Star Cinema History

History of Star Cinema
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1. When and why did you move to Stayton?
Myself, my wife and 2-1/2 kids moved to Stayton from Baker City in 1943 during World War 2. I was about 29 years old. We moved to Stayton for a Job as a Teacher and Stayton High School Basketball coach. My wife, Ruth was a Registered Nurse at the Stayton Hospital.

2. What did your mother and father do?
They came to America on their honeymoon from Belgium around 1890 and never went back. They settled in Baker City. My Father worked at the lumber mill.

3. How did you decide to become Mayor of Stayton?
A man name Oliver Jewel told me I should be Mayor when we were talking at the Santiam Coffee shop. I got the job and during that time the sewer and water systems were installed.

4. Is that when you met Spraker, the Stayton Mail owner?
Spraker was my neighbor. We talked a lot and he kept trying to get me to start a business. He was going to buy the Drugstore on the corner and have me run it, but at that time there was suppose to be a full time pharmacist and I wasn’t really interested. He eventually got me to run the Star Theatre in 1946. When the new Star Theatre was built we split the profits 50/50 until I bought him out when he just wanted to concentrate on the Stayton Mail.

5. When did Televisions first come to Stayton? How did that affect the theatre business?
Most people got a Television around 1955 to 1960. We would see them in local hardware stores at first. Porter and Lau opened the TV store across from Charlie Mike’s. Everyone bought from them and they serviced them. Everyone had an RCA. It didn’t seem to affect the movie business that much. Lau also installed the theatre sound system.

6. How did you know how to build a movie theatre? Who’s design was it?
An architect out of Salem. I forget his name. He didn’t like it when we made a change to his plans. On the blueprints it shows L.P. Bartholomew was the architect and B.F. Shearer was the Theatre Equipment company.

7. How did Spraker own the Star Theatre?
He bought it from Ed Keech who bought it from Humphries.

8. How did you get your film?

9. What car make/model/year did you own during your days in the theatre?

10. What stage performances did you have through the years?
Stayton High School had a couple plays, but that was about it. There was a time in the old Star Theatre when we had a guy named Cherokee Bill and his white horse. The horse would get up on the wooden stage and we were worried he’d fall through, but he didn’t. Bill would shoot cigarettes out of the horses mouth. It was quite a sight!

11. Where did you get the coal for the furnace? When was it converted to Gas?
We got our coal just down the street. The furnace came from an Army Camp in Medford. We used it as a coal burning furnace up until the place where we got our coal from burned down. We then decided to switch to Gas. We burned coal for about 20 years.

12. Where did you get your concessions?

13. Did you have ice back then?
We didn’t use ice. Afraid people would spill it and slip and fall.

14. Tell me about the Popcorn story when they were trying to ban popcorn in theatres and what year was that?

15. How did you have the slides made for the early slide projector?

16. When did you decide to retire from the theatre business?

17. How did the City get to own the theatre?
After trying to sell it to a few people with no success, the city decided to buy it during the time when they bought the clothing and insurance stores in the same complex. So, they bought the complex, remodeled the 2 stores into one, which is when the concessions and theatre office area were incorporated into their plan. Then, Jim Lane leased the theatre from the City and installed the concessions up on the lobby, since the city removed the original concessions for more office space for the New City Hall. Then the Police Station was established in their current location.

18. What trips have you been on?

19. Did you ever meet any movie stars?

20. What do you remember of the Star Theatre that was located where the Police Station is now?

21. Where was the City Hall before it moved from where the Police Station is now?
The City Hall was above where the Stayton Mail is now. The Fire Dept. was across the street. There was a building where the Library is now. After the old Star Theatre was torn down, a Banker from Scio built a Bank. It later was moved to a new building (Wells Fargo, which is now Stayton Fitness). The City Hall occupied the building then. Later the City Hall moved into the location where Kreitzer’s Men’s Clothing was, which moved across the street and later became Jensen-Kreitzer Family Clothing.

22. Did you ever consider opening a Drive-In Theatre?