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Back in the 1950s my Dad knew the head projectionist for this theater and arranged for a tour. It was quite a place, there wer 4 or 5 levels of seating and a large stage behind the screen. One thing I remember was a large representation of a baseball field, say 15 or 20 feet on a side, equipped with electic lights so as the indicate the path of the ball and base runners. This was used in the 1930s during the world series. Apparently people paid to sit and watch while someone operated the lights and an announcer called the action, based on information received via wire. After the tour, we got to see The Bridge on the River Kwai.
I grew up within walking distance of this theater. During the early 1950s there was a Saturday afternoon matinee, typically a couple of B westerns or the like. It cost two bits to get in, and with another quarter you could buy a box of popcorn and get a soft drink from a vending machine, the kind where acup dropped down. You had a choice of three favors, probably a cola, lemon-lime, or orange, but of course we all switched the selector back and forth to produce. “suicide”. There was always a line from the box office, located on the right, around the front and along the west side.
As I got older, I would go to the night time showings, still walking. I am not sure whether or not there were first run showings, but at the least there were current films above the B level. This continued through high school and probably a bit during summers when I was home from college.