Yancey Theatre preserves the pleasure of movie night

Photo by Chanse Simpson
Photo by Chanse Simpson

Press release from Yancey Theatre:

Yancey Theatre is a landmark in downtown Burnsville. Located on Main Street, the theater’s bright marquee catches the eye of passersby and reminds them of a simpler time.

The theater opened Thursday, Aug. 17, 1939, and its first movie was “Our Leading Citizen” starring Bob Burns. Gene Autry’s “Western Jamboree” and Chapter 1 of “Daredevils of the Red Circle” ran continuously that Saturday. The following week, the Carter Family provided live music.

Louann Brown knows those old stories well. The Burnsville native purchased the theater six years ago.

“I grew up going here, my daddy grew up going here, my daughter grew up going here,” Brown says. “My daddy used to walk to the theater when he was a boy and watch the Saturday Western matinee. It cost him 10 cents to get in and a penny tax.”

Brown found some 11-cent tickets when she was going through items in the theater. The cost to see a movie at Yancey Theatre is more expensive these days, but it’s still reasonable compared to modern entertainment options. Brown charges $6 a ticket. Five dollars more gets you a small popcorn and a drink.

“People like the small, local theater,” Brown says. “Otherwise, they would have to drive to Asheville or Morganton just to see a movie.”

The single-screen theater seats 200 people. Instead of typical theater seats, Yancey Theatre has cushioned rocking chairs. Brown upgraded to a digital projector in the spring of 2015, with help from the community for the down payment.

About two years ago, Bob Wilson, another Yancey County native, and the Burnsville Little Theatre Club started showing classic movies at the theater. They get together one Monday a month to watch an old film, such as “Gone with the Wind” or “To Kill a Mockingbird.” You don’t have to be a club member to come; anyone is welcome on classic movie night.

Regular movie show times are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and a Sunday matinee. For this week’s movie and exact times, call (828) 678-3322 or visit www.Yancey-Theatre.com. For downtown Burnsville info, visit www.ExploreBurnsville.com.

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