RIPLEY - An entertainment landmark’s 80th anniversary will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 23 in Ripley. The historic Alpine Theatre will feature a special showing of the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
The theater was constructed in 1936 and opened to moviegoers on Christmas Day. Local operators through the years included Holt Rhodes, Ray and Fay Archer and Johnny and Betty Paul.
Closing in 1984, the venue was acquired by the Main Street Ripley organization in 2003. The building was restored through private donations, grants from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and “sweat equity” by volunteers. Original components include the ticket booth, paired front doors and “coming attraction” poster frames.
The 120-seat auditorium was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. It is one of 24 locations on the West Virginia Historic Theatre Trail in conjunction with the WV State Historic Preservation Office and the Preservation Alliance of WV.
A Trail description states the Alpine “vividly illustrates what downtown meant to the many residents of Ripley.” Main Street Director Pam Jones says it’s still true today.
“The Alpine Theatre adds that little touch of charm and culture to Ripley,” she said. “It was an entertainment facility in the early 20th century. With so many entertainment choices today, it’s a little gem never to be duplicated on Netflix or HBO. The Alpine offers memories.”
Anniversary coordinator Joel Hanson says the celebration represents the past and present. The showing of “Snow White” includes original admission (30 cents for adults, 15 cents for youth) and concession pricing.
“The Alpine is part of a great tradition and carries a legacy in Ripley,” he said. “The special prices and classic movie selection calls attention to a timeless tradition. Going to a movie was a treasured experience; an escape from the routine. This concept applies to movies today.”
“Snow White” has a special place in American film history. With a budget of $1.4 million, Disney’s first full-length animated feature generated $418 million. Adjusted for inflation, it has been a top 10 performer at the box office and is ranked among the greatest 100 movies by the American Film Institute.
Added anniversary attractions are a 1936 newsreel and special appearances from the Jackson County Players theatrical troupe. Call Main Street Ripley at 304-372-1637 for information.