Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturdays in Baldwyn 1930s-40s
Baldwyn was a lively town in the late 30's & early 40's. Mr. Audie Coggins owned the Ritz Theater on Main St., and he usually had something special going on Saturday afternoon and night. He had a stage in front of the screen, so he would have a stage show of some kind if possible. There were singing groups, boxing matches, or even movie stars. Tex Ritter came with his group, and Mr. Audie had him to draw the lucky ticket for the Saturday drawing at 3:00 p.m.
Top attractions were the boxing matches in an elevated ring in the center of town. Local boxers were Sam Patton, Ed Wallis, Johnny Conlee, Raymond Easterling, "Curly" Copeland, Hasten Joyner, "Pee Wee" White & his twin brother Loyd, Mike Richey, Johnny Agnew, and Jess McGee. Most were amateurs who had never trained, but were pretty good boxers. "Curly" Copeland was fairly well trained and could usually win his matches even though outweighed in most cases.
For the finale on boxing nights ten or twelve boxers would enter the ring at the same time, and the last three standing would get the prize money. This was called a "Battle Royal".
Aud's admission tickets were fifteen cents to everyone on movie nights, but when he brought in "Gone With the Wind" it had to be $1.20 each. This movie lasted four hours with a 30 minute intermission.
Claude Gentry's theater (the Lyric) at Main & Front St. brought in the Jessie James movie which showed all night until 4 o'clock the following morning. These tickets were eleven cents to everyone, which was regular price, but only lasted a little over two hours.
Cars were not owned by many rural people in those days, and around fifteen school buses would bring people in to town around 10 o'clock on Sat. morning. They would shop until after the town drawing, go home and milk their cows, and then come back to town to the movie and visiting until after midnight. The stores would remain open until that time. I have worked in the grocery store until 12:00 p.m. and then gone to the barber shop for a haircut.
Hope this enlightens you about early Baldwyn. Normally on a week night, the GM&O Rebel passenger train going North at 10:51 was my signal to head home.
Images exerpted from "Around Town" film by Claude Gentry. Click to enlarge.
Thanks for the memories, Jimmy!
Posted by Carl Houston at 9:02 AM