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In the 50s and 60s, each South Bend theater seemed to specialize in a particular kind of film. The Granada was for the serious grown-up movies and epics, like the Ten Commandments. The Palace ran all of the horror films and some of the teenage movies. The Palace and the State both ran Saturday morning kids’ cartoon shows that cost about a quarter to get into. The State ran a lot of Westerns. The Colfax ran Jerry Lewis, Doris Day, etc. The River Park did a lot of second-run movies so that you could see them when you missed them the first time. And the Avon ran soft porn and art films. The drive-ins showed all kinds of schlock, since few members of the audience cared what was on the screen.
I am so happy to see that the RP has been preserved — at least a lot of it. I was a friend of a son (Steve) of the long-time owner, Mr. Vogel. Mr. Vogel and his wife were the most wonderful people you could know. He was always great with our group of kids and always let us in free. When I went there on a date, I would try to get away with paying for the tickets, but he wouldn’t allow it if he caught me in time. The RP always had a good selection of films, too. It wasn’t an “art theater” like the Avon, but it ran movies that you wouldn’t see downtown at the Granada, Colfax, State, or Palace theaters.