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The Delta Theater
by Thomas Givens

Jim Harrison wrote recently about the Moorhead Theater which I also mentioned in one of my articles. (In my article about Miss Babe, I talked about being let loose on the streets of Ruleville, Mississippi, as a young child.)

Well, not only did I have free reign of the streets, I was also given money to buy a ticket to get into the Saturday afternoon double feature at the Delta Theater.

Now, I don't know how my parents or my grandad afforded it. That ticket cost ten cents.

Those Saturday afternoon movies featured the main Western stars like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, but we also had Charles Starret, the "Durango Kid," and Lash Larue and his sidekick, Fuzzy Jones. Fuzzy was actor Al St. John, a popular comedy star in the silents with Fatty Arbuckle.

Then there was Johnny Mack Brown, who was just about as Southern as you could get. He played football at Alabama, played in the Rose Bowl, then got into the movies. He was a leading man in the Silents and broke out big time in the Westerns.

I canít forget to mention Hoot Gibson, who never wore a gun but got the job done.Then there was Red Ryder and his pal, Little Beaver. Red Ryder was a peaceable man, but he didn't hesitate to crossdraw and dispatch the bad guys. Robert Blake (who played Little Beaver) is now in a whole lot of trouble. (Something about murder.)

On Saturday there was always a double feature. Sometimes the Westerns were paired with B movies like those of the Bowery Boys or Charley Chan. We didnít really care--we enjoyed them all. I don't know how we got by back then without all the sex and bad words, but we did.

Some of my most pleasant times were spent at the Delta Theater. That old movie house is gone now, but it will always be a part of my life as Iím sure it also is with many others in the Delta.


Tom Givens grew up in Sunflower County, Mississippi--his definite claim to fame. Heís a lawyer and a judge and a lover of old memories. Readers may contact him at Delta Judge.

Read more of his stories at USADEEPSOUTH:
Gravel Roads
Fats Domino--the Main Man


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