"We finally got them for $20,000 in Ohio," he said. "A distributor had these almost new ones out of another theater."
The 300 seats are larger and have thicker cushions. Additional improvements include fresh paint, new tile flooring and carpeting, light fixtures, a wide screen for movies, new sound equipment, a new marquee, brochure rack, silk flower arrangements, neon lights atop the building, new sinks and mirrors in bathrooms, popcorn machine, and historical pictures throughout the theater. A mural on a wall in back of the stage was contributed by South Charleston Visual Arts Society. Don Evans, of Evans Lumber Co., donated some rare historical pictures that fill one corner.
The building also houses the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which got a facelift with new carpet and paint.
Anderson expressed gratitude to Beth Justice and Mary Basham, who helped with everything from picking out paint colors to searching online for affordable theater seats.
"It's a total restoration of the facility," Anderson said. "People love to have reunions, church services and birthday parties here. It's $60 an hour to rent the place. It's handicapped accessible, and it's right downtown in a safe area. It's a multipurpose building, not just a theater."
Of course, it is fun to walk down memory lane and talk about films shown there over the years.
"The first movie shown here was 'One Foot in Heaven,' " Anderson said. "'The Graduate' was the longest running. 'Gone With the Wind' had the largest attendance. People were lined up around the block."
While visiting the theater with all its charm, don't forget to stop next door in the South Charleston Interpretive Center to learn about the history of the area from Indian mounds to the glassmaking industry. There are exhibits, interactive kiosks, models, Union Carbide relics, and artifacts such as arrowheads and tools. Call 304-720-9847 for more information.
For more information about the theater call the South Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau at 304-746-5552.
Contact writer Charlotte Ferrell Smith at charlo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1246.