In the Historic 1927 Downtown Arabian Theatre -- 5th Avenue -- Laurel, Mississippi


1927 Stories on the Arabian Theatre 1927 Opening

Stories from the Laurel Daily Leader Arabian Theatre Tabloid Section on March 31, 1927
(the day before the Arabian opened on April 1, 1927)

  1. THE ARABIAN THEATRE OPENS TOMORROW, FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST 2:00P.M.
    in the Laurel Daily Leader Arabian Theatre Tabloid Section    March 31, 1927
    (the day before the Arabian opened on April 1, 1927)


  2. FACTS ABOUT THE ARABIAN
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  3. MAGNIFICENT NEW THEATRE FOR LAUREL
    "THE ARABIAN"-REAL PALACE OF ORIENTAL SPLENDOR
    by Mrs. Dewey Gardiner for the Laurel Daily Leader Special Arabian Tabloid Section    March 31, 1927


  4. SCALE OF PRICES AT THE NEW ARABIAN
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  5. GORGEOUS ORGAN IS TO BE BIG FEATURE OF 'ARABIAN' BILLS
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  6. W.S. "SANK" TAYLOR PIONEER IN SHOW BUSINESS IN LAUREL
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  7. CHARLES GREEN IS ONE OF TRIO GIVING THE CITY NEW THEATRE
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  8. BEN SCHNIEDER HAS CONFIDENCE IN CITY AND HELPS THEATRE
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  9. L W DUFFEE HAS WATCHFUL EYE ON ARABIAN BUILDING
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  10. REUBEN DEGRUY TO BE HOUSE MANAGER FOR THE ARABIAN
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  11. CLARA BOW'S "IT" TO OPEN THE ARABIAN
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


  12. THE BEAUTIFUL NEW ARABIAN THEATRE OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 26, 1927


  13. LAUREL GOES INDIGO BLUE
    OUTLYING FILLING STATIONS DO RUSHING CASH BUSINESS SUNDAY
    in the Laurel Daily Leader    August 20, 1930





THE ARABIAN THEATRE OPENS TOMORROW, FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST 2:00P.M.
in the Laurel Daily Leader Arabian Theatre Tabloid Section    March 31, 1927
(the day before the Arabian opened on April 1, 1927)


INAUGURAL PROGRAM
Unit 1--Fox News
Unit 2--Fox Imperial Comedy
Unit 3--Overture, "Poet and Peasant" Mrs. R.V. DeGruy at the Kilgen Wonder Organ
Unit 4--Feature Photoplay, Clara Bow in "It"
Unit 5--Song Novelty, "A Lane In Spain"

POLICY

The Arabian Theatre will present the finest in photoplays--and will offer a complete change in program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
First show daily at 2:00p.m. and performances are continuous thereafter.

PRICES
Matinee, 1 to 6p.m.....35cents
Night, 6 to 1030p.m....50cents
Children....................10 cents
The above prices will prevail on the opening day, Friday, April 1, 1927

ATTRACTIONS COMING TO THE ARABIAN THEATRE
Monday-Tuesday, April 3rd-4th "Fashions For Women" featuring Esther Ralston and Raymond Hatton
Wednesday-Thursday, April 5th-6th "A Kiss In A Taxi" with peppy Bebe Daniels

A FEW OF THE PICTURES BILLED FOR APRIL
"The Fire Brigade" The Big Parade of Peace Times
"The Four Horsemen" A revival of that wonderful picture that made Rudolph Valentino the greatest of all screen lovers.
"Upstage" with Norma Shearer
"Blind Alleys" with Thomas Meighan
"Evening Clothes" with Adolphe Menjou
COMING TO THE STRAND THEATRE
"Love's Great Mistake" with Evelyn Brent, William Powell and James Hall
A melodramatic romance of the thrilling adventures that befall a beautiful girl from a small town who comes to a large city seeking the pleasures of its gay night life.
"The Border Whirlwind" with Bob Custer
"Fighting With Buffalo Bill"
"The Broncho Twister" with Tom Mix

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FACTS ABOUT THE ARABIAN
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927

  • It cost $150,000.
  • It has a seating capacity of 900.
  • Theatre is ingeniously constructed to ensure a clear and unobstructed view of the stage from every seat in the house.
  • Nine exits to permit clearing of the theatre in two minutes.
  • Interior done in Arabian architecture, with magnificent plastic ornamentation and with ten great chandeliers. Colorful and harmonious lighting effects.
  • Luxurious ladies' lounge and cosmetic room.
  • Walls and ceiling of the lobby and arcade decorated with ornamental plastering; floors of the lobby and arcade of high quality tile, while a gorgeous rug covers the floor of the foyer.
  • Theatre heated and cooled and ventilated by a $10,000 installation.
  • Stage large enough to take care of vaudeville and photoplay presentations.
  • The magnificent Kilgen Pipe Organ was chosen because of its wonderful volume range and sweetness of tone. It will duplicate any sound that can be heard at any symphony concert. It has gained the name "Wonder Organ" and was installed through the A.Gressett Music House of Meridian, Mississippi.
  • The furniture the new theatre was selected from Foster-McLaurin Furniture Company of Laurel, Mississippi Phone 136 and Howard-Aycock Furniture Co. Oak Street Laurel Mississippi Phone 686.
  • The plumbing throughout the Arabian was done by A.L.Lockhart 519 Central Avenue Phone 708.
  • The structural steel used in the construction of the new theatre was supplied by Laurel Machine & Foundry, Co.
  • The painting of the new Arabian Theatre done by L.A.McDevitt Laurel, Mississippi Phone 428.

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MAGNIFICENT NEW THEATRE FOR LAUREL
"THE ARABIAN"-REAL PALACE OF ORIENTAL SPLENDOR
by Mrs. Dewey Gardiner for the Laurel Daily Leader Special Arabian Tabloid Section    March 31, 1927


First you wonder why the name, and in a varying scale, it suggests the outstanding characteristics of a far country. To the small boy, "The Arabian" brings to mind pictures of a gallant sheik on a fine horse: to the lovely girl, it portrays a harem full of highly-scented and leisurely ladies: to the man of deep thinking, it brings a thought of Mohammed, whose followers still number more than any other religious cult in the world: to the political economist, it suggest the first and most successful attempt at prohibition for the "Sons of the Prophet" drink nothing but water: and to the antiquarian, it means a research into age-old symbols, as significant as they are beautiful.

Let's take a stroll through the Arabian and see for ourselves. The gaily-colored marquise, with its orange, green and black stripes, is distinctly Arabian. And as we set foot on the adamantine of oriental design, forming a flooring to the entrance, we are immediately enveloped with the oriental charm that is everywhere apparent. It is, as if some weird Arab crystal gazer had cast his spell over the entire setting.

We progress through a long arcade and we almost turn topsy-turvy in our effort to see overhead the ornamental plaster cornice, connected with oak beams, bearing inlaid decorations. On either side are mystic symbols of the ancient East. The Egyptian sun god and the scarab, the symbol found on King Tut's belt, play a large part in the decorative effects, not only in the arcade, but throughout the entire theatre. How exquisitely soft and at the same time, how very interesting are the lights with their decorations of lotus blossoms and serpents, which are found in different dimensions on the large chandeliers to the very smallest wall lights. The attention cannot fail to be drawn to the very unusual plastering of an Eastern texture and the imitation stone that constitutes the dado of the side walls. The ticket window, always an important stopping place at any theatre, is located at the far end of the arcade. Its base is interesting for the reason that it is fashioned of rare Verde antique marble, the most costly that can be had.

From the arcade, you sink into the velvety softness of luxurious carpets that form the floor covering of the foyer lounge. The furnishings here are all so lovely and so entirely in line with the taste of the decorative scheme. Colorful floor lamps, deep chairs and divans of richest upholstery suggest the warmth of welcome. At the south end of the lounge, the exit doorway is covered with a real Arabian spear awning, a replica of that found on the exterior, while at the north end, is the ladies' rest room, the entrance to which is exclusively of Egyptian imagery.

The main auditorium, with seats for nine hundred, each a choice seat, is a marvel of constructive achievement. It insures each of the nine-hundred guests of splendid and normal view of the pictures from every part of the theatre, giving each person a comfortable seat, easy of access, and amid the most beautiful of surroundings. The decorative effects denote faithful attention to each exquisite detail. Here the dominant color scheme is repeated on the walls and ceiling. The only decided variance from the decorations used elsewhere are the Persian niches, which alternate with stenciled wall decorations, also of Persian and Egyptian design. The colorful and harmonious lighting effects continue to show serpents and lotus blossoms. The organ grills are treated most interestingly, with receded columns and bands and Persian hangings.

The stage, intended also for vaudeville, depicts an Arabian setting, and is rich with velour hangings of a deep wine color, bordered with heavy gold fringe.

The magnificent pipe organ purchased through the A. Gressett Music House of Meridian, from the George Kilgen Organ Company of St. Louis, one of the oldest organ concerns in the world, is an amazing instrument, or rather a multitude of instruments that can duplicate any sound that can be heard at any symphony concert. The wonderful volume, range and sweetness of this instrument term it correctly the "Wonder Organ."

Not only will patrons see a temple of entertainment, magnificent to the eye, but they will also find the new theatre equipped with every conceivable device for their comfort, convenience and safety. An iced drinking fountain, a fireproof projection room with automatic shutters, and aisle lights are a few of the modern facilities that place the theatre in the front ranks.

The entire picture house, the last word in architecture, utility and decorative art, is like so many of our great theatres, a monument to the artistic conception of Emile Weil, Inc., Architects, New Orleans. The work was designed by Mr. Markel of that office, and supervised by Mr. L. W. Duffee, Laurel's home architect.

The decorating was done by Mandel Brothers of Chicago, who decorated the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, a marvelous achievement. The were ably assisted in their work by the McDevitt Brothers of Laurel, who have beautified so many of our Laurel homes and public buildings.

The contractor, who has been so tireless in carrying this $150,000 structure to completion was Mr. C. S. Norman, whose splendid work is evident all over our city.

No one can think of the beauty of the theatre and its generous protrise of pleasure without a feeling of appreciation toward those public spirited men, Messrs. W. S. Taylor, known to the show world as 'Sank,' Charles Green and B. A. Schneider, who have made such a dream possible. Their belief in the future of Laurel and their interest in its amusement, have been most beautifully voiced.

Housed within such a triumphant architectural art, the popular manager, Mr. Reuben DeGruy, will be on the alert to get the finest of pictures and his gifted and lovely wife will ever be ready with the latest of selections for the organ.

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SCALE OF PRICES AT THE NEW ARABIAN
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


Imagine a theatre as luxurious and different as the new Arabian; imagine all the comforts, appointments and dazzling beauty of color and ornamentation-and the best entertainment possible, revealing the astounding strides and powerful influence of the motion picture, together with the Kilgen Wonder Organ-all for the price of an ordinary picture show.

Every seat in the house will be sold for the same price. Here are the prices offered: Matinee 2 to 6pm 35 cents; after 6pm 50 cents; children at all times 10 cents.

The policy of the new Arabian will be continuous performances from 2 to 10pm with a complete change of program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Policy of the Strand Theatre will be continuous performances from 1:30 to 10:30pm with a complete change of program on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We are going to get the very latest action and western pictures three days a week and fill the other days with a line of new pictures that will appeal to all. Our prices for the Strand will be all seats matinee and night, 25 cents; children 10 cents.

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GORGEOUS ORGAN IS TO BE BIG FEATURE OF 'ARABIAN' BILLS
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


An organ "with an imagination," in fact, as fine a theatre organ as any in America, will be heard by the patrons of the new Arabian Theatre when that "palace of splendor" opens its doors tomorrow at two o'clock in the afternoon.

Manufactured by the Kilgen Organ Company, one of the world's standard makers of theatrical organs, this amazing instrument, or rather, combination of a multitude of musical instruments, can duplicate any quality of sound that can be heard at any symphony orchestral concert.

Not only that, but it can also imitate with uncanny accuracy the songs of birds, the roar of jungle beasts, the lowing of cows, the barking of dogs, the mewing of cats, and the howls of wolves.

It can honk at you like an auto horn with such realism that the patron will imagine himself in the heart of the city's traffic district. It can do a foghorn imitation or give forth the sound of fire gongs or cathedral chimes.

Many of the features of the new organ are unique in Laurel. It will perfectly reproduce a cello, a trumpet, an oboe, clarinet or any stringed instrument. And, here is news for Laurel: it was purchased by the Strand Amusement Company only after an exhaustive investigation was made of all other organ manufacturers, and the organ selected was constructed and voiced to meet the requirements of the acoustical conditions of the new Arabian Theatre, thereby making it a custom-built pipe organ.

In the bass department is the bombarde, which contains a series of vast pipes. These pipes register a tone which reaches the limit of sound depth which the human ear can apprehend.

The majestic rumble of the bombarde forms an impressive basis for the lighter tones of the instrument. For not only can the Kilgen organ produce the sweet tones of violin music, it can also replicate a marimba.

The total number of pipes in the organ is 62, and there are numerous instruments of percussion connected with it, which gives the organist every musical possibility for the interpretation of the picture. These include, in addition to those already mentioned, tympani, snare drum, a bass drum, cymbals and a tom-tom. Tambourine and the castanet sounds also are easy for the giant among organs.

Another distinctive feature of the organ is the adjustable combination piston, which permits unlimited grouping of tonal colors for use instantaneously by merely pressing a piston, of which there are twenty complete set of couplers; which are at the performer's command, permit magnificent tonal blending.

And yet another outstanding feature is the second touch provided for the accompaniment, solo and pedal divisions, by means of which the beautiful counter melodies are produced. A set of expression controls are provided for the organ chamber allowing a crescendo effect from the echo to the most powerful double forte. In addition to these facilities, at the command of the organist, is a balanced crescendo.

A five-horsepower motor will be "the power behind the music." There is enough wire in the organ to make a wire fence seventy-five miles long. Fifteen hundred electro-magnets are also part of the equipment.

The woods used in the construction of this organ are of the finest straight grain sugar pine for the pipes, blended with maple and walnut, and for the general construction Alaska spruce is employed. For the metal pipes, block tin, pure lead, brass, zinc and special alloys are used.

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W.S. "SANK" TAYLOR PIONEER IN SHOW BUSINESS IN LAUREL
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


The very thought of W.S.Taylor, affectionately known to every man, woman and child in Laurel as "Sank," brings a happy smile to everyone because he has mastered the art of success without a trace of antagonism. He might be termed our veteran show man, were it not for his youth, for he has ministered to the wants of our pleasure-seekers from the year 1907.

His rise to success has been quick and picturesque, and very much in line with the progress of our city itself. In 1898, he first became a resident of Laurel, coming here from Wayne County, and bringing with him that urge to industry which is born of early responsibility.

With his widowed mother and family, he settled in Laurel, accepting a position as night clerk at the old Laurel Hotel. His first business venture found him the owner of a fruit stand, and it was in 1907 that he grasped the immense opportunity that the motion picture industry offered.

The first picture presented by our popular theatre magnate was "The Mexican Bull Fight," a one-reel picture which had a whole week's run in the building now known as Buck McNeil's Barber Shop. From this tiny acorn, the great oak grew. A tent show was next and later a Bijou Theatre in the Jim Cross building and finally another Bijou where the Electric Service Company new operates.

As Sank grew, so did the movies, and from a one-reel picture run all week, it progressed to two-reel pictures three times a week. The first big picture of three-reels was "The Passion Play," and the next "The Man On The Box," which marked the real beginning of Paramount feature pictures. With this, our genial Sank was then showing three reels, three times weekly, which was adjudged a great triumph in those days.

During the history of the rise of our popular townsman, he has been able to outlive and overcome the competition of nineteen different competitors engaged in a similar occupation.

On February fifth, 1921, the present Strand Theatre opened its doors, and it looked as if there was serious competition for Sank, then operating the old Bijou, but in July of the same year, Sank himself was master of the situation, purchasing the controlling interest in the Strand Theatre. In 1922, Messers. Green and Schneider became part owners with Sank, buying an interest in what has since been known as the Strand Amusement Company.

Outside of the show world, Sank has wholesome tastes, with a love of nature and a love of home. There is something of the eternal boy in him, for he is as much a lover of true sport as any twelve-year-old. He is one of our leading fishermen, and does not have to magnify his fish to make a good story.

All our people are happy to see Sank wearing his laurels and expanding his sphere of achievement through the opening of the beautiful new Arabian.

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CHARLES GREEN IS ONE OF TRIO GIVING THE CITY NEW THEATRE
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


A dominant influence everywhere in Laurel is Mr. Charles Green, lumberman and capitalist. Not only in the lumber world is he a power, but likewise in the amusement world. He is a lover of sports and high class instruments. As one of the triangle that owns the Strand Amusement Company, he has been a great factor of the realization of the new Arabian. It is by men of such well-balanced nature that the best work is accomplished and the most enduring results are attained.

Mr. Green was born in New Orleans and studied at Tulane University. He has always taken a keen interest in sports and was captain of the varsity team. He became interested in the banking business in New Orleans and remained in that city until 1906, when he established his home in Laurel, where he has since resided. He is president of Eastman, Gardiner & Co. as well as serving with other important corporations. He is a director of the First National Bank and is interested in innumerable other industries.

For the Arabian to have the backing of a man of his caliber insures us of a wonderful amusement house for all times.

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BEN SCHNIEDER HAS CONFIDENCE IN CITY AND HELPS THEATRE
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


One of our leading business successes is Mr. B.A. Schneider, an outstanding figure in Laurel's financial, social and amusement world. His unerring instinct for sound investments proves beyond a doubt the success of the beautiful new Arabian, in the ownership of which he is one of a trio of Laurel's most substantial business men.

Unselfish and public spirited always in promoting sport, it seems only fitting that he should have a hand in our new temple of amusement. His efforts in promoting baseball for Laurel will be recalled with special appreciation.

Mr. Schneider's prominence in Laurel manifests itself in many substantial ways. Next to those who have manufactured lumber, those who have made brick for the foundations of our city have contributed much to the building and growth of Laurel. It was in that business that Mr. Schneider made his mark.

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L W DUFFEE HAS WATCHFUL EYE ON ARABIAN BUILDING
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


Mr. L.W. Duffee has been indefatigable in his watchful superintending of the finer parts of the work on the Arabian. He has the composite mind of the scholar and artist and with all the qualities of the careful workman. He has seen his dream of a playhouse come true in all its perfection.

Mr. Duffee is an artist not only in the proper massing together of building material, he has likewise an eye for beauty in the open spaces, with a most wonderful ingenuity. The Arabian has been completed without an inch of wasted space and with safety, beauty and utility wonderfully considered. Laurel is fortunate to posses a man with Mr. Duffee's architectural understanding.

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REUBEN DEGRUY TO BE HOUSE MANAGER FOR THE ARABIAN
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


Wonderful efficiency and a thorough understanding of the show business belongs to the popular young manager, Mr. Reuben DeGruy, who since 1910 has been associated with Mr. Taylor.

When a mere boy, he swept the sidewalks in front of the theatres and swept them thoroughly, later rising to the position of ticket seller, then to operator and later to the present position of manager. His conscientious and careful treatment of even his smallest duty have paved the way for his present success and today he is "the real working power behind the throne, everyone depending upon his good, sound judgment and quick energy.

Since 1910, our efficient manager has been a resident of Laurel, coming here from Gulfport. He was born in Baton Rouge, La. In 1922 he was married to Miss Ruth Reddock, an artist and musician whose own talent has been heard in our city for years playing the organ at the Strand Theatre. She will now take charge of the "Wonder Organ" at the new Arabian Theatre.

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CLARA BOW'S "IT" TO OPEN THE ARABIAN
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 31, 1927


Clara Bow has joined in the select circle enhanced by Thomas Meighan, Adolph Menjou, Florence Vidor, Wallace Beery, Raymond Griffith, Bebe Daniels, Esther Ralston, Douglas MacLean, Pola Negri and Harold Llyod, and is now a Paramount star. Her first production, adapted from Elinor Glyn's "It", will be the feature picture shown on the opening of the new Arabian Theatre.

And if you wonder why Clara has been raised to the starry heights, consider for a moment, the following excerpts from New York newspaper reviews when "The Plastic Age" was presented in that city:

"Clara Bow's performances," said The Mirror, "as the fast moving, fast loving, yet sweetly sincere youngster is a rollicksome treat. There is no question about Miss Bow being foremost among those headed for stardom. Perhaps it is her cheery abandon that vivifies her. Perhaps it is her riotous bobbed locks, expressive eyes, and gamin rakishness. If she continues to scintillate as she does in "The Plastic Age" and as she did last week in her more recent picture, "Mantrap", she strikes us as being the likely successor to Gloria Swanson. A tall order, perhaps, but we stick to our guns."

"I wonder whether Miss Bow would object to my revealing the secret of it all," wrote a critic on The World. "Almost certainly a new and extremely artful method of facial make-up together with lessons in how to order, design and wear clothes have done the trick for this strangely appealing miniature brunette vampire. These appurtenances gained, the actress has seemed to turn upon her camera and perform gracefully, confidently and with real authority, all of which qualities I had not in this quarter previously detected."

"However that may be, I wish to add my own rich, strong voice to the chorus of critical acclaim in these parts. Miss Bow most assuredly has knocked us over."

"Clara Bow, filmdom's first flapper, gives an excellent performance," said The Graphic. "Somehow we have come to expect it of Clara. She has ability plus abandon and is one of the the cutest little tricks in pictures."

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THE BEAUTIFUL NEW ARABIAN THEATRE OPENS FRIDAY, APRIL 1ST
in the Laurel Daily Leader    March 26, 1927


One of the most attractive features, and one which might escape the casual inspection, is the art and skill that has been combined in the interior decorating in Mississippi's newest and best playhouse.

Planned by the architects to be in keeping with the general "Far Eastern" effect of the entire building, these decorations have been created by one of the most famous firms of interior decorators in the entire country, Mandel Bros., of Chicago, who have just completed all the interior decorations in the new $2,500,000 Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.

In the lobby first, then the foyer, and then in the vast expanse of the auditorium itself, as well as all other parts of the theatre, it is hard to realize that all this decorating has been done with infinite care and labor BY HAND. Skilled artists have decorated all the vari-colored molding, all the Egyptian symbols over the doors, as well as painting of all the beautiful designs on the walls and ceiling of the main auditorium; all of which has been produced slowly, and with painstaking effort by these decorators, just as the artist creates the masterpiece one stroke at the time.

It is then that one realizes the efforts that have been made to make the ARABIAN a place of which Laurel may be justly proud.

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LAUREL GOES INDIGO BLUE
OUTLYING FILLING STATIONS DO RUSHING CASH BUSINESS SUNDAY
in the Laurel Daily Leader    August 20, 1930


Laurel--Filling stations outside the city handling tobacco, cigarettes, cigars and soft drinks did a land-office business until their stock of goods ran out Sunday morning, after the late Saturday afternoon edict of Mayor M.W. McLaurin here that all business establishments must close their doors.

Residents and visitors to the city who were caught unaware without their supplies of tobacco, and with a cosuming thirst for their favorite soft drinks, were forced to drive from 10 to 30 miles for a 'fag.'

No arrests were recorded Sunday and all concerned in the Sunday closing seemed to be concurring in the decision of the mayor.

Motion picture shows kept their doors closed and announced that inasmuch as other establishments and places of amusement were closed they would do likewise.

(A historical note that later in the 1930s it was the movie theatre owners that first fought the 'blue law' closing rules in Laurel and started the process of reversing those rules.)

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