Connect with us


OPINION: Memories of Saturday matinees at the Royal Theater



Growing up in Lehi, just a block from the Royal Theater, is a memory I savor. Every Saturday afternoon, after our house was cleaned, the lawn mowed, and chores done, we would take a quarter and head to the matinee. Usually, a group from our neighborhood on North First East would arrive at 3 p.m. We would pay fifteen cents for admission, get a bag of popcorn for a nickel, and save five cents for a drink at State Street Drug.

My favorite matinee movies were the Westerns featuring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, although Tarzan came in a close second. I loved Roy Rogers. I thought he was the most handsome movie star on the large screen, and his wife, Dale Evans, was everything I wanted to be when I grew up. She knew how to ride a beautiful horse, help find a wily outlaw, and sing duets with Roy. 

Lex Barker was my favorite Tarzan. He was a hunk of a man. He could easily swing through the jungle and rescue his girlfriend, Jane, from the jaws of lions, tigers, and even gorillas.

Before the main feature, there was always a cartoon, usuallyRoad Runner, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, or Yosemite Sam. Superman was always a short serial that would be continued the next week, leaving us all in suspense. There was also a short newsreel with current events. The whole program lasted nearly two hours. 

At the matinees, I would meet up with my boyfriend, Leo. He was a classmate in my fifth-grade class taught by Mr. Nielsen. Leo would bring me a treat, usually black licorice. Sometimes, my best friend, Barbara, would think of a prank. One time, she brought straws and unpopped popcorn. We blew the kernelsthrough the straws, hitting kids sitting several rows in front of us. They would look back and only see two very innocent-looking young girls.

Cliff and Thelma Miller owned the theater. They were the local entertainment entrepreneurs and were much appreciated by the parents of the hordes of kids who converged upon the theater each Saturday. As I grew older, I appreciated their patience and understanding and the venue that created many memories for me and many other Lehi kids during the 50s and 60s.

Continue Reading