Culture / Entertainment

Texas’ Underrated Movie Power Spotlighted at State Fair

Lone Star State Cinema Includes Plenty of Surprises

BY // 10.11.19

Since culture is part of my proper title here at the magazine, it’s always fun to jump down the rabbit hole of pop culture. Movies have always been an escape for me. I remember growing up and usually spending at least half of my allowance going to the theater. So, when I heard that the Dallas Historical Society was putting up an exhibition titled, “Texas Cinema” at this year’s State Fair of Texas I made sure to RSVP yes for the opening night at the Hall of State.

What a special treat to go the Fair before the official opening day and even better — to valet right in front of the Hall of State, one of the best examples of Art Deco architecture in Texas. It was far from a stuffy exhibition opening with refreshments ranging from corny dogs to big salted pretzels. Also on hand, a bevy of theater candy (Skittles and Junior Mints have always been my go-to) to snack on while perusing the show.

“Texas Cinema” takes on every facet that its name implies. It showcases actors, writers, directors and producers from the Lone Star State. In fact, when you go, be sure to take advantage of one of the great props.

A cardboard cutout of an assortment of well-known actors and starlets from our great state proves the perfect photo-op for instant social media gratification. The obvious ones depicted are — Dallas’ very own Wilson boys Owen and Luke as well as Mr. Hey Hey Hey, Matthew McConaughey who was born in Uvalde and now is one of Austin’s most famous residents. (BTW: McConaughey turns 50 on November 4 and I think we can all agree, like a fine wine he only seems to get better with age.)

Other actors that I had no idea were from Texas include Carol Burnett, Jamie Foxx, Sissy Spacek and Steve Martin.

Another focus of the exhibition is depictions of the Lone Star State through film as well as movies shot in and around DFW (to name a few: Robocop, 1936’s The Big Show with Gene Autrey and 1962’s State Fair with Pat Boone). I remember seeing Dr. T and the Women years ago, before having moved here and had not remembered that Richard Gere was playing a prominent Dallas gynecologist. Another interesting element is Dallas and Texas’ involvement in “Race Films.” This was a movement from 1915-1952 which consisted of films produced for an all-black audience, featuring black casts.

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So, in case you are wondering what movies make my favorite list of those made in the Lone Star State or had Texas storylines they are: the 1970s period piece chronicling the last day of high school for some Baytown students, Dazed and Confused; The Last Picture Show; Terms of Endearment; Giant; Pee Wee’s Big Adventure since it answered the age-old question of “does the Alamo have a basement?; and of course the 1974 horror classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre since once-in-a-while you just need to watch something that scares you to the point of going to sleep with the lights on.

Other local cinephiles spotted in the crowd on opening night included Bill and Nancy Murchison, Margret and Lester Keliher, David Preziosi, Andrea Reich, Gay Donnell Willis, Shannon Callewart, Gale Ianni, Juliette Coulter, Ruben Esquivel, Joan Davidow, Barbara and Don AverittCheryl and Sam Chantillis, and Wayne Smith.

Experience “Texas Cinema” at the Hall of State in Fair Park during the 2019 State Fair of Texas through October 20, 2019, dallashistory.org.

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