Cary News: Opinion

Cary’s Heritage: Readers share memories of the original Cary theater

My column about the history of The Cary theater in the March 19 edition of The Cary News prompted many readers to share their memories of the theater.

The venue opened on Chatham Street in 1946 and served as a popular gathering space for years. The town of Cary bought the property, renovated it and re-opened it as a theater this year.

Here are some readers’ stories:

Fred Seeger: When I was a teenager, Mrs. Young managed the theater along with her son, Alvin.

Alvin would call me to come and run the projector for him so he could sneak off and meet his girlfriend.

He taught me how to change the reels of film and switch from one projector to the other, but occasionally the film would catch fire and break. I wasn’t too good at splicing the two ends together. The audience would be booing, and I would be scrambling.

Then Mrs. Young would find out about Alvin’s absence and he was busted.

Pat Rogers Polson: I worked in the concession stand at the old Cary theater, selling popcorn and candy when I was 16 and 17.

Mrs. Young’s son Alvin and his friend and I shared that job. I was so grateful to have a job as a teenager.

I walked home at night after the movie, and my mother would meet me halfway to make sure I was safe, even though we didn’t worry much then about being out after dark.

The theater held Game Night on Saturday nights where the audience answered trivia questions about the movies for prizes of movie passes.

Ronnie Stevens: I operated the projector at the Cary theater when I was about 14 years old. The theater was in its second year of operation then.

Randy Chandler: The theater was open from 1946 until about 1955. Then until 1960, the building was used for live theater. Patsy Cline and Ernest Tubb sang there, along with Lash LaRue and a lot of western stars.

It was also used for local talent shows on Saturday nights. Then Dad converted the building into a men’s clothing store called Cary Clothiers, which he and I opened in 1960 and ran together.

After that the building became an auto parts store, and a sound recording studio.