Bald Knob, Beebe and Kensett AR movie theaters of long ago. Movies on Saturday 15 cents.

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage

Searcy has an old movie theater that has lots of fame and gets lots of publicity.  How about the other small towns?  I think each had a movie theater and each theater was loved by the kids, especially on Saturday afternoon when they had a cowboy movie and a serial before the movie.  I always wondered HOW that girl could be saved from that conveyor belt headed for the saws with her strapped on the belt and screaming her head off.

Here's Bald Knob.

Here's Beebe. Beebe just had a fire in this old structure so changes are in store.

beebe

And here's Kensett.  The Kensett one has suffered.  As I snapped a picture a man came from next door to inquire quietly what I was doing.  He said the theater used to be taller.  It probably was, too, judging by these taller buildings in the other cities.

Kensett movie theater

Kensett's ticket booth is actually the one that impresses me most.  I can just see little kids lined up with 15 cents in hand to enter the theater.  When they became 12 and needed an adult ticket it was tempting to pretend you were younger and still get in for 15 cents. 

Kensett ticket booth

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Arkansas White County Searcy
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Blast from the past !
Tags:
realtor
foreclosures
real estate
reos
beebe
searcy ar
bald knob
barbara s duncan
kensett
old movie theaters

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Anonymous
Harold Gene Sullivan

Remember, that was the days of 5 cent ice cream cones or soda pop.  A good wage was 40 cents per hour.  So that would be the same as 2 or 3 dollars now.  So 15 cents wasn't easy to come by for a kid.

 

I remember movie houses in El Paso and McRae.  There was probably one at Griff but I don't really remember.

Aug 02, 2011 05:44 PM #2
Anonymous
Anita Fuller

I have spent many an hour, and seen many a good movie at that old Kensett movie theater, called "the picture show" in our day.  I also went to Bald Knob but not as much as Kensett; don't think I ever went to Beebe!  Of course, The Rialto and Plaza were our hangouts:  we went faithfully on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons....regardless of what was playing.  This was the schedule:  Sunday and Monday.....then Tues. night only.....Wed, Thur. Friday.....then Sat. (usually cowboy movies or old black and whites)....So you can see Hollywood was cranking them out.   The previews, cartoon started at 7:00, at 7:30 promptly the movie started and was over at 9:00.  Great stories were told in 'just' l hr. 30 minutes......would that the movie makers would do that today! 

Gene:  Griffithville did not have a picture show, or didn't during our day of going to the movies.  Most movie goers from Griff went to Kensett.

thanks, Barbara, for another stroll down memory lane.  I'd still rather go to a good movie than just about anything I do.

Aug 03, 2011 02:18 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Irina, and nickel cokes!! But who had a nickel?

Harold Gene, my memory goes back to going to some field and picking cotton on Saturday morning just enough to earn 35 cents.  That was enough for the movie and coke and popcorn.  They made delicious hamburgers too but they cost 25 cents each.  I didn't get many of those.

Anita, you should be a movie star.  You love movies.  You are SO dramatic!  You have a great memory which could be used for remembering lines.  I propose your coming to Searcy and taking part in our Theater-on-the-Square.  I'll even pay to go see you in the play.

Aug 03, 2011 02:27 AM #4
Anonymous
Anita Fuller

I actually had the romantic lead in our Senior Class play at SHS, '54...."You Can't Take it with You"....I was Alice Sycamore.   If Theater-on the Square would ever do that one, I would audition.  (but for the part of Alice's mother)....

Aug 03, 2011 04:30 AM #5
Anonymous
Bob Fuller

As a kid,I had the best of all movie worlds.  KK ("Deacon") King ran both the Plaza and the Rialto Theaters.  He was poker-playing friends with my Aunt Ruth and Uncle John.  That friendship led to my friendship with Deacon's daughter, Jackie.  We played together as children.  On Saturdays she came to my Aunt Ruth's house about mid-morning.  Around noon, or whenever it opened, we began at the Plaza; saw that movie.  Then we moved up Spring Street to the Rialto and saw whatever Western was playing.

Aug 03, 2011 04:50 AM #6
Rainer
20,243
Luke Jones
Garver - Little Rock, AR

Hate to be the party pooper here, but Barbara, I'm sorry - that's not the Bald Knob theater.

The building you took a photo of is the Luke Bone Grocery building. The Bald Knob theater still stands just down the street. Here's its entry on Cinema Treasures:

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/9541

You were correct on the other theaters. I understand Victor Weber - who now owns Searcy's Rialto - once ran the Kensett Theater, and possibly the other two as well. Bill Leach told me Providence used to have a theater, and the building is still there, but overgrown and difficult to recognize. A mission? Also, if you go to downtown Judsonia, take a close look at the building covered in red siding. You'll notice an inscription in the concrete on the ground near where its entrance would be.

I'm glad to see the Beebe theater still stands after its fire. I wrote a story on it for the Citizen a few months before the fire. It's been known as the Radio Theater and the Pioneer Theater. Here's its entry:

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/18273

Cinema Treasures has no entry for the Kensett theater! Someone needs to remedy that.

Aug 03, 2011 08:06 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Anita, we agree!  You are a drama queen!!  Somehow I just knew it.....: )

Bob, you did have a great childhood that provided free movies.  At least I assume they were free.

Aug 03, 2011 08:26 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Luke, thanks for the correction.  I jumped to conclusions when I was in Bald Knob.  I just thought the building looked old and theaterish!  I'm slapping my hand right now!!  Here is the real theater and I admit it looks more like a theater.  Thank you for the picture too.

Bald Knob theater

Yep!  I like this one better. 

Aug 03, 2011 08:31 AM #9
Rainer
20,243
Luke Jones
Garver - Little Rock, AR

Here is a historic photo of the Bald Knob theater from 1986. Evidently a church was in there for a while. Notable here is the old marquee hanging over the entrance. It might still be there under the siding that the lumber company put over it.

http://americanclassicimages.com/Default.aspx?tabid=141&txtSearch=CATAdvancedSearch1%2c4%2c3%2c-1&ProductID=23336

Aug 03, 2011 08:40 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Luke, I liked that picture.  That siding reminds me of what has been put around the old Rendezvous in Searcy. 

Aug 03, 2011 09:36 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Mary, I must have missed the give-aways at theaters.  Right now I'm trying to win Harp's big give-away.  It's like playing the lottery.  I just won a 96 oz. jug of bleach.  Gettin' closer......

Aug 03, 2011 12:44 PM #12
Anonymous
Mark Rippy

I love the pictures Barbara. I wish I could go inside some of these and just look around. On the Harp's game, you've beat me on it. I've won 2 free game tickets out of about 3,257,364 cards. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

 

Aug 04, 2011 03:39 AM #13
Rainer
246,721
Don Thompson
Donthomp Associates - Sunnyvale, CA

We all have such good memories of picture shows at the theaters in Searcy. The concessions have been a big part of those memories as well. When I paid 10 cents to go to the Rialto in 1942, I remember popcorn was a nickle or half the ticket. Now the cost of a tub of popcorn will exceed the cost of a ticket.

In those days, folks could bring things into the theater to eat. I liked to stop at Sterlings on the way to the Plaza theater and get a dime bag of Spanish peanuts. The Plaza barely had anything to eat besides popcorn.

Barbara, those pictures of theaters in the nearby towns are interesting. I never went to any of them. Too much good stuff at the Railto and Plaza.

Passing the time while Paula Anne has an angiogram and maybe a stent installed.

 

 

Aug 04, 2011 05:09 AM #14
Anonymous
Jim Bohannon

Barbara, You're more correct than you think, about the old movie theatre photo in Bald Knob. I was born in Bald Knob seventy-two years ago.  As a very young child (during WWII) I recall a BK theatre in the very close area of your photo. The old Joy Theatre was opened approximately 1945-1946, one block south in the area, where Luke spoke about.  

Aug 04, 2011 06:18 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Mark Rippy, go to Kensett and walk in.  The door is down.  The whole building is in terrible shape.  You know what I think about the Harp's game?  I think that when you go online and put in about 20 numbers they reward you with a big win!  You can go to Harp's and get two free cards!

Don, I hate that Paula is having trouble physically.  She and you seem like iron people to me, indestructible!  And she will be again as soon as the stent is in. 

Jim, thanks for the support.  The building looks like it would have been a theater because of the two stories and the window for tickets.  And I like old rock buildings like that one.

 

Aug 04, 2011 06:50 AM #16
Anonymous
Harold Gene Sullivan

Mary Dunn brought back memories when the Rialto use to have "dish night" where someone in the audience would win a drawing for some dishes.  Probably other things, also, but all I remember were the dishes. (As a kid, it didn't seam like such a good prize to me but it seemed to be to all the grown-ups.)  They would bring out a round basket which held all the ticket stub ends collected when you went in.  They would crank the basket around and make a big deal out of drawing the winner. 

Aug 04, 2011 08:44 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Harold Gene, I just don't think this happened in my little town in Georgia.  Heck, we didn't even know what trick or treat was.  I never heard of a poodle skirt.  I grew up culturally deprived in the worst way.

Aug 04, 2011 09:17 AM #18
Anonymous
Anita Fuller

Bob and I drove from Searcy to Little Rock yesterday, taking the "old" highway.  We went into the town of Beebe just to drive by the old movie theater.  

Aug 05, 2011 02:51 AM #19
Anonymous
Cheryl Fuller

Barbara, I am not from Searcy, but feel sometimes like I am.  I am the wife of Billy Fuller, sister-in-law to Anita and Bob Fuller.  When Bill and I are watching an old movie, he invariably says "I saw this at the Rialto when I was .......  He sometimes even remembers who he was with and other circumstances such as the day of the week it played.  I think the Rialto must have been "the place to be in Searcy."  He did go often with his Aunt Ruth, so perhaps he went more than some.  Also has told the story several times of "being so short that he got in for childs' prices for a long time after he passed that age.  Enjoy reading your blogs.

Cheryl Fuller

Aug 09, 2011 10:47 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,043,831
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

Anita, I love the old Beebe downtown.  They should film a movie down there because it has so much leftover from years past.

Cheryl, thanks for the comment.  Billy may have led as charmed a life as Anita did.  You know....petted, spoiled, given anything they want, etc.  I'll bet his Aunt Ruth did some of that spoiling!  But he turned out to be a fine person!  So did Anita, but don't tell her I said so!!

Aug 09, 2011 02:26 PM #21
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Barbara S. Duncan

GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR
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