Comments from kenraney

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kenraney
kenraney commented about Campus Theatre on May 15, 2008 at 3:27 pm

Hi Guys,
Gotta put in my two cents.
Yes, Henrietta is a very small town in North Central
Texas.
Population in 2000 was just over 3,000. It’s not
considered a neighbor of Denton and nowhere near it's
size. Denton has two universities and is the county
seat. Heck, when I went to North Texas ( now UNT ) our
university alone had 12,000. I think back then with
TWU we made half the population of 40,000. I think
Denton is closer to 130,000 now.
The Campus (off square note your photo you can see the
courthouse over neighboring building) is still there
they are live performance theater, the Fine Arts ( on
the square ) still stands, hosts a church I believe,
the XXX Theater ( on square )long ago closed but is
now occupied by a business. There was at least one
other movie theater away from the square on University
Drive I think. I got a ticket for a red light there
after we’d seen some movie on rodeos done in the
fashion of “On Any Given Sunday”. I seem to remember 2
drive-in theaters but can’t recall names. Do remember
seeing “Death Race 2000” (starring David Carradine) at
the drive-in north of town. We had a car full, it
rained buckets, and we were more interested in downing
the case of beer we brought! Still it was a funny
movie then and now.
As for theaters there now? Well, there’s a large mall
south of town on I-35 called Golden Triangle Mall.
There’s bound to be a plex there and more around town.
Town’s changed alot since my college days in 1970's
Ken

kenraney
kenraney commented about Arcadia Theater on Jun 26, 2006 at 9:19 am

The Arcadia anchored a cultural and nightlife center on lower Greenville Avenue. Over the years it lived a variety of lives and touched many. My wife and I attended a Lene Lovitch concert there in the 80’s. BTW Angus Wynne was the original founder and owner of Six Flags amusement park. (I worked there in the 60’s.) When asked where anything in the area was the answer always started with “You know where the the Arcadia is?…” Over the last couple of years my radio group performed at a number of venues near the old theater. I guess now when asked I’ll have to start with “You remember where the Arcadia was?…” Sad………

kenraney
kenraney commented about Vernon Plaza Theatre on May 3, 2006 at 11:01 am

Just heard the Plaza is being purchased and will re-open.
Mark Finn and his wife are relocating to Vernon from Austin TX and have vast plans which include showing films once again. I hope to be there for the Grand Opening! Let’s all wish them well and hope others will follow their lead in bringing back older theaters.
Ken

kenraney
kenraney commented about Campus Theatre on Mar 18, 2005 at 9:20 am

I just missed the premiere of the Bonnie and Clyde film at the Campus and deeply regret the fact. As a student at the University of North Texas (NTSU at the time) I did get to know a gentleman who supplied a number of the cars used in the film…his garage/playroom was behind a house I lived in. I also made numerous trips to the small towns where large portions of this film were shot (Krum,Ponder,Pilot Point, and Argyle).
I spent many hours in the theater and it’s companion around the block on the town square the FineArts theater (not on this list). I saw Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyessy as a first run film there. I ditched studying for finals once to see a double feature of Sergio Leone movies with Clint Eastwood… The Good,Bad,and the Ugly plus Fist Full of Dollars. ( I did fine on the exams. ) I also stood in a line around the block through one and a half showings of The Exorcist. The theater was packed. Funniest thing happened shortly into the film a couple got up and started to leave. On their way out somebody called to the guy by name and asked “What’s the matter?” “Oh, she’s scared.” came the sheepish reply. The audience roared with laughter.
While attending school I entertained the thought of becoming a projectionist and went to the Campus to talk to the projectionist there. I was invited up to the projection booth and we had a nice long talk.(Other than the Mid-Cities[not on this list] drivein theater, for which I worked the concession, I’d never had access to a booth.) When we finished the gentleman let me watch the rest of the movie he was showing during our talk….Fellini’s Satyricon.
Seems I recall a fire there during the 80’s. Anybody know anything about that?

kenraney
kenraney commented about Lincoln Hall on Mar 18, 2005 at 8:29 am

I’d be interested in how the 3 Penny looks now as well. Though I haven’t been there in over 25 years I can tell you that during the 70’s it didn’t have a “70’s” vibe. As I recall it the theater was little more than a big box. Seems it had those old wooden theater seats too. Or am I imagining that?

kenraney
kenraney commented about Morley Theater on Mar 17, 2005 at 3:07 pm

The Morley was my first love …. of theaters. I lived in a little town about 2 miles away called Phillips. Yes, the oil company. They moved everybody out and the town no longer exists, but that’s another story.
Whenever there was a new Disney film the Morley had it. I saw Flubber, Shaggy Dog, Sleeping Beauty, and many others there. I threw such a fit when Swiss Family Robinson was there, and about to leave without my seeing it, that my mother dropped me on the curb on a school night and I saw my first movie unescorted. Gee, was she mad!
During the summers the Morley hosted summer movie camp. Every Wednesday I’d climb on a school bus and for a quarter would get to see an old movie and get a small bag of popcorn. The theater would be packed with kids from all over the area. We’d see old westerns and my favorite Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan. I can still remember being thrilled by the underwater swimming sequences on the big screen. What fun.
One of the local dairies sponsored guest appearances at the theater. Irish McCallum came in costume as Sheena Queen of the Jungle (a popular tv show of the time). She handed out post cards of herself with an ad for Metzger’s milk on the back. My sister and I fought over who actually owned the card. Don’t tell her but I’ve still got it! LOL
Seems the theater sat on a corner and the ticket booth was was free standing at the corner of the building. Can’t really remember too much else about the theater except either it or the Rex theater down the street had a crying room at the back of the auditorium. A row of seats behind a plate glass window with the sound piped-in. It was there for young mother’s with crying babies. Can’t recall ever seeing that anywhere else.
One of the last films I saw there was with my junior high buddies. We thought it was great and extremely risque'. The film? It was Jack Lemmon in “Under the Yum Yum Tree”. He was a landlord who had designs on all the young women in the apartments he managed. Imogene Coco was hilarious as the cleaning lady constantly proclaiming him a dirty man. I laugh at how tame it is by today’s standards.
( I mentioned the Rex… guess I’ll have to add it to this collection as well as the Buena Vista drivein theater of Borger.)
Yup, I love the Morley, glad to hear it’s doing well.

kenraney
kenraney commented about Lincoln Hall on Mar 17, 2005 at 1:56 pm

I remember the 3 Penny from when I lived in Chicago. It ran many offbeat films that you just couldn’t see anywhere else. The theater was definitely lacking in frills. Often when we missed the start of a feature across the street at the Biograph we’d end up at the 3 Penny. Last film I saw there was Dawn of the Dead by George Romero. It’s still one of my favorite zombie films. I guess that was 1978-79.
I can see it as a nickelodeon. At the time I figured it was a theater that somone just didn’t spend much money on designing or building. Being from 1912 the theater design seems much more appropriate.

kenraney
kenraney commented about Worth Theatre on Mar 17, 2005 at 1:40 pm

I envy you Tom. Access to all the spaces you mentioned would have been great. I remember the move of the organ being mentioned locally on the news but never heard it used.
Casa Mana is an interesting building itself. Being a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome it was perfect for theater in the round. I believe it’s round stage has since been altered to a more traditional form though. Last time I was there my children were small and we saw a live production of “Little Shop of Horrors”.

kenraney
kenraney commented about Biograph Theater on Mar 16, 2005 at 12:16 am

The alley where Dillinger was shot no longer exists as a building was built over it. I saw Rocky Horror there as well in 1978-79. The show was well established and regulars brought all the props. The show was always packed. I maybe confusing locations, but wasn’t there a small “Arts” theater called the Three Penny across the street?
I recall a revival theater opening off the Argyle “EL” stop. I saw The Wizard of Oz on the big screen there for the very first time. I was thrilled to see details I never saw on all the years I’d seen it on tv.
Living on the northside in what was then called “New Town”, Belmont was my EL stop and I often saw films at the Lakeshore Theater.
I worked in an old theater on Clark Street that had been converted into an mini-indoor shopping center. The ornate white stone facade was all that was left and it was called The Century. Anybody know anything about it?
Ken Raney

kenraney
kenraney commented about Worth Theatre on Mar 15, 2005 at 9:55 am

Attended this one in late sixties as a high school student. My buddies and I would drive into downtown which was virtually deserted even then. Unfortunately the theater was the same way. Gorgeous thick red carpet with elaborate designs covered the floors. Opulent sculptured walls were dramatically lit including a cathedral like rose window backlit in the ceiling. Sculpted Egyptian figures larger than life adorned the walls. We always sat in the balcony. Once up the stairs there was a long waiting/smoking area/corridor just outside the seating of the balcony. I remember tvs hung hospital like up and down the space and every weekend while we were there it seems that “Wagon Train” (not old then) was on all the sets. Wish I had taken photographs of this theater. If anybody has any or knows where I could find some it would be greatly appreciated.
We used to go to the Hollywood (in the picture above) as well but neither it nor any other theater in the area could compare with the Worth.
We graduated in 1969 and all went our separate ways. I went off to college and never got the chance to see the Worth again. It was a truly amazing space for movies and I can only imagine what live performances of vaudeville must have been like.
Movie theaters and drive-ins populate my memories and mark milestones of my life. Too bad so many of them no longer exist. Even the most meager of the lot had more character than the multiplexes of today. I suppose however even these will be looked back upon with fondness someday.
Someone dim the house lights and pass the popcorn.
Ken Raney