I don't often get an opportunity to write about a haunted location in my hometown of Texarkana, Texas, but I'm happy to introduce you to The Perot Theater. Originally the Saenger Theatre, it was built in 1924 and was designed by Emil Weil. It came with a price tag of $300,000, taking 17 months to complete.
The Saenger officially opened its doors on November 18, 1924; the first production was “Foot Loose”, starring Margaret Anglin and William Faversham. Over a 15 year span, the grand Italian Renaissance building hosted many performers including John Drew Barrymore, Will Rogers, Annie Oakley and Douglas Fairbanks. The plays and silent movies attracted many patrons until 1931 when it was purchased by the Paramount-Public Corp and renamed as the “Paramount”.
It offered many premieres including "Papa's Delicate Condition," with Jackie Gleason, "The Legend of Boggy Creek," and Charles Pierce's "Bootlegger." During World War II, Orson Welles radio broadcast on NBC for war bonds was on the stage of the Paramount. However, its success began to wane with the popularity of television, shopping centers and drive-in movies. The Paramount closed its doors in March 1977.
Some buildings would be left to deteriorate as time passed it by. This theater would get another chance to provide Texarkana with art and culture thanks to the community. In December 1977, the city announced plans to purchase the building and begin raising money to restore it. They managed to raise $1.2 million but it was H. Ross Perot and his family who helped them reach their goal with a $800,000 donation. Perot is known for being a successful Dallas businessman as well two-time presidential candidate, but he was born and raised in Texarkana. Every inch was restored and in November 1979 renamed The Perot Theatre in honor of the Perot family. It remains open to this day hosting plays, symphonies, concerts and musicals.
This historic National landmark may also host performers who have chosen not to ever leave. Some have seen people not realizing they are of the ghostly kind and followed them in to walls. Witnesses have heard applause, whispering voices reading through pages of scripts, phantom swishing sounds of costumes and footsteps, Some have experienced doors open on their own and feelings of being watched late at night. Some have seen the spirits of a little boy and girl playing hide-n-seek. One spirit believed to haunt the theater is that of a former employee named Mitch who was fond of pranks. The Perot hosts ghost tours every Halloween to raise funds for the theater.
The Perot Theater - Ghost Tours