Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Belle Meade Theater

  In the 1950's I lived in Apartment 3, Brookside Court Annex on White Bridge road. The Belle Meade theater was considered the grandest suburban theater in the south. It sat on the opposite side of West End close to where White Bridge road intersected with West End Avenue. My sister Donna took me to see the first movie that I ever saw there in 1957. It was called Bombers B-52 starring  Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Over the years I saw the original House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho which caused me to hide my eyes and have nightmares for a while. Donna quit taking showers. I also saw No Time For Sergeants starring Andy Griffith and Pork Chop Hill starring Gregory Peck. I loved the Saturday matinees which featured B westerns and comedy shorts like the Three Stooges and cartoons. Luckily I wasn't there the day that an elderly person accidentally stepped on the gas pedal, instead of the brake, crashing into and killing several children. They were waiting in line for tickets. When I was dating Debbie I saw Gone With The Wind for the first time and 2001 A space Odyssey. The last movie I saw there was Earthquake in 1974. I was suffering from anxiety attacks at the time and had to leave the movie before it was over. One of the most interesting things about the Belle Meade theater was it's Wall of Fame in the lobby. The theater opened in 1940 and the manager was Mr. Ed Jordan who was there for many, many years. The Wall of Fame was a collection of pictures and autographs of all of the big stars that had visited the theater over the years. Theaters of my youth were palaces compared to the modern theaters of today. Theaters like the Paramount, the Loews, which was a former opera house, the Tennessee and the Princess which were all on Church Street in downtown Nashville. Going to a movie, in those days, was an experience. 

1 comment:

  1. One of my first jobs was at this theatre (1987). To this day I cherish the memories of working there. The lady that worked the box office had been working thee since 1953 or 56', Ms Stillell was her name if I recall correctly. She was in many of the pictures along the "Wall of Fame", her younger self hidden amongst the many stars of Hollywood who visited this theatre. She was like a portal to the past with her stories of each picture. Its a shame this theatre couldnt be saved. Here is a short home video I shot one day going to pick up my paycheck back in 87'.