On June 4, 1926, some 6,000 people vied to see San Antonio's newest wonder...the Aztec Theatre. Only 3,000 lucky ticket holders were admitted.
Spending the princely sum of $1.75 million, the theatre's owners created an architectural and technological masterpiece designed to immerse guests in a Meso-American fantasy world. They reproduced authentic columns, reliefs, and artifacts and combined them with "modern" special effects in order to encourage guests to explore the magnificent lobby, mezzanine, balcony, and theatre.
The opening day extravaganza included performances by a 26 piece orchestra, 16 "Aztec Chorus Girls", and on the 13 rank theatre organ, a stage drama The Court of Monteczuma, and the feature silent film Other Women's Husbands.
In response to competition from other theatres, a magnificent chandelier was commissioned and installed, in only 35 days, in the main lobby in 1929. Weighing over 2,000 pounds, this ornate, 2 story, 12 foot in diameter fixture was billed as "The largest chandelier in the largest state in the Union".
Eventually, urban decay led to the close of the theatre in 1984 when, thanks to efforts by the San Antonio Conservation Society, the theatre was saved from destruction and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Over the past 80 years since the Aztec theatre was built, the movie-going experience has changed dramatically. The new Aztec On The River™ is the San Antonio RiverWalk's premier destination. Every aspect of the project is designed to thrill guests, young and old, so they will come back again and again.
Its fully restored lobby features a spectacular special effects show every ninety minutes and is free and open to the public.
Guests with tickets enter the auditorium where they experience even more special effects, including a massive 1925 Mighty Wurlitzer theatre organ. Once guests are seated, the show takes them back to 1926 with an authentic silent film movie experience, and then fast-forward them to the feature large format film and sound system of a giant state-of-the-art iWERKS Extreme Screen™.
The Aztec On The River™ offers over 16,500 square feet of dining and retail area on the RiverWalk and over 3,400 square feet of retail along Commerce Street.
Aztec on the River™.
Explore it again for the first time.
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