Thursday, March 24, 2011
5" x 7"
As a kid growing up in Grand Island, Nebraska during the early 1970s I didn't know too much about the world beyond the edge of our town. Thinking back everything was pretty simple. Each year when school was winding it's way down toward summer vacation a local theatre, "The Grand", would offer a package of tickets to students so they could attend movies through the summer months. We called them "Summer Shows". Our day was every Tuesday and it was always a hot topic of conversation with my friends during the week. We looked forward the movie and cartoon shown beforehand. The Munsters and Three Stooges were always very popular picks for the main attraction. Every Tuesday morning (the movie began at like 9:00am!) someone's mom would drive a small group of us downtown and drop us off. We would meet up with other friends and head inside the theatre. I can remember the inside of "The Grand" and the guy that ran it very clearly.....what he looked like, what he sounded like, the smell of popcorn in the lobby, and the huge curtain that would pull back to reveal the large screen. I didn't know his name at the time but he would welcome everyone as we went inside. I know now that his name was Wally Kemp and he had to be one of the greatest guys in the world. He was full of energy and would give a big welcoming speech from the front of the theatre right before the cartoon started. The speech was always about doing the right thing and would end with him leading and everyone else following along singing "God Bless America" at the top of our lungs. Sometimes I had enough change with me to buy some Dots candy. They were one of my top favorites because there were so many of them in the box and they took a long time to eat because they were so chewy. Other times I had a plastic bag of candy treats from home to smuggle into the theatre, which at the time never seemed like a great idea to me but I did it anyway. (Thats an entirely different story!) The package on these Dots candies still looks the same. Whenever I see them today I think of those "Summer Shows" back in the early 1970s in Grand Island, Nebraska. Click HERE to see a web site about the history of "The Grand". This painting is available. $125 Email for purchase information.