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Faces of Amarillo No. 8 - Amusements (1987)

Panhandle PBS

Sound | 1987

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  •  Amarillo Opry and famous musicians and opera singers who came to Amarillo 
  •  First movie show in Amarillo, open air and benches to sit on 
  •  First talkies in Amarillo in 1928 
  •  Controversy of movies showing on Sundays 
  •  Swimming pools in Amarillo 
  •  Big band and dancing music in Amarillo 
  •  Decorating and preparing for the party at the Nat 
  •  Supper Club at the Nat 
  •  Dating and soldiers visiting from army bases 
  •  Ruby Lewis on dancing and big band music at the Nat, Irshwin Hawkins and others 
  •  Closing of the Nat and its possible demolition 
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This is a segment from the Faces of Amarillo documentary series that aired on Panhandle PBS, a television station in Amarillo, in March 1987. “Amusements” showcases the various types of fun and recreational activities Amarillo residents participated in. Viewers searching for information about dance halls, the Ladies Supper Club, and other community events in Amarillo will find this segment informative. This film was produced by Lynanlary Production and Amarillo College Television.
Opening in July 1926, the Amarillo Natatorium—commonly known as “the Nat”—was originally designed to surround an open-air community swimming pool. It became a dance palace and performance venue in 1926, after J.D. Tucker purchased the building and converted the swimming pool into a dance floor and stage. During its time as a popular musical club, the Nat hosted everyone from Duke Ellington and Harry James to Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison. After closing as a public dance hall in the 1960s, the Nat was used for concerts and community events. It was listed as part of the U.S. Route 66-Sixth Street Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.