Theatre in Littlefield,
- Ned Fairbairn, December 19, 2006
was A Teenage Projectionist
Littlefield, Texas to Hollywood, USA; An Interview with Ned Fairbain
Above the Palace
(Theater, that is.)
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, Texas
Dear 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
Mr. Ned Fairbairn's website
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