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Early theaters IV

Pulaski has some buildings that just naturally get a hold of people.
One is the old train station, another the Maple Shade Inn. And still another the old stone courthouse on Main Street.
Then there’s the old zinc plant that sat at the west end of Commerce. And another, the Dalton Theater, for it was the one place in Pulaski where Pulaski people, young and old, could step out of the real world on a Saturday afternoon or night, and into some part of the old west.
There they could spend time with Indians, and with their favorite cowboys. Americans have always been attracted to cowboys. On Saturday afternoons and evenings, and sometimes during the week, the Dalton Theater showed the best of the American west.
On August 19, 1939, during the Pulaski County Centennial Celebration, Tex Ritter and his Musical Tornados performed in person on the Dalton stage. This was just one of many types of live entertainment that Pulaski people enjoyed in that theater.
They say that long after it ceased operating, ghosts of entertainers and of horses galloped across the old stage regularly, causing the building to tremble.
The building housing the theater was built in the 1920s by Sexton Dalton, and contained upstairs apartments and several street-front business establishments. It was no surprise to learn that Dalton’s partner in the business was Chic Richardson.
From the beginning, the theater showed B-rated pictures, and stage events, including personal appearances by many radio and moving picture entertainers.
On the stage was a trap door, from which people could disappear and end up in other parts of the building during magic shows. The building plan must have been a good one, because in later years architects pronounced the building to be in excellent condition, both architecturally and acoustically.
The building had a very unique entrance setup. A person could reach the ticket office by one of two entrances – one directly off Washington Avenue, and one that went through Bunn’s Sweet Shoppe, where a purchase of ice cream, cake, pie or drink could be made.
Then after going through a doorway, there was popcorn available. During the movie, guests could partake of all the salty popcorn they wished, and as they departed, Dad Bunn was waiting with cold drinks to ease their salty palates.
If it happened to be daylight when the crowd departed it was not unusual to see Mr. Dalton standing on the Post Office steps across the street. Why was he there? Everyone said he was counting the bricks in the Dalton Building across the street.
There will be a bit of an addendum to this story next week.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

Early theaters IV

Pulaski has some buildings that just naturally get a hold of people.
One is the old train station, another the Maple Shade Inn. And still another the old stone courthouse on Main Street.
Then there’s the old zinc plant that sat at the west end of Commerce. And another, the Dalton Theater, for it was the one place in Pulaski where Pulaski people, young and old, could step out of the real world on a Saturday afternoon or night, and into some part of the old west.
There they could spend time with Indians, and with their favorite cowboys. Americans have always been attracted to cowboys. On Saturday afternoons and evenings, and sometimes during the week, the Dalton Theater showed the best of the American west.
On August 19, 1939, during the Pulaski County Centennial Celebration, Tex Ritter and his Musical Tornados performed in person on the Dalton stage. This was just one of many types of live entertainment that Pulaski people enjoyed in that theater.
They say that long after it ceased operating, ghosts of entertainers and of horses galloped across the old stage regularly, causing the building to tremble.
The building housing the theater was built in the 1920s by Sexton Dalton, and contained upstairs apartments and several street-front business establishments. It was no surprise to learn that Dalton’s partner in the business was Chic Richardson.
From the beginning, the theater showed B-rated pictures, and stage events, including personal appearances by many radio and moving picture entertainers.
On the stage was a trap door, from which people could disappear and end up in other parts of the building during magic shows. The building plan must have been a good one, because in later years architects pronounced the building to be in excellent condition, both architecturally and acoustically.
The building had a very unique entrance setup. A person could reach the ticket office by one of two entrances – one directly off Washington Avenue, and one that went through Bunn’s Sweet Shoppe, where a purchase of ice cream, cake, pie or drink could be made.
Then after going through a doorway, there was popcorn available. During the movie, guests could partake of all the salty popcorn they wished, and as they departed, Dad Bunn was waiting with cold drinks to ease their salty palates.
If it happened to be daylight when the crowd departed it was not unusual to see Mr. Dalton standing on the Post Office steps across the street. Why was he there? Everyone said he was counting the bricks in the Dalton Building across the street.
There will be a bit of an addendum to this story next week.

Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.