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100 years ago - Thanksgiving in and around Columbia

The Paramount Theater was screening a fabulous movie, "Zaza" so fabulous that the price of admission was doubled - all the way to ten cents each. At Tabernacle, the entertainment was more homemade, with a play, "Pumpkin Ridge." And at Glens Fork, the big event of the day was a trek to Pleasant Hill for a Thanksgiving Sermon
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By Jim

Thanksgiving barely made the News in the November 28, 1916 edition. One short paragraph, tucked well below the cut line, informed readers Rev. L.F. Piercy, of the Columbia Methodist Church, would deliver the Thanksgiving sermon at the Columbia Christian Church. The appointed hour wasn't noted, but admonished the News, "The business houses should be closed when the bell rings and remain closed until after the services." The following week the paper reported that a large congregation attended; that everything said was appropriate and interestingly told; and that the afterwards, the sermon was largely complimented.

Columbia citizens of a more secular bent had the choice of two entertainments later day. In the afternoon, the Lindsey Wilson Training School gridironers took on the previous year's eleven (minus one of its stars, big David Dulworth of Camp Knox). The 1916 squad, with a record of 3-1 against regular season opponents, won the hard fought contest 20-13.

That long-ago Thanksgiving evening found Pauline Frederick lighting up the screen at the Columbia's Paramount theatre in "Zaza," a five-reel (50 minute) 1915 movie of superior quality. The News stated that "The character Zaza was made famous by Mrs. Leslie Carter, and it is therefore of more than passing interest to find an actress who is willing to brave comparison on the screen with the work of the distinguished woman who has made the role famous on the stage." (Mrs. Leslie Carter, the stage name of Caroline L. Dudley, was a native of Kentucky who was a Broadway luminary from 1895 until about 1906; she had played the lead in "Zaza" in 1898 or 1899. To quote from Wikipedia, "The title character is a prostitute who becomes a music hall entertainer and the mistress of a married man.")

Also according to the News, however, Ms. Frederick was "the foremost emotional actress of the screen." It was farther noted that "On account of the high character of this production the price of admission will be ten cents." At this time, the Paramount Theatre and Nell & Son's gitney show, formally known as the Columbia Amusement Company, were going head to head, and the Paramount had lowered its price admission to five cents to match what the Nells charged.

(Ms. Frederick was an accomplished Broadway actress who just the previous year had turned her attention and talents to Hollywood; "Zaza" was one her first films. One source states that "in Paramount's early days she was the most glamorous woman in pictures.")

The next issue of the paper carried a handful of mentions:

Folks in the Tabernacle area (or those with transportation) had access to an entertainment on Thanksgiving night, given under the production of Miss Bess Cabbell. The features included dialogues, recitations, and a nine-character play, "Pumkin Ridge," with the parts "very amusingly played by J.C. White, Welby Knifley, John Corneal, Willie Evans, Elba Miller, T. Williams, Florence Rubarts, and Bess Cabbell.

The Glensfork correspondent reported that Thanksgiving passed off quietly there but that several Hard Scratchers had trekked to Pleasant Hill for the Thanksgiving sermon.


This story was posted on 2016-11-24 16:48:04
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Zaza was playing at the Paramount Theater in Columbia 100 years ago



2016-11-24 - Columbia, KY - Photo from JIM.
That long-ago Thanksgiving evening found Pauline Frederick lighting up the screen at the Columbia’s Paramount theatre in "Zaza," a five-reel (50 minute) 1915 movie of superior quality, according to this ad in the Adair County News, 100 years ago, in its November 28, 1916 edition.

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