“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can,” reads F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” published in 1925, only a few years before the DeSoto Theatre opened on Broad Street.
The crowd gathered outside the theater on Monday night attempted to do just that as they arranged themselves along the sidewalk in order to stage a photo taken of crowds gathered outside the 1939 local premier of “Gone With the Wind.”
Present for remake and potentially the original, Pat Moore stood underneath the marquee and recalled when her aunt brought her to see the film when she was seven. Moore said she doesn’t remember a specific date, but she remembers the trip.
“It’s stayed a lot the same,” Moore said of the 90-year-old landmark, that first opened its doors on Monday, August 5, 1929.
She was accompanied by her son, Jamie Moore, who was a bookkeeper for the DeSoto for about 14-years.
Moore was not the only one present Monday night who spent parts of her childhood at the theatre, as O.C. Lam III, grandson of the DeSoto’s founder, was also present for the celebration. Lam’s wife Tonya said her husband looked forward to watching westerns and cartoons at the theatre when he was young.
Michelle Picon, development director of the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation, said she was thrilled a descendant of O.C. Lam Sr. was present at the event. The theatre foundation used the night to focus on its past, present and future, she said.
“The plan is to get back to the forefront of technology like O.C. Lam (Sr.) did,” Picon said. “It is what he pictured for Rome 90 years ago.”
President of the HDTF, David Clonts, said the DeSoto was the first theatre built in the south for sound pictures with curved walls meant to throw sound back at the audience.
Clonts recognized Sabrina Lam Cooper, a Cave Spring resident, who donated a painted portrait of O.C. Lam Sr., her great-grandfather, to the DeSoto on Monday night.