A Life at the Movies

Taking tickets at the Ganado Theater.

Alvin Svoboda, age 74, is not omniscient. Still, to those who live in Ganado, population 2,003, he knows an awful lot.

“She has been here to see The Avengers three times!” he said loudly to me as a local woman passed through the crimson doors of the 192-seat, single-screen Ganado Theater in mid-May. “She must have a thing for one of the guys.”

The woman nodded. “Thor,” she said, heading to the concession stand for nachos.

His observations are not coincidental. Svoboda has been working at the Ganado Theater since he was fifteen years old, and now, as its owner, he continues to greet the customers at the door every night. “This is my usual perch,” he said, pulling himself onto a stool in the lobby. Like his customers, he was dressed casually: a striped, short-sleeved polo shirt and beige shorts. His short, wavy gray hair rippled across the top of his head. When an older gentleman wearing blue Dickies coveralls walked in with two young guys, Svoboda perked up. “Bill, your eyes doing okay after surgery?” he asked.

“Yeah, they’re in good shape,” the man replied. One of the man’s companions shook Svoboda’s hand. “Hello, sir. I haven’t seen you since I was a boy.”

“Well,” Svoboda said, “I’ve been here

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...