Saturday nights ‘back in the day’
Reporter contributor

One of the places for Saturday night entertainment in Rockdale was the Kay Theatre which again looks like it did in the 1940s. Yes it had one of those ‘chicken roost’ balconies. 
Reporter/Mike Brown One of the places for Saturday night entertainment in Rockdale was the Kay Theatre which again looks like it did in the 1940s. Yes it had one of those ‘chicken roost’ balconies. Reporter/Mike Brown Editor’s note: The fourth edition of Susie Sansom Piper’s Black History Month series “On The Other Side of the Tracks” looks back to music and entertainment.

Most of the local churches provided Saturday night entertainment, especially for the children of the community.

The churches had large clearedoff facilities in the back and these were well lighted with electric lights.

The children played various games and Saturday night delicacies were provided.

These included homemade ice cream, the kind that required turning the crank to freeze the cream. These were sold by scoops in a bowl.

Fish sandwiches, homemade hamburgers, fried chicken and chili were also on the menu.

CHURCH PROGR AMS— Sunday afternoons, churches held special programs, including musicals, quartet singing from guests and anniversaries.

There were also Training Unions, Bible baseball games, scripture quoting, Bible stories and Bible facts.

Special programs were held on Easter Sunday and during the Christmas holidays.

During these occasions a great display of the variety of talent that existed among the children, regardless of age or size, was displayed.

Everyone looked forward to Easter and Christmas. Usually a new frock was in order for Easter, especially for the children.

An Easter egg hunt was held at the end of the service. During Christmas-time was an opportunity to display special talent in speaking or singing Christmas carols.

Attending church was considered a priority in the community and on Sunday morning most families attended.

Family gatherings included picnics, wedding celebrations and a general coming together of relatives from far away.

COUNTRY SUPPERS—Saturday night country suppers were usually held at a designated place near the edge of town or a rural home. These affairs could only be attended by those 21 or older.

Sometimes they were called “country balls.”

Fish, hamburgers, chicken, chili, chitterlings, cakes, pies, “ red water” and home brews were sold.

There was always a card game, domino game or perhaps a hidden gambling place for some participants.

Often times, just to get to the country ball, some packed their dress-up clothes in a waterproof slicker and swam Yegua or Brushy creeks or the San Gabriel River.

Those who could afford a Model T Ford would charge 25 cents a head to carry passengers to these country suppers.

When the fiddler, the guitarist, banjo and piano players struck up a sad blues tune, or jazz number, those who wanted to dance did the “barrelhouse.”

Charleston, tap dance, buck dance, two-step or wopsy were popular.

Music was more or less a natural for many of these musicians were self-trained and played by ear, or according to their feelings, cares and woes.

Sw imming pools were not available so those who desired to swim often traveled to a favored swimming hole in the San Gabriel River near the Liberty Hill community.

‘ CHICK EN ROOST’—The other alternative to Saturday night entertainment consisted of the moving picture show.

Blacks had to sit in what was often referred to as the “chicken roost” because it was located upstairs. This was before the movies were integrated.

Earlier movies were silent with captions.

Folks enjoyed Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Snow White and others.

Many attended both afternoon and night showings of the same movie, so if you went at night you also had to listen to the telling of the plot by someone in the audience.

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2011-02-03 digital edition

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