River View Theatre

River View, AL 36854

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The former partial area town of River View, now part of the city of Valley, had the city’s first own movie house when the 1920’s began starting up the world. As early as I can find though, River View had the Riverdale Theatre, though is mostly hard to catch by it’s opening date. But until as early as I can find though, the paper believes that the Riverdale Theatre had a grand opening of January 31, 1920 with Douglas Fairbanks’ in the photoplay “Knickerbocker Buckaroo”, A film by Paramount’s sister Artcraft Pictures. The name of the theatre only lasted for only 4 years and possibly 4 months as latest with no other words to describe it. But I can’t find other information on its dead-end road on if the theatre had changed or since been gone. But as early as I can find though, either this became or simply “the” River View Theatre by 1925.

Lasting the silent-era until January 17, 1930, the film “The Bachelor Girl” starring Jacqueline Logan, William Collier, Jr., and Cecil B. Demille (along with a sound comedy “The Hoosegow”) was the first film(s) the River View Theatre put out with a sound system. The sound system the River View Theatre installed was used as follows: 2 Audiphone turntables for records, 1 silver Marshall, 7-inch tube amplifier, 2 professional model Audak pick-ups, 2 Jensen speakers, and a volume control located in a convenient place. The system was later awarded the Perfectest Sound Plaque of the year by the Exhibitors Herald-World later on, which occurred on June 28, 1930. The equipment that they used in this theatre goes as follows: 2 Simplex 35mm projectors with automatic Peerless reflectors such as a lamp with a Hertner transverter (for transferring an alternating current into a smooth direct current without dim-flickering eye strain which was experienced with an older type machine with was marked unknown), Bausch & Lamb lens, and the main screen, a silver fibre screen which was marked unknown in size. Despite the theatre’s equipment, it also has an “Arctic Nu-Air” (yes that’s the company) air conditioner.

Operated by the Al-Dun Amusement Company (served since 1922) which serves 6 other theatres across the eastern Alabama and western Georgia areas, which later became the Valley Theatre Incorporated chain.

Terror rises on the afternoon of March 7, 1939, the River View Theatre building was completely destroyed by a fire, which also affects the nearby Drug Company next door. That’s not the only time the Chambers County area had a theatre-on-blaze. The first Fairfax Theatre before the second one opened in 1933 was destroyed by a fire in July 1932.

Meanwhile after living a year, 3 months and 12 days without a theatre for River View, River View’s picture show brings joy back to life as the River View Theatre finally was able to be rebuilt by the West Point Manufacturing Company of West Point, Georgia. The theatre was then able to reopen on June 19, 1940 with the film “Alias the Deacon” starring Bob Burns, Mischa Auer, and Dennis O-Keefe along with a special musical performance by Negro, Graham Jackson, with the novachord which was requested by hundreds which he formerly performed at the Shawmut Theatre in “now-Valley area” Shawmut. After his performance at the newly rebuilt River View Theatre, he moved to the Lanett Theatre to do his performance.

The theatre’s interior contains indirect lighting overhead, modernistic fixtures of soft-reds on the walls and a color scheme of white-all combined to make it a more delightful effect color more commonly recommending a Johns-Manuville product. There are 490 seats in total, and the projection room was the main upgrade after the blaze which contains 2 RCA Super-Simplex 35mm projectors with “Peerless Manar high intensity” lights.

All employers were from unknown origins or birthplaces, as the theatre was owned by J.E. Collins who formerly worked at the second Fairfax Theatre, and was operated by Rhuell Fullerton; and Mrs. Howell Weaver being the cashier.

No other information has been found as of yet so far, but the theatre has been closed by the early-1950’s, as late as 1950 or 1951. The list is still incomplete, so that means that the hunt still continues.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

robboehm on February 23, 2021 at 8:46 am

In 1980 the City of Valley was incorporated by combining the villages of River View, Fairfax, Shawmut and Langdale. Theatres in each of these villages are represented on CT.

50sSNIPES on February 23, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Yes I Put The Name “Now Part Of Valley” In There Just To Make It Simple.

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