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I was a theatre usher at the Carolina while the Sound of Music was showing in the early 60’s. All seats were reserved and it was a sell out every Friday and Saturday night. Being only sixteen I only knew the theatre was old but knew little of its history. I recall an old chaulkboard that listed the order of acts when there was live productions behind the stage. It was a Wilbur-Kincy theatre at the time and was nicknamed the “Queen of the Chain”. I worked for Kermit High who was a quiet but nice man. I didnt realized the area under the stage was the orchestra pit but if I recall the custodian lived there. His name was Charlie and he had been there forever. He got hit by a bus checking the marquee lights one afternoon. The lights were still individual bulbs in the sixties, there were hundreds of them.
We stole popcorn from the huge popper behind the stage between afternoon and evening performances. That was our dinner as we only made 85 cents an hour. Our blazers were burgundy and we wore bowties. I loved the balcony and usually seated the patrons there. I remember seating one older woman there in the very last row under the projection booth. She said “If there is a fire will you come and get me?” The other 499 people laughed loud and long.
Its a tragedy that this theatre is in such shape. A city with Charlotte’s resources should preserve it. If Nations can buy Bank of America and completely change the face of downtown why can’t they save this theatre. They owe it to the people of Charlotte.
Norman Hayes, Murphys Ca.