My Mother, Ruby Mayo Scott
By Brenda S. Brown

My mother, Ruby Mayo Scott, grew up in the theatre; I wish I could report that she was a well known celebrity but she was never an actress.  There was only one movie house in her hometown of Dawson and her daddy, David Mayo was the manager, and she and her family all worked there.


Besides managing the business, he was also the certified projectionist.  He was not only responsible for showing the films, he was also charged with keeping the projection machines in service.  During those days a fire was a serious threat; therefore pails of soda were stored in the balcony just in case there was a flash fire.  Celluloid film was highly flammable and the old projector machines generated vast amounts of heat so the projection booth was considered a dangerous place to work.


 My maternal grandmother, Leeila managed the ticket booth and maintained the financial records.  It was rumored that she could accurately count mounded coins just by feeling the stacks.  She recalled spending countless hours sorting and stacking loose change.


Momma worked at the candy counter and prepared the popcorn, and her sister Jeanette collected tickets and ushered.  When the girls sold all the refreshments and the patrons were settled in their seats, they were allowed to watch the movie.  The big movie day was Saturday because there was an afternoon matinee and then a special evening feature; Saturday was usually reserved for western movies which was an audience favorite.


The movie house was equipped with an ancient pipe organ.  The instrument was rarely used after the late 1930s but it remained in a prominent position down front, just to the right of the screen.  The lady who provided the music for the silent movies continued to come by frequently to play the instrument and keep it operational.


In 1939 the family learned that a special film was coming to the movie house; it was advertised as the film of the century.   The smaller rush posters arrived weeks ahead of the movie and were displayed in the front lobby.  The patrons were abuzz about the controversial film; it featured several love scenes and was touted as the first all-color film.  The Wizard of Oz had opened a few months earlier but as we well remember, that presentation was part black and white and part color.


The giant posters that arrived a week prior to the movie were considered quite risqu
e'.  The famous scene of the stars in a passionate embrace was displayed on the inside of the theatre because the poster was considered inappropriate for young children.  Early in 1940, the movie opened in Dawson to a sell-out crowd; of course the motion picture was "Gone with the Wind"

.


Momma did not have the opportunity to see the entire film until the second week; it continued to be a sell out for weeks.  She did remember that before the film was shown for the last time that she had enjoyed watching it over seventeen times.
 

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