Odeon Theater

Mason, Texas | C.1928

Photo Credit: Katherine Currie

In the small, picturesque town of Mason, Texas, motion pictures have entertained audiences at the Odeon Theater for nearly a century. Opened in 1928, the Odeon is the longest continually operating theater in West Texas – though without the community, that streak could have ended much earlier.

Since opening, the theater has shown an abundance of films across all genres. Its first screening was the German silent movie “Metropolis”, a pioneering sci-fi drama and was the first full-length feature film in the science fiction genre. In 1957, the theater screened a special premier showing of the Disney film “Old Yeller” based on the book by author and Mason native Fred Gipson.

Decades of movies passed and the Odeon found its future to be uncertain. In 1994, plans were announced to convert the theater building into other uses. The town of Mason responded by forming the non-profit Odeon Preservation Association (OPA) to save the theater and develop a performing arts center.

After obtaining a loan, OPA was able to purchase the theater building and the following year, the architecture firm Chartier Newton & Associates completed a feasibility study for remodeling. Funded by grants, refurbishment began on the theater. The building’s facade and marquee were repainted, neon lighting was restored to its 1940’s appearance, and even the sound and project systems were upgraded.

Today, clad in neon lights and outfitted with a distinctly western facade, the Odeon continues to offer a classic moviegoing experience in small town Texas 4 nights a week along with musical performances and special events. In 2018, the dressing rooms were even added to support the creation of live theater production.

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