Weatherford Democrat

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March 21, 2013

At Texas Opry Theater, the shows must go on

Despite struggles, couple plan to keep theater’s doors open

(Continued)

Victory Baptist, White Settlement Baptist, Discovery Fellowship Church, Silver Creek Cowboy Church and Bethel Road Baptist Church called the theater home. Theater Off The Square got its start on the wooden stage before buying and moving to its present location.

Going back to its days under York Avenue Baptist Church’s ownership, gospel shows and revivals were held on the grounds. Marliyn Carter recalled a recent story of a woman who attended a show and remarked how she went to church in the theater. Jerry Carter said when The Stamps Quartet performed at Texas Opry Theater, J.D. Sumner told the audience of the group’s early days, performing on the grounds during a large revival.

New owners of the theater in the 1980s opened it as the Texas Opry Theater.

Jerry Carter and partner had started the Parker County Shopper, now owned by the Weatherford Democrat, and moved the operation to the offices adjacent to the theater in 1992. Carter also started the Palo Pinto County Shopper. He also has a musical and entertainment background, performing in local bands, including Jerry Carter and The Chaparrals and Jerry Carter and The Two Timers, working as a stage hand and hosting a radio show.

The Carters renovated the theater after acquiring it in 1992 and began producing weekly concerts and shows at the theater. There might be a gospel show one week and a rock and roll show the next, Marilyn Carter said.

Jerry Carter’s business partner died in 1997, and he sold the shoppers, but he had already started another one in Hood County. “I wasn’t ready to retire,” Carter said. “I was still full of vim and vigor.”

Because of the Hood County shopper, the Carters stopped putting on shows at the local theater in 1995. They operated the Granbury-based shopper 15 years before selling it after Jerry developed diabetic-related vision problems that have practically robbed him of his sight.

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