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East Texas theater asks community for help to stay open ‘another hundred years’

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Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 4:32 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2022 at 11:21 PM CST
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MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) - The Select Theater tower stands tall in Mineola since 1948.

“At the time it was built it was one of the tallest structures in Wood County, and you could literally see that revolving tower, and the green neon ball on top of it for miles,” Jeff D. Hurley, Lake Country Playhouse Inc. President of Board of Governors said.

The theater itself has been a staple in East Texas even longer. “Oldest, continuously operating movie theater in the state of Texas. We’re celebrating our 102nd year of being in business,” Hurley said. “You went through the depression. You went through World War ll. You went through the civil unrest in the 60′s and the 70′s. You went through the depression, the recession 2008, 2009. We went through the coronavirus. During this time, no matter how bad the world gets outside these doors, you can come in here, and for just a few dollars, you can escape the world for a while with a lot of your friends and remember how magic the world can be and that’s what we’re trying to hold on to.”

Now, time is leaving its mark. The main structure underneath the tower is rotting away.

“Freezing rain, and rain, and storms,” Hurley said. “The entire roof of this place was lifted off in 1963 in a tornado.”

But the 2021 Winter Storm pushed the tower to its limits.

“That freeze actually did a lot more damage to it than what we had before that. Snowmageddon hurt us on the tower, so it’s time.”

The replacement costs $60,000.

“We could band-aid it, we could paste it together, but we want this place to be open another hundred years,” Hurley said.

Now, the theater is asking for the community’s help.

“Just come see a show. Buy a popcorn, buy a drink,” Hurley said.

“Save the Neon Tower” is a fundraiser on Feb. 5 in the Theater Annex at 119 N. Johnson Street. The fundraiser is a charity auction and a portion of the proceeds will go towards Kindness Cottage. For more information, head to their website or donate directly to savetheselecttower.com

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