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From The Gaffney Ledger - April 1, 2005

THE REEL DEAL
Capri featured in latest Sandlapper issue

By SCOTT BAUGHMAN
Ledger Staff Writer

Whether you still call it The Cherokee or you know it as The Capri, the movie theater in uptown Gaffney has seen its share of Hollywood fame come and go. And this Spring the building’s own notoriety got a boost.

The Spring 2005 issue of “Sandlapper: The Magazine of South Carolina” showcases The Capri in an article about old movie theaters in the Palmetto State, titled “The Show Goes On.” Alongside such stalwarts as Main Street Theater in Conway and the Ritz in Newberry, The Capri was mentioned as one of the oldest and longest-running theaters in the state.

“We were very pleased with the article,” said Clyde Hudson, who co-owns and still runs the theater with his wife, Mary. “We’ve had SCETV come out and do a show about us and several other magazines and papers have done articles about us recently. We’ve gotten letters from as far away as Arkansas to tell us they liked the stories and our theater.”

Having taken over the operation of the theater in 1969, the Hudsons still run the show themselves. But this isn’t some flashback theater, the Capri shows first-run films. The current feature is “Beauty Shop” starring comedienne Queen Latifah and local born actress Andie MacDowell and will soon be replaced with the upcoming remake of the fright film classic “The Amityville Horror.”

“We’re planning on showing it soon, although we haven’t booked it yet,” Hudson laughed. “You know, that will actually be the second time I’ve shown that movie at the theater. We were there when the original premiered in 1979.”

The screen at The Capri is only 18 feet by 22 feet, dwarven by today’s cinema standards, but that hasn’t deterred the Hudsons.

“Determination is the only thing that has really kept us going this long,” Hudson said.

“We only have one screen and everyone thinks that is so dinosaur,” Mary Hudson added. Although the building has been rewired and the plumbing replaced, much of The Capri is exactly the same as it was when it opened in 1936. The lamphouse projectors are circa 1940 and were installed shortly after the building opened.

“We still have the same bathroom floors,” Mary explained.

In 2000, the building’s stage was retrofitted to once again allow for live performances.

And The Capri has tried to hold onto something else from bygone movie eras — value. Tickets for children are just $3.50 and adult prices are only $5. Concessions, like that famous movie popcorn, are half the price of multiplex snacks.

Clyde said he still has difficulties picking out movies to show. “That is definitely the hardest part, figuring out what people want to see. But for me, nothing beats watching people as they sit and enjoy one of our movies, especially if it’s a good comedy and people are laughing. I like to see them having a good time because of my hard work.”

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