The Hawthorne, as it was known, ran an
"Amateur Night" on certain Friday nights during the year.
As I remember, there were prizes to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, place
contestants. The first place winner could expect a cash prize of
$5, the second place winner might get $2, and the one that placed
third got a free pass to the movies.
There were usually ten contestants a night but five of the ten
were repeaters. They would enter each contest until they won or
the manager told them not to come back.
Most of the entrants sang, a few more played a musical instrument
and the balance tap danced or did miscellaneous things.
Some of the performers had talent but the contest was really a
popularity contest. A pretty female singer could usually plan on
being a winner. If a violinist played "The Flight of the Bumblebee"
while standing on his head he didn't have a chance. Anyone that
read poetry risked bodily harm. Two of the performers that never
won became successful professionals. One played the trombone and
one played a harmonica, they were both male, short and fat certainly
not amateur night winners.
The last Amateur Night of the season the first place winners competed.
Each entrant had their family and friends in the audience to lead
the applause. Winners were decided by who got the most applause
as determined by the theater manager.
I think the manager started his vacation immediately just before
the winners were announced - - if he was able to get out of the
theater alive. Talk about risky jobs --WOW.