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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Red Bay in Franklin County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Bay Theater

 
 
Bay Theater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
1. Bay Theater Marker
Inscription. T. A. Wilson built the theater in 1927. Since Red Bay had no electricity at that time, he used a Delco System. Shortly after, electricity became available and he had to switch from Delco to Alabama Power. When he first started in the business, he rented the back of a store on back street. He then built a building near the location of the Community Spirit Bank today. When the school burned in 1926, some classes were held there. The Red Bay Church of Christ congregation also met in the theater prior to their building a church in 1927.

In the early years, movies were silent. In 1927, shortly after the new theater was built, talk movies came in. The theater was about the only entertainment people had access to. It had a divided balcony to accommodate blacks and whites. The balcony was a favorite seating area for couples.

Movies would run all day and some people would stay all day. Mr. Wilson had a cowbell he would ring to let people know the movie was about to start. There was a window in the projection room upstairs. He would hold the cowbell out the window to ring it. He also would throw out balloons with tickets in them. People scrambled to get the balloons even though the tickets were only ten cents. Popcorn was five cents.

Over the years, many famous entertainers appeared in person at the theater. Actors
Bay Theater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
2. Bay Theater Marker
that drew a crowd were: Tim McCoy, Ken Maynard, Hopalong Cassidy, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the three stooges. Jesse James drew the biggest crowd of all. At times, the line to get into the theater was two blocks long. “Gone With the Wind” also drew a big crowd.

Guynes and Frances Walden owned and operated the theater for several years, as did Clyde A. Jackson. The building burned in 2004.
 
Erected 2012.
 
Location. 34° 26.448′ N, 88° 8.59′ W. Marker is in Red Bay, Alabama, in Franklin County. Marker is at the intersection of 2nd Street Southeast and 4th Avenue South (Alabama Route 24), on the left when traveling north on 2nd Street Southeast. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Red Bay AL 35582, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Calaboose (here, next to this marker); Red Bay Ice and Gin Company (here, next to this marker); Yarber Grist Mill (here, next to this marker); Pride in Our Past, Faith in Our Future (within shouting distance of this marker); Red Bay School (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Bay Theater Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
3. Bay Theater Marker
Red Bay Depot & Hotel (about 600 feet away); Mac McAnally (approx. 6.2 miles away in Mississippi); History of Vina (approx. 6½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Red Bay.
 
Categories. EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce
 
Bay Theater Lights image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
4. Bay Theater Lights
Can be seen at Red Bay Museum
Bay Theater image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
5. Bay Theater
These items can be seen at Red Bay Museum (from theater)
Bay Theater Seat image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
6. Bay Theater Seat
Can be seen at Red Bay Museum
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 3, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 448 times since then and 65 times this year. Last updated on May 26, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 3, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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