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November 22, 2000

Dale Nida has come across a piece of movie advertising by two local theaters from fifty years ago, and I have been very interested in studying it. The piece is imprinted on something like a manila folder used in offices everywhere. When opened flat, the top half shows all the movies scheduled in the month of June 1950 at the Perry Theater, 412 Sixth street, and the lower half lists the schedule for the Roxy Theater on the east side of the square. Both were owned and operated by John B. Terry.

At both theaters, features ran on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, then changed for Wednesday and Thursday, and changed once again for Friday and Saturday. Occasionally, a special feature would be held over for an extra day or so, but those were the exception. The Perry Theater was our town’s biggest and newest, and that is where the top-flight releases were screened. One of these was Walt Disney’s “Cinderella.” It opened on Sunday, June 18, and because of the big ticket demand it was continued through the following Wednesday. Westerns were usually shown on Friday and Saturday at both theaters.

If you’re curious, here are some of the other features booked at the Perry Theater in June 1950: “No Sad Songs For Me,” starring Margaret Sullavan and Wendell Corey; “Nancy Goes to Rio,” starring Ann Sothern in this popular series; Barbara Stanwyck in “No Man of Her Own;” June Allyson and Dick Powell in “The Reformer and the Redhead.” At the Roxy, the big pictures scheduled included “The Lives of a Bengal Lancer,” starring Gary Cooper; “Beau Geste,” also starring Gary Cooper; and “Woman In Hiding,” starring Ida Lupino and Howard Duff.

Westerns booked at the Perry included “Twilight in the Sierras,” with Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger; and “Wagon Master,” starring Oklahoma’s Ben Johnson and Joanne Dru. Oaters scheduled at the Roxy included Tim Holt in “The Mysterious Desperado;” Eddy Arnold in “Hoedown;” and Monte Hale in “Ranger of the Cherokee Strip.”

I’ve never heard of some of those features, but I miss the movies and I wish every one of them was a coming attraction at a local theater. Thanks to Dale Nida for sharing this piece of nostalgia.

In the same packet, Dale has a Xerox copy of a portion of the front page from The Perry Daily Journal for May 11, 1950. Stories shown on the front page bear the bylines of such reporters as Jeanne Allard, George Farrar and Dorothy Harvey. If none of those names sounds familiar, it’s because all of them were journalism students at Oklahoma A.&M. College, who spent a few days here that week observing methods used by the paper’s regular crew, then taking over the operation for a day and putting out a Journal of their own creation. Farrar’s story was headlined: ‘Dream House’ Nears Finish. The piece dealt with a brand new house being built by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis H. Dormire on their farm two miles north and three east of Perry. The Dormires, married in 1927, had delayed construction of their “dream home” for 23 years until the time was just right. Allard’s interesting story was about Mrs. H.M. St.Clair, described as “Perry’s most interesting hobbyist.” She was an oil and textile painter, but she also turned out hand-made figurines and pottery. It’s a tight, well-written story. Jeanne was from the Allard family who published the Drumright Derrick for many years. I remember the J-students’ week here very well and I have often wondered if any of them continued in the business.