Over the years, the Tower Theater at 1201 Westheimer has suffered many indignities. Opened in 1936, the jazzy Art Deco structure has spent most of its life as a movie theater.
Depending on your age, you may remember the Tower Theater differently.
Until the late 1970s, Houstonians could see movies on its single screen. David Welling’s Cinema Houston claims the last movie was 1978’s Jaws II. In the 1980s, it was converted into a venue for concerts and touring plays (most notably Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) with a stage, lighting, and dressing rooms. Comedians and cabaret shows preceded bands in the 1990s such as Black Crowes, Phish, Los Lobos, Shawn Colvin, John Hiatt, and even avant-garde composer Phillip Glass. The Tower also experimented as Decadance and Clubland. When the owners decided to turn the space into retail, everything inside was removed. Hollywood Video is essentially one large room with the entire floor at street level, and no interior clues to what was once there. The Westheimer entrance under the marquee was closed in exchange for a new side entrance.
Lately, large chunks of the marquee began falling off. No effort appears imminent to replace one of the last pieces of this Art Deco treasure. Is this Closing Night for the Tower Theater marquee? Stay tuned.