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Following information comes courtesy of Joe Vogel, "Checotah had a population of a little over 2,000 when the Gentry Theatre opened as the town’s second house in the spring of 1941, according to the May 31 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year.
Johnny Jones, operator since the early 1930’s of what had been Checotah’s only theater, the Cozy Theatre, then hastily remodeled an existing building into yet another theater. Called the State Theatre, this 300-seat house lasted only a few months before being destroyed in a fire that also claimed five other businesses, according to the August 16, 1941, issue of Boxoffice.
The Cozy Theatre had been offered for sale in the January 7, 1930, issue of Motion Picture Times, so it dated from the 1920’s or earlier. The ad claimed 600 seats for the Cozy Theatre. I’ve been unable to find an address for the house, which continued to operate until at least 1954.
In 1950, Jones partnered in the construction of the 69 Drive-In with Dick and David Crumpler, then operators of the Gentry. The Crumplers took over operation of all three theaters in 1952 when Jones moved to Arkansas."
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