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My brother and I swept the floors at the GEM in about 1953 in exchange for free movies. I vivid recall seeing “War of the Worlds” there. Mr. Clyde Ball ran the place. It had a popcorn machine where you put in a dime, and popcorn dropped down into a bag you held. The access to the projection booth was through a ladder. I am guessing that the theater sat about 100 to 200 people… not sure about the actual number. I am pretty sure the price of admission was about ten cents in 1953 or so.
The original Survant Theater had a crying room at the back left (as you sat in the theater). This room had its own sound and you watched through a double-pane window. This was a place for mothers to watch with a crying baby. To clarify, after the Roxy burned,no theater was built at the Roxy’s location (close to the Smith Clinic building). The original Survant was located on the same street but a block west..as I recall. When the Survant opened, the cost to a 12 year old was 50 cents. My dad wanted us to boycott the theater because the cost at the Orpheum was something like 12 cents. We just paid the 50 cents.
My wife was born in 1945 in the clinic or hospital above the theater. The movie playing playing was “When Irish Eyes are Smiling.” This would indicate that it was both a hospital and a theater at the same time (at least in 1945).
I went to many Gene Autry-type westerns at the Roxy in the very early 1950’s. The price was something like $0.10 for the matinee. It was sad to see it burn (along with several other buildings including Shipps Cafe, and Rexall Drugs). Two minor clarifications: The spelling of Servant is something like “Survant,” and it didn’t replace the Roxy in the same location. The Survant was located a block west on the same street, as I remember.