At the age of 4 or 5, if I had been taken to a movie theater, I would probably have been scared to death, and of course, cried from experiencing a new event in my life. Why not? There was the big screen with all the music and noise, even though the screens were pretty small back in my early days.

The first time I ever heard of a movie was at this young age, and my parents and others said that I looked like the star in the new movie that had just come to our town. They were thrilled that I looked like Shirley Temple who played a child’s part as the leading star. Today I would have laughed, but then I didn’t know what she looked like so I didn’t get the connection. I duplicated her looks in age, size, and a head full of all-over blond curls. I sort of figured out this when I saw one of her movies.

Even though we lived in a small town, at some time in my growing-up years we had a new theater built right in the middle of McCaysville. I thought it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. The outside had zillions of bright lights and glass cases with huge picture ads of movies to come. There was the tiniest little ticket area which appeared to be outside and was glassed in and facing the street. This theater was the talk of the town.

The reason we had this new attraction was that a doctor’s wife was so into movies and stars that they built this theater and she named it the Doradele Theater. Her name was Dorothy Adele, thus the Doradele! She would go to Hollywood from time to time and visit with her star friends. She dressed sort of on the outstanding side with outfits and makeup, so to kids, she was also a star. This building provided top entertainment for several decades until it was closed and the building was then used for another business.

The movie theater shown with this story is an actual photograph of the Doradele Theater. It does not do the attraction justice because it is black and white and appears to be such a small theater. It was not as big as some today, but even now I will have to say it rivals most theaters and especially in its day. There was no more beautiful place than the Doradele!

The Doradele Theater

It was really show time, when I was in my middle of growing up years. As a family, we never went to the movies, but I figured out somehow that I was going to be a part of the Saturday movies. My neighbors across the highway had several children and the ones who were old enough got to go to a movie every Saturday afternoon.
Their dad owned a business and worked on Saturday. When he would go back to work after lunch, we would pile into his car, go to the movies all afternoon and ride back home with him when he closed his business. What a plan for a bunch of kids who did not live in town with easy access.

Entering the Doradele at the price of 10 cents admission, we saw at least two full-length Westerns, plus a serial that continued for weeks. Also we were delighted at the cartoon, previews of coming attractions, World War II war news, and of course, some local ads and an invitation to the concession stand.

Usually there was a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans movie and other popular stars of the day such as Gene Autry. Hour after hour we watched horses running across the screen carrying the stars with their guns in pursuit of the bad guys. Usually there was a funny actor involved that would cause a roar of laughter from kids filling the many rows of seats.

As I look back at this experience, I realize that without the war news we would not have seen nor understood the events of World War II. Remember, there was no television in that day, and all we saw were news articles and black and white still pictures in the paper if we bothered to look.

By the time our faces were full of dirt from the horse rides, we began to think of something to eat and drink at the concession stand. Usually we only had cash for either coke or popcorn, but not both. The popcorn smelled so good that we chose that, and the cold water at the fountain was the best drink we ever had. I soaked up gallons after riding horses all afternoon. This was life at its finest for kids back then.

From time to time, we would see an Abbott and Costello movie and simply laugh ourselves to death. Kids thought they were so funny, and they were.

We have outgrown some things we liked as kids, but those and other comedy characters were some funny stuff!

In my teenage years and following, I dearly loved musicals. They were all in color and featured stars who could sing and do dance arrangements. It was, of course, boy gets girl and you always wondered who it would be. Stars were Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and of course, Betty Hutton and Doris Day. I wish they still had these today.

Well, I finally grew up, and the drive-in had not yet appeared on the scene.

A date consisted of a movie as there was little else to do in our town, especially if you couldn’t rollerskate! Movie prices gradually went up, and when I was dating my future husband the price was 35 cents!
Growing up, we always referred to going to a movie as “the show.” No matter what grownups said about the theater, cinema or movie, most folks simply called it the show! And it was!

Since I liked movies from when I was a kid, I was eventually blessed to see scenes of a real movie being filmed. When I was in college in 1950, the high school gym was not very far away, and this was where they were filming the movie, “I’d Climb the Highest Mountain.”

Whenever some of us had a break, we would go to the gym and if you were quiet while filming you could come in and watch and visit and talk with the stars.

The way settings for movies are done certainly surprised and enlightened me. The shooting of scenes which were inside their house in the movie were set up on the stage at the gym. They had the living room and others, and things were changed according to the scene. The outside scenes such as coming out of this same house were filmed at an old house miles away. College was informative!

Oh, yes, we met and talked to the stars during their break. There was the handsome Bill Lundigan, Rory Calhoun and the beautiful Susan Hayward and others. You might not have ever heard of them, but they were the top performers in that day and were in many top movies which we all had to see.

When this movie came to our town, we had an additional new theater, and I happened to be home at its showing. Of course, I was there and wanted to stand up and yell that I saw the stars in person and saw lots of this filmed!

This was an exciting time to see this film in living color, knowing where the outside mountain scenes were filmed, and that I had even visited with the stars!

I will have to let you in on a funny family event. When I was a teenager I had seen the previews of a mystery movie that I just had to see. It was called “The Razor’s Edge.” As I have said, my family did not care for movies quite like I did growing up. Oh, I was so excited over this mystery movie that I thought my whole family should see it.

Several days before time, I began to talk about how good it would be and that I wanted the whole family to go with me to see it. Well, I must have been pretty good at begging, for they all said they would go!
As I said, the name of it was “The Razor’s Edge.” My grandmother was visiting us at that time and when it was almost time to go she was on the phone with someone and said, “I’d better go. Patty wants us all to go to a show.” When asked the name of the show, she said, “Raising the Dead.”

We laughed and I was afraid my dad would back out, but we all went, and it was most likely the first movie my grandmother had ever seen. And to think, she thought she was going to see “Raising the Dead.”

Another incident, which would have probably made a good movie itself, happened when I was a teenager. Three girls decided that we must see this certain movie that had been highly advertised. Suddenly, we realized that this was the last day of the showing, and we had no way to go at night. We made a plan and carried it out!
We left school that afternoon missing our last two classes. While we were thrilled at our exciting plan, little did we know that when we were missed, someone told where we were. Inside the theater we were giggling about it when we saw our school principal walking down the aisle and looking things over.

We decided to slip out and went to the ladies restroom for a period of time. When we thought it was all clear, we sneaked out and there in the lobby we faced our principal! He took us aside and gave us a thorough talking, but finally said that since school was almost out we could go back and finish the movie. He said to be sure to be at school in the morning! There we had all those hours overnight to worry about our punishment.

The next morning he did not mention it. We worried for several days, finally figuring that the talking and waiting was enough punishment. If our parents had found out it would really have been showtime, and this time in living Technicolor!

After I grew up and married and had children, I did not care too much about movies. Mainly, having a family and working, I did not have time. The drive-in had come into play by this time, and we would take the children. Mainly, their attraction was the concession stand and cartoons!

When my children were growing up, their treat was spending Saturday morning in front of the television watching cartoons. In the afternoon, since we lived close enough, they walked to the movies which were not Westerns by then. Bless that generation for they had money for the concession stand and an ice cream cone afterward.

Theaters have changed over the years, and I do not have to elaborate upon their beauty, size and number.

Movies have changed from just the basic simple story into more action as required by the public. I must say that I have not been to a movie in some time since by title they don’t appeal to me. I prefer my choice of programs on television. This has to do with my age and the type of entertainment out there.

Movies at the theater and on TV are now centered on the young and young at heart. Our movies and culture have changed over the years. My preference is not one of extreme action nor violence. If they are not of the real world, I do not care for them. I like a little TV which includes some movies, news, games, serials, and especially the old re-runs. No, I am not a sports fan!

There just ain’t nothing wrong with an old black and white adult Western with a story and only a little shooting. The scenery and landscapes are so vivid even without color. I enjoy seeing the way they dress and the old culture and transportation. Matter of fact, I think Gunsmoke is on even as I write!

Do these events bring back memories of your growing up years? You can call it the theater, movies or cinema, but because I learned it that way, I guess it will always be “the show.” As you have always heard, “The show must go on,” and even now, “It’s Show Time!”