Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sharing Memories: Of Movie Theaters in Klamath Falls - Pine Tree Theater

Postcard of Pine Tree Theater, Klamath Falls OR
circa 1940
Courtesey of Puget Sound Theater Organ Society Website

Opening night, October 31, 1922, at the Pine Tree Theater saw a nearly packed house, as Klamath Falls theater-goers showed up in their best bib and tuckers. The silent movie that played that night was accompanied by a small 2/5 Smith theater organ. My mother, who was born in 1919, probably attended movies as a child at the Pine Tree.
Opening Night of the Pine Tree Theater, Klamath Falls OR
October 31, 1922
Courtesey of Puget Sound Theater Organ Society Website
My earliest memories of the Pine Tree are a conglomeration of western movies, Tom Mix, The Cisco Kid, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers -- AND being wrapped in my dad's arms as he carried from the theater to the car --- and into our house once we got home. I also remember the huge outline of a pine tree with the brightly lighted words PINE TREE that rose above the lighted marqee.

By the time I was a teenager, this old theater had seen it's better days. The dingy lobby, worn and soiled seats told of nearly 30 years of hard use, barrels of popcorn slithery with butter,  gallons of soft drinks, and untold number of chocolate bars smeared into the seats. The old theater's days were drawing to a close. Perhaps fittingly, my last seared-into-the-brain memory of the Pine Tree was near the end of her reign. The occasion was one of my first real dates -- a group date of couples. My current heart-throbs were the twins, but their dates were girls who seemed more comfortable with dating and talking to boys than I. My "date" was hardly even a friend, but a friend of the twins. I was shy, barely able to make a coherent sentence, much less easy banter. He was equally shy, or most likely just the silent-type, which made for a very long silent and miserable night. Almost enough to make a girl swear off dating.

Nevertheless, memories of Roy Rogers, Tom Mix, and Gene Autry riding, shooting and sometimes singing their way across the silver screen --  and my dad carrying me safely home --  have lasted a lifetime

1940s Klamath Falls Street Scene with the Pine Tree
silhouetted against the sky
Courtesey of Puget Sound Theater Organ Society Website

~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications


  1. I enjoyed reading your memories of the Pine Tree Theater. I can picture going to movies in similar theaters when I was a child. Years ago theaters were such an important part of many communities.

  2. I remember when you could take 20 hires root beer bottle caps for admission, those where the good old days.

  3. I remember when 20 hires root beer caps would get you into the show. The owner would ask me some times what move I would like to see and then it would show up there.