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June 2011

Recent Additions

This month, we received a rare photograph of Mr. A.W. Petit, pioneering theater operator in Charleston, who opened the Elco Theatre at 549 King Street in 1913. His grandson, Brian Petit provided this photograph along with a handbill that dates to around 1920, stamped with "Elco" and indicating that the movie "Out of the Dust" would be playing on Friday and Saturday. Thank you Brian.

What's Next?

Our filing cabinet runneth over! Seriously, we have been collecting photographs, stories, clippings, research data and artifacts for this project since 1991. We recently began reviewing our files to see if we could reduce the volume of paper without losing anything important to the history of movie theaters in the state.

In the process, we found materials that we had collected but never added to the web site. One substantial omission was Easley, South Carolina. While reviewing the materials on Easley, we found a lot of information on the Easley theaters as well as pioneering theater owners and operators Egbert A. Armistead and his son, Harold E. Armistead. We plan on processing these materials and adding information on the Easley theaters very soon.

Since we began this project twenty years ago, we have recorded every theater we could find in the historical records. We have also tried to put faces with the stories. We continue to search for images of these wonderful old single screen theaters and the people who built and operated them. We get very excited when we discover a lead. Such is the case with the Theatorium, Charleston's first movie theater, and Mr. George S. Brantley, the man who owned it. We are waiting anxiously for the postman, hoping he brings answers to letters we have recently sent.

As always, what we discover will be available to you here on our web site as soon as we can process any new material. We are open to any comments you might have. Please email us by clicking on THIS LINK.

Glories of the Gloria

Recent renovations at the Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston revealed murals dating to the theatre's opening in 1927. The Sottile Theatre was formerly the Gloria Theatre. An article in Charleston's Post and Courier of June 10, 2011, tells the story. To read the article and see a photograph of the murals CLICK HERE.

Click on Photo to Enlarge

The murals are clearly visible in an old undated photograph (above) of the Gloria Theatre. In this photograph, the murals have already been partially covered by drapery materials.

Click on Photo to Enlarge

Another photograph of the Gloria Theatre (above) shows a very different wall treatment. The fabric covered walls have electric "candles" as an ornamental touch. We are puzzled that wiring for the electric candles are not visible in the 2011 photograph of the newly discovered murals.

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