Photo from the Darren Snow collection
|Record #7534 |
Closed: Yes (date unknown)
Capacity: 300 seats|
Current Organ: none
| Also Known As: |
Information for this tour was contributed by Darren Snow.
In the book "A History of DeKalb County, Missouri," R.H. "Si" Meek gets a page and a half to recount his adventures in Maysville's admittedly small-time movie business. It was Meek's contrary nature, in fact, that made Maysville's cinematic history what it is.
After a fumbled piece of hot carbon ignited a reel of film and burned down the Cundiff Opera House during a movie presentation, the town's next permanent movie house was Herman Swike's Rex Theatre. It originated in the teens, and after Cecil Perry took over the business, Meek was hired as a projectionist in 1924. When Perry died, his wife ran the Rex for a while; after she closed it, it was reopened by Ed Newton and, later, run by A.E. McCord. Meek recalls the next closure coming in the early thirties.
After finding a job with the Water Department not to his liking, Meek looked into reopening the Rex. His banker and most of the local merchants felt that the small town had already proven that it couldn't or wouldn't support a picture show, but Meek disregarded their warnings and rented the shuttered theatre from Swike. The grand opening ("He Learned About Women") on February 24, 1934, was well-attended in spite of a snowstorm that had closed all the roads in and out of town.
Before long, Meek's business outgrew the 200-seat Rex and he remodeled a nearby garage into a 300-seat theatre. Two weeks before opening his still-unnamed theatre, he ran a newspaper ad trumpeting the grand opening date of June 7, 1935. The publication suggested having a contest to name the cinema, but Meek, true to form, denied the request. Instead, he named the new theatre after the woman he would marry later in the month, Anna Roper. Ever insistent on doing things his own way, Meek intentionally misspelled his fiancee's name in the ads for Theatre Anne.
Anna and Si -- who also ran Meek's Dry Goods & Ready-To-Wear Store -- ran the show for 24 years, adding an attractive new facade in 1949. Eventually, after the cinema business died down, the building became Frosty Joe's Restaurant.
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Photos from the Darren Snow collection.
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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 1/1/2006.
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