By BRANDI WATTERS
ALEXANDRIA — When Applewood movie theater in Anderson closed its doors for good recently, it was the end of paying $3 for your choice of second-run movies. It was not, however, the end of the $3 movie.
The Alex Theatre in Alexandria has been serving Madison County bargain-hunting movie-goers for the better part of 50 years with $3 ticket prices and a unique concession stand.
While the theater shows just one movie a week on its massive screen, the historic location is a big draw for area families looking for a cheap night out.
Elwood sisters Terina (Decker) Ball and Christy (Decker) Bashum bought the location in 2000 from Jim McClary. He’d owned the theater since 1988 and brought it back to life after it had been closed by its original owners, according to Ball.
The Alex Theatre was opened in 1950 by Rowell and Hope Weilert. Over the years, it was leased out to a handful of optimistic parties but soon closed down in the 1980s.
McClary saw potential in the red brick building and reopened the theater in 1988 with a classic red-carpet affair featuring the area’s most prominent residents. The first showing at the revamped theater was the animated Disney classic “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
The sisters have a collection of newspaper clippings detailing the theater’s fairy-tale opening. The historical evidence is kept in the theater to detail its evolution.
The Alex has been preserved over the years, reflecting its original 1950s style and size. Its only screen is wider and taller than any other screen in the area, according to the sisters. Bashum believes IMAX theaters are the only ones with screens bigger than the one at Alexandria.
More than 500 classic red velvet seats line up before the screen. They are the originals installed 50 years ago, Ball said. The chairs rock back and forth, as most did in those days.
By BRANDI WATTERS
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