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Memories of the El Rey Theatre
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I just finished reading your story on the El Rey theatre, which brought to mind a similar story I did when I was writer/photographer at the Bulletin. It must have been in July 1975. Margaret, my wife, and I had been married the previous June, Friday the 13th. (We’re still married after all these years!)
Anyway, Glenn Kahl, editor at the time, asked me to write a story on the El Rey. So I interviewed George Peters and the resulting story turned out to be a mini-history of “the good old days”. Peters liked it so much he gave us free passes to the theatre for life.
Of course, the first time we made use of the offer was to see “The Towering Inferno” in an almost-empty theatre.
I came to work the following morning to find full front page coverage on how the theatre had burnt down the previous night! Margaret and I always wondered if we’d left a burning cigarette in the ash tray.
My biggest surprise was to find out the fire was covered by a newspaper in Nova Scotia!

Dennis McCoy