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Hollywood and Vine: 1939

Hollywood and Vine: 1939

September 1939. Cadott, Wisconsin. "The week's bill." 35mm nitrate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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This picture would be the perfect 'wallpaper' for a fan of classical movies. I wonder if TCM has any of these flicks in their vault. I'd like to see the 'Gracie Allen' picture; note that George Burns isn't mentioned. Interesting.

Bank Nite

Bank Night (listed on the Wed-Thurs board as "Bank Nite") was a lottery for prizes which theaters held during the latter part of The Depression in order to get more patrons into their theater.

Now Playing

The Stanley Theater is still open and playing films. I've had the pleasure myself, actually.

Daniel "Mussy" Eslinger and his family have been running the theater since 1968. In 2010, the family restored the outside of the theater to its 1936 glory.

The theater is a gem and so is Mussy. Where else can you get real butter on your popcorn?

Top Billing

Lewis Stone over Mickey Rooney
Gracie Allen over Kent Taylor
What were they thinking?

Pre-TV World

As someone who has grown up in a post-television world, I find it fascinating how so many movies could be at one single screen theater over the course of 10 days. Hope you don't have any plans Tuesday night because that is the last night for "Susannah of the Mounties"!

On another note, what is a "bank-nite" and why is touted as being special?

[The signs say "Book Night." A promotional stunt dreamed up by exhibitor Robert Lippert. - Dave]

I did see that sign, but what I was referring to was written next to the Wed & Thurs above the Gracie Allen Murder Case poster.

Gracie Allen Murder Case

My mother had a set of S.S. Van Dine's Philo Vance murder mysteries, gray covers with a spiderweb design. One of them was The Gracie Allen Murder Case. Philo was a rich guy of the "old boy, my dear chap" school whose valet assisted him in his investigations. I recall that many of the chapters began with epigrams in Latin or Greek and Philo was always tossing in "bon mots" in French.

Not Exactly First-Run

As with most small town movie houses, it looks like Cadott's Stanley Theatre was not very high up in the pecking order for new releases. According to IMDB, "Susannah of the Mounties" was released on June 13, 1939, "The Gracie Allen Murder Case" on June 2, "Stronger Than Desire" on June 30, and "Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever" on July 21. Any Cadott residents who burned to see the latest movies might have made the nearly 100-mile trek to Minneapolis for quicker gratification.

Some of the hit movies mentioned below had been released in the Spring, but "The Wizard of Oz" didn't hit the screens until August 25 - sit tight, Cadott - and everyone was going to have to wait a bit longer for "Gone With the Wind." Although it premiered in December, it was not actually distributed to theaters until January 17, 1940.

Stanley's Selection

1939 was one of the greatest years ever for movies - i.e. Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Dark Victory, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, etc. - and the Stanley Theatre isn't showing even one of them!


More than seven decades later, the stars of two of these movies are still among us: Mickey Rooney (going on 91) and Shirley Temple (83).

Poster collectors

I checked some auction prices for these one-sheet movie posters, and came up with three:

Susannah of the Mounties $134 (2009)
Stronger than Desire $45 (2006)
Andy Hardy Gets Spring Fever $120 (2008)

The ringer is the Gracie Allen. I couldn't find any references or images of this particular design, but many for a different one whose estimates range up to $1700, so perhaps the one here is a real rarity.

"Vine." I get it.

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