Hijinks at the old Majestic Theater

Hijinks at the old Majestic Theater takes you back to 1955 for a funny story about a Saturday movie matinee adventure. Based on a true story.

By Michael R Dougherty

Our car pulled to a stop in front of the Majestic movie theater in downtown Stephenville, Texas.

It was 1955.

I was 8 years old and mom was dropping myself, 7 year old sister Anna and 5 year old brother Tom off to see a Saturday matinee featuring Audie Murphy.

As we kids got out of the car, mom gave me a quick reminder to "watch after my sister and brother," an assignment that would later go down as a hilarious chapter in our family history.

Once inside and armed with popcorn, candy and soda, we settled in for the featured movie.

But shortly after the film began, Anna and Tom started leaving their seats to go to the restroom; a trip they kept making over and over.

Now in those days to get to the rest rooms at the Majestic you had to go outside, around the sidewalk box-office, up the stairs and next to the projection booth.

After some 10 or 15 rest room visits, the lady running the box-office told Anna and Tom "don't come out here any more." Reluctantly the two returned to their seats.

Now the soda I'd been drinking had kicked in awhile back, but not wanting to miss Audie Murphy as he went into action, I had put off taking a very necessary break.

But now I absolutely could not wait any longer.

As I sprang up from my seat, Anna grabbed my arm, pulled me back and asked "where are you going?"

"To the restroom," I replied.

"You can't," said Anna, "the lady in the box-office said so."

My mind raced. I didn't understand. Panic set in.

Then Anna told me what the box-office lady had said. Well I thought, "no problem", I hadn't made any trips to the restroom so I was free to make countless safaris.

Well right then and there, Anna pulled a fast one. "Tom and I have to go again, and you're our big brother. You have to take us. Mom said so."

She was right. I had to. Otherwise dear sister Anna would be sure to tell mom I wouldn't take them to the restroom, forcing brother Tom to moisten himself, his short pants and a good theater seat.

So like mysterious shadows, the three of us tip-toed up the aisle toward the box-office, stopping briefly at the door where I carefully peeked out the window. And there she was, the dreaded box-office lady, standing guard inside her tiny office just waiting to nail us.

Ducking behind the safety of the theater door, we hatched a brilliant plan.

We would carefully and quietly open the door, then crawl out onto the sidewalk on our stomachs, go around the box-office prison guard, and to the doorway to the stairs where we would pop back up then run up the stairs to the waiting restrooms.

Moments later we were on our stomachs crawling across the sidewalk, trying to muffle our giggles as we slithered past the box-office lady to the waiting stairs.

Well sir, we made it.

Then springing quickly to our feet, we flew up the stairs with me in the lead, heading straight for the waiting relief of the restrooms.

But when our visits were complete, we realized that to return to the theater we had to do it all over again, only in reverse.

On our stomachs once again, we crawled around the box-office and back inside. All without being seen by you know who.

Later, as we sat watching Audie Murphy up there on the silver screen, I started snickering and snorting. Then Anna joined in, then Tom. We sat there laughing our heads off.

We'd just shared a great adventure that we'd never forget. And we had so much fun doing it that I really don't remember the movie at all.

The Actual Majestic Theater

Stephenville, Texas

The Majestic theater in Stephenville, Texas before it was torn down.

The old box-office is long gone, but we still remember our adventure.

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