Tag Archives: East Main Street

Yesterday in Rip Payne

18 May

by Emma Earnst


On the day before today in 1968, Rip Payne photographed the lines outside the Paramount Theater in anticipation of The Fox.  As you may recall, we’ve witnessed Rip documenting similar situations before.  I particularly fancy these kinds of images because they stand out from Rip’s typical portraiture work.  They are a portrait of collective society—not just Charlottesville— but of America in the mid-twentieth century.

The Fox, on the other hand, may not be the most obvious representation of typical mid-century American culture (check it out for yourself).

In light of all the brouhaha over Obama’s (and Biden’s) recent declarations on the rights of gay and lesbian Americans, I do find it somewhat amusing that I would come across the one of only about a hundred films with a similar theme from the time period (out of what IMDB estimates being about 4,000 from then till the present).  I have no desire to start a political discussion on the matter, but being a historian, I will point you to a fine treatment of some of the surrounding controversy by Jim Loewen (best-selling author of the Lies My Teacher Told Me series).

Now for the light-hearted stuff:

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Today in Rip Payne

27 Apr
by Emma Earnst

Throughout the 1960s, on this day, Rip Payne stayed pretty busy.

On this day in 1984, my parents also stayed pretty busy, as they were getting married. Happy Anniversary!!

They are going to kill me for this...

Just for the record, Rip Payne had nothing to do with that picture.  He did, however, have quite a lot to do with the rest of these.

First up, in 1961, Rip Payne snapped a single shot of a woman being awarded (inducted?) by the Order of Easter Star, a co-ed fraternal organization.  According to their website, the Order is a spiritual, though not religious, organization with the specific values of charity, education, fraternity, and science.  It is a suborder of Freemasonry, and requires all members to have Masonic connections. Today, the Charlottesville Eastern Star Order resides at 425 East Main Street (pictured to the left), with masonic symbols clearly marking the territory.


Then, in 1965, Rip Payne captured the marquis advertising the Paramount Theater’s showing of The Night Walker. The film was directed by William Castle and starred Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwick in her final feature film. The film, according to reviews, wasn’t all that great. But, the Paramount is truly in all its glory here.  It is set on what was still a street-scape at this time (not the paved pedestrian mall of today), and I can just picture it all lit up against the night sky with those big bright lights.  Can you tell that I have my rose-colored glasses on?

Finally, in 1968, Rip Payne documented another awards ceremony, this time at a different type of fraternal organization, Leggett’s.  Leggett’s was the precursor to the Belk we know today, and at this time resided on the “Mall” (or, more appropriately, East Main before it was the Mall) not Fashion Square Mall, where Belk now lives. I guess they didn’t get very creative with their changes.





Don’t you just love cat-eye glasses?!?!

I will leave you with this:

Rip Payne stayed busy today.  My parents had the most important day of their lives today.  The lady in the picture above knew enough to drink her coffee and drink it black today.  Don’t let the spirit die.  Be productive, and accomplish something great today!