The Jacobson Hat Company at 1301 Ridge Row, next to the Lackawanna tracks by th eUofS.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Monday, April 23, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
Thursday, April 19, 2018
July 1975 dawned with great promise; a lot of things were in store that month. The Glenn Miller Orchestra kicked things off on Tuesday, July 1 at the Palace in an after work event sponsored by the Growth Association. I don't really remember that one, but do remember the next one on Tuesday, July 22, The Woody Herman Orchestra. Man could those cats swing! What the Wine Sellers Buy was on the boards at the Allen the first couple weeks of the month. El Grande de Coca Cola was holding forth in the State auditorium doing fairly brisk business. There were many times that summer I would watch the show from the projection room. I often used the roofs as shortcuts, dropping into the State booth through the handy roof hatch. I also put some old orange marquee lamps in some of the fixtures to provide light, but not enough to be a distraction. In the lobby, work was underway on the set for Conversations With an Irish Rascal, Kathy Kennedy’s musical biography of Brendan Behan, which was scheduled to open towards the end of the month. Kathy also had written a history of Playhouse Square which was about to go on sale. I can still remember the excitement when the finished product arrived; it was the first book I got an acknowledgement in (I was 18 that summer). I had loaned Kathy a bunch of stuff I had accumulated over the previous several years, and was glad that it was useful since Smitty wanted to toss all of it.
The main event that month was Marvin Hamlisch at the Palace on July 12th and 13th. This was a highly anticipated show, which had been booked months earlier. Hamlisch was riding high off the success of The Sting and The Way We Were soundtracks, and he had a hit Broadway show on the boards, A Chorus Line. Both shows were to benefit the Playhouse Square Foundation, with the Saturday tix at a $75 top. The Sunday show had a $15 top, which also included dinner in the lobby of Loew’s State. Since the Palace no longer had fire escapes on the east (17th Street) side of the building, only a few hundred could sit in the lower part of the balcony. If I recall correctly, the loge section and the first few rows of the mezzanine could be used. Prior to each show an announcement on emergency exits was made from the stage, Ray did the honors the first night, Todd Reeves the second night. This was the first time a show had been on the Palace stage since the Yardbirds concert on April 25,1968. A crew of stagehands swarmed over the place in the days leading up to the show, some seeing the names of ancestors scrawled on the walls of the rigging loft. I was temporarily ousted from the Cinerama booth and moved upstairs for the next few days. Over night before the shows, I left some of the exit doors open, the ones on the west side of the auditorium, trying to let cooler air in. With no air conditioning it was bound to be hot in there, and it was. The shows were both great, the cast of Brel opened the shows with some highlights of the recently closed show, then Marvin hit the stage saying “I wrote this when I was 15” and launched into Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows. He ran some film clips from The Swimmer explaining how he scored films, even taking some tips from the audience. He played some music from his films, and of course A Chorus Line, saying he hoped someday it would be at the Palace (it wasn’t, it played the Hanna around the corner on 14th Street in 1978). After a successful weekend I was back down to the Cinerama booth, although it was much cooler upstairs.
A few days later Conversations With an Irish Rascal previewed starting on Wednesday, July 16th, before opening on Saturday, July 19. The reviews were glowing, both David Frazier and Gusti were great, and it looked like we had a hit to replace the long running Brel show. A couple months later Rascal won awards at the Edinburgh Festival, and it had a brief off Broadway run before returning to Loew's State.
A week later Kathy was dead. Ray and Ceil found her in bed with the Rascal script and a pencil. Bronchial asthma was the cause. I can still remember Tom K. running up to the upstairs Palace booth with the news. It was a shock to say the least, she was only 28. I wasn’t close to her, although I was friends with her younger sister Laura (later of Bush Tetras fame). I never got any of the stuff I loaned her back.The funeral was at St. Paul’s at 40th & Euclid a couple days later. Not long after that a memorial service was held in the lobby of Loew’s State. Later, in Edinburgh, her ashes were scattered at a spot known as Arthur’s Seat.
For reasons unknown, over the next six months nearly everything seemed to go wrong.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Monday, April 16, 2018
We finally made it to Renaissance Park on Saturday. It looks pretty much the same as it did when we were last here in 2011. The park is somewhat unique as the only entrance at this point is stairs or elevator from the plaza in the 500 block of Lackawanna Avenue. It's a shame the park which was almost complete in 2011 was closed while the city and the National Park Service bickered over who controlled this tiny strip of land that was once the western passenger lead into Lackawanna Station.