About This That and T' Other
Ogden Standard Examiner, 15 July 1923, page 10
Roy Wilkins was back in town last week shaking hands with old friends, most of whom happen to have been or still are connected with the motion picture theatre business. A great many people won't know who Wilkins is. He was a pioneer motion picture theatre violinist in Ogden. He is a pioneer yet he is still a young man. Which shows how rapid has been the progress of the movies.
Roy was leader of the orchestra of three pieces which played at the Electric theatre on Twenty-fifth street just east of the Reed hotel. I believe this was the first permanent motion picture theatre orchestra in Ogden. Others in this pioneer group were George Warner, a performer on the traps, who is still a citizen of Ogden, and Maude Strong, the pianist. Miss Strong later was succeeded by Harold (Slim) Flemming, the only one of the four who remains a motion picture musician in Ogden.
In the days when Wilkins and his gang tremaloed and G stringed the heroine to her long-drawn out death or hurried on the chase which was the feature of so many films in that day, the big features were one reel in length and the name Pathe, Essanay, Edison, Vitagraph and Lubin were the most popular. The shows lasted one hour and sandwiched in between the reels were the famous illustrated songs.
Looking back, it seems that these illustrated songs were all about somebody and said they would return when the frost was on the pumpkin, or when some other natural phenomenon took place. This was the day also when the slide “One Moment for Change of Reel” was always kept handy by the operator, who sometimes “doubled in brass” by giving a lecture while grinding away the film with his hand operated machine.
That little Electric theatre on the hill really was the mother of the motion picture theatres in Utah. Harry Sims and his industrious wife managed the little show shop. Associated with them were Hodkinson of national motion picture fame; Walter Richey and later Albert Scowcroft and Charles Ziemer. After the Electric there was the Oracle theatre. Then the group purchased the Isis and Globe. Then the American in Salt Lake and finally the Alhambra in Ogden was built. And it has only been 15 years since the Electric was packing them in to see five 10 minute reels and hear and see the illustrated song.
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