Going Attractions: Hollywood Video Gives Up on the Tower Theatre

Unless the owners of the former Tower Theatre on Westheimer just west of Montrose have another feature ready to go, it looks like Houston will soon have a second shuttered and lonely Art Deco theater left to spin its reels. A reader reports:

I went to drop off a video game at Hollywood Video . . . and was told by staff there that they are closing down. I asked the guy there why; he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Bad economy, I guess.” They were clearing the store out and taking down the Hollywood video letters on that Montrose-y iconic sign on the building; I snapped a quick photo while driving away of the letters sitting on the pavement outside the store.


Photos: Swamplot inbox (top) and Flickr user MJW’s

14 Comment

  • Yep, I was by there a couple of days ago and sorry to see it gone. The marquee looked terrible. Sorry to say but I’ll bet this one is a goner. There’s not nearly enough parking in the area to turn it back to a performance or movie venue. Sad, too.

  • What is wrong with westheimer and montrose?

  • Netflix is the reason for so many shuttered businesses?

  • Netflix is killing video rental stores. The Blockbuster on Buffalo Speedway and Holcombe is closing.

    You can rent a movie without leaving your house. With an Xbox or a Roku set top box you can even rent a movie or tv show over the internet without going to the mailbox. Even better, some of the new big-screen tv’s come with the electronics built in to allow renting movies over the internet from Netflix.
    On top of that, Windows 7 can rent movies from Netflix and watch via the internet on Windows Media Center. The quality isn’t DVD, but it’s quite good.

  • MikeRG, good point. Also, Cd: Netflix recently started offering cheap, low quality TexMex you could get in Montrose at 1am when you don’t feel like getting out of your car to walk into One’s a Meal, so that might explain it…

    God forbid they start offering Smoothies, sliders or skeezily awesome gay bars, or the neighborhood is definitely in trouble.

  • I’d like to see a nice concert venue go into the Tower Theater. Since I saw Bob Dylan a few years ago at Grenada Theater in Dallas, I have been in search for something similar in Houston. I think Montrose could embrace something like this…as long as Netflix and Clear Channel don’t team up…

  • You all need to give it up – Montrose is a goner.

  • That sucks. First I don’t understand why there were so many video stores on that corner to begin with (Blockbuster AND Hollywood) and now that they are both closed, the corner feels so sad and empty. Wertheimer and Montrose has so much potential. I hope something good will happen there soon.

  • JR, ca. 1980 I heard Manhattan Transfer live at the Tower. It was a fine venue and a great show.

  • As a company, Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery have been doing badly for years. First they were getting crushed by Blockbuster and then when Netflix came along it was the final nail in the coffin. They have been closing locations over the past years and the parent company has already gone into bankruptcy. So I think that this closing has more to do with the company and less to do with location and the unique nature of the building.

  • Yes. The Tower used to be a fine live music venue. Would be nice to see that again, though the parking is an issue. I don’t feel safe in that area, and I feel pretty safe in most of Houston. I’m kinda nervous in the parking lot when I go to Half-Price Books, for example. Too many shady characters hanging around. Interestingly enough, I’ve always found Hollywood to have a much better selection of obscurities than Blockbuster, and when we want to watch a movie it’s spur-of-the-moment, not “order it and wait for it to come several days later.” And the on-demand delivery requires a commitment to bandwidth and equipment that just isn’t in our budget. On the other hand, I haven’t had a rental movie play properly in the last dozen tries and I know it’s not my DVD player; it plays the ones I own and haven’t trashed perfectly well.

  • Thanks to the Covenant House for many the shady characters. But it is the epicenter of Montrose.