Theatre in Littlefield,
- Ned Fairbairn, December 19, 2006
was A Teenage Projectionist |
Littlefield, Texas to Hollywood,
USA; An Interview with Ned Fairbain
Living Above the Palace
(Theater, that is.)
Dear Texas Escapes,
Man, oh man, Can I add to the stories about the old Palace theater! My family
and I lived up on the 3rd floor of that theater for about 2 years. My step dad
managed all of those theaters right up till about the time they all closed. My
whole family worked there in the theater at one time or another. I remember when
Elmer Koller retired. We worked originally for some people from Andrews, Texas.
I can't remember their names except the lady's name was Bea. I do remember that
the theater started to go downhill. Then a man named Bill Boren bought several
theaters from those folks. I remember how hard we worked to get them back in shape.
We operated theaters in Morton, Muleshoe, Littlefield, and the drive-inn in Amherst
all at the same time.
My mother also worked in the Palace in several
positions back in the late 50's and early 60's. She worked at the Palace, and
the XIT Drive-Inn. At the same time Waylon Jennings worked there. When we lived
there the whole theater was MY playground when the theater was closed. I knew
every inch of the place. I also recall going down under the stage where there
was an old orchestra pit from the silent era. ALL over down there was painted
"Waylon Loves Betty" in different variations...."Waylon + Betty"....etc.
I also painted my name along with my girlfriend's right next to where my mother's
name was with Waylon Jennings. My mother was Betty Bales back then. As a child
I was friends with two of Waylon's children. I dont remember his daughter's name,
but his son Buddy was my friend.
Right before my stepdad accepted a job
in Lubbock managing theaters there, I ran the inventory for all the concession
stands for Boren Theaters. Man, oh man, I dont know what ever happened to all
those movie posters, but at one time in the room next door to the theater I bet
there was 5,000 posters. Elmer Koller kept up with all those like it was his life.
He could tell you where every great movie poster in that room was...and show them
to you if you asked.
My stepdad used to run the projectors down there
on Elmer's night off, and the week Elmer went deer hunting, and I'd get to go
up there and hang around and learn how to operate the projectors.
I spent many many entire Saturdays there watching the same movie over and over
until my mother about had to drag me and my friends and cousins out of there kicking
and sceaming....or come in and wake us up to take us home.
I have Mr.
Fairbaim's picture of the Palace in 1975 as my screen saver. - Marc Giles,
Odessa Texas, January 11, 2008
Theatre, Littlefield, TexasDear
TE, Your Website is great! Here's a pic of the Palace Theatre in Littlefield,
recently demolished. I am a vintage Projectionist who started in Littlefield when
I was in school and worked at the Palace Theatre and XIT Drive-In. I also worked
in theatres in Lubbock, which I also have pictures of. I loved it and loved presenting
movies and appreciated the fact that I worked alone (or with someone I wanted)
most of the time. In 1971 I moved to Los Angeles, joined the Projectionist Union
here and have been working every since. I have worked in some famous Theatres
such as Grauman's Chinese Theater, and Grauman's Egyptian Theater (built in 1922).
I now work as Eddie Murphy's private projectionist at his private home theatre
in Beverly Hills. We play first run 35mm films there in his theatre which is beautiful
deco with electric curtains on the stage, state of the art sound & picture. So
you might say I have done the whole trip, and loved it. I have MANY stories of
working Premiers and big shows. Could go on forever.
I recently had a
book of Show Calendars from Palace, Littlefield bound and plan to make them available
for sale. The calendars are from the mid-1950's to mid 60's. Contains movies such
as "PEYTON PLACE" with Lana Turner, "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS" with C. Heston, Lots
of Horror films, like "CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON."
Recently I was in
an article in Littlefield's Paper, telling of my days then and now. I included
this article in my vintage calendar book. Oh well, enough rambling.... - Regards,
Ned Fairbairn, Hollywood, California, December 19, 2006
Ned Fairbairn's website
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