Lakewood Theater granted landmark status

The process will now begin to turn the old Lakewood Theater into a historical landmark following a public hearing on Tuesday to discuss the theater’s fate.

The landmark status will make it more difficult for anyone to tear the theater down or make significant changes to the exterior.

Hundreds of people filled the city council chamber on Tuesday, wearing stickers labeled "Save the Lakewood Theater.”

Actor Burton Gilliam, who starred in Blazing Saddles and other movies, was also in attendance, hoping to use a little star power to persuade the Dallas Landmark Commission to begin the process of making the theater a landmark.

The Dallas native, 77, says he grew up riding his bicycle to the theater and developed his love of comedy there.          

After the theater’s owner, Craig Kinney, said he was not actually against the historic landmark designation, the Landmark Commission unanimously voted to approve starting the process.

Thousands of residents signed a petition to preserve the space after the owner put the theater's chairs in a dumpster.

The owner has said for months that he does not want to harm the theater.