“At one time, the town merchants gave away a car each year at the Wildey. This pictures is of a 1940 Ford and was the last car given away. My father, Oliver Wilhold, won the car in 1939. At that time, I think the car was worth $600. In the picture from left to right is, Oliver Wilhold Jr., Oliver Wilhold Sr., and Earl Wilhold.”
From left - Rodney McNeilly, Paul Hertel, Clarence Hofeditz, Earl Barnsback, Babe Schwartzkopf - 1935.
Oliver Wilhold Jr., Oliver Wilhold Sr., and Earl Wilhold
I met my husband Leo L. Schreiber at the Wildey around 1936-1937. He was an usher at the Wildey when he was in high school. He would “eye ball” me during the shows by walking up and down the aisles. My parents were from Glen Crossing and would take a group of us girls to the show on Friday nights. My husband grew up on College Street directly behind Weber Funeral Home. He could get to the Wildey in a minute. The Wildey was the place to be.
Isabelle Schreiber, Edwardsville
I worked at the Wildey in the 1930s when I was just 15 years old. I sold candy and popped popcorn. My sister and I got the job because my father had the Three Flowers Cab Company and an ice cream shop in the Wildey building. I was working at the Wildey on the Sunday the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I started working at age 15 and until I was 20.
When I was a young girl, it cost 11 cents to get into the Wildey. I’m not sure how much an adult ticket cost. At Christmas, my sister, brother and I would each get a book of gift certificates to the show.
When I was in the 7th and 8th grade at Columbus School, the students could sign a pledge card before Halloween. By signing the card, we pledged not to do anything destructive on Halloween. The Wildey had a few movies for the students and we walked to the show from the school. At the end of the movie, they pulled a few of the pledge cards from a container. Mine was one of the cards drawn and I won 50 cents. At that time 50 cents was a nice prize.
The Sunday afternoon when Pearl Harbor was bombed, my family was at the show. They stopped the movie and a man walked onto the stage from the side with a microphone on a stand, and announced Pearl Harbor had been bombed. The movie continued. There was always a short film of the news between movies. That was the only time you would see action pictures of the war.
When I was young, someone in our neighborhood had passes for the movie Dr. Cyclops. I was the youngest of the kids but mom and dad let me go with them. During the movie I got so frightened I went to the rest room, that had a couch, and I slept through the movie.
My sister and I went to see Gone with the Wind. I think that was the first movie to have an intermission.
The Junior Service had their Style Show at the Wildey each year. The clothes and shoes that were modeled all came from the stores of the local merchants. I still have the dress my daughter modeled as a child.
My husband and I were at the celebration where the marquee lights were turned on again. I have many good memories of the Wildey.
Dorothy Hanser Neuhaus Klueter
I tell my grandkids about how I used to hitch-hike rides to the Wildey and they can’t believe I did that. I’m now 88 years old, born in Edwardsville on Dewey Street in 1920 – the house is still there. I also attended movies in Collinsville, but that movie theater didn’t have the grandeur of the Wildey. My husband to be saw “Gone with the Wind” at the Wildey and it was a special occasion for us. Thank you for this memory session.
I was born in Edwardsville back in 1920. So it was a while before I was able to attend the Wildey, but I did. My Uncle Joe stayed with us and was kind of a baby-sitter for me. He took me to lots of places, including the Wildey. After I was older, he took me to see the first talkie movie! Later years, I saw a number of movies at the theater – and I did attend the Cooking School show. That was a great experience. During World War II, my husband was in the service – and I was lonely to say the least. My brother (who later was drafted) was going to the show with two of his friends, and it was a movie I wanted to see so I begged to go along. They were all young adults. They agreed. After the movie we started for home and after they turned left at Buck Road Crossing, the car started to sputter and then stopped – out of gas. The driver was able to pull over and park and told me we would have to wait until morning. I said no way, got out of the car and stood aside of the highway. Cars came over the hill and I waved my purse and they stopped. They asked my trouble and I said “We ran out of gas!” They were going near where I lived so they said “jump in” and I said “okay” then yelled to the others “Come on boys” and the others in the car were shocked, but they joined us. That was my one and only hitch-hiking experience. It was a while before I told my parents about my brave act.
Here’s my most vivid memory of the Wildey Theater. When I was eight years old, my parents took me to the Wildey to see my first movie. It was “Poor Little Rich Girl” starring Shirley Temple. Some of my friends at Leclaire School also saw this movie and we talked about it for weeks. A child’s admission ticket cost ten cents, plus one cent for tax. Another five cents would buy a package of candy or popcorn. This was quite a thrill for a girl growing up in the 1930s.
Ruth (Schlechte) Heepke, Edwardsville, IL