Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick or Treat!!

Apparently little ghouls and gobblins don't dig First Street. Two years ago our employee, Hayden, brought a speaker and microphone and invited people to come over for some treats. He was hilariously loud and we gave away a lot of candy that year. Last year we were eating tootsie rolls for weeks because nobody came off of Main Street. So this year, Laura and I came up with a plan:

If you won't come to First Street, we'll come to you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Looking Back

This week I got an opportunity to meet up with Hershel Wood, a former projectionist at the Eltrym.  Hershel was here when the theater first opened and worked with Virgil “Bud” Wunder, the projectionist who many people around town remember so well.  I’ve talked with Hershel before, and I always come away thinking that it is so neat that our original projectionist, from 70 years ago, is here to stop by and chat about the business.  I love talking to former employees of the theater who worked here long ago.  We often have people stop in to watch a show and tell us who things used to operate in the 1950’s & 60’s. When they walk out the door, I always wish there were a way to record their stories.

I am fascinated by the history of movie theaters in Baker City, particularly the Eltrym.   Over the years I have spent a number of hours researching the Eltrym, and to my surprise there is not a whole lot of information out there.  I can’t believe that there are no photographs in any of the historic photo collections in town that show construction of the theater.  For a city that values its historic district so much, doesn’t that seem strange?  I contacted the architecture firm that now owns all the drawings of projects by our architect, Day Walter Hilborn, and they sent me copies of all the original drawings of the Eltrym.  I’ve pulled every photo of the Eltrym that I can find, from the internet, old newspapers and historic photo collections.  This has resulted in about five or ten photos of the theater before the 1990’s.  I’ve pieced together the history of the Eltrym through newspaper articles and articles from Boxoffice Magazine.

There is still so much I don’t know. I want to know more about Myrtle Buckmiller. What did she look like?  What theater did she work for in Seattle before she moved to Baker City to purchase the Clarick?  I wish I knew more about her husband, Frank, and her son, Freeman Geddes.  I want to know exactly what the theater lobby looked like before they installed a concessions stand.   I want to see the telegrams sent from famous movie stars on our opening night.  Wouldn’t that be something?!

So, if you happen to be cleaning out Grandma’s old photo collection and come across photos of the Eltrym, or if someone you know has an interesting Eltrym story to tell, pass it along!

(To read more about the history of theaters in Baker City, go here).

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's That Time of Year

It’s that time of year when the movie business is slow, and small, independent theater owners across America are banging their heads against the wall.  This year I am not banging my head against the wall, because I have prepared myself for the slowdown in business. Plus, fall is my absolute favorite time of year and I'd rather enjoy it than panic about booking films. 

Each spring and fall, movie studios drastically cut back the number of prints of most films they release. They do this, presumably, to maximize the amount of money they make off of each print.  It is frustrating for theater owners because there are some pretty good films being released that our customers want to see, if only we could get our hands on them.  By the time we are able to get these films, our customers have either driven to a bigger city to see the film or they have lost interest.  It is very frustrating. 

I want you, my wonderful customers, to know that we do plan to get the films you want to see, but at this time of year we often (not always) have to wait 2-3 weeks to get them.  Take “Secretariat” for example. We know you want this film. Come on, it’s a horse movie and this is Baker County.  I’ve been asking our film buyer about this film for weeks. She has been watching the print count, and so far it doesn’t look like we will be able to pull it in on the break because we are just too small of a theater.  But we will get it.  We just hope you can wait for us instead of driving to a different city to see it.

So if you are freaking out wondering if we are going to be getting the next Harry Potter, don’t worry.  During the summer and winter months, we get the films we want on the break 99% of the time.  But right now, it's just that time of year...