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1983: It's easy to
see that our seats were way overdue for replacement. The pink-colored
seats in the foreground were slide-back models which had been
installed in the 1950s or 1960s. The other seats, including the
ones in the balcony, were original to the Roxy. The front ten
rows had been rescued from the old Star Theatre, so they were
at least 70 years old!
of seats await disassembly.
Clifford carries an end standard and an armrest/leg assembly to the
pile. The ornate end standards were cast iron and weighed about
30 pounds each.
The ceiling was painted dark
brown, and the framework for the acoustic wall coverings can
This photo also shows the small
'Spanish balconies' which were part of the theatre's original
decor. Some people expressed displeasure
that we did away with those balconies, and they do look kind
of nice, but they were nothing special...the cast-iron-like grilles
on each balcony were really made of thick cardboard. (That's
The well-worn wood floor was
covered with a new layer of 3/4" plywood.
The beginning of the Roxy's
new sound system can be seen right here: The walls were covered
with insulation to absorb echoes.
We also put up a decorative
apron on the stage. Carpentry and painting was done by Forsyth
contractor, David Hulman whose parents had owned our major competition
in town, the Starlite Drive-In, until it was closed in 1980.
We ran one last weekend with
just 40 seats, before removing the rest of the chairs. We were
closed a total of four days for the completion of the project.
Mike Hekkel and Ray Deering
helped with the removal of the last group of chairs.
These chairs were loaded on
a trailer and were just about to be hauled to the dump, when
representatives from a church in Hardin spotted them and asked
if we'd like to donate them. Of course, we did. As far as we know,
they're still in use today.
All seats have been removed, and
ready for the rest of the plywood floor to be laid. The balcony
rail was also painted dark brown (it's about half finished in
It took two days for the flooring
people to lay the linoleum floor, and then the seating contractors
showed up along with 165 boxes of seats. We didn't take any more
pictures until the job was finished...probably too busy planning
the grand opening, which was held on May 6, 1983 with the movie
As a cost-saving measure, we
had decided not to replace the balcony seats at this point. People
would go to the balcony, find the old chairs, and come right
back down to sit in the comfy new seats. After a few weeks, we
closed the balcony, and it remained closed until 1992.
The Roxy had seating for 425
people when we started this project. When we finished, we had
255 seats and twice as much legroom as before.
Our aisles were fitted with
the very latest thing: Floor lights, which were a fairly new
item in the early '80s. They weren't too refined: If one bulb
burned out, a six foot strip of the bulbs would quit working.
So we were plagued almost from the beginning with sections of
lights that did not work.
We had to replace about half-a-dozen
of the strips over the first two years. Then, the lighting company
went out of business, and lights continued to burn out, so we
finally turned the lights off altogether.
The screen lights were provided
by six fresnel spots aimed up at the screen. They burned out
frequently too, and bulbs were over $30 each to replace, so we
eventually swapped the fresnels for different, lower-maintenance
lights which we still use today.
In 1991, after almost ten years
of requests, we decided to reopen the balcony. The project was
done by local carpenter Ron Mogen, and electrician Bob Hecht.
Since buying a very small quantity
of new seats is prohibitively expensive, we removed two rows of
seats from the front of the auditorium, and one row from the
back, and relocated those chairs to the balcony.