Village Theater

MacCorkle Avenue & 39th Street,
Charleston, WV 25312

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rivest266
rivest266 on July 31, 2010 at 3:31 pm

This opened on April 2nd, 1941
you can see the ads at http://www.calameo.com/books/0002479287e38892e2bc3

MikeyFortune
MikeyFortune on January 29, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Hi Mary Jo. I am sorry to say that I do not recall knowing you from the Village. As little kids we packed that place especially on the weekends. At the age of 16 I was living in Toledo, Ohio and did not manage to return to Charleston until 1999 as previously stated. I am however, glad to meet you through this forum and to hear that you have remained in Charleston and can still see where the Village once stood. My earliest memories of seeing a film at the Village was “Green Mansions” with Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins. I loved being a kid in Charleston and especially loved all the great theatres that were there. My family lived on Roosevelt Avenue and my brother and I could see the screen of the Owens Drive-In from his bedroom at night. Mr. Simon’s Putt-Putt was located next to the drive-in theatre. Sadly it is now gone as well. Downtown Charleston had some beautiful theatres back then, as did Toledo, Ohio. Call me a preservationist, but I miss the days of single screen theatres that were operated by true show people.

havasupi
havasupi on October 20, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Mickey: My name is Mary Jo Galloway. I am Roger Galloway’s sister. I also worked the Village in the concession stand. I’m only a year younger than you but I don’t remember you. Do you recall me by any chance. I was around 16-17 when I worked there. As Roger said most of our family worked the Village. We lived just around the corner and could walk there which made it very convenient. When I was very little my mother would take us to the Saturday matinee almost every Saturday. I drove past the Village today. I am still here in Charleston

MikeyFortune
MikeyFortune on October 20, 2007 at 11:16 am

Yes Jack, so true. Yesterday “Scream Of Fear” was on TMC. I saw that film with my parents at the Village. Scared me to no end. You never know when you are making a memory. I really miss those times I spent at the Village and the other theatres in Charleston. I went through there in 1999 and found the building that used to be the Village. Sad. Same goes for the Marmet. Still standing but used as a church now. The manager of the Marmet was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Nichols. All the kids called him Mr. Five Pennies.

jackwhittaker
jackwhittaker on October 18, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Wow! Isn’t it amazing how one little theater, in one little town, affected so many people’s lives.

dbsdbsatty
dbsdbsatty on October 12, 2007 at 12:38 pm

The new posting was to correct my secretary’s misunderstanding of my dictation. What Mr. Smith said about the Village Theatre are his true thoughts about that period of his life.

dbsdbsatty
dbsdbsatty on October 12, 2007 at 12:35 pm

My friend Roger Galloway told me about this site concerning the Village Theatre. I too worked as a projectionist at the Village Theatre from 1956-59. My brother Larry worked as a projectionist too as well as my sister Sharon working in the refreshment stand. I have vivid memories of those Saturdays and Sundays at the Village Theatre where I did double shifts with my brother Larry and eating popcorn and gold dome hot dogs. I also helped my friend Roger with putting up the marque letters on many occasions. I also worked for George Simon at his Putt-Putt Golf course after I graduated from high school and was waiting to go to college. The Village Theatre was a large part of my life during my high school years where I made friends and acquiantances and all my friends in Kanawha City knew that I worked at the Village Theatre and would come to see me in the projectionist’s booth. I will never forget the Village Theatre and that is where my love for movies began. I am now a lawyer in Arizona and this site has taken me down memory lane. It is with great love and fondness that I remember the Village Theatre.

RogerGalloway
RogerGalloway on October 12, 2007 at 8:06 am

Jack — I remember you very well!! I’m about 200 miles from you.
E-mail me at (ah, Children’s Theatre —something you and I share also with Jennifer Garner —lol.)

jackwhittaker
jackwhittaker on October 11, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Sorry, Mikey. I don’t remember the Burke’s but I sure do remember Roger Galloway. Roger!! We went to school together. Horace Mann, Charleston High and we were both into Children’s Theater.
I moved to California after our junior year in 1958. I’m now retired and living in Palm Springs. Where are you?

MikeyFortune
MikeyFortune on October 11, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Roger and David thank you so much for your posts. I remember my brother had a friend by the name of Butch Thorpe who also worked at the Village as a projectionist. Did either of you know him? Curious. As stated, George Simon was awesome. I was so sad to discover his obituary on line one evening. The last time I spoke with him was after I purchased my first theatre. I called him to tell him that he was an inspiration to me as a kid. He did remember me from my days at the Village. I had heard his wife Julia could be a tempest in a teapot but as I recall she was always really nice to me. I kept bugging her to book Roger Vadim’s “Blood And Roses” in 1962 but she refused to book scary films there. After much pleading she told me she would book the film but after showing “The Innocents” with Deborah Kerr she cancelled out. I remember feeling really let down but thankfully the film did play at the Marmet and the Owens Drive-In where I did get to see it. Years later when I entered the exhibition business I managed to get a print of “Blood And Roses” out of the Paramount vault and show it in one of my theatres for a week on a big screen. Way cool. I wish I could find some photos of the theatre as it seems so many years ago. I had some friends who lived on Noyes Avenue as well. Their family name was the Burke’s. Hank, Annette, Beverly and Skeet. By any chance did you know them? They did not live too far from the Village.

dbsdbsatty
dbsdbsatty on October 11, 2007 at 2:47 pm

My friend Roger Galloway told me about this site concerning the Village Theatre. I too worked as a projectionist at the Village Theatre from 1956-59. My brother Larry worked as a projectionist too as well as my sister Sharon working in the refreshment stand. I have vivid memories of those Saturdays and Sundays at the Village Theatre where I did double shifts with my brother Larry and eating popcorn and gold dome hotdogs. I also helped my friend Roger with putting up the marque letters on many occasion. I also work for George Simon at his Putt-Putt Golf course after I graduated from high school and was waiting to go to college. The Village Theatre was large part of my life during my high school years where I made friends and aquiantances and all my friends in Canal City knew that I worked at the Village Theatre and would come to see me in the projectionist’s booth. I will never forget the Village Theatre and that is where my love for movies began. I am now a lawyer in Arizona and this site has taken me down memory lane. It is with great love and fondness that I remember the Village Theatre.

RogerGalloway
RogerGalloway on October 11, 2007 at 10:59 am

I put up the marquee at the Village Theatre in 1955-56 and was the projectionist 1957-59. Great, great memories there. My mom, sisters—Betty K, Mary Jo, and Alice also worked there. We lived right around the corner on Noyes Avenue. George Simon was the manager —very nice man. His wife —Julia —not so nice. She really oversaw the operation. I still can sense the smell of the theatre —the carbon in the projection room, the feel and odor of the 35mm film itself. I can avidly remember the large red block letters (sometimes running out of the “M’s” and “E’s.” I also recall earlier when the theatre went “artsy” showing Chaplin’s “Limelight” in 1952 and then changing back to more popular fare starting with “Bronco Buster” in late 1952. My buddy, David Smith also became a projectionist there. This theatre was a major, major part of my life from the time I was 6 until I went off to college. Wish it were still there. Outside of my house on Noyes —it was my most significant childhhod site—more than my schools. I used to dream about Oscars while working there. Years later, I went to the Oscars and on the red carpet 7 times as a reporter. My movie love started in the Village. The memory will remain forever.

MikeyFortune
MikeyFortune on September 22, 2007 at 3:44 pm

As a child I too lived in the Village Theater. The owners were George and Julia Simon. I was born in 1951 and left Charleston in 1962. I spent most of my childhood inside the Village, Marmet and Guild Theatres. (The Guild closed way before the Village shuttered.) I don’t recall a balcony or cry-room but I do remember the art deco lights and marquee and a rotunda ceiling. Kids and families supported this theater from miles around. As a kid it was frustrating when the Village booked films like “Never On Sunday” or “La Dolce Vita” as we were shut out. Given the fact that there were so many kids going there I am sure the staff needed a break. I have a photo of the exterior of the Village before it closed but it looks nothing like it did in it’s hayday. Come to think of it, Charleston had a number of really great theatres. The Kearse, Virginian, Rialto, Greenbriar, State, Lyric, Custer, Marmet, Guild, and the Browns just to name a few. George Simon opened a Putt-Putt franchise next to the Owens Drive-In Theatre in addition to operating the Village. He was a super star in my eyes.

jackwhittaker
jackwhittaker on August 28, 2007 at 4:17 pm

P.S. The VILLAGE was operational in the 40’s as a working theater. They would stop the film so the audience could listen to AMOS and ANDY radio show. THey also had Bingo and Keno nights in the 40’s. My uncle was a projectionist during WWII. He would often let me visit him there. I remember the huge rolls of film and the bright carbon arc light. He would let me watch him change the carbon rods in the projectior. I loved to here the “whirring” of the film as it passed through the shutter. When I moved to California in 1958 the last photograph I took of Charleston was THE VILLAGE theater. That photo has long since disappeared but if it should show up I will publish it here. It became an “art house” theater in the 60’s and struggled until it’s closing in the 80’s. Sad it’s gone now but WOW! what memories.

jackwhittaker
jackwhittaker on August 28, 2007 at 2:28 am

I LIVED in the Village Theater as a child and teenager. In the pre-TV Fifties on Saturday you could see 25 color cartoons, a double feature and the lastest installment of whatever serial was popular at the time. All for a quarter. For another quarter you could get a box of the best fresh popped pop corn ever!, a Reeses Peanut butter cup and a coke. The entire(Baby Boom) child population of Kanawha City would be there, lined up, every Saturday morning. It was wonderful. I fell in love with the movies at this theater. I will never forget it. It was owned by a Syrian gentleman, whose name I have sadly forgotten. He knew I loved movies and would save movie posters and give them to me. When 3-D movies came out I asked him if the Village would show them. He told me “No,but we have something better coming. CinemaScope!” I believe THE ROBE premiered in Charleston at the Village.
The theater was in a brick building on McCorkle Ave. in Kanawha City.
The interior consisted of a small lobby and refreshment counter, the theater seats were maroon and every other aisle had a “love-seat”(a doulble wide seat for you and your date. It had a balcony and a “crying-room”. (a sound proof room, with a speaker, for parents to take their crying babies.) I’ll never forget the red, green and yellow “Art-Deco” lights lining both sides of the theater. The Marquee was a neon delight. Beneath the theater was a pop corn “factory” that popped corn and bagged it for other theaters in the Charleston area. On a cold, snowy West Virginia day the aroma coming from that “factory” was pure heaven. It was a small neighborhood theater in an “unremarkable” building but it was,to me, The most wonderful theater in the world. It was where I fell in love with the movies.