Last Updated on November 1, 2022 3:38 pm
BOONE, NC – The excitement in the air was electric on Monday, November 14, 1938 as local
residents and curiosity-seekers throughout the High Country and beyond gathered on King
Street for the “Gala Opening Program” of the Appalachian Theatre in Boone, NC.
So many people wanted to be in the first day audience of “Western Carolina’s Finest Theatre”
that the opening festivities were repeated three times that day at 3:45, 7 and 9 p.m. The
combined attendance was estimated in the media at approximately 3,000 persons in the then
997-seat venue, meaning that each of the three programs was completely sold out.
Eighty-four years later to the day – also on a Monday – the App Theatre is hosting a free
community-wide drop-in event to commemorate the birthday of the venerable landmark on King
Street. Planned activities include a photo booth, face painting, “Twist, the Balloon Man,” birthday
cupcakes, a classic newsreel, and screenings of several family-friendly short animated films,
among other surprises. The free event takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Guests will see vintage classics featuring Mickey Mouse, Popeye the Sailor, and Zorro.
Executive Director Suzanne Livesay said, “It’s a come and go event, so drop in when you can
join us and stay as long as you please. No advance reservations are required for this nonticketed
event. It’s simply a chance for our wonderful community to help us celebrate the
birthday of their Appalachian Theatre.”
The program will include one of the components from the opening program on November 14, 1938. Walt Disney’s “Brave Little Tailor” will be among the screenings during the 84th Birthday
Celebration. The animated short film is an adaptation of the fairy tale “The Valiant Little Tailor”
with Mickey Mouse in the title role. It was directed by Bill Roberts and features original music by
Albert Hay Malotte. The voice cast includes Walt Disney as Mickey, Marcellite Garner as Minnie,
and Eddie Holden as the Giant. It was the 103rd short in the Mickey Mouse film series to be
released, and the fifth for that year.
“Brave Little Tailor” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at
the 11th Academy Awards in 1939, but lost to “Ferdinand the Bull,” another animated short by
Disney. In 1994, it was listed as the 26th greatest cartoon of all time by members of the animation
field in a list compiled for the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
Popeye the Sailor and his girlfriend Olive Oyl co-star in “A Date to Skate,” an animated short
film, released on November 18, 1938, just four days after the Appalachian Theatre opened that
same week, month, and year. Our hero takes Olive roller skating in a rink; she's never skated
before, so he has to teach her, and she's not exactly a quick learner. After a while, she ends up
outside the rink, and still out of control; she skates through a department store and causes major
traffic problems. When she gets stuck on a speeding fire truck, Popeye realizes he'll need his
spinach, but he's out. Fortunately, an audience member tosses him a can and Popeye is off to
“Zorro’s Fighting Legion” (1939) stars Reed Hadley as the fictional character created in 1919
by American pulp writer Johnston McCulley. Zorro (Spanish for ‘fox') is typically portrayed as a
dashing masked vigilante who defends the commoners and indigenous peoples of California
against corrupt and tyrannical officials and other villains. His signature all-black costume
includes a cape, a hat known as a sombrero cordobés, and a mask covering the upper half of
In the stories, Zorro has a high bounty on his head, but is too skilled and cunning for the bumbling
authorities to catch, and he also delights in publicly humiliating them. Because of this, the
townspeople started calling him “El Zorro” due to his foxlike cunning and charm. Zorro is an
acrobat and an expert in various weapons, but the one he employs most frequently is his rapier,
which he uses often to carve the initial “Z” on his defeated foes, and other objects to “sign his
work.” He is also an accomplished rider, his trusty steed being a black horse called Tornado.
Being one of the earliest examples of a fictional masked avenger with a double identity, Zorro
inspired the creation of several similar characters in pulp magazines and other media and is a
precursor of the superheroes of American comic books, with Batman drawing particularly close
parallels to the character.
For a complete performance schedule of all upcoming events, or to sign up for the theatre’s eblast
distribution list, visit the organization’s website at www.apptheatre.org