History of the Ector
“The Ector theatre beckons the picture loving public to an evening of entertainment in Odessa’s newest, most modern theatre.”
-Odessa American 1951
The Ector opened its doors for the first time on Wednesday Aug 1, 1951, touted as Odessa’s newest most modern theater.
Originally built by the Hodge Family, who owned and built several theaters throughout West Texas, it housed the second largest screen in the State of Texas and was the premier source of news, cartoons, and first run films for residents of the Permian Basin.
One longtime resident of Odessa recalls, “Lines to get into the Ector Theatre began at the box office and stretched eastward down the sidewalk, sometimes beyond the length of the building or more.”
By 2001, The Ector expanded its offerings and hosted sold out shows of live performances and Broadway shows such as Cinderella and Chicago. The historic theater eventually closed its doors as competition from larger chain theaters and increasing infrastructure costs grew.
As part of the City of Odessa’s downtown revitalization efforts, The Ector is in the process of receiving a complete restoration and will be retrofitted to accommodate grand scale live performances. Original parts of the theater have been painstakingly preserved. Most famously, the wrap-around neon marquee which has been described as a 1950’s beacon of Hollywood proportions.
Scheduled to open in Fall 2020, The Ector’s current focus is to bring world class, live entertainment to West Texas while remaining a platform for local talent.