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I just missed you, RO, because I started working there in the summer of 1976, after my sophomore year at Richards High School. I had gone to the IHOP next door to apply for a job, and they were so busy I couldn’t even get someone’s attention for an application. This isn’t for me, I thought, so I left. As I left the IHOP I was facing the Coral, and the side exit facing IHOP was open, so I walked over there. It turned out they’d had rain damage the night before and had propped open the doors for fresh air to help dry out the carpets. I met Mrs. Evans, the manager, asked if she needed anybody, and she hired me on the spot because she needed one more usher and, more importantly, she was thrilled that I was Ukrainian, like her. The only time I’ve ever gotten a job due to my ancestry, and it was pure luck that the propped door caught my attention; I wasn’t planning to apply there. I had great times there, too, though no hide and seek during my two years.
Thanks a lot. Last June I drove by the site for the first time in 19 years, to show my children where the Coral had once been. They had heard about it mostly from a true story I’ve told them about a mouse who lived in a hole in the wall at the back of the right aisle, which I fed popcorn.
I was an usher at the Coral in 1976-77. The auditorium sat around 1400, quite large. Single screen. There were 3 aisles, with a double door entrance to each. No balcony. In the summers, we showed Disney movies as matinees for kids out of school, with regular first-run movies at night.
There were no “roadshows”, at least while I was there. We did once have a stretch of playing rock concert movies for 5 straight weeks, including Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same and Woodstock. We had a number of sell-outs and generally great ticket sales during those 5 weeks, but also had to contend with marijuana smoking and general rowdiness, and had to hire security guards. One night during that stretch I showed up to work, and the glass to the ticket booth had several taped over cracks – the crowd the night before had been so big that it surged forward when tickets went on sale, cracking the glass! And the ticket taker had his arm in a sling, from a confrontation with a patron. I was both glad, and somewhat disappointed, that I had not worked the previous night! I have lots of memories of the place, and I’m so glad this website exists to “memorialize” such places.