Ushers at the Carolina Theatre

1920s: In the spring of 1927, local high school student Henry S. Cowell became an usher at the newly-opened Carolina Theatre, a job he loved.  

Decades later, he recalled with evident pride the exacting standards set by the theater’s management. The ushers were expected to be “neat in our light blue uniform, or the white one for summer.  No excuses for dirty white gloves, which we washed at home.” There were rules to be followed: “We could only answer patrons’ questions; we had to stand at attention with our backs facing the side wall; we could never glance toward the stage—our eyes had to focus straight in front of us.  No funny business.”

1950s: The job of an usher at the Carolina Theatre was a plum assignment for a high school student like Harold Quinn, who worked at the theater in the early 1950s.  Quinn walked from Central High School on Elizabeth Avenue to the theater, where he changed into a dapper uniform—a black waist coat, white shirt and black bow tie—before assuming his duties, which memorably included keeping an eye on young couples in the darkened back-row corner seats of the balcony.  

1920’s: Henry S. Cowell, Jr., “Carolina Theatre was a class act,” Charlotte Observer, 
June 2, 2002.
1950’s: “Old Carolina Theater gets new attention,” Charlotte Observer, n.d., Vertical File in the Research Room of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.