Yucca Theatre

124 W. Third Street,
Roswell, NM 88201

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Yucca...Roswell New Mexico

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on December 22, 2008 at 9:08 am

Hello Alex, I had missed the Capitan at the end of this excerpt from Bobs posting myself and he said “that is all he knows about it except for personal encounters and a gentleman never tells.”

“The most interesting movie theatre in town was the El Capitan (named for a nearby mountain peak), across the street from the Pecos. Independently-owned by a very stern-looking matron, it was obviously an un-remodeled silent theatre, with speakers hanging on each side of the screen rather than behind it. Also, the owner had never bothered to spruce up the front or add a marquee. Movies were advertised with posters in standup frames such as one sees in photos of silent movie houses. This theatre survived by showing, for instance, the Disney movies, whose high rental the main chain refused to pay, and questionable movies like “The Outlaw” with Jane Russell and “Stromboli” with Ingrid Bergman, which the main chain wouldn’t show because Ingrid Bergman had gotten pregnant out of wedlock. Although ticket-selling was definitely considered “women’s work,” The El Capitan owner hired moonlighting young men from the local Air Force base as ticket-sellers, and had no ushers and sold no popcorn or candy. These deviations from the norm made the place vaguely “suspect” and “weird” in the 1950s, when ANY deviation from the norm freaked people out. But El Capitan also showed the few re-runs which the studios released back then, a blessing for young movie-buffs like me. None of my friends would attend it with me. However, it prospered. All five of these theatres, within a four-block radius, played two bills of movies a week (the Pecos, Chief and Capitan double-bills), at least twice a day.”

Bob of Roswell

rbrtptrck on December 22, 2008 at 9:30 am

Thank you, Don, for posting my message. As to the “chance encounters,” which would of course be inappropriate for this site, I do wish someone would write “The Secret Life of Cinemas”

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on December 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm

You are welcome…and from what I have seen of your writing, that “someone” could only be you.


RJT70mm on April 13, 2009 at 11:04 am

In the summer of 1963 my family and I visited my grandmother who lived in Roswell. My brother and I went to see “the Thrill of it All” with Doris Day and James Garner. I’m not sure if the theatre was the Yucca or the Plains. There was a small balcony and instead of using film date strips for the trailer (“Bye Bye Birdie”) there were light boxes under the screen with backlit titles that flashed on and off.
I asked to visit the booth but the manager wouldn’t let me ( I was 15). I peeked in the portholes and I think they had Peerless Magnarcs on E7’s. I also think there were magnetic penthouses. I could be wrong about all of this. It was a few years ago.

kencmcintyre on April 13, 2009 at 11:20 am

Here is an April 1937 court case. I took out all the legal arglebargle.

Appellees were charged with violating Ordinance 397, Section 3, of the Municipal Ordinances of Roswell, in permitting a lottery device to be conducted in the place of business operated by the appellees. The place of business is the Yucca Theatre, owned by R. C. Griffiths Theatres, Inc., and the alleged lottery device is what is commonly known as “Bank Night.” In the police magistrate’s court the appellees were found guilty and fined $ 25 each. They appealed to the district court where the cause was tried de novo. The district court ruled that:

The device complained of does not constitute a lottery device in that the participants in ‘Bank Night’ pay nothing to either register or participate in the drawing, it being equally free to those who do not even purchase a ticket as to those who do purchase a ticket, there being no consideration for the chance to win, and as a conclusion the court finds no violation of the ordinance."

The court discharged the appellees, dismissed the complaint, and the City of Roswell prosecutes this appeal from such judgment. The Attorney General enters his appearance amicus curiae in support of the City of Roswell.

The spirit of gambling, the squandering of savings, the evils aimed at by our lottery statute, can no more be found in “Bank Night” than can be found in the numerous advertising schemes seen daily where thousands of dollars are given away as prizes to “slogan coiners” or “lucky guessers” who send to the manufacturer a wrapper from a can of soup or bar of soap.

Although signing one’s name in a book or appearing at the theatre within five minutes of the time of the drawing might be regarded as consideration, it cannot be called “pay” without warping the word out of all recognition. It clearly is not a game of hazard in which small sums of money are ventured for the chance of obtaining a larger value in money or other articles."

For the reasons given, the judgment of the trial court will be sustained.

It is so ordered.

rbrtptrck on October 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Bob Throopo—The Plains had no balcony, so the movie must have been at the Yucca, which did.

rbrtptrck on October 18, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Mister Throop (sorry for the typo before). You’re welcome. I love to talk about these theatres. It brings back my youth.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm

From 1950 a view of the Yucca Theater from Roswell New Mexico.

rbrtptrck on August 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

My memories of theatres in Clovis and Roswell in the 1950s http://robertpatrickpersonal.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/new-mexico-movie-houses-of-my-youth/

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