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From Saturday cartoons to 'Jaws,' your memories of the Auburn Schine Theater

From Saturday cartoons to 'Jaws,' your memories of the Auburn Schine Theater

  • Updated
1. Opening day

More than 3,000 people gather in front of the Auburn Schine Theater on its opening day of Sept. 15, 1938.

To accompany The Citizen's story about the past, present and future of the Auburn Schine Theater, we asked the people who saw movies at the John Eberson-designed movie palace to share their memories of it:

"My aunt used to take us to see shows. I can remember they used to give door prizes away. They drew her number and she won a car tire. It was a family joke for a long time as she never owned or drove a car." — Bob Baran, Throop

"I was an usher there in the '50s. We had a room downstairs near the men's room we used for breaks. It was where we kept the huge bags of already popped popcorn. It was our job to bring the bag up and dump it in the warmer before the movie started. Always enjoyed working there." — Fred Alfreds, Skaneateles

"We moved to Auburn in 1970 and my first memory of this beautiful theater was its exquisite art deco display of outer space! I am sure my fingerprints were embedded on my chair arms as I watched in horror. 'Jaws' it is still thrilling just to think about it." — Sylvia Sue Best, Auburn

"Saturday mornings we would ride our bikes there from Melrose Road and park them out back and stay all day watching the cartoons and movies. Picked up popcorn at Cosmans before the movie then ice cream at Marion Margaret's after. Never had to worry about anyone touching the bikes." — Leon Jessie, Auburn

"I lived in that theater as a child, couldn't wait for Saturdays to come to go see cartoons and, to name a few others, I saw The Three Stooges, 'Yellow Submarine' with The Beatles, 'Woodstock,' James Bond in 'Goldfinger,' Dracula movies, wolfman movies, Frankenstein movies. Just too many too mention. I am sad that my children never had the experience of an old-fashioned movie theater when they were growing up, nor will my grandkids." — Joanie Coleman Dechick, Auburn

"I don't remember the year, but my mother and I went to see 'Jesus Christ, Superstar' there. I also saw several movies growing up: 'Woodstock,' 'The Sound of Music,' The Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night,' plus many more." — Pam Alnutt, Auburn

"I was just old enough to start going to movies when the theater was new, saw lots of them over the years. I was at the Sunday movie on Dec. 7 after having the usual family Sunday dinner. Don't remember the movie or the friends I was with, but we walked home after the movie as usual. When I got home the whole family was gathered around the radio listening to the news of the bombing in Pearl Harbor! I was 12 so I was aware of what an unbelievably terrible thing it was, but, of course, that was just the beginning. It definitely got a lot worse! I was living with my grandparents, at their home on Hamilton Avenue, No. 85 at the time, which is now Cayuga Centers. My grandparents were in the grocery business in Auburn at the time, C.G. Meaker Co. I was Faith Meaker then. I spent lots of time at that theater during those years, saw lots of war movies, but they were not as horrible as the war really was, of course! By the way, I'm 86 now and live in Florida." — Faith Gillooly, Deltona, Florida

"We went to the movies as kids at least three to four times a month. Remember going to see cartoons on Saturday and days off from school? They used to run cartoons during sale days in downtown Auburn so the moms could go shopping. Saw many great movies, especially remember 'To Kill a Mocking Bird.' Loved the lights on the ceiling, kinda like the Milky Way." — Barbara Lynch Butterer, Interlaken

"When my mom took my best friend and me to the Auburn Schine Theater, it was magic. It wasn't just a movie theater. It was a velvet castle. The moon and the stars on the walls, the plush seats, the beautiful curtains! We saw 'Fantasia' and 'Snow White' there and I'll never forget the excitement when our favorite characters appeared on the giant screen. After the show, we had ice cream in silver bowls at Marian Margaret's or Poulo's. Never again would ice cream taste so glad. Riding home in the dark car, we talked very little. We were still experiencing a wonderful night. Words weren't necessary." — Pat D'Agostino, Auburn

(Editor's note: Responses have been edited for style and grammar.)

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


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