Sunday, March 14, 2010

Liberty Theater Stories

After the old theater was sold to Albert Petry, things began to change for Pagosa's rowdy teenagers. The Saturday afternoon double feature matinees that used to be so much fun and could become an adventure of pure bravery. Just when all attention would be focused on the screen action or smelling the perfume on the girl sitting next to you,you just might feel a tap on the shoulder or on a shin if your feet rested on the seat in front. Mr Petry took on the job as the town moral Marshall and anyone attending had better tow the line or feel his walking cane. He didn't mind pulling an ear lobe either if he thought boys were getting fresh with the girls.
Buying a soda was nothing like today's concession stands. Ten cents bought a bottle of soda which was then poured into a paper cup to make sure the bottles never entered the seating area.
Janitorial duties after shows were done by those lucky enough to hold a job as collecting tickets or working the concession stand. Sometimes the loose change found under seats was more than an hourly wage, but then you might find other treasures, like half consumed wine bottles,coats,wallets,diapers etc.
Being the only source of entertainment, no matter what picture was showing there was always a gathering for the weekend shows. I'm sure many high school romances blossomed before intermission of the double feature. The little stage in front of the screen served as a treasure trove of gifts during Saturday raffles promoted by local merchants. I came real close to winning a bicycle but came in second to Johnny Madrid.
I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Petry and his family, he never failed to greet me with a smile as he stood leaning on his cane in front the Liberty. He was always willing to give a young boy a job and teach the value of honest days labor. As a young man returning home on military leave Mr. Petry was always the first to greet me as I stepped off the the Trailways bus in front of the Theatre.
I would only hope that one day the city will find it worthwhile to honor these old buildings with some sort of historical marker of importance.


  1. Hi Mr. Willet. Thanks for sharing your great Pagosa Springs stories. Check out my newest post on my All Things Pagosa blog.

  2. I really like your blog, thank you for sharing your memories.

  3. wow! cool stories! i am intrigued with the metro hotel and liberty theatre.
    jacque Aragon