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Winona, a small coal mining community in West Virgina, had its own movie theatre with just a screen and seats…no decorations, no frills, and only popcorn and pop at the concession stand.
By the 1940’s, the theatre was owned and operated by the Pugh family. Sunday and Monday’s features were single-features, often fourth or fifth-run MGM product (that studio’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ was an annual holiday treat). Tuesday, the theatre was closed. Wednesday and Thursday was the standard family show, a double-feature drawing mainly on Universal, Columbia, Republic, Monogram, and PRC. Friday and Saturday nights featured a western double feature, and the whole theatre would shake with the whoops and hollers from the audience, often filled with coal miners painting the town red. There were no Saturday matinees.
The Winona Theatre, for lack of competition, was the social gathering for the young of Winona, and going to “the show” with the same date week after week was the main indication of going steady. The signing on of WOAY-TV in nearby Oak Hill in 1954, signaled the signing off of the Winona Theatre.
The building stood empty for over a decade, and by 1966, its interior was in such disrepair, that the building was demolished.
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