“People will always go to the movies, it’s just a way of life.” That quote is attributable to R.A.”Skeet” Noret, veteran showman, theatre owner, industry pioneer and past-President of NATO. Skeet passed away peacefully at his home on the morning of Wednesday October 26, 2016. He was 94.
Skeet’s legacy in the cinema business extends to early last century when his theatres, like his father’s theatres before that, screened movies to folks across the dusty plains of West Texas and New Mexico. Among the theatres Skeet owned were the Winchester, and Cinema West, Lubbock’s great movie palaces. He also owned Showplace Theatres which had sites from Austin, TX to Roswell, NM. He had a particular affinity for drive-in theatres, having built the Big Sky in Midland and the Sky-Vue in Lamesa, TX where he and his wife Sarah created the locally-famous Chihuahua sandwich. He was also partners in the Lubbock Premiere Cinema.
"Skeet was well-known and respected in the industry," said Gary Moore, CEO of Texas-based Premiere Cinema Corp. "We were sometimes competitors and sometimes collaborators, but always friends. He was a major inspiration to us and just an amazing generous man. We’re going to miss Skeet a lot, there will never be another one like him.”
Lubbock Premiere Director Rudy Leal learned the ropes of the movie business working for Skeet at Showplace. "He was a wonderful theatre man and a great mentor," said Rudy who became family friends as well. "Nobody enjoyed entertaining more than Skeet; it was nothing for him to jump behind concession to fill drinks or popcorn if he thought the line was too long! He always enjoyed interacting with customers that way."
In addition to his movie roots, Skeet was known locally as an entrepreneur, benefactor, gentleman farmer and oilman, overseeing dozens of farms he'd acquired across Texas. "If you had gone into farming full time,” Skeet once told a reporter, “I doubt that you ever would have been able to buy a movie theatre. But I bought a movie theatre and, from the profits I made, I was able to buy a large number of farms over the years.”
Skeet is survived by his wife Sarah and three daughters, Nancy, Linda and Cindy who have all retained active roles in exhibition. His grandson Ryan owns Stars and Stripes Drive-In and granddaughter Amanda is an actress who has starred in the TV and big-screen versions of "Veronica Mars" among other films.
Memorials can be made to the Variety Children's Charity of Texas at http://www.varietytexas.org/.