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Elloree, SC


Bluebird Theater

The Bluebird Theater served Elloree, SC, in the early 1920s. It was owned by Mr. Heatley. It was on Cleveland Street and offered silent movies. A local pianist or automatic piano played to provide the appropriate mood for each scene. According to local historian, Dr. Robert E. Holman, several local people read the inter-titles aloud, "much to the disgust of the literate and the delight of the slow readers."

Elloree also experienced a series of traveling open-air and tent movie theaters. These were typically exhibitions of two-reel feature films. The admission was usually free. After the showing of the first reel, slides were projected on the screen advertising local merchants. This was followed by the second reel.

Playland Theater

Dr. John Thompson Green, Sr., was a physician in Elloree. He had an office in the back of Dantzler's Drugstore on Cleveland Street. At the encouragement of his son, Dr. Green opened a small movie theatre he named the Playland Theater. It was located upstairs over the building that later became Hall's Five and Dime Store. In 1941, Dr. Green built a movie theatre across the street and the Playland moved.

In an article from the Elloree Dispatch, dated July 21, 2006, Dr. Holman writes, "Javan Shedd was the first projectionist; other projectionists were Eugene Irick, Bobby Dantzler, and Marion Bookhart, Jr. Mrs. Dell (Adele Cannon Green), wife of the good Doctor, sold tickets. Keitt Brandenburg was the maintenance man."

When we were in Elloree in 2002, we saw what appeared to be a small stage at one end of the large space upstairs above Hall's Five and Dime Store. Delores Wright, who runs an antique store in the building, told us it was built in 1902, and once housed Elloree's telephone exchange.

She said, "The switchboard was upstairs. The windows faced the street. Someone might call and ask to speak to so-and-so. The telephone operator would look out the window and say, 'Won't do any good. She's out in her back yard right now.'"

The location of the Playland Theater is now an empty lot.

Dr. Green's sons opened theaters and drive-ins in several towns across South Carolina. See the Green/Greene family profile.


Dr. and Mrs. J.T. Green


Hall's Five and Dime
Opened in 1938, by C.B. Hall, Sr. The 1902 building once housed the Elloree telephone exchange which was located upstairs. It was also the location of the movie theater operated by Dr. J.T. Green.

Sources:

Dr. Robert E. Holman, author of several books and articles on the history of Elloree, SC.

Elloree: A Short History, 1986, by Robert Evans Holman and Patsy Allen Holmen.

Film Daily Yearbook, 1945 edition

Bill Greene, grandson of Dr. J.T. Green, Sr.
J.T. Green, III, grandson of Dr. J.T. Green, Sr.

 

 
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