A former movie theater you probably never knew existed

With Maya Cinemas coming to Wynnewood Village, you may already know that this will be the second theater to open in the shopping center since it was built in 1949. But decades before Angus Wynne brought the Wynnewood Theater to our neighborhood, the Sunset Theater was showing silent films at 1112 S. Hampton Road. You’ve probably driven past M.S. Hardware, Lumber & More several times without realizing that it entertained moviegoers before most of the homes in Elmwood and Hampton Hills were built.

A commenter on the website Cinema Treasures by the name of Bob Johnston pieced together a timeline of the Sunset, which likely opened in 1922 and closed in 1949 with a showing of Bride of Vengeance starring Paulette Goddard and John Lund. In 1944 it had been the target of vandalism as well as an unfortunate prank where the marquee letters had been rearranged to spell out obscenities.

Sunset.jpg

A couple of years after closing, the owners attempted to operate a drive-in using the adjacent parking lot. However, this required a permit that city council denied due to objection by residents along Hollywood Ave. It was remodeled by new owners in 1955 but somehow closed again the next year. Finally, the building was set to be repurposed as a bowling alley but a fire on July 21, 1957 damaged the structure and put an end to those plans.

Watch a clip from Bride of Vengeance below:

SUNSET THEATER TIMELINE

1922: Opens (estimated from 1957 story in the Dallas Morning News indicating it was 35 years old)
1929: Silent films shown only two days per week due to competition from talking pictures
1944: Vandals damage seats and rearrange marquee letters to spell out obscenities
1949: Shows "Bride of Vengeance" on final night
1953: Permit denied to operate drive-in theater on an adjacent parking lot
1955: Remodeled and reopened under new owners
1956: Closes a second time
1957: Building damaged by fire after it had been leased to a bowling alley operator