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from the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise, August 2, 1990

One of Forsyth's oldest businesses is about to mark a milestone. The Roxy Theatre turns 60 next month.

The theatre's original owners were Frank Faust and A. C. Wolke, who had purchased the Lincoln Paramount silent theatre in Forsyth in 1922.

By 1929, sound movies were becoming popular, so Faust and Wolke decided to build a new "talking" theatre.

The building was designed by Charles Wood, a Spokane, Wash., architect. He designed the building specifically to meet the acoustic requirements for sound pictures, and he chose an unusual Spanish style for the building's exterior.

As a result, despite several remodelings, the Roxy remains one of the most distinctive buildings on Forsyth's Main Street.

Opening on Sept. 6, 1930, the first feature was "The Bad one" with Delores Del Rio. Admission was 25 cents for adults; 35 cents for the loge.

The theatre has had four sets of owners since it was built. In the late 1950s, Frank Faust sold his interest in the business to his brother-in-law, Harvey Wolke, who operated it for a few years before selling out to Roy Welter.

The business was purchased in 1967 by Don and Georgia Herndon.

The Roxy's next owners, Mike Blakesley and Tom Clifford, purchased the theatre in March 1979 after both had been employed there for some time.

The movie business is a rapidly changing one, and the Roxy is a testament to those changes. The triangular marquee on the front of the building was not part of the original plans; it was added during the building's first ten years.

The familiar concession counter in the lobby was also added during remodeling; in the 1950s, people were beginning to stay home and watch television, and theatres were putting in concession stands as an added attraction.

The biggest changes came in the early '80s, when Blakesley and Clifford installed new projection and sound equipment and new seats; and in 1989, when the marquee, which had been dark for several years, was re-lighted with new neon tubing.

After 11 years in the movie business, theatre owner Mike Blakesley is still enthusiastic about it.

"I love the movie business," he says, "and I'm grateful the people of Forsyth and this area have supported the Roxy in this age when so many small theatres are closing."

Blakesley is optimistic about the future.

"People are always going to want to get out of their houses," he said. "There's no better way to experience a movie than on a big theatre screen, especially if it's a big epic."

To that end, the Roxy is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a look back at the past.

Classics such as "Gone with the Wind," "Casablanca," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Sound of Music" and "The Ten Commandments" will return to the Roxy's screen in the coming weeks.

In another nod to nostalgia, the theatre's ticket prices will be reduced and the long closed balcony seats will be reopened during the anniversary shows.

Is Blakesley worried about filling the Roxy's auditorium for these time tested films?

"Sure I am," he says. "But I wanted to do something special that other small theatres probably wouldn't do, and I'm hoping people will want to see these shows in their original form, without all the commercials.

"If it goes over well, we may do it again sometime with different movies," Blakesley said. And if it doesn't?

"Well, that's show biz!"