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Back in the early 50’s when I worked at the Plaza theatre, the projectonists were unionized. I knew one who was a projectionist at the Palace. His name was Joe Birdwell. Don’t know whatever happened to him.
Candy, soda and popcorn was sold to the right as you entered the theatre. There was also another entrance on El Paso Street with a small area and counter where one could buy without going into the theatre. Guys would go in that entrance to talk to the girls who worked there. To keep the guys out, the manager finally put up a sign which said “If you have nothing to do, please don’t do it here”. (It did not keep the guys out).
Early 50’s…my best friend lived near the Del Norte. In the summer when we had nothing to do and no money to do it, we would go around to the back of the theater and climb over the gate. Then sit in the play ground in front of the screen and watch the movie. Sometimes we would have 10 cents for popcorn.
I worked at the Pershing in 1952 as an usher and occasional doorman. The thing I most remembered was having to change the Marquee. I usually got off at 10 PM, but I was expected to wait until 9:30 to start the marquee and they did not pay overtime. I had get a long wooden step-ladder from the back of the theatre outside fire entrance and carry it to the front. The ladder had to be set up in the street because when they widened Pershing Dr. a few years previous, the street curb was extended toward the theatre. The marquee was not changed and was left extended over the street. Had a couple of close calls, but nobody ever hit me. Wind did blow the ladder over a few timtimes though.
ladder had to
Memories! I worked as an usher and doorman at the Plaza 1950/52.
Was in El Paso about a year ago and took the guided tour which was then held on Tuesday mornings. Very interesting and well worth anyone’s time.
Much of the original interior is still in place. The one thing I noticed missing was a large beautiful painting of a Spanish lady over the stairs leading from the main floor to the mezzanine.
I do not remember the first movie I saw there (1945), but I remember the last move (The Exorcist). We sat in the mezzanine first row…my favorite seat.Movie scared the hell out of my nephew.
I was watching a Tarzan move at the Capri (then Ellanay), with Johnny Weismuller as Tarzan. The movie was stopped and there was an “on-screen” announcement that World War II had ended. This had to be August,1945.
Crawford Theatre! Was always a dump, but fun to go there with my rowdy friends. Occasionally you could hear the train as it puffed along (steam engines in those days) a track to the side of the theatre. This was the in the 1940’s. Even after they sunk the railroad track down below street level, you could sometimes still hear the train.
Henry Trost, was the architect of the Palace Theatre. Between 1903 and his death on September 19, 1933, his firm designed hundreds of buildings in the El Paso area and in other Southwestern cities including Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson and San Angelo, Texas. He had a studio with living quarters for his students adjacent to his house in the Sunset Heights neighborhood of El Paso.
Next door to the Palace in the basement there used to be a bowling alley. I would go there to bowl “duck pins” which are smaller than regular bowling pins and the ball is smaller. They also sold sandwiches…hand-cut salami was my favorite. This was in the 50’s.