Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Picture Show Lady

Mrs. Juanita Lindsey Youmans was a fixture at Soperton's Pal Theatre for most of its existence.
"After I graduated from Soperton High School I went to work for the Brice family," she said.  " I had been working at the Theatre since I was in seventh grade, got about $2 a week and free admission to the movies for ushering, taking up tickets, and cashier. I showed them that I was able to be the manager."
Mrs. Juanita has always been an active citizen who supports every good thing in Soperton. She has been a state and national leader in Eastern Star and served as Grand Ester for the state of Georgia, and made personal visits to every district in the state.  She has been the Secretary/Treasurer of the Treutlen County Historical Society since its inception and continues today. For 20 years she was secretary/treasurer of the American Legion Auxiliary. She served 16 years as secretary for the Draft Board. Early in the program, she was named Citizen of the Year by the Soperton-Treutlen Chamber of Commerce.
But she is best known for a lifetime of being friends to every movie patron and a good example to all the children who grew up at the picture show. When all day at the Saturday movies cost 13 cents, she may have been performing the cheapest baby sitting service in history. From the day she became manager in 1942 until the last showing of Kirk Douglas's "Indian Fighter" on October 26, 1963, she was a Treutlen County figurehead who touched the lives of generations.
In 1991, Barron Godbee, mailed to Mrs. Juanita a copy of the last movie program for Soperton's Pal Theatre. Clayton Stephens, himself, framed a copy which hangs at the museum, and now she has allowed us to share her copy on the internet.

Godbee wrote under the program:

It was sure good to see you in Lyons last week even though it was under bad circumstances---- This is a copy of your last calendar in Soperton --- The Theatre closed Saturday night October 26, 1963--- Can you believe it's been 28 years?? --- Barron 

By 1963 most families had at least one black and white TV. Theater companies began closing their services in the smaller towns, as more people were willing to travel to the bigger towns for recent releases.

Since Mrs. Juanita was on duty when movies were playing, she saw only bits and pieces. "When 'Gone with the Wind' was playing," she said, "I drove to Vidalia so I could see the whole thing uninterrupted."


We Googled the movies shown on the last program at Soperton's Pal. We put an asterisk by the ones we considered the best for renting or buying.

Wonderful To Be Young - 1961 - (aka The Young Ones) -  Burt Bacharach music

Savage Sam 1963 - Disney - Son of Old Yeller didn't live up to the 1957 film

On The Threshold of Space - 1956 - middling movie but essential for space program fans - Guy Madison (Wild Bill Hickok tv show))

*Rear Window - 1954 - Hitchcock directed, James Stewart- 4 Oscar nominations

The Nutty Professor - 1963 - Jerry Lewis - 1996 Eddie Murphy did the remake

Billy Budd - 1962 - from Herman Melville novel - Terence Stamp most promising male newcomer

The Wasp Woman - 1960 - Directed by Roger Corman, genius of b-movie horror (His new 'Dinoshark' is playing on SyFy channel)

Who's Got the Action - 1962 - Dean Martin, Lana Turner comedy

Around the World in a Daze - 1963 - 3 Stooges Moe Howard, Larry Fine, Curly Joe DeRita - dvd at amazon for $6

*Vera Cruz - 1954 - Cooper & Lancaster - influenced later westerns

Hell on Devil's Island - 1957 - Melodrama of the last days of the notorious French convict prison of Devil's Island.

Papa's Delicate Condition - 1963 - Jackie Gleason - Oscar winning song "Call Me Irresponsible"

Summer Magic - 1963 - Haley Mills (4th of her 6 Disney films)

Brain Washed - No info - Popular subject after 1962 Manchurian Candidate

Tension at Table Rock - 1956 - Richard Egan, DeForest Kelley, Angie Dickinson - TCM playing Mar 27, 12 pm

*Spencer's Mountain - 1963 - became the basis of "The Waltons" - Henry Fonda, Maureen O'Hara

Play it cool! - British rock star Billy Flury - "Helen Shapiro best reason to watch it

*The Indian Fighter - 1955 - Kirk Douglas - Cowboys and Indians - compared with John Wayne's Hondo and James Stewart's Broken Arrow

J. W. Daniels continued the movie tradition in Soperton, moving into the Pal location.  His operation was called the Dan Theatre.

Approved by Marlee


Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed reading the article about Mrs. Juanita. I always knew she was a great asset to our community...but I had no clue about the details of her life!

=) Cathy Pace

Josh Mosley said...

That's my Aunt Neat! I always knew she'd make the jump to the web one day...

Scott Thompson said...

She's my cousin, one of the last of my grandmother Braswell's Woods family cousins. I am sorry I didn't grow up in Treutlen County now.