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March 16, 2004

Memories of Movies
Friend Don Stoddard remembers the Saturday afternoon movies that we used to call "B" westerns. They usually starred Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, Buck Jones, Bob Steele, Lash LaRue or any one of dozens of others who made those quick flicks for hero worshipers like us. You seldom see that kind any more. Anyway, it was generally believed that none of those heroes ever bestowed an actual kiss on the lips of their leading ladies, but Don says, "Just a danged minute, partner."

"I don't know where the idea ever got started," Don says, "that those old movie stars didn't kiss the heroines. Maybe it was because as young boys we didn't care about seeing them smooching. All we cared about in those movies was seeing six-guns blazing and bare knuckle fights: I still watch those old movies on TV and I would venture to say that somewhere in the picture the cowboy smooched with the heroine!"

Thinking about those old Westerns, Don says, brought back the memory of Perry and the old Roxy Theatre in the 1940s. (In case you don't remember, the Roxy was next door to Foster's Corner Drug Store.) He continues: "Though it was hard to do, I usually managed somehow to scrape up a dime so I could go to those old movies. Usually I had to resort to such things as hunting for certain brands of discarded pop bottles that could be redeemed for a penny or two at the friendly Mr. Bobbit's grocery store on 6th Street. I also thought about a man named Sim Hilley. He was an old cowboy if ever there was one. I remember the cowboy hat, the boots and cowboy clothing Sim wore. He always seemed to be at the Roxy Theatre on Saturday afternoons to watch those old Class B Westerns."

Don continues: "Sim would really get caught up in the heated action of some of those old movies, especially if the Three Mesquiteers were playing. You could hear him shouting encouragement to them when they were chasing the bad guys. Sim had a problem with pronouncing the Mesquiteers’ name and it always came out like the name of the insect that delights in biting you on the arm or elsewhere in the good old summertime. I can still hear Sim, whooping and hollering."

Thanks to Don for sharing those good memories. I also recall that Mr. Hilley was a frequent participant in the Sept. 16th celebration parade, and he really did look like an authentic, if aging, cowboy.