Above and at left are ephemera from scrapbooks I
kept during the mid-sixties, clipped out of our own and neighbor's newspapers.
My family took the Winston-Salem Journal, but aunt-uncle down the street had The
Charlotte Observer, so I'd raid at least two theatre pages daily for ads. These
were mostly exercises in frustration, a canvas of shows beyond my reach thanks
to Winston being 58 miles off and Charlotte more like 90. On roads of fifty
years ago, two-lane and sometimes hazardous, you'd need compelling reason to venture either place. Seeing House Of Usher or Hammer's The Mummy at the Carolina's Saturday
Kiddie Show (W.S.) was not sufficient cause to haul me that distance. Of
matinees I didn't crave seeing, here are two, culled from the Observer and hung
as holiday stockings by Charlotte's Village and Capri Theatres for 1966. Santa Claus, Mexico-made in 1959, pitted St.
Nick against "the devil Pitch," who seeks to ruin Christmas. I knew
not the origin of Santa Claus then, but smelled a ratbased on ads that
pandered so obsequiously to youth. The combo of Snow White and Rose Red plus
The Big Bad Wolf roused as much suspicion. I could well believe these were
"Never Before Shown Anywhere." Even for a child of eleven, they were
brands called X. Snow White/Rose Red turns out to have been German-shot, and in
1955, dispelling the "All New!" tag on the Capri/Village ad
(both among Charlotte's premiere hardtops), while "All Live!"
implied stage rather than screen entertainment. Paul Tripp narrated the pair plus a number of other imported kid pics. The idea of such bookings
was to give parents a place to deposit offspring during busy Thanksgiving or
Christmas weeks so brats wouldn't be continually underfoot. If the show
proved lousy, which these undoubtedly did, there was always corn or candy to
gorge upon, if not joy of cacophonous moppetry by hundreds filling the Village
(800 seats) and/or Capri (995).