Every Saturday the Princess Theatre played a double feature suitable for children (mostly Westerns.)
The best child sitter in Mount Dora on a Saturday afternoon was the Princess Theatre. We filled the rows for almost 4 hours of movie viewing! In the 50s the price for a ticket was 9 cents, a tootsie roll was .1 cent. Popcorn and a coke only costs 10 cents. Candy bars were 5 cents. For 25 cents it was a bargain. Very few adults attended these matinees.
I think every parent in Mount Dora sent their kids to the Saturday double feature matinee. I know every downtown Merchant did! I loved the movies but most of all I loved getting to know the other Mount Dora kids who were older and younger than I was. My friend base grew by leaps and bounds.
I don’t recall who the owners were or the names of the people who worked there, but I can recall their faces and constant patrolling of the theatre during the shows. We did not get away with any misbehaving, well not for long anyway. If a child misbehaved they were taken to the office and their parents were called to come get them. Remember, there were no strangers in Mount Dora.
Later in my early teens years, this Saturday Matinee became everyone’s “first date”, even if you were not allowed to date yet. Who went to the movies with whom was a hot topic of conversation among the Junior High set. This date usually included a trip to the Mount Dora Pharmacy soda fountain after the show. A good way to let everyone know who you had a date with in case they had not seen you in the Theatre. Unfortunately, by doing this, your parents usually found out too.
Judi Phillips Jones, Guest Columnist