The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Beacon Tweets

May 15, 2012

Fond memories of Ames Theater

Since moving back to my hometown of Jefferson, I have said time and time again, “If I win the lottery, I am going to buy and restore Ames Theater.”

Built in 1928 on North Chestnut Street in Jefferson and owned by the Ames family, I can’t really think of too many places where I had more fun as a child in the late 1960s and early 70’s.

It’s like fellow Jeffersonian Roger Shumate said, “Ames Theater — 50 cents got you in and a bag of popcorn, which we overloaded with popcorn salt.”

His sisters, Linda and Kathy Shumate, as well as myself and best friend, Loretta Tobie, would go over to Everett’s (a nearby discount store) and stock up on candy before the movie.

My classmate, Diane Bowen, wrote that she remembers back to 1969 when our class took a field trip of sorts to Ames to see “Gone with the Wind.”

I recall sitting next to Loretta and starting to feel like I was going to cry when Bonnie Blue Butler was thrown from her pony and killed. Then I looked over at Loretta and she looked at me and we both cried outloud. Wah!

On a happier note, Connie Ashba said Christmas was the best time to go to Ames.

“It was a special occasion to sit on Santa’s lap and then watch a movie,” she said.

Ralph Gromley remembers Saturday matinee cartoons and dropping his sisters off at Ames on Friday night “so Dad and I could go to the Bargain Mart (on Jefferson Road).”

Roger Shumate said he saw some great movies at Ames — “Dr. Zhivago,” “Ben Hur,” “Beach Blanket Bingo,” and “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte.”

Robin Williams saw a “mature rated” movie at Ames — “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

That jilted my memory back to 1968 and the Friday night “The Boston Strangler,” opened at the theater.

During the day, our sixth-grade class was all abuzz with who was going and who couldn’t go. Some parents forbade their children to go because it was what some folks back then thought was “a dirty movie.”

Naturally, we all wanted to go!

I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but most of my close friends and I were allowed to go.

One neighbor girl wasn’t allowed to go, so she arranged to stay overnight with another friend. She then wore a wig as a disguise and went to the movie theater.

When I saw her, I did a double-take and blurted her name outloud (in surprise).

She said, “Shhh! I’m incognito!”

I don’t think her parents ever found out.

As for the movie, it turned out to be a disappointment. It wasn’t dirty; violent, but not dirty.

Foiled again!

Yes, those were the good old days.

Those early trips to the movies sparked staff writer Shelley Terry’s love of the movies, which continues to this day. And, “Gone with the Wind” still ranks as her No. 1 favorite movie.


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