Blogs » The Education Beat » Falling in love at the movies


For this week in my GetOut column, I wrote about Victoria's defunct movie theaters from long ago.

To my surprise there were a number of theaters that used to line the streets of downtown at one point in time.

As part of my research I put out a query via our newspaper's account asking, "Anybody remember the days of the Uptown, Venus, El Rancho, Victoria, Lone Tree, Gemini, Salem Six and Playhouse cinema? Share your memories below."

And the response since has been overwhelming.

From Tomasita, a cat that survived the El Rancho theater fire in the mid '70s to readers who said they met their first loves at the Uptown and Playhouse theaters, it's been touching reading these stories from people who still hold these ghosts close to their hearts.

One woman I spoke to today was Marjorie Treadaway, 82, one of the last remaining Frels Theaters Company employees from the old days.

Back when Treadaway worked at the Uptown, El Rancho and Rita theaters while going to high school and junior college, she was known as Marjorie Ann Scott.

The Rita Theater was owned by the Long company.

One day before going into work at the Uptown, Treadaway, 17, begged a co-worker to fill-in at work for her so she could "runaway" and get married to the son of one the Rita Theater cashiers.

"The young man who turned out to be my husband used to come up toward the theater to walk his mother home," Treadaway said. "He would stand out on the sidewalk was usually very sassy."

And that was the moment, Treadaway remembers feeling she had fallen in love with the young man wearing a white dress shirt, khaki pants and cowboy boots.

"He was four years older than me, he had already been in the service and out by the time he decided he was going to marry me," Treadaway said. "I had heard he was going marry me without knowing my name. He'd sit out there and stare at me."

The two plotted their speedy wedding plans, and on Feb. 1, 1949 they met at a girlfriend's house, a friend of Marjorie who had dropped out of school to get married, and were taken in and fed.

...à la Romeo and Juliet style.

"Then we went over to the J.P.'s house and they married us for two dollars." Treadaway said. "We didn't have much money back then."

Frazier Alexander Treadaway Jr. died Nov. 22, 2001 on Thanksgiving Day, said Treadaway.

"The young man who took my place at work that day, I've met his son since I've been back in Victoria," Treadaway. said. "Now he's deceased, a lot of them are."

Other memories Treadaway has from the olden theaters days included meeting John Wayne.

"He put his arm around me and gave me a pat on the shoulder," Treadaway said. "I still get goosebumps about it."