One of Forsyth's oldest businesses
is about to mark a milestone. The Roxy Theatre turns 60 next
The theatre's original owners
were Frank Faust and A. C. Wolke, who had purchased the Lincoln
Paramount silent theatre in Forsyth in 1922.
By 1929, sound movies were
becoming popular, so Faust and Wolke decided to build a new "talking"
The building was designed by
Charles Wood, a Spokane, Wash., architect. He designed the building
specifically to meet the acoustic requirements for sound pictures,
and he chose an unusual Spanish style for the building's exterior.
As a result, despite several
remodelings, the Roxy remains one of the most distinctive buildings
on Forsyth's Main Street.
Opening on Sept. 6, 1930, the first feature was "The Bad
one" with Delores Del Rio. Admission was 25 cents for adults;
35 cents for the loge.
The theatre has had four sets
of owners since it was built. In the late 1950s, Frank Faust
sold his interest in the business to his brother-in-law, Harvey
Wolke, who operated it for a few years before selling out to
The business was purchased
in 1967 by Don and Georgia Herndon.
The Roxy's next owners, Mike
Blakesley and Tom Clifford, purchased the theatre in March 1979
after both had been employed there for some time.
The movie business is a rapidly
changing one, and the Roxy is a testament to those changes. The
triangular marquee on the front of the building was not part
of the original plans; it was added during the building's first
The familiar concession counter
in the lobby was also added during remodeling; in the 1950s,
people were beginning to stay home and watch television, and
theatres were putting in concession stands as an added attraction.
The biggest changes came in
the early '80s, when Blakesley and Clifford installed new projection
and sound equipment and new seats; and in 1989, when the marquee,
which had been dark for several years, was re-lighted with new
After 11 years in the movie
business, theatre owner Mike Blakesley is still enthusiastic
"I love the movie business,"
he says, "and I'm grateful the people of Forsyth and this
area have supported the Roxy in this age when so many small theatres
Blakesley is optimistic about
"People are always going
to want to get out of their houses," he said. "There's
no better way to experience a movie than on a big theatre screen,
especially if it's a big epic."
To that end, the Roxy is celebrating
its 60th anniversary with a look back at the past.
Classics such as "Gone
with the Wind," "Casablanca," "The Wizard
of Oz," "The Sound of Music" and "The Ten
Commandments" will return to the Roxy's screen in the coming
In another nod to nostalgia,
the theatre's ticket prices will be reduced and the long closed
balcony seats will be reopened during the anniversary shows.
Is Blakesley worried about filling the Roxy's auditorium for
these time tested films?
"Sure I am," he says.
"But I wanted to do something special that other small theatres
probably wouldn't do, and I'm hoping people will want to see
these shows in their original form, without all the commercials.
"If it goes over well,
we may do it again sometime with different movies," Blakesley
said. And if it doesn't?
"Well, that's show biz!"