Walton Theater home to seniors movie series

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2003

There aren’t too many places in America where you can get popcorn, a drink and a movie for $1. Luckily, one of those places is in Selma.

Standing at the corner of Selma Avenue and Lauderdale Street, the Walton Theater is host to a dollar movie the last Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. According to Kitti Windham, director of the performing arts center, it’s part of the seniors movie series, which began in June.

And don’t worry about being too young.

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The intent is to provide seniors a venue to watch movies during the day, but all adults are welcome to attend the showings, which have included &uot;Casablanca&uot; and &uot;Son of Paleface.&uot; This month’s movie is &uot;Sunset Boulevard.&uot;

Windham said the idea for the seniors movie series came from Mayor James Perkins Jr. Perkins wanted to do something for area seniors and the movie series was the outcome.

The theater received a 16-mm reel and movie screen as a donation from Cobb Theaters in Birmingham in 1985. A movie series occurred for a while in the late 1980’s, but it happened at night, which may have been the reason for its hiatus.

With movies now occurring during the day the future of the movie series looks brighter. Windham said 48 people came to one showing.

And there’s room for more.

Windham noted that she didn’t think city budget cuts would affect the theater since the movies are paid for by individuals or companies. During the 1980’s it was easy to obtain movies on a reel, but with technological changes it’s become more difficult. Each movie now costs between $150 and $250 to rent, and Windham can only show it once.

So far, though, someone has stepped up and donated the necessary money each month to keep the movies coming. Windham said that she hoped enough money could be allocated in the future to allow the purchase of a DVD/video player. Then movies could be rented from the library and shown on the big screen. Eventually, the machine would pay for itself.

Until that day the seniors movie series relies on the reel movies and donations.

And, of course, the word-of-mouth that keeps bringing people to the show every month.