The Liberty Theater Mexico Missouri (click on image to enlarge)
For the third generation of our family, the Liberty Theater in Mexico, Missouri is an important landmark in their memories. I remember my sister Dorothy taking me to see Walt Disney's Snow White there before I started school. While attending the first grade at St. Brendan, the whole school was herded off to see the pro-Catholic musical/comedy Going My Way.
For a pre-television community, the Liberty's newsreels were an important source of visual information. During World War II, even the cartoons shown there were filled with patriotic propaganda. My mother was terribly shaken upon seeing a newsreel about the Battle for Iwo Jim, where her son, brother Ted and nephews were engaged in combat.
The Liberty opened for business on November 1, 1920, just about the time my parents were married and made their home in Mexico. The theater reeked of tobacco smoke and Negro Americans were required to enter through a side door and sit in the upper part of the balcony. Ironically, the theater called Liberty did not end the segregation of its audiences until 1962. It showed its last film in 1982 and was demolished in November of 1995.