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St. Matthews , SC

Calhoun Theater
West Railroad Avenue (West Bridge Street)
300 Seats

Movie Theatre For St. Matthews

From The Times And Democrat - Orangeburg, SC - Sept. 15, 1936
"The lot on West Railroad Avenue is being cleared for the erection of an up-to-date moving picture house, the cost of which will be more than $5,000. The lot belonged to the South Carolina National Bank here and was bought by J. W. Wactor and T. M. Ulmer of Holly Hill, who will erect the building at once. The building and equipment will be up-to-date in every respect."

From an article in The Calhoun Times by Dr. Robert E. Holman

"Marley Ulmer from Holly Hill opened the Calhoun Theatre on West Bridge Street, between Prof. Ford's Barber Shop and Berger's Shoe Shop, across from the office of the J.L. Carroll Livery Stable. Johnny Murray, also from Holly Hill, and his beautiful little blond wife moved to St. Matthews to operate the cinema. Johnny was the projectionist. Mrs. Murray sold tickets.

Gilbert (Gilly) Smoak took up tickets and did the maintenance. Gilly was assisted with the cleaning chores by a host of little boys he picked up off the street. He would speak to them in "Tarzanese," which he learned from watching too many Tarzan movies.

On Monday and Tuesday, a first rate film was screened. On Wednesday a "B" movie was shown and there was standing room only, for Wednesday was "Jack Pot Night." Names were drawn from a hat and the lucky winner took home cash - occasionally up to $400. You had to be present to collect. On Thursday and Friday, fare was sort of older movies. Saturday was a big day for little boys when Westerns were featured. The Saturday program included a serial, a comedy, previews of coming attractions and a feature.

Very rarely an "in person" appearance was made on stage. Once The Lady in Red, who was said to be John Dillinger's girl friend, showed up. Another time Buffalo Bill came. At least that's who he said he was - William Cody, that is.

After the Murrays left, Camille Parler and Mabel Gerard sold tickets, and Jennings Parker was the projectionist. Among other continuing to bring us entertainment were Sonny Varnadore and the Lloyd brothers. Finally, Sadie and Roy Allread ran the theater until it closed. Many an evening's entertainment was had in the Calhoun Theater."

Sources:
The Film Daily Yearbook - 1945
The Times and Democrat - Orangeburg, SC
The Calhoun Times - St. Matthews, SC

 

 
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