Photos from An Evening with FRIENDS: La Epoca de Oro Preview Party. 

In the early 1930s, talking pictures became a global phenomenon, and the Mexican movie industry entered what is now termed the Golden Age of Cinema, or La Epoca de Oro, and found a ready audience for its product in the United States, with its expanding Spanish-speaking population.

Nowhere was that more obvious than in Texas, and especially the Rio Grande Valley, where there were Hispanic families who had lived in the region for generations, as well as an influx of Mexican workers supporting the burgeoning growth in the area before, during, and after World War II. At one point, more than 30 theaters operated in South Texas, showing nothing but Spanish-language film. Most were owned locally and some were in business for decades.

La Epoca de Oro, the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema in the Rio Grande Valley opens at the Museum of South Texas History in the Upper Old Jail Gallery on September 11, 2011, and runs through May 2012. As well as focusing on the story of the regional Spanish-language movie theaters, the exhibit features 20 original Mexican film posters from the museum’s collection that date from the 1930s through the 1960s. Lobby cards, publicity photos, artifacts, and movie trailers also will be included. The museum was pleased to acquire these materials offered from the private collection of Rogelio Agrasanchez Jr., the director and curator of theAgrasanchez Film Archive in Harlingen, the world’s largest private collection of mexican cinema.To complement the opening day of the exhibit, the museum will host a program on Sunday, Sept. 11, by Agrasanchez. In addition to several other books,Agrasanchez is author of Mexican Movies in the United States: A History of the Films, Theaters and Audiences, 1920 -1960. These books are available for purchase in the museum store.