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I worked as an usher at the Bellaire in 1958/59. The owner was Brig. General Victor A. Barracco. He was a retired Marine Corps General who ran the theater like the Corps. His language could curl your hair. My mother did not want me to work there. He told me I was the stupidest person he had ever known. (I doubt that.)His assistant was Millie Vann, who had worked with him in the Marine Corps. His wife was a doctor who drove nice cars. Ushers made $.50 an hour. We had to change the marquee by climbing a dangerous ladder. There were metal stands at each bus stop in front of the theater and we had to paste one sheets on them for every show. There were usually several layers of sheets on the board and we had to mix up the paste ourselves. It was messy. Ushers wore uniforms that were kept in a room above the store room. They were never laundered. Drinks from the consession stand were mixed from gallon bottles of syrup that we had to bring down the store room stairs. Wayne Mattison dropped one and it broke. Our shoes would stick to the floor for years afterwards. General Barracco died well into his 90’s. Millie Vann lived a long time also. I could go on and on.
Stan. That link didnt work. You are probably right that is not the interior of the Alabama.
The Alabama ran some of the big 70mm road shows. Sound of Music ran for over a year. Lawrence of Arabia played there. It was magnificant. The Tower was the first 70mm house. Mike Todd was there for the opening of Oklahoma. He made them take out the pop corn machine to add some dignity to the occasion. They replaced it when he left. There was a push to equip theaters with 70mm. The Delmon, Village, The Uptown, and some others made the expensive switch.
Onece they ran a Rudolph Valentino film. Some how they got hold of a nitrate print. The print caught fire and damaged the booth. I saw the damage. Not pretty.
I visited my friend, Rick Uhlhorn, the manager at the Avalon/Capri when it ran adult fare. I’d go in and watch the film as long as I could stand it. They were mind numbinly awful. I could feel brain cells dying by the minute.
For a while, the Avalon showed real art films. Foreign titles etc. They ran a film of the Bolshoi ballet company. Someone called up and asked if it was a live stage show with the Bolshoi. No, they replied, it was a film. They figured that if they booked the real Bolshoi, tickets would be $750 a seat.
They did have live stage plays briefly. Hal March, of the tv show $64,000 Question was the star of one production. I’m sure it did not make money.
Al Zarzana owned the Avalon in the 70’s when it was adult fare. Rick Uhlhorn was the manager. They tried haveing live striippers in there for a while.