On the evening of 6 January 1942, just a month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Brauntex Movie Theatre opened its doors as the “Modern Theatre in the Beauty Spot of Texas.” On that opening night, patrons paid 30 cents admission; and, the projectionist Walter Braune sparked up the rectifiers in the projector to screen “BIRTH OF THE BLUES,” starring Bing Crosby and Mary Martin.
The theatre closed at the start of the war, but reopened to provide updates on America’s involvement in the war through weekly news reels.
The Brauntex was expanded in 1972, when the balcony was enclosed creating the Brauntex “Mini.” The theatre operated as a dual screen cinema until May 1998.
In its 56 year life span (’42-’98), the Brauntex Theatre went from smartly dressed ushers and cleanliness to smoke-filled air, dirty broken seats and a drastically diminished audience. Before it bit the dust as a movie theatre, locals affectionately called it “the brau…” because often the sign had half the letters missing.
The building was rescued from the wrecking ball in 1999 by a group of concerned citizens who
recognized, not only the historic value of the Brauntex
Theatre, but also the potential for the Brauntex to fill the need for a
performing arts theatre in the
growing community of New Braunfels. Several community leaders, including representatives of various arts groups, formed the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre Association (BPATA), purchased the closed theatre on 10 December 1999 and were granted a 501(c)3 nonprofit status shortly thereafter.
With a great deal of local assistance, the BPATA proceeded with cleanup and renovation of the Brauntex Theatre. The theatre reopened in August 2000; and, in 2008, the Texas Historical
Commission awarded the
Brauntex a spot in the National
Register of Historic Places. We are fortunate to have our Brauntex Movie Theatre… renovated and recycled into what is now known as the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre – the jewel of historic
downtown New Braunfels.