After searching through digitally archived Gazettes and careful contemplation, I think most of the memories I have of the 1954 movie outing with my dad are faulty—the confused, jumbled recollections of a four-year-old mind.
I might have visited the Beverly, but I now believe we either attended a Saturday or Sunday matinée that was advertised in the Friday, June 24, 1955, Gazette or that my memory came from seeing the theater when one or both of my parents visited Dr. Hartlaub or the Beverly Pharmacy in the same building and took me along.
Double-featureReviewing Gazettes from the period, I came upon a heavily promoted double-feature with both movies starring George Montgomery who played Davy Crockett in one and frontiersman Natty Bumppo aka Hawkeye, a James Fenimore Cooper character, in the other184; both were released in 1950 and short at about 70 minutes each.
The fifties were overflowing with westerns and American folk heros—I remember having a children's book about Daniel Boone that showed him riding a lightening bolt.
Possibly, for some reason, my dad needed to take care of me that day while my mother did something with older brother, Bob, and maybe oldest brother, Forrest who might have been visiting from Milwaukee, so off we went to the movies. My dad liked movies and might have seen this as an excellent way to spend the afternoon.
Probably no balcony
The title search Vidal performed produced another likelihood—the Beverly did not have a balcony. "Schedule A" (see below) lists fixtures and other items at the Beverly and Myers "pledged as security for payment of the rent herein..."
Things like "One Electric Sign," "Drapes," "Two Ceiling Fans," and so on. Under the Myers heading is listed "All carpets on the main floor and balcony." There is no mention of a balcony at the Beverly. "All carpeting" is listed. It's possible the Beverly listing omitted the mention of the balcony and that "all carpeting" covered whatever was in the theater, balcony included, but that seems unlikely.
This Island Earth
My memory of a balcony and seeing a science fiction movie might be colored by a different outing at the nearby Myers, which screened a film titled This Island Earth at about that same time, July, 1955. (Years later, in the early sixties my dad took me to see Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart at the Myers.)
Recently I watched an online185 version of This Island Earth, which was released on June 1, 1955,186 and it looked familiar, especially the star field in the title sequence and stars passing by the windows of a large flying saucer traveling through space. The ship is piloted by Metalunans heading home after—highly improbably!—visiting Earth and kidnapping scientists who they hope will help them strengthen a force field that is protecting Metaluna against invasion by malevolent inhabitants of a world called Zagon.187
20 Million Miles To Earth
Another feature from that era I reviewed thinking it might be the source of my space-movie memory was 20 Million Miles To Earth188 because its title is similar to 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
I watched it on DVD but quickly decided it was too violent to imagine my dad taking me to as a four-year-old. It does have a coincidental connection to my tale though in that it was masterminded by Ray Harryhausen, who also produced The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Kerwin Mathews' best-remembered film.
The stop-animation model used for the "Ymir" creature-monster from Venus in 20 Million Miles To Earth was refashioned to create the cyclops that threatened "Janesville's only movie star" in Sinbad.189