This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 4, 2010 - When I was a kid, theaters ran double features -- two movies for the price of one. Typically, a first-run film was paired with a "B" movie, which was a low budget production selected to complete the bill of fare. If John Wayne starred in the main attraction, John Payne might play the lead in the second film.
The movies ran continuously throughout the day and each showing was preceded by cartoons, public service announcements and previews of coming attractions. Once you paid to get in, you could stay as long as you liked; so people tended to be fairly casual about starting times, coming and going throughout the production.