Yucca Theatre

124 W. Third Street,
Roswell, NM 88201

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rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on August 14, 2012 at 10:51 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/

DonLewis
DonLewis on February 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

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

rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on October 19, 2010 at 5:16 am

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

rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on October 19, 2010 at 4:18 am

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

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm

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.

RJT70mm
RJT70mm on April 13, 2009 at 7:04 pm

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.

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 23, 2008 at 2:10 am

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

Don…

rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on December 22, 2008 at 5:30 pm

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”

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 22, 2008 at 5:08 pm

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

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 22, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Hello Alex. If anyone knows anything about the Capitan or (El Capitan?) I suspect it will be Bob. I have contacted him to ask about it.

Here is a link from Cinematour that lists an “El Capitan” in Roswell

http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=25605

Don…

alexfrommd
alexfrommd on December 22, 2008 at 3:07 pm

Bob/Don
Thank you for the posts. Do either of you have any information about the Capitan from 1945-1950?

DonLewis
DonLewis on June 16, 2008 at 3:47 am

A uncredited newsprint photo from 1950 of the Yucca Theater in Roswell.

rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on June 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I was ticket-taker/usher/popcorn boy at four of Roswell, New Mexico’s five Main Street movie theatres in 1954-55. Well, the Yucca was just off of Main Street. The Yucca, the Plains, the Pecos, and the Chief were under one management. We ushers were shifted from one to the other when needed. I principally worked the Yucca. Its lobby was small but rather glorious, with Art Deco carpeting and indirect neon lighting. The most popular movie we had was “Magnificent Obsession,” the only movie we ran for a full week. Other than that, the most popular movies were the big westerns in color, which were treated almost as civic events. They mostly showed at the Plains. People who lined up after church to catch the first Sunday showings of these westerns on cold days were served coffee from a chuck-wagon, and local “old-west” survivors entertained them and pan-handled them. The Yucca and the Plains showed the “major” first-run movies. The Chief showed “B” movies of the classier kind (which mostly meant that they were in color, most often in some color process other than Technicolor) and now and then a “hold-over” movie, that is, a hit which moved from the Yucca or Plains for a second run. I believe the Chief’s admission price was cheaper. The Pecos mostly showed double bills for kids, that is, westerns and silly comedies which packed the brats in on weekends. It also showed the occasional “adult” movie, something with a sexy angle, a nudist “health” movie or something with a title like, “Child Bride.” An “Adults Only” sign meant only that kids who wanted to see these basically rather prudish “sex” movies had to pay adult fare. During the week and at night, the Pecos was largely considered to be, if I may use the language of the day, “for Mexicans,” who were not made to feel very welcome in the other theatres. This meant that we ushers weren’t expected to keep it very clean (Mexicans were considered to have lower standards, you see), and that we were to ignore drunkenness and sex in the back rows on the part of Latino customers (being poor migrant workers, they often had no other place to drink or date). Also, although there was no smoking section in the Pecos, we ignored back-row marijuana smoke. Only if violence broke out, which it not infrequently did, were we to intervene and/or call the cops. I don’t think blacks were allowed in the movie theatres at all, but I may be wrong. They may have just been made to feel so unwelcome on the Main Street that they just didn’t come. I know that we had no orders to turn them away. When the black-cast “Carmen Jones” showed at the Plains, a special two-or-three row section was roped off at the very rear of the auditorium to allow blacks to see it. 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. The Plains also had a “Midnight Preview” at 12 pm on Saturday night of the feature it was to open the next day, hopefully to keep the teenagers and Air Base boys off of the streets and out of trouble. All these performances prospered, believe me. I’m amazed when I realize how many people must have seen all or most of the sixteen feature films thus offered per week (and that’s before the local drive-ins opened!). The movies really were at least as pervasive a cultural force as church and schools!

DonLewis
DonLewis on June 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Hello Bob of Roswell. Thanks and I would like to take you up on your Yucca photo offer.

Don………

rbrtptrck
rbrtptrck on June 15, 2008 at 1:27 am

I have a photo of the Yucca Theatre in Roswell (124 W. 3rd St., by the way) in 1950. Reply here with your E-mail address if you’d like a jpg of it.