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Bill Kaser above is my brother, so I have some of the same memories. Additionally, I had my first paying job and my first official date at the Duncan in the early 50’s. Momentous occasions.
My job was selling the raffle tickets—a quarter each or five for a dollar—and drawing the winner out of a big wire barrel each Saturday night. The theater was packed on Saturdays because farm families came to town.
When we were in high school,we were far too sophisticated to go to our home town movie theater on dates—and besides my GRANDMOTHER was there(!), so went on dates to the movies in Millersburg or even to Wooster.
I don’t know when the Duncan was originally built, but I do remember my parents recalling silent films there and the name of the lady who played the piano. Anybody recall when or who?
The tickets were a lot less expensive than the prices posted on the window as the theater stands now. There were two feature movies a week (sometimes a double feature) and on Saturday morning there were serials. Sky King or Buck Rogers serials always ended with a cliffhanger to guarantee the kids would come back the next week.Some of my most vivid memories are from the newsreels at the beginning of the evening. For some reason I remember Cypress Gardens in Florida, and lots of pictures of soldiers parachuting out of airplanes.
And the baritone voice of the narrator is forever stuck in my head.
I think it is too bad the theater has become such an eyesore, right in the center of town. Did you know there used to be a stoplight right there where Front Street crosses Main Street? While I hate to see historic places disappear, if no one is going to refurbish it, it would be better for the town to get rid of it. I don’t see much interest in historic preservation, since some of the great old Victorian houses and many of the trees once lining Main Street have gone.
My biggest regret is not asking Billy Duncan for some of the movie posters that I’m sure were just thrown away each week when the movie closed.
BTW, there’s a Facebook Page for the Duncan Theater!
Vera Marie (Bunny Kaser) Badertscher