» Memories

Eighth grade graduation

March 3, 2013

For as long as I can remember, the Grand Theatre was the center for many activities in Douglas. My first memory of the Grand Theatre ids a 4½ year-old when I appeared with my sister, Leona (3½ years-old) in a tap dance. My mother, Irma Dalton Bond, had a Dance School in Douglas and her dance recitals were performed at the Grand. This was to be our first appearance on the stage. The show had a live band, beautiful costumes, and many of the local kids performing. The ban was playing and Leona and I were tapping away when she made a little mistake. That was too much for perfectionist me. I halted the entire dance, including the band. Right on stage, I set things right with my little sister, and then we went back into the routine. I don’t know if my mother was amused or mortified.

Following that performance, we were in many more on that stage. I can still remember the smell and feel of changing costumes in the dressing room, of the lights and music, and the audience. It was very exciting.

During World War II, my mother continued to teach dancing but didn’t put on the lavish shows at the Grand because it was difficult to get costumes, dance shoes, etc. At that time, there was an Army Air Force Base outside of town and some of the soldiers were from Hollywood. Dusty King was a Singing Cowboy star in B movies, and Rex Curry was a music arranger for films. They put on variety shows at the Grand using talent from the base and some of the locals. I remember watching rehearsals since my mother had some students in the shows. I wanted to be up there too, but, unfortunately, my mother said I was too young. That was a bitter disappointment for a little girl who was a ham at heart.

The first movie I remember seeing at the Grand Theatre was “Snow White.” It still remains my favorite of the Disney films. As we got older, most Saturdays were spent at the matinees. The line to purchase tickets would go around the block. For just a dime (and later twelve cents), we saw the news, several cartoons, the serial, and two films. One of the films was usually a cowboy movie and the other standard fare of the time.

The Grand Theatre served as a place for our eighth grade graduations, and for many high school shows until the new high school was built. Then most of the activities moved to the auditorium at the new school.

The movies at the theater changed three times a week and most of the high school students went to them all. Of course, it was a favorite “date” and quite thrilling to sit holding hands with your current beau. Popcorn came in small bags and sold for a nickel or a dime. An usherette, carrying a flashlight, saw you to your seat.

To me the Grand was gorgeous. During the time spent there, a small town girl could imagine all sorts of wonderful things and be in a world of beauty. Thank you for the work and effort you are giving towards the restoration of this wonderful building. I hope I will once again have the pleasure of sitting in the audience and watching a show and reliving the past.

Lenore Bond Almanzar

I used to usher at the Grand Theatre

March 3, 2013

I used to usher at the Grand Theatre. I never got to see a movie from beginning to end, but it was a paid job. My mother, Mrs. Harry L. Churchyard, had a group that is drama shows before the Saturday matinee. We often had a part to do and we got in to see the movies FREE! This great theater has a lot of positive memories.

Ada Ruth Clark

I worked at the Grand Theatre

March 3, 2013

I worked at the Grand Theatre in the 1950s. I loved selling tickets and ushering people. The Grand was a beautiful place. I saw many a Shirley Temple movie and westerns at the Grand.

Margarita Cota Chaves