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Remembering the theaters of Crystal Springs’ past

By Tricia Nelson
It has been 39 years since Crystal Springs has had a movie theater. Theaters across the nation were in a slump at the time and The Crystal was no different. During the last three days of business before closing in 1981, there were a total of 17 moviegoers. The last movie, “This is Elvis,” couldn’t even draw a crowd. The owner, being frustrated, immediately sold the building to Bill Price, who bought it as an addition to White’s Auto Store.
The Sanborn Fire Insurance maps place the theater’s beginnings between 1909 and 1915. It was known as Pictureland in those days. It was not until 1931 that it became Crystal Theater, when Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Carmichael bought it. In 1926, it caught fire and owner C. M. Huber restored it to even better than before.
S.B. Ford ran the theater in its early days; the Carmichaels also owned and managed it a while, and then Charlie Mixon helped manage it for many years, as well as James Freels. Mixon met his future wife, Vicky Zeigler, while working there. Several of the town’s residents and youth worked at the theater, including Helen and Jean Harper, Ruth Batton, Jean and Norman Kent Jr., Peggy Prather, Betty Carol Ates, Danny and Joe Borst, Steven Spurk, and Eddie Howard.
Many recall Klondike nights when drawings were held for prizes, including money, and youth could buy a ticket, a drink, and popcorn all for 25 cents. Kids entered for 10 cents and adults 25 cents. There was a five and dime shop next door where one could stock up on candy.

Read the full story in the July 22, 2020 E-Edition