Comments from rfnaz

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rfnaz commented about New Theatre on Feb 26, 2013 at 6:04 am

It has been fun to stumble onto this website, read the published accounts, and especially to read those of the locals who actually remember them. I grew up in Fort Smith attending the New Theatre (which we all knew as the “Malco”) and the Temple during the late 50s and throughout the 60s.

All the major movies of those years passed through these two theaters (and the two drive-ins). I don’t recall a perceived preference between the Malco/New and Temple, but I know I saw more movies at the Malco. It seems that during the 60s, the Malco would have been the first run house in town. I particularly remember seeing my first movie there; 101 Dalmatians in its initial release. In grade school and junior high throughout the 60s, I can’t remember all the titles, but ones that made a particular impression were the Bond movies. I actually have more memory of the ones seen at the Temple, which I can post on that page.

I seem to recall the long hallway walk to the lobby being neon lit, and lined with one-sheets of upcoming movies. Seems like I remember the walk from the ticket lobby to the theater having a significant ramp upwards. I never sat in the balcony at the Malco, but I remember sitting under it in the back rows of the theater. I remember always being fascinated by the box on each side wall. “How do I get to those seats?!” It seems there was concealed indirect neon light along the side walls that sort of framed the screen (magenta in color?). I don’t have any significant memory of the way the interior looked with house lights up. I remember an operative curtain, but I don’t recall its detail.

We didn’t go to the movies a lot when I was in those younger years, but the times I went made a lasting and magical impression. I also have memories of the Phoenix (AMC?) Twin, the first Central Mall theaters, and the twin theaters that were on the south side of U just above Towson, but the old houses made the first impressions.

As a funny reference to the linked photo showing the Garrison marquis from the early 80s with a plug for a mayoral candidate. I remember that guy, vaguely.


rfnaz commented about Temple Theatre on Feb 26, 2013 at 12:12 am

This is a partner post to the one I made on the New/Malco page. For some reason, I remember quite a bit about the exterior of the Temple, and a good number of the titles I saw there in the 60s. The exterior looked quite different that it does today. In its bare architectural appearance today, it could be a bank. In the mid-sixties I remember it looking quite different.

The most noticable difference would have been noticable at night due to the somewhat large marquis sign that stood on its own, but I can’t remember if it was to the left or right when facing from the street. I believe it was to the right. I do remember that there was a box office structure of some kind to the right of the top of the steps. I suspect that this was somehow linked to the existing third doorway. This all made the front of theater exterior around the stairs quite bright at night. The lobby was rather small with just the concession stand and I think the stairs to the balcony to the left as you entered.

The films I saw there in the 60s that come to mind are: Hatari! (in the balcony), That Darn Cat, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

My dad was not a Mason, so the Temple’s shared roof with the Masonic lodge was always a little spooky to some of us kids. There was a mystery about it.