Let­ters to the ed­i­tor

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Dear Ed­i­tor: Once a week, The News car­ries a his­tory ar­ti­cle on what hap­pened 50 years ago. Some­times it con­tains movies that played dur­ing that time. Very few peo­ple in New­ton County are still alive and can re­late to this time. The movie the­aters were the main source of en­ter­tain­ment in 1953 and 1954. At about this time, Hen­son Fur­ni­ture Com­pany and Cov­ing­ton fur­ni­ture be­gan to sell small screen black-and-white TVs and put them in their win­dows and turn them on at night. There were no day-time pro­grams. Peo­ple would bring their chairs and line the side­walks in front of their show win­dows to see a TV. This started the demise of the movies in New­ton County.

In 1952, I would leave New­ton County High School on New­ton Drive at 3 p.m. and walk to the Strand Theater. The Strand was lo­cated on the east square where Mr. Ed Crudup has his law of­fice. My job at the movie was to op­er­ate the pro­jec­tors. The light from the two pro­jec­tors was gen­er­ated from two weld­ing rods that were placed in a po­si­tion to form an elec­tric arc. The pro­jec­tion room was very hot. I started the movie for the 3:30 p.m. mat­inée. I ran the pro­jec­tors un­til about 10 p.m. at which time I caught the last bus to Por­terdale (my home). Mr. Zig Call­away op­er­ated a bus ser­vice from Cov­ing­ton to Por­terdale. The bus was on a 30-minute sched­ule and the fare was 10 cents. Mr. James Har­al­son drove the bus. Mr. Call­away also owned a beach front board­ing house in Day­tona Beach, Fla. My fa­ther Mr. Homer D. Long, drove (part time) one of Mr. Call­away’s buses to Day­tona in the spring. A grad­u­at­ing high school stu­dent could spend a week at the board­ing house for $20. The bus would pick you up at your school. I be­lieve Ms. Shirley Gra­ham, who grad­u­ated with me, han­dled the ar­range­ments for Mr. Call­away.

There were four movies in New­ton County in 1952 — the Strand, the Por­terdale movie, the Hub Drive-In and a black movie theater lo­cated up­stairs at the cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton and Hen­drick streets. All of these movies were owned by Ms. Brownie Os­burn. Ms. Os­burn sold tick­ets at the ticket win­dow at the Strand. Mr. Ste­wart Mur­ray ran the inside of the move and some­times “too up” tick­ets along with Mr. Foy Harper. Ste­wart’s sis­ter Ms. Martha Kate Tate, along with Ms. Mary Frances King, op­er­ated the con­ces­sion stand. They wore white uni­forms. Martha Kate was mar­ried to Mr. Roy Tate who ran Bill’s truck stop that was lo­cated where the KFC res­tau­rant is now. I ran the pro­jec­tors and Ste­wart would re­lieve me for breaks. Ste­wart was an ac­com­plished air­line pi­lot and very pop­u­lar around Cov­ing­ton. He wore a brown leather flight jacket with a white scarf. He also drove a sporty 1951 black Ply­mouth and would only run U.S. royal mas­ter tires.

Harry L. Long

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