LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The downtown theater was the way a generation of millions of Americans got their entertainment and news.
"It was the hub of entertainment," said Tara Watson-Watkins, the artistic director for the Pines Theater and the director of the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau. "People came and they spent all day long watching Roy Rogers and watching things as they progressed from the silent movie to where you had live music, to where you went to color to what it is today."
And Deep East Texas residents had their very own community theater - the Pines Theater.
The two-story theater was built in the early 1900s and opened nearly 90 years ago in downtown Lufkin - on September 9, 1925.
During the golden age of Hollywood, the first movie that played there starred silent movie star Gloria Swanson.
That's okay. At that time, the ticket price for a movie at the Pines was just twenty-five cents.
The Pines Theater was complete with a house pipe organ, and from time to time, it would feature the latest vaudeville show traveling through the East Texas area.
The theater continued to entertain East Texas audiences for decades, showing the latest movies like Roy Rogers' 1935 "Billy the Kid Returns" and the Technicolor Oscar-winning "Gone with the Wind."
Lufkin-native and City Councilwoman Sarah Murray remembers the early years of the Pines Theater.
"My fondest memory of the Pines would be going there and seeing everyone I knew it was an inexpensive way to go and everyone was there," Murray said. "It didn't matter which group you were in with when you were out when we got into the Pines we were all together all having fun."
While most of the movies that played at the Pines were family friendly, there was one that caused some controversy.
"In the middle of the street was Father John Caskey, who was the much revered and much loved priest at St. Cyprian's, and he was carrying this huge poster - BAN LOLITA,"
As the 60s and 70s moved on, so did most Lufkinites, leaving downtown mostly empty. The Pines Theater showed its last movie around that time, too.