My Apollo Theater Experience
I went to the Apollo Theater when I was 11 years old. The Nicholas Brothers were there as well as Ella Fitzgerald. My mother and my aunt took me. I met a lot of people including the band and the performers because one of their schoolmates they had grown up with played trumpet with Lionel Hampton. What I was most fascinated by was the fact that it was the only place that I had been at that point where there were salespeople going down the aisles selling ice cream and candy – I had never seen anything like that. Also, they had black newsreels at the Apollo, and a movie with Ralph Cooper; he was a great detective in black movies at that time. They also showed a preview of Herb Jefferson who was then the only black cowboy featured in the movies. I still remember that in my hometown up north in West Virginia they used to divide the theater straight down the middle, from the balcony to the screen. Blacks sat on the left and whites sat on the right.