Monday, July 20, 2009
by Carrie Bradshaw-Buckley
In the 1960s, double features of movies like “Dr. No” and “Bullet” gave McSwain Theatre movie-goers two for the price of one.
But movies weren’t the only thing that came in pairs at the theater—the employees did too.
A remarkable three sets of identical twins were simultaneously employed by the McSwain in the mid-1960s.
They were: Evelyn and Mevelyn Standridge and Darrell, Farrell, Harroll and Karroll Rhoads.
“We had so much fun,” Mrs. Thompson said with a laugh.
She said that having three sets of twins at work proved to be very confusing to the customers. On any given night, the lobby of the McSwain became reminiscent of “The Parent Trap” or the “Nutty Professor.”
“They would see one twin at the ticket counter, then turn around and see the other at the concession stand,” she said.
“We got a lot of funny looks!”
Farrell Rhoads said the customers weren’t the only ones confused.
“One time the manager called Darrell and I and said ‘I don’t care which one of you is working, just as long as one of you are here!’.”
Working at the McSwain gave Evelyn and her sister first dibs on the town gossip.
“You could see who was dating who,” she said. “Some boys would buy tickets just to sit in the lobby and watch the girls.”
“It was one of the best jobs you could have in town,” she said, “even if I did just make 65 cents an hour!”
On weekends, “Dusk til Dawn” nights would entertain patrons from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Special events like the “Billy Graham Crusade” took place at the McSwain, complete with a live pastor to give the invitation.
During Halloween, scary movie marathons would include masked “monsters” running up and down the aisles, startling unsuspecting guests.
The three sets of twins continued to work together at the McSwain and have a special bond built with memories of the “old switcheroo” and the construction of Cracker Jack forts.
Mrs. Thompson said that the re-opening of the renovated McSwain could call for a reunion.
“It would be a perfect time to get together,” she said, “and re-visit a place that holds so many memories for all six of us.”
Harroll and Karroll live in Little Rock, Ark. and said that they’d even travel to make the reunion.
Farrell said that the group worked together for years without any problems.
“It was one of the few places I’ve worked where there was no bickering.”
“It was such a good experience,” he said. “If I were eighteen, I’d do it all over again.”
The McSwain will re-open Saturday, July 25 as a stop for the 2009 Honky Tonk Tailgate Party tour.
Tickets are on sale now. For more information, contact the McSwain office at (580) 332-8108 or visit http://www.mcswaintheatre.com/.