He remembered sitting on this marble bench (above) and was able to show me some of the hand signals they were trained to use for crowd control. The ushers back then were trained/drilled military style. It was a huge honor to be an usher back then.
My first job, oddly enough, was also as an usher. At age 16 I was the first female usher hired at the old *UA Annex 3 movie theater (even though I couldn't even go IN to the x-rated “art movies” showing at that time). This was in 1974 and my duty as an usher was mostly to go through the theatres and ask people nicely not to smoke and to keep their feet off the seats in front of them. No smoking was slowly becoming a requirement in movie theatres. Some of my other duties were popping popcorn in the back room and changing the marquee outside. I was the only one who wasn't afraid of heights or of getting on the catwalk to perform this duty, although now I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do it. The Annex 3 was later made into the Annex 7:
The UA was located approximately where the strip center with TGI Friday’s is on 41st. While none of the movies stand out during my time there (too busy I guess), I do remember going to see Jaws at the *Southroads Cinema, just across the way. I also saw the first Star Wars movie there. When the Southroads opened it was a single theatre that had a side for smoking, complete with ashtrays on the arms, next to the cup holders. When it twinned, of course, it all became non-smoking.
I saw Gone with the Wind for the first time at the *Continental Theater.
What better place to see such a grand movie than at the Continental? The layout was 1,000 overstuffed, rocker seats with no aisles and a large, curved screen with lush drapery.
In the lobby, the concession stand was circular:
The Continental opened in 1967 at 7650 E. Skelly Drive and was razed in 1981.
I saw The Exorcist at the *Boman Twin (29th & Sheridan) - scared me pretty dang good. Gave me nightmares.Most of the movies in my childhood were seen at the Boman Twin and *The Fox- which opened as a single theatre in the late 1960's, located at 51st and Harvard:
With the exception of the Circle and the Brook building, all of the theatres in my presentation are gone. Parking lots are where they used to stand. And it’s a shame that the trip down Memory Lane runs into a dead-end and has such a sad ending.
*these theatres are not covered in my presentation