The First Sound Theater

The First Sound Theater

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In 1932, James E. Clay, a traveling talking movie man, came to Milstead and approached C. J. Hicks, Welfare Director, about pitching his tent and showing talking movies. They then talked with James Newsome, Plant Manager. Mr. Newsome denied the request saying, "We don't allow traveling shows on our property." He suggested Mr. Clay find a place nearby. Mr. Clay said, "We're not like some of the traveling shows that give the towns a bad time. We're Christian people and will be in church each Sunday we're here." He pitched his tent on the school ground.

During the depression the Milstead movie house closed because talking movies were replacing the silent films. James and Alice Clay, along with son James and daughter Betty, became rooted in Milstead. The local community liked them and helped convert the silent theater into a more modern sound cinema. They loaned the tent to the Milstead and Conyers Churches to hold tent meetings. In 1941 they bought a building in Conyers and remodeled it into one of the finest theaters east of Atlanta. His many endeavors are recorded in local newspapers. He received several plaques in his honor.

A couple of operators traveling with them, A. R. 'Dock' Hesterly and W. T. 'Red' Jordan became members of the Milstead Community and raised their families there. The Clays bought an old home in Conyers and remodeled it. A local artist painted scenes in every room that are still prevalent today.

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~ exert from The Story Of Milstead, pages 54-55, by Frank D. Smith

~ submitted by Frank Smith

 

 

 

 

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Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 [ Beth Shaw]. All rights reserved.

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