Comments from rackensack

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rackensack commented about U Ark Theater on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

Meant to add that I saw shows at the UARK from late spring to late summer of 1981, and left Fayetteville in August 1981. There were still Col. Smuckers shows happening when I left, but they ended very soon after. I believe I have somewhere a photo of the facade of the UARK in the early 1980s that I used as reference for a drawing of it. If I can find that I’ll scan and post.

rackensack commented about U Ark Theater on Feb 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

The UARK was dark as a movie theatre well before the 1983 date mentioned above. In late 1980 or early 1981, the punk shows mentioned by blackholecinema began, using the name “Col. Smuckers” for the venue, and it hadn’t been used for movies for some time at that point. The music performances actually took place not in the movie theatre proper but in a large area behind it at the back of the building — you walked from the lobby down the hallways on either side of the main auditorium area, past the doors into that halfway down, and all the way to the back, behind the screen area of the main theater, where there was a platform with tables/chairs at the same level as the entrance, and ramps or stairs down from that to an open area used as a dance floor/mosh pit, with the stage area at the very back. On at least one occasion a patron rode a motorcycle down the hallway, down the ramp and onto the dance floor where he revved the engine for a while before leaving. The bands featured included both local bands and groups from Tulsa and other areas, such as The Malls, The Distraktions, The Dots, The Mutant Fish, and the Zebramakers (just to name the ones I remember).

FWIW, the address listed on the show posters that some of my old cronies from those days have scanned and posted on Facebook is 649 W. Dickson.

The lobby area was a fairly classic 1940s movie theater — modest sized open area just inside the doors, backed by a large sweeping staircase down to a lower lobby area with couches and with the men’s and women’s “lounges” on either side. I don’t think I ever did more than sneak a peek into the actual movie auditorium area.

Also FWIW, I never saw any indication that the UARK had ever operated as a twin with two screens, unless the back area where Col. Smuckers operated had been the second screening room. If so, by the time I saw it, it looked a lot more like an unfinished storage/working area than someplace people would willingly watch movies.