VIGNETTE > Usherettes

Sequoia Theater 1955 – [ click to enlarge ]

Here is an excerpt from Elise Smith’s memoir about growing up on Walnut Ave. in the 1930s and 1940s.  “Before the war, the Sequoia Theater hired only boys to work as ushers. During the war they hired usherettes, and a lot of girls applied. You had to be able to work weekends, matinees and evenings, and ‘close up’ every third night… that meant that you worked until the theater closed for the night.  You took turns working the matinees and you got to leave school early to work on Tuesdays.  They hired three girls, and I was thrilled when they picked me as one of the three.  I worked there during my Junior and Senior years at Tamalpais High School. My paycheck for the last week that I worked there was dated January 18, 1944. I had worked a total of 26-1/2 hours. I took home the grand total of $14.18 for the week.  The teenage boys who worked there as marquee letter-changers and ticket takers were part of a group of friends which we socialized with. In a way it seemed like a small family group. Although we all came from different family situations and backgrounds, we all were brought closer together by our association at the Sequoia Theater”