By Michelle Quigley
Several readers have mentioned fond memories of summertime movies in downtown (and later mall and multiplex) theaters.
A 1961 letter to the editor published in The Palm Beach Post describes a typical Wednesday morning at the Florida Theatre:
With RC bottle caps clutched tightly in their small hands as though they were nuggets of gold, they anxiously await the doors opening. Impatiently they rush into the cool comfort of this spacious arena and seek the seats of their choice.
By 1972 the price of admission to the Summer Fun Shows — still held on Wednesday mornings — had risen from six RC Cola bottle caps to 25 cents with a coupon, or 50 cents without. The 1972 movies included War Between the Planets, Black Beauty, and King Kong Escapes.
The Florida Theater Summer Fun Show sponsors over the years included The Palm Beach Post-Times, Montgomery Ward, Royal Crown Cola Bottling Co., and Fountain’s Department Store. As early as 1947 the Florida State Theatres (as it was spelled then) courted young audiences:
Seeing appropriate movies is good for children. It relaxes their active minds and bodies as they spend a couple of restful hours in another world.
The Florida Theater wasn’t the only place kids went to see movies back in the day. The Palms Theatre hosted a local group of newspaper carriers in 1963:
And these kids went to see the beach party movie How to Stuff a Wild Bikini in 1965: