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Camden, SC

 

Opera House
The first movie shown in Camden was about 1900 when a road show came to the Opera House. In 1902, movies were shown in a tent near the Opera House as part of a traveling carnival.

Around 1907, the first movie theater was opened by Mr. C.E. Boynton. This was a typical "store front" theater with wooden chairs put together in an existing building. About 1910, another such theater was opened by Mr. Hunter Lang and Mr. Lawrence Whitaker.

Another theater opened in the old armory a short time later. This was run by Mr. J.M. Villenpigue and Mr. J.W. Blakeney. For a season in 1914, an open-air movie theater called the "Air Dome" was operated by Mr. Shattenstien of Chester, SC.

Majestic Theater

Mr. T. Lee Little opened the Majestic Theater at 506 Dekalb Street in Camden on April 7, 1915. The opening attraction was "Wildflower" starring Marguerite Clark and Harlold Lockwood. Mr. Little brought the Mac Sennett bathing beauties to appear in person at the Majestic Theater. This was the first time citizens of Camden saw the new form-fitting bathing suits that had become the national rage.

One episode of the movie serial, "Perils of Pauline" was filmed in Camden.

Little Theatre
In April, 1950, the Majestic Theater became the Little Theater.

Hagler Theatre (aka King Haigler Theater)
The Haigler Theater was located on the southeast corner of the intersection of Broad and Rutledge Streets, the site of the former Opera House.

The Haigler Theater was named for Catawba Chief
King Haigler, the beloved chief of the Catawbas, who befriended early settlers in the Camden area.

Camden Theatre

The Camden Theater was another movie theater opened by Mr. T. Lee Little.


Little Theater


Camden Theater in 1948

 

 

 

Mr. T. Lee Little was one of the South's pioneer motion picture exhibitors. He opened the Majestic Theater in Camden, in 1915. Over the years he opened three more movie houses and the Sky-View Drive-In. He was a member of the North Carolina - South Carolina Theater Owners Association and the Camden Executives Club as well as a charter member of the Camden Rotary Club.

He was one of the longest survivng independent theater owners in South Carolina. In 1950, he was honored by Paramount Pictures on his 35th anniversary as an exhibitor of Paramount's films. He received an engraved scroll bearing congratulation and well wishes of Paramount executives, including Adolph Zukor. He also received telegrams from virtually every movie star on the Paramount lot.

He was honored again in 1960, by the Theater Owners of North Carolina and South Carolina for his many years' service to the motion picture industry. A short profile can be seen by clicking here.


T. Lee Little
1887 - 1967

 
  Our gratitude to Gretchen Roepke, granddaughter of Mr. T. Lee Little for providing most of this information.    
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