultural value of these buildings and have invested significantly in efforts to restore these landmarks. Today, many of these historical theaters are again in operation, serving as a proud reminder of the never-say-die Texan spirit upon which these small towns were built many decades ago.

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GRANADA THEATRE 207 E. Holland Ave. Alpine, TX 79830 (432) 837-9960

110 S. Main St. Bryan, TX 77803 (979) 822-4920

THE ROOTS of Alpine’s famous

Bryan’s mid-20th century economic prosperity, as well as the tireless efforts to restore the downtown area in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Prior to the construction of the grand theater, as it’s known today, the Queen Theatre was first housed on the bottom floor of the Historic Stoddard Hotel. After the Stoddard was demolished in 1939, construction began on the Queen’s extravagant new home — a modern, Art-Decostyle theater topped with a visually stunning, neon-lighted revolving crown. On Nov. 21, 1939, with much fanfare and celebration, the Queen Theatre officially opened — christening its screen with a showing of the Ginger Rogers comedy Fifth Avenue Girl. After four decades of operation, as downtown Bryan fell into decline, the Queen would be forced to close its doors. In 2010, the once proud theater was purchased by local nonprofit the Downtown Bryan Association — and so began a massive, three-phase restoration effort. Though the Queen’s restored neon crown again lights the night, interior restoration efforts are still ongoing. With a projected completion date of March 2018, Bryan residents look forward to the Queen returning to its roots as a classic, single-screen movie theater — as it was when its doors first opened nearly eight decades ago.



YUCCA THEATRE 208 N. Colorado St. Midland, TX 79701 (432) 570-4111

THE STORY of Midland’s historic

Yucca Theatre has its origins in 1927, when Montana oilman T.S. Hogan announced a grandiose plan to attach a movie theater to his newly constructed Petroleum Building in downtown Midland. The Yucca’s unique Assyrian architecture was designed by New York architect H.B Layman, who was said to have been inspired by the historic discovery of King Tut’s tomb five years prior. After two years of construction, the theater opened its doors on Dec. 6, 1929, screening the Wheeler & Woolsey musical comedy Rio Rita. For more than 50 years, the versatile Yucca hosted both blockbuster movies and traveling vaudeville acts, finally closing its doors in 1974. In 1981, the theater underwent a volunteer-led restoration, which included installing a tiered floor for cabaret-style seating to better accommodate live performances. Though no longer showing movies, today the Yucca serves as the proud host of the Midland Community Theater company’s notorious “Summer Mummers” stage production — a 68-year-old tradition known for its high-energy performances and extreme levels of audience participation.

Granada Theatre can be traced back to 1928, when the Johnson Company of Fort Stockton broke ground on what would become Alpine’s largest historic theater. Opening one year later, the Granada would serve as Alpine’s premier movie house, as well as a host for several high-profile events, including a star-studded 1943 World War II bond drive featuring Tinseltown actors Gene Autry and Gale Storm. In October 2008, following an extensive renovation of the building’s interior, the Granada reopened its doors after being closed to the public for more than four decades. Today the Granada functions as a live performance and event center, sharing the space with the Granada Yoga Studio, located in the theater’s repurposed mezzanine. Though no longer showing films, the Granada continues to serve as a bustling hub of community activity for Alpine residents. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: COURTESY YUCCA THEATE; COURTESY VISIT ALPINE; GLEN VIGUS

BUILT IN 1939, the Queen Theatre stands today as a symbol both of

SIMON THEATRE 111 W. Main St. Brenham, TX 77833 (979) 836-6980


ONE OF the most iconic build-

THE LAN-TEX THEATER 113 W. Main St., Llano, TX 78643 (325) 247-5656,

IN MAY 2017, the historic Lan-Tex Theater celebrated its 90th year serving Llano moviegoers. Affectionately referred to as the “living room” of Llano, the Lan-Tex has always provided both a strong sense of community for locals and a memorable first impression for tourists passing through. Opening officially in 1927 with a sold-out showing of the silent-drama The Fourth Commandment, the newly constructed Lan-Tex drew in summer-weary crowds with the promise of “a house of comfort all the year” complete with “conditioned air.” Though originally built with a Spanish Colonial design, a devastating 1950 marquee fire would see the Lan-Tex rebuilt in its current, signature mid-century modern style. Changing hands many times throughout its life, the Lan-Tex would eventually be purchased by the City of Llano in 2002, with many restorations required to keep the theater functioning. Throughout 2016, without any major grants, Llano community volunteers led an effort to restore the aging Lan-Tex back to its former glory, repairing the stage and the Art Deco interior, installing new seating and more. Thanks to the selfless generosity of Llano’s residents, the Lan-Tex remains in operation today, hosting not just movies but also stage shows, special events and the monthly Llano Country Opry concert.








ings in downtown Brenham, the Simon Theatre has served as the go-to spot for generations of Brenham residents seeking quality entertainment. Commissioned in 1925 by the James Simon Family, the Simon Theatre was designed by architect Alfred Finn (who went on to design the San Jacinto Monument). The theater’s sophisticated Beaux Arts Classical Revival style amazed Simon patrons, who came from far and wide to attend movies, ballroom dances, vaudeville acts and more. Falling on hard times during the Depression, the Simon would change owners multiple times throughout the latter half of the 20th century, until finally being bought by the Brenham Main Street Historical Preservation in 2003. Though renovations to the theater were planned immediately, it would take more than a decade to raise the $7 million necessary to begin the restoration effort, with $5 million raised by Brenham residents alone through the expansive “Save Our Simon” campaign. After years of renovations — which included replacing the Simon’s roof, adding new seating, installing digital projectors and restoring the theater’s adjacent ballroom — the newly restored Simon held its grand reopening event on Jan. 31, 2016. Today the theater honors its legacy as a historic entertainment hub, hosting a variety of movies, concerts and private events.




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LYRIC CINEMA 113 Main St. Spearman, TX 79801 (806) 644-2812

ONE OF Spearman’s proudest historical structures, the Lyric Cinema, has reliably served as the town’s community movie house for decades. The cinema’s distinctive brick frame was constructed on Main Street in 1948. At the time, the newly constructed theater boasted such amenities as a modern ladies' room, as well as a room for mothers to care for children. In 2014, after years of operation had taken its toll on the cinema, the Spearmen Chamber of Commerce announced a plan to work with current owner Gary Ellsworth 306 W. 5th St., Clifton, TX 76634 — and local residents — to restore (254) 675-1229, the Lyric, bringing the theater into the digital age. By July 2015, the FOR OVER a century, the ClifTex Theatre has been showcasing Hollywood’s latest blockbusters to more than four Lyric had upgraded from analog to generations of Clifton residents. Dubbed “The Queen” when it first opened in 1916, the theater would soon be digital projectors, as well as installrenamed “ClifTex Talkies” before finally settling on simply the “ClifTex Theatre.” One of oldest movie houses of its ing a shining new marquee. Interior kind in service today, the ClifTex is unique from other historical theatres in that it’s never closed down for an extended renovations to the historic cinema period of time — save for a brief four-month restoration process. Joining a long line of ClifTex owners, business partcontinued through 2015 and for most ners Phyllis Gamble and Mechelle Slaughter purchased the theater in 2008 and began a series of much-needed renoof 2016, including new coats of paint vations. In addition to restoring the ClifTex’s classic Art Deco architecture and historic film memorabilia, upgrades on the theater’s floors along with also included installing a digital film projector — officially bringing the ClifTex into the 21st century. Today, the installation of new seating. Today the theater shows a new Hollywood feature every weekend. Lyric Cinema continues its tradition of serving Spearman’s moviegoing public, offering the latest Hollywood movies for just $7.50 ($5.50 for children and seniors).


PINES THEATRE 113 S. First St. Lufkin, TX 75902 (936) 633-0349

LOCATED DEEP in the heart of downtown Lufkin, the Pines Theater stands today as one of the city’s proudest historical attractions. On Sept. 9, 1925, the theater opened its doors, and christening its screen was the silent Gloria Swanson drama Coast of Folly, with the film’s musical score provided by the Pines’ box office attendant, Willie Frazier. Many of Lufkin’s older residents still fondly remember the days spent making friends at the Pines’ weekly “kiddie show” — back when a day at the movies cost just the price of a quarter. Like most theaters raised in the early 20th century, the Pines soon fell on hard times and was eventually sold, soon after being repurposed into a place of worship by the Covenant of Love Outreach. After the church shut down, the City of Lufkin bought back the theater in 2007. City officials realized many repairs were necessary to restore the Pines’ historic luster. This realization sparked a several-year-long restoration that included repairing a collapsed roof, installing new plumbing and completely rebuilding the theater’s damaged marquee. Though no longer showing silent films, the Pines now serves as a multipurpose venue hosting a variety of events including country music shows, weddings and private functions.










352 Cypress St. Abilene, TX 79601 (325) 676-9620

IN MANY ways, Abilene’s Paramount Theatre is perhaps the strongest, most overlooked symbol of the unique, can-do spirit found exclusively in small-town Texas. Built in 1930, the Paramount would serve as Abilene’s premier movie house, separating itself from its competition by way of its elegant Spanish-Moorish architecture. Like many singlescreen theaters of its kind, the Paramount soon became antiquated, eventually closing its doors in the mid ’70s. In the late ’80s, a group of local Abilene movie buffs began hosting classic movie nights at the outof-commission Paramount, doing everything in their power to keep the once-proud theater alive. “They saw the beauty of the Paramount,” recalls Betty Huskill, executive director of the Historic Paramount Theatre. “Theirs was a labor of love that became too financially burdensome, so the group paid a visit to Abilene’s angel, Julia Jones Matthews.” Matthews, a local philanthropist well known for revitalizing Abilene’s downtown district, was more than happy to finance the theater’s full restoration. With the funding in place, the Paramount’s renovations began in 1986. Over the course of a year, the Paramount’s interior would be refurbished back to its 1930s glory, with the theater’s capabilities expanded to accommodate live shows as well as films. Today the historic Paramount serves as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing arts venue, hosting such notable events as Abilene’s summer musical and the 24fps International Short Film Festival.

108 W. Thorton St. Three Rivers, TX 78071 (361) 786-4400 rialto NOT UNLIKE more than 25 other Rialtos across

South Texas, the Three Rivers Rialto Theater closed in 1981 after serving as the focal point of the community. The theater opened in 1948, showing Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!, a comedy that featured Marilyn Monroe’s film debut. Patrons who paid less than $1 for a ticket would sometimes spend all day watching the same film, happy to be in an air-conditioned building. Rialtos were more than just movie theaters, though, hosting events like beauty pageants and live music performances. The Three Rivers Economic Development Corporation invested $200,000 to resurrect the Rialto in 2001, investing an additional $120,000 in 2013 to replace both film projectors with digital projection. But

the Rialto struggled and closed again in August 2009 despite residents’ efforts to keep it open. In December 2009, it opened again under the management of Virginia Herring, a former lab technician at the Valero Three Rivers Refinery known for her passion for the Rialto. Her goal is simple, she says: “Book the right films that keep regular customers coming through the door.” The Texas Historical Commission designated the Rialto a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark in 2016, and the Live Oak Historical Commission dedicated a Texas State Historical Marker on April 29, 2017. The lobby contains an original 1948 projector.

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FINAL ROLE: James Dean (left) with director George Stevens on the set of Giant. Sadly, Dean was killed in an automobile accident during the editing phase of the movie.




When Hollywood Came to Marfa The spirit of Giant lives on by


In the summer of 1955 Hollywood descended on the tiny town of Marfa in Far West Texas. American film director George Stevens, whose notable films include A Place in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank and Shane, had combed the West and into Mexico to find the perfect location to film the epic Western drama Giant, based on the novel by Edna Ferber. Presidio County, where Marfa is the county seat, had that bleak and inhospitable quality that Stevens was looking for. It was isolated, basically, but had a remarkable cultural story to tell. It was perfect. W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /â&#x20AC;&#x2122;1 8


It was also the epitome of just the sort of racial and social biases Stevens sought to address in the movie. Returning from a combat motion picture photography assignment in World War II — during which he was one of the first liberators to enter the Dachau concentration camp — Stevens no longer fancied the light comedies that had once held his interest. Instead, he aspired to make films that challenged the status quo. Giant was to become, in Stevens’s mind, a new kind of western. It would mirror Ferber’s novel closely in its portrayals of power and greed. It would challenge assumptions about the role of women and tackle racial intolerance, daring and controversial subjects at the time. Native Marfan Lucy Garcia was fifteen during the filming. “Discrimination was still very much a part of growing up in Marfa,” she recalls. “When people started finding out about Giant, everyone was very curious.”

Stars from afar

Giant was to star Rock Hudson as rancher Jordan “Bick” Benedict; Elizabeth Taylor as his wife, Leslie Benedict; and James Dean as romantic rival Jett Rink. Other marquee names included Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Earl Holliman, and newcomer Elsa Cardenas. The locals in Marfa and beyond were starstruck. As the town was inundated by trucks, trailers, and crew, residents lined the streets in awe. The movie industry was coming in en masse, and movie stars were arriving by train. (And it’s still the same these days: Alpine resident and self-proclaimed film nerd Mark Hinshaw said, “When filmmakers come out here, it’s all very much a circus-comes-to-town mentality, [since] these communities are so small.”) At the Evans Ranch, seventeen miles west of Marfa, the set for the Benedicts’ Reata Ranch



house was built as the backdrop for the saga of cattle, oil, and changing times. The frame for the Gothic-style mansion was constructed by a team in California, brought to Texas by train, and finished on location. The Reata’s false front had no rooms or back — only a façade constructed of wood and plaster. All of the interior scenes would be filmed at the Warner Brothers Studio in Hollywood. During that blazing hot summer of 1955, Marfa suffered one of the worst droughts in its history. Extra hands were needed, and many Marfans helped with building sets, getting supplies, and hauling water. Kids were paid a quarter for each tumbleweed they brought to the set. Many locals, mostly teenagers and children, were used as extras in the filming. But in the evenings, intrepid fans would gather outside of the actors’ lodgings at the El Paisano Hotel in town, waiting for them to come out and visit.

Garcia remembers the summer viviidly. “We would pile a bunch of kids in the car and go out to the location to watch the filming. When we got back to Marfa we would hang around the Paisano and wait to see the stars.” James Dean was said to be the friendliest of the group, granting autographs and photos, hanging out with the locals, and buying bottles of Coke for the little kids. “Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor were nice enough, a little snooty though,” Garcia says. “But James Dean was really friendly and would stand around for hours with us making jokes and just being silly. And he had this sexy little giggle that made the girls crazy. I asked for a photo with him and he put his arm across my shoulder for the photo. I haven’t washed my shoulder since!” Townspeople of all ethnic groups were explicitly invited to the set to witness the making of Giant, in fact, an uncommon practice in the film industry of the way. Stevens wanted an open

set; he required only that onlookers be quiet and stay behind the ropes. Elated fans cadged autographs and slipped in their cameras, of course. Press agents flew in and out of the abandoned Marfa Army Airfield, and the word about Giant got out pretty quickly. A big movie about Texas was in the works, and the world was enthralled.

The making of a masterpiece

Filming was rough, not just due to the heat and fierce Far West Texas sunshine, but because of Stevens’s meticulous perfectionism. Sometimes calling for dozens of takes, Stevens shot over 875,000 feet of film in an era when the average for a feature was 80,000. When filming finally wrapped in Marfa, the whole town, turned out to celebrate with music and salutations, and to see the cast and crew off on the train. After 44 days of magical and wonderful commotion, a saddened and subdued

GIANT HEART: After shooting, the stars would retreat to Marfa’s Hotel Paisano (right), where the most generous, like James Dean (left), would greet fans for hours and provide bottles of Coke to the kids. The hotel now has rooms and suites named for the stars.

Marfa returned to its customary quiet. Dean, killed in an automobile accident while Giant was being edited, didn’t live to see the finished film. Marfans were devastated as anyone. “Oh Lord, it was so sad when we found out,” says Garcia. “All of the girls were crying and we just couldn’t believe it, he was so young and such a beautiful, special person.”

Success and censorship

Giant opened in October 1956 with great success. Despite the praise heaped on it by the New York Times, which called it the best film of the


A new kind of Western

year, not all Texans approved. The themes of feminism and racial injustice that Stevens had worked to depict so realistically made more than a few Texans uncomfortable. At the same time, some Hispanic moviegoers in Texas still had to see the film in segregated theaters or were limited to the balcony or the back of the house. According to the documentary Children of Giant, directed by Hector Galan, when the movie was released in Mexico, scenes portraying discrimination against Mexican Americans were deleted. Since Mexico’s release came later, Mexican viewers had already heard about the film and were confused — then later outraged — that the film had been censored. Stevens himself had been unaware of the changes. In America, Giant was nominated for ten Academy Awards and Stevens won the Oscar for best director. The uncensored version of Giant was released in Mexico three years afterward. When the movie appeared at Marfa’s Palace Theater in 1956, practically all of Marfa attended. “It was there that they realized the story that was told in Giant was a reflection of themselves,” says Garcia. ““It would become a lasting chronicle of the way they were living in the summer of 1955. This was finally a story about them. It was their story.”

A lasting legacy

“Marfa certainly benefited greatly and economically from that summer in 1955,” says Mark Hinshaw, “—at least according to stories from bar and restaurant owners who all claimed to do well during filming of various movies here.” Though drought and a dwindling cattle industry shrank Marfa’s population in the ensuing decades, the cultural capital infused by Giant has contributed to the city’s artistic revival in recent years. In today’s Marfa, where productions such as I Love Dick are under way and where locals might recall 1985’s Fandango and Sylvester, Giant still towers over them all. The Hotel Paisano reverently names several of its rooms and suites in honor of the movie’s leading men and ladies. The film plays continuously in the gift shop, where visitors can purchase Giant memorabilia. And the last skeletal remains of the Reata set survive, on a private ranch, as a lasting reminder of those glorious days. “It was such a special time in our lives and something that I will never forget,” says Garcia. “Since then, in Marfa, other movies have come and gone, but none were like Giant.”

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LAST TRUE MAVERICK On the cusp of Richard Linklater's latest film, Last Flag Flying, the face of the Texas film industry reflects on moviemaking in the Lone Star State by

IN 1972, A MOVIE PRODUCTION crew arrived in Huntsville to film in and around the state prison. The spectacle made quite an impression on a young Richard Linklater. “I was in 5th grade, and [director] Sam Peckinpah, Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw all came to my hometown,” Linklater says. “It felt like they were there for weeks — shooting the prison sequence at the beginning of The Getaway. I had friends whose dads were extras in the movie, and McQueen was staying at the Holiday Inn! It got me thinking, ‘That’s cool.’” That experience planted the idea in Linklater that movies can be made in Texas, not just in Hollywood. But it wasn’t until years later that another spark ignited his full-blown passion for films. While attending Sam Houston State University, he heard that an English professor,


Dr. Ralph Pease, was hosting film viewings and discussions about filmmaking. He attended one of Pease’s programs and was hooked, leaving college for Houston and working on an offshore oil rig while learning everything he could about films. That ultimately resulted in a move to Austin in the 1980s, where Linklater began seeking out opportunities to view movies of all genres. At that time, it was difficult to find rare films and almost impossible to see them on the big screen. So to gain access to those films — and local theaters — he founded the Austin Film Society in 1985. The AFS essentially became Linklater’s support system, providing him with the resources to learn the art of filmmaking and a network of people with the skills necessary to make a movie a reality.

His first feature film, Slacker, in 1991, showcased Austin’s special kind of weird, along with Linklater’s ability to create an unconventionally entertaining feature film. To almost everyone’s surprise, the movie was a low-budget hit, made for just $23,000 but grossing over $1 million. “I knew it was watchable and that a lot of people who live in the kind of world it portrays would relate to it,” Linklater said at the time, “but its appeal is much wider than I ever thought it would be.” More telling, the movie was unlike anything that had come before it. Critic Roger Ebert, while praising the film and its director, said Slacker’s appeal was “almost impossible to describe” while the Washington Post applauded “a work of scatterbrained originality, unexpected and ceaselessly engaging.”



In interviews, Linklater displayed a sophistication and sensitivity almost at odds with the alienated college graduates, neo-beatniks and assorted eccentrics depicted in Slacker. “There’s always been this part of the population that was on the margins, that was intentionally outside society,” Linklater told the New York Times. “They’ve been pretty much ignored for the past 20 years.” In an Austin Chronicle interview, he added, “Slackers might look like the left-behinds of society, but they’re actually one step ahead, rejecting most of society and the social hierarchy before it rejects them. They’re not wasting their time in a realm of activity that has nothing to do with who they are or what they might be ultimately striving for.” Linklater had captured the attention of the film world, prompting Universal to back his next effort, 1993’s Dazed and Confused, a coming-of age film set in 1976 that grossed $8 million and received plaudits from Entertainment Weekly, which ranked the film 10th on its list of the “Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years,” and director Quentin PAINS: Tarantino, who said it GROWING Linklater on the set of was one of the best films Boyhood, which traced of all time. Rolling Stone the evolution of the singled out Linklater as a main character — he’s at left in both pho“sly and formidable talent, tos — over a 12-year bringing an anthropolo- period, an ambitious gist’s eye to this spectacu- approach that earned the filmmaker an Oscar larly funny celebration of nomination for Best the rites of stupidity.” Director. The film also introduced viewers to Matthew McConaughey — though it might not have. When Linklater was casting Dazed, McConaughey, an unknown local Austin actor (and Uvalde native) approached him about a part. “I initially thought Matt was too good-looking for the role and passed on him,” Linklater said in a 2012 interview. “Then he grew this little mustache, slicked his hair down and sent me a photo of himself in character. I knew then he was the one.” The film helped launch a number of other acting careers as well, including those of Ben Affleck and Parker Posey. Given the success of Dazed and Confused, Linklater suddenly began to be viewed, oddly, as an industry insider, and many expected that he’d pack up and move to Hollywood. But those people didn’t know Linklater: the ultimate outsider chose to remain in Texas. When he talked to people “on the coasts” about his home state, however, he noticed they’d often hold stereotypical views, thinking everyone was a cowboy and that people weren’t intellectually curious. “I always want to depict that other part of Texas,” Linklater says. But to do that he had to convince people it was possible to make quality films here. “In Hollywood, I told people I wanted to film in Austin,” Linklater recalls, “and they’d say, ‘How can you film there?’ So I showed them.”



Over the next two decades he continued to make critically acclaimed films, some that made money (School of Rock, Bernie and the trilogy consisting of Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight) and some that didn’t (The Newton Boys, Bad News Bears, Me and Orson Welles). He received Academy Award nominations in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Before Sunset, in 2004, and again in 2013 for Before Midnight. Then came his landmark 2014 movie, Boyhood, for which he earned his most impressive accolades, including three Oscar nominations — for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture. True to his idiosyncratic nature, Linklater adopted an ambitious and previously unheardof approach, filming the movie over 12 years at

program allowed the commission to administer grants to films produced in Texas while at the same time establishing a workforce training program. “A lot of us locals can manage to some degree on our own,” Linklater says, “but once the incentive program started, we deal more with the Film Commission. They’re always there with location pictures. It’s a big job for our state, so they’re important … they’re helpful.” Linklater knows that when a movie production comes to town, the impact is more than just financial. “A lot of cities have their own film commissions, too, and they can be helpful, depending on where you’re filming,” he notes. “I’ve filmed in the Bastrop region quite a bit — they have local reps there, like liaisons. People like it when you’re

numerous locations around Texas, following the life of Mason (portrayed by actor Ellar Coltrane) from early childhood to his arrival at college. Linklater teamed again with Ethan Hawke (from his Before trilogy), as Mason’s father, and Patricia Arquette, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as Mason’s mother. The movie’s budget was, reportedly, less than $4 million, while the film grossed more than $50 million worldwide.

filming in their community, even though you might tie up a road or something. It’s fun to see your own town depicted in a movie.” One other way that Linklater’s success is being used to promote local economies across the state is the Texas Film Commission’s Richard Linklater Trail. The program encourages fans to visit locations where his movies have been filmed. “I’ll be driving with my daughters somewhere, and I’ll go, ‘Oh, I filmed there once.’ It feels like all of Texas is my back lot. I’ll be at Minute Maid Park soon, for the World Series, and I’m like, ‘They let me film here once.’ I’ve done so many movies now, covering so much ground. I’d like to see that trail myself.” As for the Texas film industry, Linklater is optimistic. “Our film culture is strong — always has been, hopefully always will be,” he says. “The


Linklater received support from the Texas Film Commission, created in 1971 but given a boost in 2007 when House Bill 1634 established the Texas Moving Image Incentive Program. That

industry today is kind of depleted, because our government isn’t encouraging the industry by supporting it. That’s just a choice current elected officials have made, and I can’t really speak for their motives — it’s ideological to some degree — but what they’re doing is exporting our industry. It’s heartbreaking. “You see all of these movies set in Texas, but they’re shot in New Mexico, like Hell or High Water. The producers say, ‘Well, we got as close as we could to Texas.’ So who’s creating that border, and for what reason? That’s our lawmakers. You vote these guys into office, and you have to live with their priorities. But I think that will come back around.”

at the Austin Film Society Theater, national news outlets were reporting on the death of four American soldiers killed in Niger, in western Africa. The event became newsworthy only after President Donald Trump called the widow of one fallen soldier to express sympathy. The widow reported that the President’s words hadn’t provided comfort. The story became a political firestorm when a Florida congresswoman, and close friend of the widow, criticized Trump’s choice of words during the call. In response, White House chief of staff John Kelly defended Trump, using his personal story as a father who’s lost a son on the battlefield. The thematic link to Last Flag Flying wasn’t lost on Linklater. “I can’t believe the movie is about to come out, and the Chief of Staff and the


President are actually talking about [grieving military families],” he says. “That trip to Dover, that’s very real for these people who go through that, and this movie is a portrait of a grieving Gold Star father. Given the news, it’s more relevant today than it was a year ago when we were shooting.” And in the end, isn’t that why the best directors make films — to document and explore the human condition? “Film is a powerful medium,” Linklater says. “Music and film are great representative art forms for their time and place, but the storytelling tradition of literature — and movies, too — is significant, and Texas has a great tradition I’m proud to be part of. Whenever you’re making a film about your friends or whatever subculture you find yourself in, you realize you’re depicting a time and a place, and that’s pretty powerful — and pretty wonderful.”

commentators have noted that Linklater’s style closely resembles documentary filmmaking. “It’s all scripted, but film has always had that documentary quality, particularly mine,” Linklater says. “Movies are definitely documents — they document a time or a place or a kind of a feeling of what you’re trying to say.” His most recent film, Last Flag Flying, opened in November. It tells the story of Larry “Doc” Shepherd, a grieving father (portrayed by Steve Carell) going to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. The movie follows Doc as he reunites with two Vietnam War veteran buddies to accompany him to Dover Air Force Base to retrieve his son’s body. In the week prior to the film’s Texas premier

RICHARD LINKLATER: DREAM IS DESTINY Directed by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein Arts+Labor

FOR A NUMBER of reasons, Richard Linklater is an Austin legend and a local treasure who, through his hard work and artistic vision, has also earned respect and admiration on the world stage. For some, his films may be hit-or-miss, but it doesn’t take a devoted Linklater fan to appreciate the well-crafted paean to dogged determination, individualism and artistic vision that is Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny. The documentary will leave you wanting to revisit films you’ve already seen and to watch those you haven’t. Co-directed by Karen Bernstein, the film marks the directorial debut of longtime Austin Chronicle editor Louis Black, who was also an original board member of the Austin Film Society Linklater founded in the 1980s. Black and Linklater have had a long-running symbiotic relationship, Black having appeared in Linklater’s debut feature, Slacker, while also promoting the director in the pages of the Chronicle. More of a love letter to Linklater and his body of work than a critical examination of his career, in this work exhibits no remove between filmmakers and subject. These are friends and peers of Linklater, lovingly and nostalgically praising his accomplishments as both a filmmaker and a champion of Austin. In the process, what comes through is a better recognition of just how much heart and soul, and maybe more importantly, hard work, Linklater has put into both crafting his films and building a remarkably vibrant film scene in Austin over the past three decades. Having the look and ambience, in certain ways, of a Linklater film, the documentary traces Linklater’s early life and career from Slacker up through Everybody Wants Some!!, featuring a striking selection of film clips from his filmography along with interview footage with Ethan Hawke, Jack Black, Patricia Arquette, Matthew McConaughey and others. Additionally, there’s stellar footage of Louis Black sitting and interviewing Linklater while they rummage through boxes of his early career memorabilia, including journals, scripts, handbills and more. It’s hard not to find inspiration in this story of a talented and thoughtful youth growing up in Huntsville at a time when that felt worlds away from any creative possibilities. Linklater dreamed of being a writer or a major league baseball player, never even considering the possibility of becoming a filmmaker until — thanks to the twists and turns of life — he found himself falling in love with film and coming to Austin to pursue his unique vision. The film provides an adoring view of the long-gone Austin of the late ’80s and early ’90s (revisit Slacker to see it), when rent was (relatively) cheap and creativity and individuality thrived, the perfect time and place for an independent creative force like Linklater to blossom. The point at which you know the film has you hooked is in its build-up to Linklater losing out at the 2015 Academy Awards for Best Director. Even if Boyhood didn’t grab you, you feel a palpable sense of disappointment as Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s name is called as the winner (for Birdman).That’s a credit to the success of the movie in highlighting the many virtues and accomplishments, and the heart and soul, of Richard Linklater. — LINC LEIFESTE W IN T E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8





Contrabando, Big Bend Ranch State Park Demolished, 2015

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SITE TO BEHOLD: The popular San Antonio Riverwalk has been used in The Getaway, Selena and Miss Congeniality.

Hittin’ the Trails


Looking to visit film locations throughout the state? Use these three helpful guides THE TEXAS FILM COMMISSION

FOR MORE THAN a century, Texas has been

home to some of the greatest film productions in the world. To capitalize on this rich history, the Texas Film Commission launched the Texas Film Trails program to connect film fans and the public to filming locations featured in our state’s most popular film and television shows, with the goal of promoting tourism in communities throughout the state. Ultimately, the goal with each Texas Film Trail is to unleash long-term economic benefits in areas that host productions. In 2016, the TFC presented the inaugural Richard Linklater Film Trail, featuring 15 locations from the Texas director’s most iconic films. In 2017, it unveiled the Texas Classics



Film Trail, highlighting 25 filming destinations from some of the Lone Star State’s most iconic projects. From the vast countryside of Marfa in Giant (1956), to the Southfork Ranch of the TV series Dallas (1978-1991), the history of these productions displays the wide range and diversity of locations within the state, as well as the dedication of Texas talent and crew to projects that are remembered well after their release. “We look forward to releasing more trails in the future that will showcase the communities who continue to reap the economic benefits of Texas productions,” says Bryan Daniel, executive director of Economic Development and Tourism for the Office of the Governor.







1 San Elizario Plaza | FANDANGO (1985)

San Elizario, Texas (El Paso County) After the five friends begin the end of their adventure in the film, the girl (Suzy Amis) and Gardner (Kevin Costner) share one last dance that’s recreated to this day by visitors in the Plaza. 176 MILES, VIA VAN HORN

2 Hotel Paisano | GIANT (1956)

by Travis (Harry Dean Stanton) is at the El Rancho Motel, where he shaves his beard and changes into new clothes after fleeing from his brother, Walt (Dean Stockwell). 94 MILES, VIA MONAHANS

4 Ratliff Stadium | FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (2004)

Odessa, Texas (Ector County) Ratliff Stadium was the location for Permian High School’s practices in the 2004 feature film directed by Peter Berg. In one powerful scene shot at the location, fullback Don Billingsley (Garrett Hedlund) is confronted by his abusive father (Tim McGraw), himself a former star for the team, after fumbling the ball during practice.

Marfa, Texas (Presidio County) Though the Hotel Paisano doesn’t appear 182 MILES, VIA LUBBOCK onscreen in Giant, the hotel was the heart and soul of the cast and crew’s time off set. Many stayed here throughout RATLIFF STADIUM filming, and the hotel bar/restaurant was a favorite gathering place for Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, director George Stevens and the rest of the actors and crew. Stevens even used the ballroom to screen dailies. Today, plenty of Giant memorabilia is on display, celebrating the impact 5 of what is perhaps the most iconic film ever shot Broadway Brew Coffeehouse | LEAP OF in Texas. FAITH (1992)



Plainview, Texas (Hale County) The Quick Lunch Diner (now Broadway Brew) serves as the workplace of Marva (Lolita Davidovich), who catches the eye of Jonas (Steve Martin). Marva isn’t fooled by Jonas’ romantic efforts and warns him not to give false hope to her little brother, Boyd (Lukas Haas), who’s unable to walk because of a car accident. Later in the film, Boyd upstages Jonas and drops his crutches and walks, unassisted. Trail Drive #1 Total Miles: 547 miles

3 Executive Inn Hotel | PARIS, TEXAS (1984)


Fort Stockton, Texas (Pecos County) In his travels across Texas, one of the stops made W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8


element is painted on glass or other medium, photographed and then layered onto the live-action footage during postproduction to change the appearance of a building or landscape.



1 The Royal Theater | THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971)


2 Pilot Point Town Square | BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)


the Ewings, who live together at their ranch, Southfork. The weekly series was an international hit and one of the longest-lasting prime time dramas in American history. One of the most talked-about scenes in television history happened on the series, when the third season finale ended with J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) being shot. CBS created the lasting catchphrase “Who shot J.R.?” to promote the following season. 60 MILES, VIA GRAPEVINE

Pilot Point, Texas (Denton County) Pilot Point Town Square was the location of the famous bank robbery scene in the 1967 movie. After a series of amateur heists, Clyde Barrow FORT WORTH WATER GARDENS (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) lead their first bank robbery as the 5 Barrow Gang alongside a gas station attendant (Michael J. Pollard), Clyde’s older brother, Buck Fort Worth Water Gardens | LOGAN’S RUN (Gene Hackman), and his wife, Blanche (Estelle (1976) Parsons). Fort Worth, Texas (Tarrant County) The Fort Worth Water Gardens are shown as 33 MILES, VIA CR 455 part of the world outside the post-apocalyptic, dystopian society representing the only domain Logan (Michael York) and Jessica ( Jenny 3 Agutter) have ever known. Here, they encounter Dowell House Bed & Breakfast | BENJI (1974) an old man (Peter Ustinov), the first elderly McKinney, Texas (Collin County) person either of them has ever seen. This grand home was not so beautiful in the 1974 film. It was used as the abandoned and 32 MILES, VIA ARLINGTON “haunted” house — the hideout for the lovable stray dog, Benji. 6 12 MILES, VIA ALLEN

4 Southfork Ranch | DALLAS (TV SERIES, 19781991)

Parker, Texas (Parker County) Dallas ran for 13 seasons, focusing on the conflict of values between members of the wealthy, multi-generational Texas oil family,



Dallas City Hall | ROBOCOP (1987)

Dallas, Texas (Dallas County) Dallas City Hall was used as the exterior for the fictional Omni Consumer Productions (OCP) Headquarters. To make the building appear taller, the filmmakers used a “matte painting,” a pre-digital era optical visual effect technique in which a backdrop or non-live action


7 The Rogers Hotel | PLACES IN THE HEART (1984)

Waxahachie, Texas (Ellis County) The first floor lobby of the Rogers Hotel served as the local bank where widow Edna Spalding (Sally Field) frequently visits in an effort to save her farm from foreclosure. Sally Field won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in the film, famously exclaiming at the ceremony, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me — right now, you like me.” 44 MILES, VIA ENNIS

8 Cedar Creek Brewery | TENDER MERCIES (1983)

Seven Points, Texas (Henderson County) Cedar Creek Plowboys Club is featured as the film’s bar and dance saloon. The saloon is featured many times as the place where Mac Sledge (Robert Duvall) often performs after being hired by Rosa Lee (Tess Harper). One of the film’s memorable moments includes Mac performing “If You’ll Hold the Ladder (I’ll Climb to the Top).” Trail Drive #2 Total Miles: 331 miles BETWEEN TRAIL #2 & TRAIL #3: 142 MILES, VIA I-45



Archer City, Texas (Archer County) The Royal Theater serves as the lone movie theater in the film’s fictional town of Anarene, Texas. In the final act, best friends Duane ( Jeff Bridges) and Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) attend the final screening at the theater. Following the iconic scene where Ruth (Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman) tells Sonny “Never you mind, honey, never you mind,” the camera pans to its final shot of the theater, and the credits roll.



1 Texas Prison Museum | THE GETAWAY (1972), BONNIE AND CLYDE (1976), URBAN COWBOY (1980), A PERFECT WORLD (1993)

Huntsville, Texas (Walker County) The Texas Prison Museum houses several artifacts used in the capture of the actual Bonnie and Clyde after Clyde Barrow raided the prison system’s Eastham Unit and freed five prisoners. The opening scenes of both The Getaway and A Perfect World feature the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville. In Urban Cowboy, Wes Hightower (Scott Glenn) is seen as a bull-riding convict in the Texas Prison Rodeo in Huntsville.

4 Brennan’s of Houston | TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (1983)

and even more outrageous — drive down the beach. 135 MILES, VIA BRENHAM

Houston, Texas (Harris County) Brennan’s is the site of one of Terms of Endearment’s great comic scenes. After pursuing her for years, Garrett Breedlove ( Jack Nicholson) finally convinces Aurora Greenway (Shirley MacLaine) to let him take her to lunch at Brennan’s. A very prickly date ensues, followed by a famous —

71 MILES, VIA I-45

2 Doug’s Barber Shop | RUSHMORE (1998)

Houston, Texas (Harris County) The unlikely friendship between Max Fischer ( Jason Schwartzman) and Herman Blume (Bill Murray) is restored here, when Max gives Herman a meaningful gift. “Max’s father’s barbershop,” actually Doug’s Barber Shop, is decorated much as it is in the film, and welcomes customers seven days a week. Later in the film, Max works as an apprentice at the barber shop. One day, Dirk Calloway (Mason Gamble) stops by the shop and apologizes to Max, handing him a Christmas present that renews their friendship. 5 MILES, VIA I-45


Hyatt Regency Houston | LOGAN’S RUN (1976)

Houston, Texas (Harris County) When the Hyatt Regency opened in 1972, it was a futuristic wonder, so much so that its 29story atrium, with its open concept and soaring elevators, was a perfect backdrop for one of the scenes in the 1976 sci-fi film. The cast of Logan’s Run also included Corpus Christi native Farrah Fawcett as Holly. 1.5 MILES, VIA MILAM STREET W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8


The Alamo Freeze was featured in Friday Night Lights as the workplace of Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) and later “Smash” Williams (Gaius Charles). One of the location’s most iconic scenes takes place during the Season 5 finale, in which Matt proposes to Julie Taylor (Aimee Teegarden) outside of the restaurant.

5 The Gas Station | THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)

Bastrop, Texas (Bastrop County) The iconic Last Chance Gas Station is where things start to go wrong for the teens. The pumps are dry; there’s no gas to be had; and the owner encourages them to stay overnight nearby, fueling the scares to come.




Baker Street Pub & Grill | OFFICE SPACE



Downtown Smithville | HOPE FLOATS (1998)

Smithville, Texas (Bastrop County) Take a stroll down Main Street where Birdee (Sandra Bullock) was literally swept off her feet by Justin (Harry Connick, Jr.), and where the Festival of Lights Parade was held at the end of the film. Downtown Smithville still has the small-town feel from the movie. 51 MILES, VIA TX-71

Austin, Texas (Travis County) Peter (Ron Livingston) comes into the fictional


7 Dairy Queen on Burnet Road | FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (TV SERIES, 2006-2011)

Austin, Texas (Travis County)



chain restaurant Chotskie’s to invite the waitress, Joanna ( Jennifer Aniston), to join him next door at another chain restaurant, Flingers.

That’s where they bond over Kung Fu and bad management. Other than the color scheme, the interiors of both restaurants look exactly the same. And they should: for filming, the crew of Office Space used the same location for the two restaurants, decorating one half of the same restaurant in red, the other half in green. 31 MILES, VIA I-35

9 The Wittliff Collections | LONESOME DOVE (TV MINISERIES, 1989)

San Marcos, Texas (Hays County) For admirers of Lonesome Dove, there’s no better place than Texas State University in San Marcos for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the 1989 miniseries. Located in the Alkek Library, the Wittliff Collections’ permanent exhibit is only a portion of their massive Lonesome Dove production archive. Visitors can make an appointment to view other props, costumes, screenplay drafts, actors’ notated scripts and screenwriter Bill Wittliff ’s photographs.

11 San Antonio Riverwalk | THE GETAWAY (1972), SELENA (1997), MISS CONGENIALITY

152 MILES, VIA I-37



Swantner Park | SELENA (1997)

San Antonio, Texas (Bexar County) The San Antonio Riverwalk was used in The Getaway, when “Doc” McCoy (Steve McQueen) meets Jack Beynon (Ben Johnson) at the Riverwalk for a chat with the corrupt businessman. In Selena, Chris and Selena celebrate their marriage during a romantic walk along the popular tourist attraction. And in Miss Congeniality, Miss Rhode Island (Heather Burns) doesn’t quite describe her perfect date correctly.

Corpus Christi, Texas (Nueces County) Swantner Park serves as a significant backdrop of the film. In the flashback scene located in the park, a young Selena Quintanilla (Rebecca Lee Meza) learns cumbia dancing (aka the “washing machine”) from her mother (Constance Marie). Trail Drive #3 Total Miles: 521 miles


10 The Alamo | THE ALAMO (1960), SELENA (1997), MISS CONGENIALITY (2000)

San Antonio, Texas (Bexar County) John Wayne’s epic The Alamo was filmed near Brackettville, Texas, on a set specifically made for the film. Though “Alamo Village” isn’t open to the public, the actual Alamo, in downtown San Antonio, is open every day except Christmas. In Selena, during a montage/music video of the song “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” Selena ( Jennifer Lopez) and her band are seen singing at multiple locations, including the Alamo. The location is also featured in Miss Congeniality, when Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) played “musical glasses” in front of the historic landmark. 0.5 MILES, VIA BOWIE STREET


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THE PLACE TO BE: The Inwood Theater opened in 1947 and drew impressive crowds (right photo), as the ticket line attests. Today (left photo) the Inwood features both a theater and a popular lounge, added to attract an adult clientele.

Lobbying for a cocktail Dallas’ Inwood Lounge features tempting libations and an intriguing clientele


THE YEAR is 1947: America

is done with the war, and movie fans again have leisure time and a little pocket money. Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne are marquee names. Where better to





build an Art Moderne movie masterpiece than on Dallas’ popular Lovers Lane? Seventy years ago, the Inwood Theatre, in what was then the city’s trendy northern suburbs,

5458 W. Lovers Lane (just off the Dallas North Tollway) Dallas, TX 75209 (214) 352-5085


Fri.–Sat. 4 pm–2 am Sun.–Thur. 4 pm–midnight Happy Hour Weekdays Mon.–Thur. 5 pm–7 pm Fri. 4 pm–6 pm


debuted its first films. The theater’s elegant interior featured an under-the-sea theme with glass panels, neon-backlit carvings and a mural depicting nude water nymphs painted by Perry Nichols, a member

of the Dallas Nine, a group of local artists in the 1930s and early ’40s known as Regionalists. The Inwood was, according to Cinema Treasures, “the most modern and well-appointed



The Inwood Lounge


theatre in Dallas at the time.” Over the years it would delight audiences with first-run studio productions, roadshows of Broadway hits (The Sound of Music had a reserved-seat run of 91 weeks starting in March 1965), foreign films, art films and cult favorites like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Though the theater’s fortunes had waned by the 1970s, in 1981 its owners sought to appeal to a new, more sophisticated adult crowd. By adding alcoholic libations to their concession-stand offerings, they could reach deeper pockets. After discovering, however, that such a move would rule out any patrons younger COOL AND CHILL: than legal drinking age, An aquatic theme management hit upon — including an underthe idea of the Inwood the-sea mural (left) — decorates the lobby. Lounge, with its own separate entrance to meet Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code requirements. Craig Wilde of Architexas ensured that the new bar’s design would integrate seamlessly into the historic structure. He separated the lounge from lobby by an eight-foot-tall glass-block and ceramic-tile wall with a water fountain trickling below. The Inwood Lounge was a hit from the start. Bohemian and creative types as well as the elite of Dallas society were drawn to the lavish venue’s cool vibe. “We had too much fun,” recalls Lu Smith, an investor in the bar and one-time manager. “And it didn’t always end at 2 a.m.” Following purchase by the Landmark Theatres chain in 1984, the Inwood underwent a $50,000 renovation aimed at restoring the theater to its

1940s glory. In 2005, another restoration helped preserve its historic cachet while updating amenities for 21st-century patrons. Today, it’s still one of the coolest places to meet in town. And thanks to changes in liquor laws, moviegoers can walk directly from the bar into the theater lobby to enjoy the show. The Inwood’s drink menu offers an array of wine and beer, in addition to a smooth selection of single malt Scotches and mellow martinis. At the top of the list of the house’s specialty cocktails are the Lounge Classic Martini and the Classic Gimlet,

passports back to the height of the silver screen. For more adventurous types, options include the Peach Press, the Chocolate Orange Martini, the Chocolate Cake or the Double Cross French Martini — just to name a few. (The lounge also serves wellknown drinks if you have something else in mind.) The tale of two venues continues into the Inwood’s 70th year, with new owners and new recipes. For movie buffs looking to relax, commune, and be a part of Dallas history, the Inwood’s still the scene to see and be seen.

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EYE CANDY: A variety of treats (left), including the Chick-O-Stick, line the shelves at Atkinson Candy, which opened in 1932 (right).

The Candy Classic with a Funny Name

Chick-O-Sticks are a Lufkin confectionery’s signature brand

the East Texas Timberlands region and serves as headquarters for the Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine and Sam Houston National Forests. The city is distinguished in the timber industry, as displayed at the Texas Forestry Museum, but Lufkin is also the home to Brookshire Brothers grocery stores, and, more recently, the 2017 Little League team that was runner-up to Japan at the Little League World Series in Williamsport,



Texas Forestry Museum 1905 Atkinson Dr. Lufkin, TX 75901 (936) 632-9535 HOURS Mon.–Sat. 10 am–5 pm Closed Sunday


Penn., in August 2017. Oh — and did we mention Chick-O-Sticks? The product of Atkinson Candy, Chick-O-Sticks were originally introduced as Chicken Bones, but the name changed to ChickO-Sticks because another company already owned the name. B.E. and Mabel Atkinson started their business in 1932 to support their family through the Depression. Mabel’s Peanut Butter Bar is made today

using the same ingredients in the original recipe, as are other novel treats such as Mint Twists, Rainbow Coconut Bars and a variety of peanut brittles. But the peculiarly named Chick-OStick remains an all-time favorite of children and adults alike. The honeycombed candies filled with peanut butter and rolled in toasted coconut are among the most popular items manufactured at the familyowned company in Lufkin,

where they’ve been turning out classic confections for more than 80 years. Nothing beats a fullsized Long Boy or Black Cow bar, but Atkinson Candy built its reputation on the bite-sized, penny candy varieties available in stores nationwide or online. However, if you’re in the area, stop by their retail store located inside the Lufkin factory where the fresh candies come straight from the kitchen. Sweet!

Atkinson Candy Company Factory Store 1608 W. Frank Ave. (936) 639-2333


Weekdays 9 am–4 pm Closed Sat. and Sun.





LUFKIN lies in the heart of




STUDIO ART: Joe Barringtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workspace is as compelling as his sculptures.

WEST TEXAS SCREENING: The historic and restored Plaza Theatre hosts the Plaza Classic Film Festival in El Paso.

Texas Film Festivals

Over the past two decades, Texas film festivals have flourished


UST 20 YEARS AGO it would have been a challenge to find a few good film festivals in Texas. But the Texas Film Commission currently has 114 Texas film festivals in its database, with Austin and Houston each hosting more than 20 film festivals per year. Dallas has 17 listed. The growth of these arts and entertainment events can primarily be attributed to three factors. First, they help film enthusiasts gain access to a wider variety of films. Instead of just hoping the local multiplex cinema will bring something more interesting than the obvious, big-studio films to



your town, film festivals give locals the ability to showcase a variety of movies. Second, film festivals can help local and regional filmmakers showcase their films and hopefully be a part in creating the next, home-grown Steven Spielberg. Third, and likely the biggest reason for the growth, is fun. Film festivals are great entertainment that bring together people to celebrate a passion for films and the variety of subjects the films cover. We hope youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll get on the road to check out these film festivals, one from each Texas Heritage Trail Region.




50 independent films (shorts and features), as well as filmmaker Q&A/ interviews, festival parties and more, the Festival attracts film industry personnel, consumers and media from all over Texas and the nation.

Deep in the Heart Film Festival 724 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 76701 March 22–25, 2018

The Deep in the Heart Film Festival searches for films that make us laugh, cry or even scream. The Festival showcases the best in independent film from Texas, the nation and the world. The aim is to share great films, inspire filmmakers, create networking opportunities and show guests some genuine Texas hospitality.


Boomtown Film and Music Festival 2110 Victoria St. Beaumont, TX 77703 Julia Rodriguez, Festival Director (409) 422-9030 Feb. 22–25, 2018

At the Boomtown Film and Music Festival, music and film lovers come together to hear cutting-edge bands, see “fiercely independent” films, enjoy panel discussions and mingle with like-minded enthusiasts. The festival also gives attendees the chance to hear and learn from experienced filmmakers.

Nacogdoches Film Festival P.O. Box 635132 Nacogdoches, TX 75963 Ron Johnson, Festival Director (936) 645-1499 Feb. 22–24, 2018

The Nacogdoches Film Festival is an annual celebration of the art and entertainment of film in all its forms. A nonprofit organization, the Nacogdoches Film Festival is part of an East Texas college community known for its arts focus and easy access to area attractions, trails, restaurants, shopping and scenic byways.

Tribute Film Festival 625 North 1st Street Abilene, TX 79601 Jeff Salmon, Festival Director (325) 437-2800 March 1–3, 2018

“Real. Worthy. Stories.” That’s the tagline for this Abilene film festival that primarily focuses on documentaries that reference historic events.

Gulf Coast Film & Video Festival P.O. Box 580316 Houston, TX 77258 Hal Wixon, Founder (281) 333-5804 Sep. 29–30, 2017; 2018 dates TBD

Established in 1998, the Gulf Coast Film and Video Festival was created to showcase the discovery of new and emerging artists. The Festival encourages the work of independent filmmakers and promotes the concept of film as art, offering awards as a means of educational outreach and expanded awareness of independent film.

Thin Line 214 W. Hickory St. Denton, TX 76201 Joshua Butler, Festival Director (888) 893-4560 April 18–22, 2018

Events include screenings of selected films at the Frontier Texas museum, an independent filmmaking seminar, social/networking events in downtown Abilene and a festival gala to screen the award-winning films.

Thin Line is a film, music and photo festival held over five days in Denton that delivers an engaging program of high-quality documentary films, world-class music and a diverse palette of photographic art. The festival screens all types of documentary films. INDEPENDENTS DAY: The Hill Country Film Festival celebrates indie efforts.

Hill Country Film Festival Chad Mathews, Executive Director (512) 838-6828 April 26–29, 2018

The Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg blends the unique artistic culture of the Hill Country with independent film. Featuring over W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8


Plaza Classic Film Festival 125 Pioneer Plaza El Paso, TX 79901 Doug Pullen, Program Director (915) 533-4020 August 3–13, 2017; 2018 dates TBD

West Texas Film Festival 201 W. University Blvd. Odessa, TX 79764 Jennifer Ramsey, Director & Founder (432) 335-6587 Nov. 8–11, 2017; 2018 dates TBD

The purpose of the West Texas Film Festival is to attract diverse films from both directors and producers that would not normally be featured in West Texas. The festival seeks out short films, documentaries, features, animation and student films as well as screenplays from all over the world that reflect the pioneer spirit of filmmaking.

The Plaza Classic Film Festival was created in 2008 to celebrate El Paso’s rich cinema history and rekindle the joy of communal filmgoing, exemplified by the historic and restored Plaza Theatre.

Flatland Film Festival

The Flatland Film Festival aims to cultivate an appreciation for film and video. The festival is punctuated by live original music, appearances by directors and filmmakers and, of course, the best in independent filmmaking.

Rockport Film Festival (RFF)

Rockport Center for the Arts 902 Navigation Circle Rockport, TX 78382 Elena Rodriguez, Festival Director (361) 729-5519 Nov. 2–4, 2017; 2018 dates TBD

The Rockport Film Festival celebrates the best of independent cinema on the Texas Coast. Showcasing shorts, features, documentaries, animations and student films, the Rockport Film Festival is a three-day event that highlights talent from all over the world.



FROM LEFT: COURTESY PLAZA CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL; COURTESY FLATLAND FF Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts 511 Avenue K Lubbock, TX 79401 Jude Machin, Media Curator (806) 762-8606 Oct. 19–21, 2017; 2018 dates TBD

Happenings W I N T E R 20 1 7






Lost Pines Christmas



Nov. 23–Dec. 25 Downtown Bastrop








Experience the holiday season in one of Texas’ most historic small town. Events include the Christmas Pub Crawl, Wassail Fest, downtown Cookie Crawl and the annual nighttime Lighted Christmas Parade.


Christmas Tour of Lights



War Stories: New Braunfels in World War I



case events, individuals and ideology of the era, as well as touch on the lasting impact of the Great War.


Through January 2019 Sophienburg Museum and Archives 401 W. Coll St. (830) 629-1572 Part of the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of America’s role in World War I, the exhibit contains artifacts from the Sophienburg’s rich collection — posters, photographs, uniforms and other historical objects to show-

Christmas Tour of Lights FARMERS BRANCH

Nov. 24–Dec. 30 Farmers Branch Historical Park 2540 Farmers Branch Lane (972) 919.2631 This drive-through animated display features more than a half-million twinkling lights. Visitors travel through a


Wonderland of Lights MARSHALL


Nov. 22–Dec. 31 Downtown Marshall (903) 702-7777 Christmas delights are around every corner during the 31st annual celebration — from the “Candy Wonderland of Lights” to the ice-skating rink, from the Holly Trolly to the beautifully restored vintage 1948 Herschel carousel. There will be special events throughout the holiday season.

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variety of different themed scenes, from fantasy to patriotic. There’s festive holiday music and an animated show in the Farmers Branch Historical Park with Santa Claus himself. Free with donations accepted. Closed Dec. 2 and Dec. 25.

Concho Christmas Celebration Tour of Lights SAN ANGELO

Dec. 2–31 W. 1st St. and W. River Drive (325) 944-4444 conchochristmascelebration. com Pack everyone in the car, tune the radio to KCSA 97.1 FM and drive the 2.5 miles along the banks of the Concho River through the Tour of Lights. Enjoy the beauty of more than 3 million lights and 50 Christmas Greeting Cards. The lights depict the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” an elaborate nativity scene, Santa Claus and more. A donation of $5 per vehicle is suggested.

LBJ Tree Lighting, Stonewall

Comanche Trail Festival of Lights BIG SPRING

Dec. 3–25 Comanche Trail Park Entrance off US 87 S (432) 263-4607 Bring the family and enjoy a leisurely drive through the historic park, illuminated with more than 1 million lights and sculptures. This year, visit the restored Comanche Springs, and stop in for refreshments and gift-shopping at the end of the Trail.

39th Annual Candlelight at the Ranch LUBBOCK

Dec. 8–9 National Ranching Heritage Center Texas Tech University (806) 742-0498

Candlelight at the Ranch recreates a frontier holiday similar to those on the open prairie from 1780 to 1950. The event will include more than 4,000 luminaries lining the paths of the historic park as volunteer Ranch Hosts dressed in period clothing recreate holiday scenes from another era.

Cultures of Candlelight! DALLAS

Dec. 9 Dallas Heritage Village 1515 South Harwood St. (214) 421-5141 Many cultures are represented at Dallas Heritage Village. Each culture’s holiday traditions will be honored. Sing along with strolling carolers, tell St. Nicholas your holiday wishes and make holiday crafts. Local groups perform on three stages all evening. Festive foods are available for purchase from food trucks as well as a bake sale, traditional kettle corn, nuts and more.

Christmas in the Park RICHMOND

Dec. 2, 9, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 George Ranch Historical Park 10215 FM 762 Rd. (281) 343-0218 Travel through Christmas past and explore the customs and decorations from 1830s to the 1930s. Stop by the 1860s Ryon Prairie Home for wassail and Christmas treat samples or catch Tree-house Story Time with Santa Claus.

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend HOUSTON

Dec. 15–Jan. 6 Museum of Fine Arts Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens 6003 Memorial Drive (713) 639-7300

Get in the holiday spirit with carolers, a faux-snowball play area, a handcrafted model train, thousands of lights and more — all on 14 acres of gardens and art nestled in River Oaks. Holiday-themed tours of Ima Hogg’s historic mansion crafted by Todd Waite feature live actors, theatrical effects and Christmas decorations.

48th Annual LBJ Tree Lighting STONEWALL

Dec. 17 LBJ State Park and Historic Site (830) 644-2252 Join the Texas Hill Country Community in this special tradition started 48 years ago by President and Mrs. Johnson. Enjoy carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus, refreshments and of course, the spectacular tree lighting. Then revisit the past at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm.

Luckenbach New Year’s Eve Celebration LUCKENBACH

Dec. 31 Luckenbach Dance Hall (830) 997-3224 Usher in the New Year with one heck of a party in the historic Luckenbach Texas Dance Hall, featuring music by Dale Watson.

Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo ODESSA

Jan. 3–13 218 W. 46th St. (432) 366-3951 During one of the first rodeos





on the PRCA circuit, cowboys and cowgirls compete for top prizes at the only stock show strictly dedicated to the Hereford breed. Other activities include a quarter horse show, a rodeo, dances and a Tex-Mex barrel race to round out the week-long event.

down roping, steer wrestling and women’s barrel racing. The Stock Show provides an opportunity for youth across the state to participate in one of Texas’ largest livestock shows. Additionally, this annual event includes a carnival, exhibit hall and Kid’s Korral.

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

Mardi Gras! Galveston


Feb. 2–13 2314 Strand St. (409) 770-0999 www.mardigrasgalveston. com


Jan 12–Feb. 3 Will Rogers Memorial Center 3400 Burnett Tandy Drive (817) 877-2400

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

of the Southwest for the performance, titled “Tyuonyi: A Journey in Time.” The performances are held inside a kiva lodge filled with art and artifacts.


Edge-of-your-seat PRCA rodeo action, world-class livestock shows, kid-friendly exhibits, daily live music, a fun-filled carnival midway, daily shopping and more.

23nd Annual Eagle Fest

San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo



Jan. 20–21 Rains High School 1651 US-69 (903) 473-3913

Feb. 2–18 200 W. 43rd St. (325) 653-7785

Live birds of prey shows, barge tours to see eagles in their natural habitat, bus tours and more.

Winter Outdoor & Wildlife Expo

Eagle Fest in Emory

The five-day event featuring the unique resources of South Padre Island with a different focus for each day. Learn about the special environment, the Laguna Madre, the Gulf and fishing, the plants, butterflies and birds, and special raptor programs by Jonathan Woods. Friday focuses on family-friendly activities.

Night with the Duckens Family Singers BELTON

Feb. 3 (254) 295-5999 The Bell County Museum in partnership with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor presents the Duckens Family Singers, a musical program celebrating Black

Kwahadi Dancers

February Kwahadi Dancers: Winter Night Ceremonials


Jan. 23–27 Birding and Nature Center 6801 Padre Blvd. (956) 761-6801

The San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Association was founded in 1932 with its first rodeo being held in 1934. Today, the San Angelo Rodeo

Enjoy the 107th annual Mardi Gras! Galveston with elaborate parades, headliner performances, family events, feasting and other festivities that come with hosting Mardi Gras island style.

The Chisholm Trail: Cattle and Crossroads of History WACO

Feb. 1 Mayborn Museum 1 Bear Place (254) 710-1110 The fourth annual Director’s Forum, a collaboration with the Texas Historical Commission, will provide lectures, music and panel discussions on how the Chisholm Trail affected our state and history.


Feb. 2 Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian 9151 I-40 East 806-335-3175 For the 50th consecutive year, the Kwahadi Dancers of Amarillo will present their Winter Night Ceremonials on weekends in late January and February. Made up mostly of teenagers, the Kwahadi Youth Dance Theater interprets the traditional dances of the desert farming people

is a PRCA and WPRA sanctioned event open to cowboys and cowgirls across the world. It features rough stock events such as bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding, as well as timed events like team roping, tie-

History Month. The program runs in conjunction with the museum’s traveling exhibit, “Dance Theater of Harlem,” and will be held in UMHB’s new Frank and Sue Mayborn Performing Arts Center.

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“The Day the Music Died” LUBBOCK

Feb. 3 Buddy Holly Center 1801 Crickets Ave. (806) 775-3560 Feb. 3 marks the anniversary of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper) and pilot Roger Peterson. This date has affectionately been given the name “The Day the Music Died” by the Buddy Holly Center, after a lyric in the Don McLean song “American Pie” that references the deaths of these rock ’n’ roll musicians. Patrons are invited to the Center to celebrate the life and legacy of Buddy Holly. “The Day the Music Died” at the Buddy Holly Center

Mardi Gras Nocona Style NOCONA

Feb. 8–10 Downtown Nocona (940) 825-3526

Mardi Gras Upriver JEFFERSON

The Krewe of Hebe will celebrate Mardi Gras with an event that includes live entertainment, parades, food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, a carnival area and more. This is a family-friendly event nestled in one of Texas’ oldest towns.

Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas PORT ARTHUR

Feb. 8–11 3830 FM 365 (409) 721-8717



Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo HOUSTON

Feb. 27–March 18 3 NRG Pkwy (832) 667-1000 The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo.

Oysterfest FULTON

Mardi Gras Nocona Style

Charro Days Fiesta BROWNSVILLE

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo SAN ANTONIO

Feb. 8–25 723 AT&T Center Pkwy (210) 225-5851

Established in 1949, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has grown to be one of the largest and most prestigious events in the city.

Feb. 18–March 5 (956) 542-4245 Born to lift community spirits toward the close of the Great Depression in 1937, Charro Days Fiesta will celebrate its 81st anniversary in 2018

March 1–4 Fulton Navigation Park (361) 463-9955 The 40th annual Fulton Oysterfest is a salute to the tasty bivalve found in the local waters. Sponsored by the Fulton Volunteer Fire Department and the town of Fulton, the family-friendly event features carnival rides,


Feb. 9–11 (817) 2911969

Boots, beads and classic cars highlight the unusual twist Nocona makes to the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Lots of fun activities and events, including a Mardi Gras parade.

Carnival Weekend has many attractions and activities for the whole family, including daily parades, concerts and arts and crafts vendors. The Mardi Gras Store offers a full line of Mardi Gras goods and products.

with the same dedication to bi-national friendship and respect for traditions that first captivated Brownsville long ago. Enjoy festivals, parades, dances and the Charro Days Carnival.


Since 1973 this festival has been celebrating the unique heritage of Nederland. The festival includes carnival rides, live music, chili cookoff, an art walk and many other attractions.

32nd Annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo



March 2–3

March 8–18 (956) 565-2456

games, food, an oyster eating contest, live music, unique vendor booths and, most of all, fun.

The two-day event celebrates the oral tradition of the working cowboy in poetry, stories and music. Enjoy more than 50 performers in the classrooms and on the stages of Sul Ross State University.

BorderFest HIDALGO

March 3-4 State Farm Arena 2600 N. 10th St. (Hwy. 336) (956) 843-6688


Celebrated each year on the first weekend in March, BorderFest is a multi-day-plus extravaganza staged by the City of Hidalgo and over 1,000 enthusiastic volunteers. An enlightened leadership, many business supporters,

The first incarnation of this annual event was held in 1939 on the grounds of a local livestock sales yard with makeshift pens and lean-to sheds. Over the past 79 years, it has grown to be one of the top 10 shows

and a proud citizenry have now brought BorderFest to its 42nd year.

The Best Little Cowboy Gathering in Texas LA GRANGE

March 8–11 Fayette County Fairgrounds (979) 702-0086 bestlittlecowboygathering. org The Best Little Cowboy

Gathering In Texas has become such a popular event, organizers have split the entertainment between two different stages, the Dance Hall and the Outside Stage. This is a weekend of music and dancing day and night, BBQ cookers, children’s events, historical events and Texas-sized hospitality.

BorderFest in Hidalgo

Nederland Heritage Festival

Nederland Heritage Festival

in the state, featuring live performances, festival foods, parades, horse shows, cooking contests, competitive events, petting zoos and more.


March 13–18 1523 Boston Ave. (409) 724-2269

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B: Born in Fort Worth, raised near

San Angelo; during WW II, enlisted in the U.S. Navy but was transferred to the Marine Corps; attended HardinSimmons University, graduated from the University of Texas; was selected by Walt Disney Company to play Davy Crockett; later portrayed Daniel Boone in a television series; in retirement he became a winemaker.

C: Born and raised in Katy; a cheer-

leader, gymnast and drama club member; graduate of the University of Texas; gained 20 pounds for her role in Bridget Jones’s Diary; performance in Cold Mountain earned her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

F: Born and raised in Terrell; in high

school was a part-time church pianist, sang in a band and was the quarterback of the football team; studied music in college; began his career as a stand-up comedian; starred in the title role of Django Unchained and played the villain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2; in 2004, his portrayal of Ray Charles earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor; is a Grammy Awardwinning musician.

G: Born in Corsicana,

attended high school in Dallas; shortly after moving to California, was discovered in a bathing beauty contest; cast as Wendy Darling in the silent movie version of Peter Pan; under contract

H: Born in Lamesa;

graduated from Monterey High School in Lubbock and studied at Texas Tech University; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; appeared in Urban Cowboy, Any Which Way You Can, No Country for Old Men, Dallas, The Thorn Birds (television miniseries) and Northern Exposure; is probably most fondly known for his role in Lonesome Dove; ranches near Fort Worth.

I: Born in Corpus

Christi; was voted

TRIVIA QUIZ Actors and Actresses from Texas

Sure, you know Tommy Lee Jones, Larry Hagman and Matthew McConaughey are Texans, as well as Jaclyn Smith, Morgan Fairchild and Debbie Reynolds. But can you match these descriptions with the accompanying list of actors/actresses who hail from the Lone Star State? Answers are at the bottom of the page!

D: Born in De Kalb and raised in

O’Donnell; attended Hardin-Simmons University and Sul Ross; served with the U.S. Army in the Korean War and was awarded the Purple Heart; worked as a rodeo performer, bar bouncer and teacher; appeared in many Westerns but is best known for his role as Hoss Cartwright in the television series Bonanza.

E: Born and raised in Weatherford; as a struggling actress, she went to so many auditions in Hollywood she became known as “Audition Mary”; perhaps best known for her Broadway role of Peter Pan; shampooed her hair on stage in more than 1,000 performances of the song “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific; mother of actor Larry Hagman.

with Paramount, appeared in more than 40 movies; making the transition from silent movies to “talkies,” co-starred with Gary Cooper, Walter Huston and Richard Arlen in The Virginian; during WWII, entertained servicemen in the South Pacific and in Europe; in retirement, she painted portraits.

“most beautiful” all four years of high school; attended the University of Texas; her iconic swimsuit poster became the bestselling pin-up poster in history; appeared in various television commercials and television series; stardom came with her role as a private investigator in the first season of the television series Charlie’s Angels, which became the most popular series on TV.

modeled children’s clothing for a Dallas department store and appeared in Wonder Bread advertisements; at age three, became a star as a key member of the Our Gang comedy movie series; served in the U.S. Air Force and worked for Philco Ford Corporation.

K: Born in Grand Prairie and named

for a popular Tejano singer who died in 1995; began her career starring in the television series Barney & Friends and then rose to fame in the Disney Channel series Wizards of Waverly Place; has her own clothing line and a perfume; became named the youngest UNICEF ambassador at age 17.

L: Born in Corpus Christi; worked at Wendy’s during high school and graduated from Texas A&M UniversityKingsville; was Miss Corpus Christi in 1998; a talent contest took her to Los Angeles; had roles in several soap operas, including The Bold and the Beautiful; worldwide fame came with her role in Desperate Housewives. M: Born in Houston; graduated from

Waltrip High School and attended San Jacinto College; after moving to New York, trained at the Harkness and Joffrey Ballet Schools; appeared in numerous supporting roles in films and television; his breakthrough role came as a dance instructor in Dirty Dancing; starred in Ghost; Broadway appearances included Goodtime Charley and Chicago.

J: Born in

Dallas and attended Lancaster High School;

ANSWERS: A-Sissy Spacek; B-Fess Parker, Jr; C- Renée Zellweger; D-Dan Blocker; E- Mary Martin; F-Jamie Foxx; G-Mary Brian; H-Barry Corbin; I-Farrah Fawcett; J-George “Spanky” McFarland; K-Selena Gomez; L-Eva Longoria; M-Patrick Swayze




A: Born on Christmas Day; although her given name is Mary Elizabeth, she’s known by the name her brothers called her; Quitman High School Homecoming Queen; major breakthrough came when she played the title character in a horror film based on Stephen King’s first novel; nearly turned down the lead role in Coal Miner’s Daughter, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress; six-time Oscar nominee.





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Chronicling the history and impact of filmmaking in Texas



the words ‘Fermez la porte’ in an impeccable French accent.” Just as movplaces far away from our own experiences, ies have been exporting Texas culture around the globe, movies have also sometimes through emotions that feel safer been bringing big money into Texas through the film industry. According to historian John H. Slate, in an article for the Texas to experience through the medium of film. Interestingly, movies can let us experience a State Historical Association, “The first motion pictures made in Texas place we know well in a different way. Texas has did not tell stories, but documented events and simple activities. The been the location and subject of numerous films earliest documented moving film shot in Texas is of the aftermath of and has captivated audiences in different ways from The Immortal Alamo the Galveston hurricane of 1900. Cameraman G.W. Bitzer of the New York-based Biograph Company arrived at Texas (1911), leading the way for dozens of Alamo films, to City on September 13, and in the following days The Searchers (1956), taking actor John Wayne to the pinnacle of his career, to Urban Cowboy (1980), where “The power of film shot eight scenes of the destruction. Other short scenes made in Texas at that time, probably by Bitzer, the image of rural Texas gives way to industrial urban is indisputable. growth. Movies have propagated and promoted a We want, badly, to include a passing train and oil wells at Beaumont.” In this earliest period of the film industry it unique image and mystique about this state, and the watch. And wasn’t clear if (silent) moving pictures could find a American West more generally, to people around the this power seems profitable market and what type of content would world. be most in demand. The first problem was a need “The power of film is indisputable,” writes unique to film.” for a distribution system and for “projection” locaphilosopher Colin McGinn in his book The Power of tions. Likely the earliest motion picture company Movies. “Since the beginning of movies, a little over —PHILOSOPHER established in Texas was the J.D. Wheelan Film a hundred years ago, they have captivated audiences. COLIN MCGINN Company, with locations in Dallas and San Antonio, We want, badly, to watch. And this power seems unique to film.” McGinn goes on to explain, “All across the world people founded in 1908. The company was established primarily to distribute flock to the movies, and it is amazing how easy it is for a movie from the films of the Motion Picture Patents Company and other national one county to cross boundaries into another . . . I once watched a Clint film companies. Wheelan had limited success but didn’t follow the trend Eastwood cowboy film in Paris in which the tough gunslinger intoned of the time, producing and distributing large quantities of its own films.



OVIES TAKE US on journeys, sometimes to


The company slowly faded into obscurity. Before Hollywood became Hollywood, San Antonio looked as if it might possibly become the center of this new industry. The city and surrounding region had the kind of weather the early filmmakers needed, access to an inexpensive labor market and vast, open vistas. Film historian Frank Thompson detailed San Antonio’s extensive film industry history in his 2002 book, Texas Hollywood: Filmmaking in San Antonio Since 1910. Beginning with the Star Film Ranch, a film studio opened in San Antonio in 1910 by Gaston Mélies, the brother of famed early French filmmaker Georges Mélies, the new industry immediately looked to Texas history for content. The studio’s first major film, The Immortal Alamo (a

With the film industry growing rapidly, primarily in California, Texas was relegated to serving the major film studios for “location shoots.” One of the first efforts to draw film production back to Texas was advertising by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce in Motion Picture News (November 1918), touting “More sunny days than California or Florida, and far less fog or rain. Sunlight of unusual actinic power, giving a greater number of working hours and greatly cheapening the cost of producing pictures. Motion picture work is new in San Antonio; the city officials, the Chamber of Commerce and all the citizens are willing to cooperate. Locations can be secured without cost, service can be had at reasonable prices — no gouging will be permit-

San Antonio by Paramount, The Rough Riders (1927) and Wings (1927). Both films took advantage of the military assets in the area. The U.S. Army’s Camp Bullis was used as Cuba’s San Juan Hill for The Rough Riders. Wings used Camp Stanley to recreate the trench warfare battlefields of World War I Europe. The world premiere of Wings was held at San Antonio’s Texas Theater. At the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, Wings was awarded the first Best Picture prize. The film remains the only silent film to receive the Academy’s top award, because the next year The Broadway Melody, a sound film, won the award, and the silent film era came to an end. The film industry in the 1930s and 1940s was dominated by Hollywood “studio film” pro-

MAKING HISTORY: (clockwise from above) Students from Peacock Military Academy in 1911 as soldiers in The Immortal Alamo; movie poster for Wings, filmed in San Antonio; on the set of the television miniseries Lonesome Dove.

ted. San Antonio is the site of the greatest military camps in America. It has 12 separate and distinct establishments, representing every branch of the service. It has the largest aviation field, and the greatest balloon schools in the Army.” The appeal seems to have had some success in getting the attention of the film industry. One of the first big-budget Hollywood movies to be filmed in San Antonio, Fox Film Corporation’s The Warrens of Virginia (1924), was shot at Brackenridge Park, representing the Appomattox battlefield where Generals Lee and Grant met to end the Civil War. Two of the biggest movies of the silent film era were filmed in

ductions, and fewer notable films were made in Texas. One Texas film worth citing from this period is The Big Show (1936), starring Gene Autry. The movie was filmed at Fair Park in Dallas during the Texas Centennial Exposition. The 1950s saw a growth in Texas location shoots with the blockbuster hits Giant (1956), filmed in Marfa (see story on page 38), and The

1911 silent movie), filmed some scenes in the actual Alamo and cast students from Peacock Military Academy, a San Antonio private preparatory boarding and day school for young men, as soldiers for the battle scenes. Star Films went on to produce at least 70 short silent films in San Antonio over a two-year period; unfortunately, most of these films were eventually lost. The Star Film Company soon moved to southern California to be close to the growing film industry there. At least eight film companies operated in Texas between 1910 and 1930, but none of them could compete against the studios on the East and West Coasts.

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Alamo, starring John Wayne (1959), filmed north of Brackettville. These two films did much to canonize Texas mystique and export it to the world. The Texas film industry from the 1960s through the 1980s was dominated by film adaptations of Larry McMurtry novels, beginning with Hud (a 1962 film based on the novel Horseman, Pass By), starring Paul Newman and Patricia Neal; director Peter Bogdanovich’s The Last Picture Show (1971); and James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment (1983), which won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Lonesome Dove (1989), a hugely popular television miniseries starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall, was filmed at the Alamo Village sets north of Brackettville. “This six-hour miniseries,” the New



York Times wrote, “revitalized both the miniseries and Western genres, both of which had been considered dead for several years.” Lonesome Dove went on to win seven Emmy Awards. Another attempt at Texas becoming a major player in the film industry was creation of the Studios at Las Colinas, in Irving, opening in 1982 as “one of the largest complete sound stage facilities between the coasts.” The studio was used to produce Silkwood (1983), Robocop (1987), JFK (1991), the television series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001) and the popular children’s series Barney & Friends (1992-2009). The Irving studio has gone through a number of owners and name changes but continues as a production facility. Since 2013 it has been home to Mercury Radio Arts, the parent company of TheBlaze, conserva-

tive television commentator Glenn Beck’s news, opinion and entertainment network. In 1985 Richard Linklater (see story on page 42) founded the Austin Film Society and started an upward trend in the local film industry that continues today. San Antonio continues to find success in attracting film productions. In 1971 the Texas Film Commission was created by Gov. Preston Smith to promote and boost the state’s film industry as an economic development initiative. The governor’s executive order stated that it was “in the social, economic and educational interest of Texas to encourage the development of the film-communication industry.” The TFC has had success in helping to grow the industry and to spread the message that Texas welcomed filmmakers. In 2007 the Texas Legislature established the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, allowing the TFC to “administer grants to films, television programs, commercials, and video games that are produced in Texas.” The bill also established the Texas Film Commission’s Workforce Training Program and the Texas Moving Image Archive Program. (See page 74.) That same year the TFC began the Film Friendly Texas Program, providing information to communities on how to effectively handle and promote on-location filming, and in 2016 the program (see page 74). certified its 100th “Film Friendly Community” through the program. Funding for the incentive program has varied over the past decade, and funding was almost completely cut from the state’s budget in the most recent legislative session. In an April 2017 editorial advocating for funding for the program in the Austin American-Statesman, Paul Stekler, chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department at the University of Texas, wrote, “Four years ago, the Legislature put $95 million into the incentive program for 2014-15 — and $442 million was spent on production during those two years. During the next session, the incentives for 201617 were cut by two-thirds, to $32 million, and production for those two years was estimated to be just above $120 million, a drop of more than $300 million.” Stekler added, “This is a fabulous state in which to make films. It’s the home of great film and screenwriting festivals and wonderful directors. It’s one of the few places outside of Los Angeles and New York where there are experienced crews to work on a major film set.” In the end the legislature appropriated $22 million for the program, down from its peak of $95 million. It’s not only at the state level that the film industry is being supported and developed. According to the TFC, Texas currently has 11 regional film commissions: in Amarillo, Austin, Brownsville Border, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Northeast Texas Regional, Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio. One thing is for sure: the movie industry has had a major impact on Texas.



in the


Texas Archive of the Moving Image preserves our flickering past

access to and educate the community about FILM PROJECTOR whirrs to life as black-and-white Texas’ film heritage. TAMI’s ever-growing images dance across a sus- online collection includes home movies, amapended movie screen. Subtle teur films, advertisements, and local television, scratches show traces of wear, industrial and corporate productions, as well as as deep lines and faded flash- Hollywood and internationally produced moving es traipse through the scene. images of Texas. By partnering with institutions and individuals across the state, This is no Instagram filter — Texas Archive TAMI digitizes and provides this is the real deal, the oldof the Moving Image web access to thousands of movest-known film footage of the 501 N. IH-35, Suite 204 ing images that offer insight into Texas State Capitol grounds, Austin, TX 78702 Texas’ history and culture. captured by pioneering Texas (512) 485-3073 “Film and videotapes are filmmakers the Tilley brothers fragile and impermanent,” says in 1911. These alluring images HOURS Madeline Moya, managing would be lost forever if not for Open by Appointment Only director of TAMI. “They’re the efforts of the Texas Archive susceptible to heat and humidof the Moving Image. Texas State Library ity, two staples of Texas’ climate, Founded in 2002 by and Archives film archivist and University Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and can decompose at rapid rates, meaning the history held of Texas at Austin professor and Library Building Capitol Complex in those frames is lost forever.” Dr. Caroline Frick, the Texas 1201 Brazos St. To keep these truly movArchive of the Moving Image ing images from being lost to (TAMI) is a nonprofit working VISIT AUSTIN the ravages of time, TAMI partto discover, preserve, provide

ners with the Office of the Governor’s Texas Film Commission to administer the Texas Film Round-Up, also known as the Texas Moving Image Archive Program. The Round-Up provides free digitization for Texas-related films and videos, online access to a selection of the contributed films, statewide public programming and educator resources encouraging the use of Texas films in the classroom. More than 40,000 films and videos have been digitized since the program’s inception in 2008. “Home movies are a crucial part of our public record,” Maya adds. “They’re one of the best documents of our culture that exist. Home movies capture emotions, mannerisms, regional accents and customs — all from the citizen’s perspective. The Texas Film Round-Up offers a chance for families to find out what is on their 16mm and 8mm film reels or VHS tapes at no cost and gives TAMI the opportunity to piece together the puzzle of our shared Texas past.” Catch the next Round-Up in Waco in March 2018. Check the TAMI website for more information.

EVERY MOVING PICTURE TELLS A STORY: (clockwise from top left) A still from “President Ayub Khan of Pakistan Arrival in San Antonio” (1961); Lady Bird Johnson and friend in wildflowers on land that is now part of the Mueller Neighborhood in Austin.; a still from “Texas Rangers, Company B Headquarters,” 1957; a still from “Home Movie of Odessa”; a still from the John and Alois Morkovsky Collection, No. 12, “Easter at St. Leo’s Church”; a still from A. M. Harper, “Fishing Trips Home Movie”; a still from Austin Memorial Service for John F. Kennedy; President Truman in El Paso, 1948.






WIN T E R 2 0 1 7






Tom Copeland took everyday Texas sites and made them iconic moments in film. Now he wants to bring film companies back to the state.

TEXAS IS HOME to thousands of films and television shows, and throughout the state you can still see artifacts of film history left behind. Like the famed “DOM” graffiti on the rock in Big Bend from Kevin Costner’s first film, Fandango. (see page 22.) Or the now-restored “home of Leatherface” in Kingsland (where you can actually dine). The courthouse from True Grit, the bank from Bonnie and Clyde, the water tower from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape — all iconic parts of film history and all places you can still visit. But who’s responsible for taking these locations from ordinary to iconic? Well, if a movie or television project set up shop in Texas between 1983 and 2005, chances are Tom Copeland had a hand in it. During that stretch, Copeland worked for the Texas Film Commission, a government agency tasked with servicing the film industry and bringing film, television and now video game projects to the state. “I’ve been around awhile,” Copeland laughs. In fact, he came into the business 43 years ago, first as a theater major at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos. At the time, Copeland acted in anything and everything he could, culminating in about 25 different theater productions. Then, one day, some big trucks rolled into town, and Copeland got his first taste of Hollywood. “I’d never seen a motion picture company work,” Copeland says. “All these people came



by JEREMY RAY BURCHARD into town with all these trucks and cameras and equipment. Some of my friends and I thought that because we were in the theater department, they’d use us as actors. Of course, that wasn’t the case.” But the experience did pique Copeland’s curiosity and expose him to the nascent Texas Film Commission, which the state established in 1971. “I learned there was an actual state office bringing this stuff to town,” he says. The office also served as a job-finding platform for film crews. Crew members registered with the office, and when a film company called looking for people who could work, the office offered up the various registrants as options. Copeland eventually did get a chance to act in a movie when The Great Waldo Pepper came to film in San Marcos the next year. The Robert Redford picture about a World War I veteran pilot cast Copeland as an extra, an experience that quickly redirected his aspirations from acting to behind-the-scenes work. “I learned pretty quickly,” he laughs, “that I wasn’t going to have a career as an actor.” Copeland’s strong work ethic and natural curiosity took him a half-hour north to Austin, where he spent some time working on Austin City Limits, primarily as a makeup artist (thanks once again to his work in theater). But films kept coming to the area, and several of Copeland’s coworkers kept making money by going to work on the set. So he followed suit.

“The first film I worked on was Secrets Of the Bermuda Triangle, and they should probably stay secrets,” Copeland jokes. The film used Camp Gary in San Marcos as the Florida airport. A few months later, Copeland landed another production assistant (PA) gig on a film and quit working for Austin City Limits. So what exactly is this glamorous world of being a PA? “Here’s the definitive answer,” Copeland says. “They do jobs nobody else wants to do. It’s the entry into the business.” Copeland’s last PA job was 1978’s Piranha, a film that Copeland says was both a complete and total mess and a springboard for a lot of careers outside of Texas. Copeland worked on the cult horror classic by basically filling in for the different roles of people who quit during filming. He worked on the second unit, which pretty much did all the stunts. “I almost drowned,” Copeland says, “and nobody cared.” He also got his first taste of work as a location manager, which felt like a natural fit for Copeland. That role typically involves finding the right places to set up and film different shots on set — an early harbinger of his future role in shaping big Texas film moments. After Piranha wrapped, Copeland knew he couldn’t keep working grueling sets like that. “They worked us 17 or 18 hours a day and paid us less because Texas is a right-to-work state,” Copeland says, referring to the absence of unions


protecting worker interests. “It’s really abuse.” Copeland instead spent years doing whatever he could to keep working. He filmed commercials in Dallas and did the makeup for every major politician who rolled through the state between 1978 and 1983. “You did whatever you had to do,” Copeland says. He went to the East Coast for a little while and also ruled out a full-time move to Los Angeles. Copeland grew up in the Lubbock area and spent a lot of time working in Central Texas, Dallas and Houston. “I’m a Texas guy,” he says. It just so happens that years of work in the industry and a love for the Lone Star State was the perfect combination for a new position at the Texas Film Commission in 1983 — Location Scout. In short, Copeland needed to know just about every nook and cranny of the state so that when production companies called, he could help them realize the visions of their scripts. “They’d give you a script and you’d read it, then come up with multiple locations that might work,” Copeland says. “You try to interpret what the director wants. Some people are good at it, and some people just suck. I’m a visual and a naturally curious person. So I’d call different people around the state and tell them what I was looking for, then I’d go out there and sometimes where they sent me was just so wrong. It’s like, ‘I know I described it better than that.’ But I’d always come up with lots of locations, and they’d usually leave happy. About 90 percent of the time we got it right.” Copeland says Texas is an easy product to sell thanks to its range of filming options. But its greatest asset can also sometimes be its trickiest variable. “Things change, so will it be the same as when you saw it years ago?” he says. “Buildings burn down, people renovate downtowns. And it’s not just locations. Companies want crew information and climatological information. You have to be an expert on Texas in general.” Copeland excelled, and, 22 years later, retired from the Texas Film Commission as the director who, from 1995 to 2005, oversaw the creation of more than 600 films and television shows with cumulative budgets of more than $3 billion. Now, that’s not to say every project brought to life was a riveting work of art. There was a stretch of time where the office worked a lot of TV movies they not-so-lovingly called the “disease of the week.” You know, those movies that are “ripped from the headlines.” But even in those

instances, Copeland knew it was about getting jobs and opportunities for the state. And it’s a competitive market. Texas is battling against states like New Mexico and Louisiana for big projects. One of Copeland’s fondest wins? Lonesome Dove, the four-episode miniseries based on Larry McMurtry’s novel with a script by Bill Wittliff (see page 78) and starring Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Danny Glover. It remains one of the most critically and commercially successful projects of its kind. “That was a big one for me,” Copeland says. He and his team went “pedal to the metal” on securing the miniseries, because they knew they were competing with New Mexico. And even though they knew they couldn’t provide the snowcapped mountain scenes, Copeland was positive they could win the production with areas along the

LANDING A ROLE: Extras work in The Great Waldo Pepper, a film starring Robert Redford that filmed in San Marcos, inspired Copeland, a theater major, to pursue behind-the-scenes work instead of acting.

Rio Grande and in Austin. At the end of the day, Copeland estimates they filmed about 70 percent of the project in Texas. For those who want to visit their favorite filming locations in the state, the Texas Film Commission provides great resources. Those include their “Texas Film Trails” feature on the website, which highlights different routes that cover historic locations for projects like Giant, Logan’s Run, Terms Of Endearment, Dallas and Urban Cowboy. Copeland says it never ceases to amaze him the number of people who are superfans of certain movies and want to visit every filming location possible. But for his part, Copeland transitioned back

to education in 2005. He returned to Texas State to work in the theater department, creating a oneof-a-kind program that helps theater students prepare for careers in the film industry. “It never made sense to me that the theater department and the film school never worked together,” Copeland says. So he created a program that helped talented and hungry theater students understand and work in film. “I started by teaching them how the business actually works and how to get and keep a job,” Copeland laughs. “And I told my network that I’m the Southern distributor of production assistants. Every kid who walks out of this class is prepared to be the best PA they can be. And because of that, my network and connections call me asking for interns and assistants.” Copeland thinks the school is probably a year or so away from creating a proper major. But with the staff he’s brought in — educators who are also still fully engrossed in the filmmaking scene — “It’s a full service sort of program,” he says, “and I don’t think there are many places in the country with something like it.” With any luck, the influx of talented and trained students will inspire the state to incentivize more filmmaking in Texas. In the early 2000s, Canada started giving big tax incentives for companies to film there. Other states like New Mexico and Louisiana followed suit, and suddenly tons of big-budget films and television shows chose Texas’ neighbors over the Lone Star State. But everything that made Texas such a desirable location from the 1970s through early 2000s is still there. Lawmakers just need to understand how beneficial incentivizing the industry is. “It’s an education issue,” Copeland says. “A lot of politicians don’t get it, because they don’t see the jobs created as permanent jobs. But every time a movie or show comes to film, it’s like a moving factory. Every day they go to different areas and counties and spend a ton of money, hiring a lot of local crew.” Take, for instance, the HBO show The Leftovers, which created a $1.7 million economic impact on the town of Lockhart alone. Or look at Atlanta, Georgia, which embraced heavy film incentives years ago. As a result, the Georgia film industry brought $8.9 billion to the state, $3 billion of which stayed behind last year alone. “This past year, Texas was $8 billion in the hole,” Copeland says. “The industry can really help with that. We just have to figure it out.”

W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8





BILL WITTLIFF speaks with a twang. The

canonical Texas filmmaker welcomes me into his office with a “Hello” as colorful and as thick as the Hill Country’s rolling greenery, and the space immediately feels like home. My own comfort takes me by surprise — you wouldn’t expect such a relaxed, down-to-earth air to surround someone as accomplished and as busy as Wittliff. Wittliff's best known for his screenwriting in classic Texas films and television shows like Lonesome Dove, Honeysuckle Rose and Legends of the Fall, Wittliff’s name first appeared on big screens in the ’70s. His career is decorated with Emmy-winning productions, beloved children’s movies and Hollywood pictures. Despite the impressive big-screen chops, Wittliff’s seeds of creativity were sown in the small Texas towns of Taft and Blanco, where he spent his youth. He switched between five different schools during his first year of college before settling on the University of Texas and heading back to the Hill Country for good. He graduated with a degree in journalism, worked in publishing houses and soon started his own, Encino Press, the name of which is still displayed on the office’s front door. In the years following his success in film, Wittliff has published multiple photography



by AUDREY LARCHER collections and two illustrated novels in addition to founding a Texas, Southwestern and Mexican archive — the Wittliff Collection — housed at Texas State University in San Marcos. Wittliff’s creativity doesn’t hesitate to cross artform boundaries. If you’re looking for a jack-ofall-trades storyteller who captures the essence of Texas, he’s your man.

and papers, to point out the paddle John Graves rowed the Brazos with, hanging by the windows. He motions to the picture of Frank Dobie above his head and mentions that he’s got the dear friend’s old writing desk upstairs. I imagine Wittliff surrounded by these Texas relics, hard at work, crafting a timeless Western or sprucing up his latest fiction. But right now, we’re just chatting. TIME OF THE PREACHER: Wittliff (at left) was both writer and director for Red Headed Stranger, which starred Willie Nelson (at right). The film, based on Nelson’s 1975 album of the same name, was produced independently and at home in Texas. It marked Wittliff’s directorial debut.

In his Austin office, Wittliff volleys me steady-paced casual conversation, and his fullbodied Texas accent continues easing the scene’s grandeur. And there’s a lot of it, to be sure. He reaches out over his workspace, piled with books

You were interested in the written word and publishing before you focused on film. What was it about film that attracted you? If you have a good story, you can make it move with film. You get sight, sound, all the senses except smell. I’m a pretty visual artist, so film was a good vehicle for me. It’s just another wonderful way to tell stories, and that’s always been my ultimate interest. I had no training, hadn’t even seen a film script when I wrote my first one. I was lucky



The screenwriter behind Lonesome Dove, Barbarosa and Raggedy Man is committed to Texas art — in all its forms


enough to get attention from Francis Coppola after one of my scripts made its way to his desk. They called me in to do Black Stallion, and they saw my potential. My stuff always went to the producers, directors, decision makers. If you write something they don’t think they can make money off, you can be sitting in their lap and you’re not gonna get a deal. But if you write something they think can make money, you can’t hide from them. I wrote stuff that fell into the latter category. As an artist, how did you grow or change as you took on additional screenwriting projects? I was blessed to have a relationship with Irvin Kershner, who directed the second Star Wars. He was interested in the first screenplay I wrote, for Thaddeus Rose and Eddie, which got picked up by someone else. But I still went out to California and met him. He recognized two things about me: one, I might have a little talent, and two, I didn’t have the foggiest notion what I was doing. So he took it upon himself to give me an education on how you write a script for film. At that time, Kersh was on the outs with his wife, so we’d show up at this really fancy house on Mulholland Drive that a mafia guy was living in. We’d get there in the morning, and this guy would walk out wearing a silk suit and alligator shoes, drive away in his Bentley, and we’d have the whole place free. We just sat at this huge banquet table and talked script — all day long. But he also educated me on the business of trying to make movies. He’d read some of my scenes and break it to me that they wouldn’t translate onto the screen. Kersh taught me how to compromise with restrictions. He taught me the reality of screenwriting.

Was your literary background something that influenced how people saw you? Did it surprise or throw people off? If they thought of me strangely, it was because I was from Texas. Texas guys were exotic. I’d go to Hollywood meetings wearing my jeans, my boots. Executives would show up to the meeting

some kind of showbiz hotel during my time in California. When I got up every morning, musicians would be coming in from their late-night gigs, and the prostitutes would be heading out with their overnight bags. I’d be there with Chief Dan George, the Indian who was in a lot of Clint Eastwood movies. He and I would just sit in the lobby and have coffee, watching the scene in its own mysticism. The first film of yours I saw was Black Stallion, when I was 8 or 9. Watching it now as an adult, I enjoy the film just as much — or maybe even more since I can appreciate the visual aspects. Caleb Deschanel, the film’s cinematographer … he was the genius behind that film. I wrote the scene where the boy learns to ride the horse in the water, which is an old cowboy trick. I knew that from my own background and wrote it in. What I didn’t consider, and which I didn’t write, was to shoot from underwater, which Caleb thought to do. I saw Black Stallion first in New York, and I’m just telling you … when that sequence came on, with the underwater shots and the wonderful music, I wept. I thought it was so beautiful. So that’s where I got one-upped. That’s where Caleb did something special with my writing.

with boots and a big buckle they’d bought at a department store. And then the next day, I’d purposefully wear slacks and loafers. They never quite knew who I was, which was important, because they can use you up quickly if they do. Did you ever feel out of place in Hollywood? There was a lot to take in. I was staying at

You also wrote Country, which is about farming communities and the financial stress they faced in the ’80s. Ronald Reagan, when he was President, actually called the film propaganda. Did you intend for the movie to be especially political? Or did you happen to touch on political themes in the process of telling the story? The best stories make many points and cover a lot of ground about a lot of things. Country was about family, it was about loyalty, it was about betrayal. And, of course, Country was, in

W INT E R 2 0 1 7 /’1 8


part, a rail against the government for what they were doing to family farmers. And I was proud of that. What writers do is they say, “Hey, I’m gonna tell you a story.” What they don’t tell you is, “I’m gonna lie a little bit, I’m gonna bend facts a little bit, I’m gonna do whatever I can to tell the best story, but also to get a few points across that matter to me as an individual.” That was an important story and an important project. And, in part, it influenced Willie [Nelson] and John Mellencamp and others to put together Farm Aid, the [annual] concert that benefits farmers. That’s the power of film.

Is that why you founded the Wittliff Collection? The collection exists because everyone we asked to donate to the collection got it. They understood it was a good thing, a real Texas thing. And in a sense, it was a patriotic thing. We wanted to collect on our own piece of ground — trying to see where we came from in order to know where we’re going. We wanted to have a collection that was authentic Texas. We were when we started — and we are now — a regional collection. The collection is home to Frank Dobie manuscripts, Sam Shepard manuscripts, Texas Monthly clips, the latest Mexican photography. Do you feel like having such diverse archives in one place helps uniform or condense Texas art? There’s absolutely nothing uniform about Texas art. The collection presents a multifaceted image of Texas. If you have a variety of folk in the culture who are doing important artistic things, then you want to pay attention to the diversity. I don’t think there’s one definition of Texas or one definition of Texas culture, and that’s what makes it the great jewel it is. That’s why we decided to include photography after we’d started the writers’ collection. Because we value diversity in storytelling. Because we want to tell the Texas story with world-class art.



WRITE STUFF: Wittliff enjoyed acclaim for his Lonesome Dove screenplay — no easy task. “Westerns were absolutely dead,” he says, “and the only thing deader were miniseries.”

Did you spend time or gather inspiration from the Harry Ransom Center when you were a student at UT? Sure — I’d go look through the cases and see incredible manuscripts. It just completely undid me. But now, [the Wittliff Collection] does the same thing. Within the last two or three weeks, we got the first original, handwritten manuscript of True West, the first draft of Fool for Love, the first draft of Paris, Texas. How did growing up in the Hill Country influence your work, and what does that influence mean now that the area is undergoing such rapid change and development? What had a huge influence on me were the people — friends, family, everyone you saw at the dance hall in Fredericksburg, which is all part of the environment and culture. Everything that suited me and gave my life meaning … that’s what influenced my stories. Are those things changing? Yeah. Should they change?

Yeah. Is there any way to keep them from changing? No. La vida brinca. Life jumps. No life stays the same. At different times, different people take different things with them from the culture as they go. Things are gonna come and go. Places I love are gonna come and go. I’m gonna go. But that’s just it. Something else will come in that will have more meaning for someone else than it would for me. All of which is all right. It’s different for every generation, every turn. Things might be heading in different ways, in scary or disturbing ways, but la vida brinca.

Many found that what suited you in your culture also suited them. How were you able to translate your experiences into art that resonates with so many? Everything is within us already when we get here. So somebody like Willie Nelson shows up, and we say, “Oh, that’s our Willie! We knew he was coming, but we just didn’t recognize him until all of sudden he pops up and there he is. That guy’s gonna sing our songs, tell our stories through music and song.” Or like John Graves writing Goodbye to a River, taking his dog and floating the Brazos on a canoe. The Brazos was getting dammed up, and the river as he had known it would disappear. So he floated the river and he wrote a book, which is an astonishing piece of work. And all of a sudden everybody says, “Oh, there’s our writer!” And it’s like they knew it, but they didn’t recognize it until he popped up. Maybe it’s a funny way to look at it, but we all already know everything before we get here. We’re all in the same canoe, paddling down the same stream.


So in this divisive American political climate, what role do you think film should play in shedding light on issues? That potential is in all artists. Sometimes writers do it, sometimes singers do it, sometimes poets do it, sometimes painters do it. In my view, that’s why art is important. It’s to say, “Wait a minute — pay attention to this. Do you want to live this way?” And I think now is especially a time when artists should be saying wait a minute. I have no understanding of how we wound up with our current president. Artists are important in helping us figure it all out, and helping us to decide what our next moves should be.

Authentic Texas 2017 Winter  
Authentic Texas 2017 Winter  

Winter 2017 issue of Authentic Texas