I am amazed at the national level talent that came through Monroe in the middle of the last century. I just browsed around searching instances where Neville Auditorium was mentioned in the papers and I was floored. I know this is not a complete list but just look at the names! Neville was one of the biggest venues in Northeast Louisiana until the Civic Center was built, so it makes sense.
Hank Williams [Sr] (1949, 1951 & 1952) [Hank’s final performance in Monroe was just a little over a month before his death!], Jr. came in 1965 and many more times to the Civic Center. Kitty Wells (1949), Slim Whitman (1952 & 1953), Little Jimmy Dickens (1952), Gene Autry (1949), Roy Acuff (1949, 1954, 1956), Spike Jones [This would have been fun to see!] (1949), Tito Guizar (1950), Bob Hope (1951), Guy Lombardo (1952, 1953 & 1955), Ernest Tubbs (1953), Sammy Kaye (1953), The Boston Pops, conducted by the famous maestro Arthur Fielder (1953 & 1957), The Detroit Symphony (1959), The Houston Symphony (1940), Paul Harvey (1961), Eddie Cantor (1950), and Dale Carnegie [author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”] (1939).
The Little Theatre had some of their earliest performances here too. A couple of big named actresses walked the stage. One was Tallulah Bankhead in 1950 in a play called “Private Lives”. The second one was a lady who was in town in 1943 because her first husband, Captain Mack Paul Meyer was serving at Selman Field. She had just begun her acting career. She had a part in the production called “Twin Beds”. You may have heard of her…Shelly Winters.