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Weekend Fun in the Forks


If one were looking for a little action in the Grand Forks area the weekend of May 5th and 6th, 1933, one only need look in the Thursday May 4th edition of the Grand Forks Herald newspaper. Ballroom dances and the movies were popular date destinations back then. On Saturday night you could go to the States Ballroom in East Grand Forks to see, and of course dance to, the famous Jack Mills Orchestra featuring torch singer, Lauretta du Rose! The advertisement in the newspaper touted the 14 piece band as "...a great dance band coming direct from engagements throughout the South and East, including many of America's finest ballrooms and night clubs. Carrying as an added feature a $1,500 dollar amplifying system, making sound production as clear and distinct as on radio and recordings." The States Ballroom was a popular destination for UND college students.

Another popular ballroom destination, the Point Pavilion, was also hopping that Saturday and Sunday night. The season-opening dance featured Al Bengston and his Ace Music, starring Jerry Frost, Queen of the Blues Singers! The Point was advertised as being only 3 ½ miles out of East Grand Forks on a good graveled road.

Remember, this was the dirty thirties and the Great Depression was underway. So, if a nickel to 15 cents for a movie seems like a bargain today, those few cents may have been hard to come by for folks back then. One has to think they got their money's worth when they went to the Dakota, (billed as North Dakota's most beautiful theatre), to see Gabriel Over the White House. Advertised as sensational, inspiring and dramatic, the ad for the movie offers the following proposition. "Suppose! A Superman ruled the United States! Would he be-A dictator-Destroy Gangland-Demand the resignation of his cabinet-Jail financiers-Rule by his radio voice."

For more action, movie goers could fork over 15 cents at the Paramount to see Charles "Chic" Sale and Dorothy Wilson star in Men of America, where "Man, woman and beast were victims of this gang of guerillas from the city slums...until Western blood boiled over...and the fight was on!" Those with tamer taste could see the famous Frenchman, Maurice Chevalier star in A Bedtime Story.

If you had anywhere from a nickel to a dollar in your pocket, you could spend it on some fun in Grand Forks on spring weekend in 1933.

Dakota Datebook written by Merrill Piepkorn



May 4, 1933 Grand Forks Herald

History of North Dakota by Elwyn B. Robinson