Cinemark 10 in Harlingen closes for good

Cinemark 10 in Harlingen has closed its doors due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Local residents share their fondest memories of the theater located at 629 N. 13th St. By Elsa Cavazos/Valley Morning Star

HARLINGEN — Movie theaters hold special memories for some, and Cinemark 10 is one of them.

The long-time movie theater, located at 629 N. 13th St., has permanently closed its doors because of the economic impact COVID-19 has had in area businesses.

According to a local Facebook page of Harlingen businesses, people saw employees taking items out in mid-November.

Cinemark has confirmed the theater’s closure.

“We are pleased to continue welcoming the Harlingen community to enjoy the immersive, cinematic experience of seeing a movie on the big screen at our Cinemark 16 and XD location,” said a Cinemark representative in a written statement.

Now that nostalgia is the only thing left, residents shared their best memories of the theater.

Jessica Padron commented that her father helped build it. Jesse Padron, 73, from Primera, was about 46 years old when he helped create the building, according to his wife Eloise Padron, 72.

“It was kind of by accident. My husband had experience in commercial construction and one of our ‘compadres’ told the guys and the man running the project about my husband,” Eloise said.

“My husband said the man just asked him one question and said you are hired. He was a foreman,” she said.

Eloise said her husband is saddened by the closure.

“That is where people around here got to get some recreation, entertainment, and now it is another thing taken away from us. But who knows, theaters can come back just like drive-ins,” she said.

For other people, Cinemark 10 brought them love.

Manuel Perez met his wife Ana Perez at the theater. She worked at the podium and would take his ticket as he came in.

“She worked there back 2009, and we met that year. And we actually started dating in October because one of our dates was to go see a movie at the big theater because she knew I loved movies,” he said.

“What she tells everyone is one day she stopped me because I had an outside drink and had never been told no, so that caught my interest in her. If it wasn’t for the movies, we would have never met,” Perez said.

Others have fond memories of working at the theater. For some, it was their first job.

Monica Cavazos Mendez, 44, now living in Austin, said she worked there the summer after her first year of college in 1995.

“Dollar movies are an institution. I lived in the Northeast for a long time, and when telling people about things you can do in the Valley, I always mentioned buying tacos at the gas station, going to South Padre, and watching movies for a dollar — 50 cents on Tuesday,” she said.

“We also had an ongoing joke with my dad about whether a new movie we wanted to watch was worth ‘full matinee price’ or whether we could wait to see it at the dollar movies. It was great having that option,” she remembered.

Robert Nieto worked there in 2000, while a senior at Harlingen South High School.

“I wanted to work at the movies because some of my really good friends worked there too. I met some really good people working there, some who I still keep in touch with today. I remember watching ‘The Titans’ around that time it came out,” Nieto said.

“I have to admit, I was bummed out that the theater won’t be around anymore, a lot of memories with different people, friends, girlfriends. So many good memories, pretty sad to see it go,” he said.

ecavazos@valleystar.com