Abby Abernathy saves/rebuilds the old Royal Theater featured in the motion picture "The Last Picture Show".
113 E Main St
Archer City, TX 76351
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[Music] for certain Texas has its share of lush green garden spots but it's no secret that Archer City Texas is a far cry from what you'd call an oasis this is a rugged place where rugged people along with sand scraped buildings and a single lonesome traffic light endure some of the harshest weather Mother Nature can dish out Archer city was developed as a ranching town originally and and then it they found all back in the last turn of the century and it developed from there [Music] but between all the wind and dust archer city has prospered there's a business here called booked up the largest used and rare bookstore in Texas and soon to be the world and it's one particular book that put Archer City on the map in the last picture show Larry McMurtry called the town failure but it was Archer City his hometown that was the inspiration it was the place where the Old West met the new West and a tiny place called the Royal Theater witnessed a tall high school sweethearts Duane Jackson and JC Farrow going to the picture show and going all the way the Academy Award winning last picture show over the years wind rain and fire have taken their toll on the old royal it even burned to the ground in 1965 but thanks to that movie it became a national icon six years later Abby Abernathy remembers what the Royal used to be he remembers the day Hollywood rolled in to make a movie in his town it was on that day that Abby had a dream that has driven him every day since when I was seven years old at the time the last picture show was being filmed and several Monday nights I saw him film in across the alley at the the Legion Hall I had no idea at the time what kind of effect that would have on my life or on my career since the last picture show it's it's turned into somewhat of a national icon and it was falling down the city tried to condemn it and I just didn't feel like that it was right to destroy a landmark like it was [Music] well after four years of planning and more than a year of struggle sweat and hard work the Royal Theatre is open again 35 years to the day after the theaters succumbed to fire the old movie house has risen from the ashes the whole community came out to celebrate even Larry McMurtry himself the man who started it all well I think it's very positive big thing for the town you know we've all wondered it didn't look too hopeful in the first months there was not too much funding and he didn't have all that much help and we've just been and he as I say I've watched him myself watched it slowly come into some kind of viable farm and that's very good he persisted and he did a lot of the work himself had good volunteers and it speaks well so Abby this is looking kind of rough when's it gonna be done this looks rough uh-huh it's done it's complete this is the actual outside wall of the Royal Theater it was torn down to oh just about six feet from the front and then the production company of Texas Vil came in and put in a new dilapidated decayed looking wall and so that's what we're leaving we're leaving it as is the the old theater itself the old Royal Theater will never have a top on it it'll be a an outdoor patio outdoor stage streetside tourist attraction you'll be always be able to get into well for years and years ever since the filming of and the release of the last pictures show the the pile of rocks known as the Royal Theatre has been a pilgrimage for thousands of people it's it's it is an accomplishment I hope they appreciate it and not appreciate my time or my work or my stress level I it's not about me it's it's a hope they appreciate that facility and I hope they appreciate that there were people that that believed and and what I saw and and said yes here's the money to go do that because Archer City will benefit over and over and over every time the doors are open Archer city will benefit it was insurmountable challenge and that's probably the biggest driving force for me and stimulated by challenge plugging the lights in last night and saying it's done there it is people it's there it is it's for you now it may not seem like all that much but to the local town fault the Royal Theatre is a lifeline they're linked to the arts for Abby what started out as a love for his hometown and movie history became a passion of preservation and the realization of the dream that a seven-year-old boy had so many years ago not only has a be saved a cultural landmark in a way he's helping to save culture itself in the tiny North Texas town of Archer City this is probably the largest challenge that I've ever faced but you know man doesn't achieve more because he doesn't attempt more and that's a live [Music] you