Friday, January 27, 2012

Sepia Saturday: You oughta be in pictures

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.





This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is a theater.  This one almost had me stumped as we are not a theatrical family.  Oh, we have some drama, just no theater.  Except for this one tiny instance.

Virgil S. Davis, 2nd cousin twice removed, once managed the Arcade and Virginia Theater in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

1920 Harrisonburg, VA Federal Census
click on image to enlarge

Virginia Theater on Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA about 1926
Image scanned from Harrisonburg Images of America
by Scott Hamilton Suter and Cheryl Lyon
Click on image to enlarge

The Virginia and the Arcade were two of the most popular places of entertainment in the 1920s for the citizens of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.  The Virginia Theater showed movies and hosted live entertainment.  It was a place for meetings and for public speakers and lecturers.  Politician and orator William Jennings Bryan spoke there in 1921. He could have been there speaking in support of Prohibition or attacking Darwinism, who knows. I wonder if Cousin Virgil got an autograph.


Entrance to Virginia Theater and Arcade about 1926
Image scanned from Harrisonburg Images of America
by Scott Hamilton Suter and Cheryl Lyon
Click on image to enlarge


The Arcade shared an entrance with the Virginia Theater.  Patrons for the theater entered just behind the ticket booth, while those going to the Arcade entered to the left.  At the Arcade, one could play billiards, go bowling, and grab dinner or a snack.

Image scanned from Harrisonburg Images of America
by Scott Hamilton Suter and Cheryl Lyon
Click on image to enlarge

 
If you’re wondering what movie you could have seen in 1926 when these photos were taken, it was a silent movie starring Dorothy Gish called Nell Gwynn about an orange grower who became the mistress to Charles II.  Also on the bill was a short silent cartoon called “Earth’s Other Half.”

But in 1975, you could have joined me there when I spent most of the evening peeking around my box of popcorn during the showing of Jaws.



18 comments:

  1. A set of fine images, Wendy. I'd have settled for seeing Jaws. I'll bet there would have been no popcorn during Nell Gwynn.

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  2. At least you saw Jaws--I didn't. It sounded too scary for me.

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  3. Your second photo reminded me of something I had forgotten, how they used to advertise films by showing photo stills outside. Love that bar, they look as though they are waiting for the rush of the interval.

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  4. Great post! The information you have found on our family is amazing.

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  5. A down to earth, no nonsense theatre, this one...

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  6. Yet another connection to the theatre is that Nell Gwynne started as an orange seller at the King’s Playhouse, but ended up being an acclaimed actress there. I love those smart old theatres and the entrance to that one looks really inviting. I can imagine the excitement of walking through its doors.

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  7. What a great shot of the theater entrance. I'm impressed that you were able to find a family connection too.

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  8. Makes me want to go to a movie. Not Jaws though. That was way to scary to see on the big screen.

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  9. What a wonderful, old theatre.

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  10. Great tour of the theater. I miss the character of the old theaters. Somehow the new multiplexes just don't do it for me!

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  11. Some great photos and great info. Quite an interesting subject this theater theme. Mine is a little off the mark.
    QMM

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  12. Wow, Wendy - you have some great photographs - and what an awesome story! I bet you could use this as the setting if you wanted to pen a short story (or novel,) ☼

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  13. Jaws on the big screen...oh probably not for me! ha ha This was excellent story, and your presentation fun to follow (just order more popcorn!) ...and has anyone found a theatre not worth having? Never! It seems too many of them have been lost!

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  14. Great theatre, and it looks quite like the prompt!

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  15. What wonderful photos, I love the old theatres, they have such a magical charm, not like the square boxes they "usher" us into these days.

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  16. Did you hide your eyes while watching Jaws?
    We were SO innocent back then...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  17. Wendy, these are wonderful photos, and I loved your stories. Jaws was quite scary, wasn't it? My date was so distraught that HE bit me on the shoulder during that movie.

    Have a great week,

    Kathy M.

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  18. Jaws & Popcorn ! A Heady Mix!

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