April 29, 2008

The Ballad of the Cherokee Theater

full sideview of cherokee theatre, evening
Over the last two years, I've taken several pictures of the Cherokee Theater in Rusk, Texas, and its wonderful, vintage neon sign. The theater was built back in 1946, so I had very little hope that the sign would actually still work. On a whim, I Googled "cherokee theater + rusk," and found that it's now the home to a local theater group. And at its website, there's a picture of the theater. At night. Lit up. I have for the last three months been emailing, and even calling them, hoping to get someone to tell me when the sign is turned on. Is it every night (like the SFA Theater, here in Nacogdoches), or just on the evenings of its little skits? But, for whatever reason, nobody was willing (or able) to respond to my emails.
cherokee theatre eveing marquee
I might have just concluded they turned it on only on the nights of performances, but I was in Rusk a couple of months ago, on a performance night, and I drove by the theater - and the sign was dark....So, I drove back to Rusk this past Saturday night (a performance night of one of their little skits), and got there just a little before 7:30 (the time the little skit was set to begin). And, voilà! Thar she blew, all lit up like a birthday cake. I contained my excitement and took these.
cherokee theatre neon, close at evening the cherokee theatre neon sign
Wanting to take some after dark, I bid my time by walking around the square and taking a couple of shots of the 1941 era, Moderne style Cherokee County Courthouse. I also sat on a nearby bench and looked over the pictures I'd taken. After about ten minutes (now the time would've been 7:45-ish) I walked back to the theater, but the lights were no longer on. So I made it just in time!
cherokee theatre, downstreet evening

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