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FacelessNHomeless commented about Liberty Theater on Mar 7, 2005 at 1:20 am

In addition to the post above I to shall add some of my memories of the Liberty Theater.

This was where I saw one of my 1st 3D Movies where the 3D glasses were handed out to watch the movie. The one I recall most was called 13 Ghosts, needless to say I did not show up at home that evening as knowing if I did not my parents would come in search of me and boy did I ever seek that as I was terrified and was not about to walk the few blocks home to 3rd and Johnson Streets. No, not even with friends.

During the late 50’s to early 60’s it was one dime to go to the Liberty on the week-end and there was most always a double feature. This would get you in all day/evening long as well.

Being a resident of Covington, Kentucky since 1950 I know as I went every week-end.

The theater did dwindle due to urban renewal (development) as it was called back then and most of the other local booming specialty shops in Covington did as well, ah such a shame.

Covington was a big city filled with at least 5 shoe stores alone, more specialty shops than one could shop in during one day, and as well as the other more pricey theater up the street on Madison which was called the Madison Theater theatre.

The death of these Grand Theatres as well as the beautiful (yes I said beautiful) Downtown City of Covington died as my Union Steward father had predicted due to the Urban Development and a shopping center (just one building at the time) that was constructed in adjacent Latonia Kentucky called Arlan’s.

While I did not believe my father at the time I sure came to know that his predictions were quite accurate, perhaps a great deal more accurate than the 5 cent Fortune Teller Machine that was housed there on Madison Avenue in Woolworth’s Department Store where the Grande Madam Fortune Teller bigger than life would stare at you and run her hand across the cards while she gazed omnipotently into your eyes before she told you your fortune.

The Liberty had a huge selection of candies, sodas, and sandwiches and even the rest rooms were elaborate, it looked as though the rest room area itself was fit for a queen, I remember it being huge, lounging chairs & couches lining the sprawling lower level that housed it, down a luxurious sprawling staircase, rather scary and cold to a child yet inviting with it’s intrigue.

That area alone presented with an ambiance as though it was expecting some grand lady of grace to bestow (her) Liberty with her presence. It was at the same time somewhat cold and sterile like the scene in The Shining where Jack was told by the apparition in the rest room there to kill his family.

Needless to say the rest room area evoked a subtle fear in me and if I was the only one who had to go I would wait till another girl had to or run like a bat out of Hades and of course be called down by the Ushers that were seemingly lurking in the shadows everywhere.

Ah how time flies and things change. I can still close my eyes and look to my mind’s eye and see that Grand Belle the Liberty with aching thoughts of the past as I once knew it.

When the Liberty closed it was indeed taken over by Liberty Bank which was adjacent to it and not to long after that the Madison Theater up the street closed her doors as well. She hung on a little longer though than did Lady Liberty.

The City of Covington became the owners of the Madison and sold it to a local woman for $1.00 in which the agreement was to be that she would have it up and running within a year, the renovations took many years to complete and while now the Madison is open it is open for events such as Wrestling, Dancers, things of this nature not actually a movie theater as I knew it or one would expect it to be.

Admission to the Madison was 25 cents back in those days gone by. If you begged real hard you just might be lucky enough (if a cute usher saw fit) to be allowed to have a seat on the balcony of the Madison, I was privy only once or twice to this at the Liberty.

When the Liberty and all of the businesses in Covington were booming there was so many stores it was beyond comprehension at all the activity that was present within the city.

On the week-ends (near holidays) there was actually a circus tent type structure that was set up on 7th Street at the corner of Madison where children who to small to be sent off to the movies alone could be tended to and entertained with cartoons and clowns and such so parents could shop without the children, yet know they were indeed in safe hands.

This was especially helpful when parents did Christmas shopping or Easter shopping for the children. My how the times have changed have they not?

As well both the Liberty as well as the Madison had a strict no blacks policy that held up just about until their doors closed as I was from a bi-racial neighborhood (where the IRS is now) I could never understand at the time why my black friends could not go to the movies with me on the week-ends.

Should anyone who reads this and find it intriguing or should it put a smile on your face or an ache in your heart from reminiscing as I am right now and would like to share their stories with me regarding the Liberty or Madison, or growing up in Covington in general please feel free to email me at the email address below.

The bots on here may remove my email address from this post so I shall put it in a spaced format as follows as well…
i2amfaceless AT hotmail dot com :)

Faceless N Homeless