Old-Time Theater Marks 50 Years of Movie Magic

In 1948, during the post-war building boom, the Granada Theatre opened as a first-run movie house on Greenville Avenue.

Fifty years and several make-overs later,  the theater is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a year’s worth of special events.

The celebration began with a a ’70s-themed party on New Year’s Eve. On March 23, “Oscars” night, the Granada and the USA Film Festival will co-host a black-tie gala celebrating 50 years of great movies.

During the summer, the theater will feature a Director’s Series, focusing on the films of award-winning directors such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Quentin Tarantino.  Events for the fall are in the planning stages.

About 10 years ago, the elegant Art Deco theater was completely renovated during its conversion to the Granada Cinema ‘n’ Draft House. This new incarnation allowed owners to show movies while serving fast food, beer and wine, with comfortable upholstered chairs and tables for customers.

Fast-forward to another time and place:  Brian Schultz, a young aide to U.S. Senator Arlen Specter in Washington, visits a movie theater in Bethesda, Maryland. He finds it an interesting concept:  dinner, drinks and a good film, all in one location.

“It’s hard to find time to go out for a good dinner and go to a movie all in one evening,” he says now.  “With this concept, you get a full night of entertainment in a shorter period of time.”

When Schultz heard the Granada was available for purchase in 1996, he teamed with partner Milledge Hart to purchase the historic property.

Schultz, a California native, now lives within a few blocks of the theater and has thrown himself into the arts community, supporting Dallas alternative filmmakers and their works.

During the past year the Granada has undergone another extensive facelift, including the hiring of a new executive chef.

“We’ve added burgers and other entrees and appetizers, upgraded the service and just given it more of a restaurant feel,” Schultz says.

The Granada Movie Grill is located at 3524 Greenville Avenue, just north of McCommas.  For more information on upcoming events, call 214-887-0223.

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