Happy New Year!

The Friends hope that you have a very happy 2014, filled with prosperity, peace, contentment and entertainment here at the theatre of course.

We’ve had some excellent movies here during December, and Oscar buzz has started. The nominees will be announced Jan 16th and of course Oscar night is Sunday March 2nd. It doesn’t matter that you loath the hoopla and paparazzi surrounding the Oscars, there are a number of films that deserve recognition and the Nelsons are pleased to have brought you some of the best. The booking schedule between now and March 1st will hopefully be bringing you some more of the nominees so you can make your personal predictions.

The theatre management and the Friends are looking ahead to the new year. There are 3 possible live theatre productions planned before June. The Townsite Heritage Society that we support has plans in the works for National Heritage week in February and the Heritage Home Tour planned for Mother’s Day week-end, May 11th.
I already mentioned that February will be packed with independent films and documentaries as the P.R. Film Fest and our own Cinematheque series get underway.

And I am personally looking at gardening books and seed catalogues as I know the theatre’s gardens will be sprouting primroses and crocus before we know it. Just weeks away and we will be raking off the leaves that have protected wee sprouts and watching for new buds on the trees. If you’re out for a walk, drop by and say hello if there’s someone in the garden. Ignore the compost under the fingernails and the dirty knees.

Plans for the New Year are underway.

Whew! now that the AGM of the Friends Society is over, and the Birthday Party is just happy memories, we are into a batch of blockbuster movies until after New Year’s.

I hope you have all seen the photos floating around the web about the Patricia Theatre. We did not say much about the photographer that was mingling in the crowds during the birthday bash. Andy wanted to remain inconspicuous, but he was here for 4 full days, watching preparation, sawdust, rehearsals and performances. He was an perfect guest and we enjoyed him very much. Andy works as a free lance photographer and submitted his photos to the Reuters agency. A lot more people know about our theatre and our townsite- so be prepared for new visitors in 2014.

The Powell River Film Festival will again hold their event at the Patricia from February 12 to 16th.

Our own Suncoast Cinematheque film series will run for 8 weeks starting on Wed. Feb. 19th and 20th. The shortlist of films for both events is being created and you’ll be able to make plans soon.

What a party!!

Between Rocky Horror Picture Show on Thursday and the great concert on Sunday afternoon, the Patricia really was shaking. I’m collecting photos – so you are welcome to email them to me.
This is “BEFORE”…..

And this is “AFTER”…..

Our hostess and our MC…..

Day 100 – Our entertainment was wonderful

Tonight 4 young people gave us a taste of Powell River talent. It was much like the amateur talent shows that were held in the Patricia in the early days.
For those who were in the audience, you may have noticed the smell of Sawdust in the air and the hiding of last minute items under the stage. We had a few problems with carpentry today , but the show must go on and everyone was a trooper as they say in show business.
Tours tomorrow, with a matinee and cake and refreshments and lots of fun. Come for some memories.
How many were able to catch the CBC interview this afternoon with Ann Nelson?

Day 99 – Everyone is pitching in!

What would we do without volunteers? There’s hammers, saws and the smell of sawdust in the auditorium. This picture was Wed morning, they’ve made a lot more progress in 24 hours and it should be ready for paint by the time I get over there.

There’s lots of confetti to be vacuumed in the concession area, but the bags are filled for the Fun-draiser. Lots of people hustling around finding bits and pieces for costumes.

Today, who knows ?? There’s a long list of prep work for this PARTY!! and so many people are offering help. It’s also neat to meet and make some new friends.
Can’t chat, must go and gather my costume together- lots of pictures through the week-end.

Day 98 – Advertisements Make a big change.

In all these previous newspaper clippings that I have been sharing for the past week, the mentions about what is being featured at the theatre has been a simple paragraph amongst all the other comments about teas, socials, ratepayers meetings, church rummage sales and school board news or sports scores.

Immediately after the Grand Opening of the Patricia in November 1928, the McLeod Scanlon Amusements Co Ltd made a big change by investing in paid advertisements in the paper. These were advertising copy with a proper border around the advertisement, some art work and in just a few weeks, included the sunrays behind the words,Patricia Entertainment which is what is used today in all publicity.

The advertisement for November 8th 1928 finally states clearly , the times for the performances and the matinees. It separates clearly the change of program throughout the week. This week they showed “The Foreign Legion” on Sat and Monday, along with an Oswald cartoon and a newsreel.
For Tuesday and Wednesday, they featured “Shanghaied” which was billed as a sensational melodrama. There was a short comedy film called Mickey’s Nine. This was a Mickey McGuire film, part of a series of short subjects that ran from 1927 – 1934. This series launched the career of Mickey Rooney who stared in 78 of the films. He was one of the few child stars that made a successful transition from silent pictures to sound.
And at the end of the week, there was Hoot Gibson “your favorite western star” in Clearing The Trail.

Day 97 – More gossip from the Powell River News.

and I do mean gossip!! In the paper published on November 8th,1928 there is an article headed NEW THEATRE OPENED. The text begins with “the beautiful new Patricia Theatre was opened on Monday in very appropriate style. The task of the official opening devolved on Mr. R. Bell-Irving who accomplished his task in a very pleasing manner. He referred to the early history of the former theatre and it’s rise from a deficit to an asset. R.(Bobbie) Scanlon got possession of the old theatre in a way which neither the speaker or himself could explain.”

Now as I had mentioned in an earlier post, there was a very good rumour that Bobbie had won the old theatre building in a card game, and here is some more evidence. I think that we can dismiss the idea that this was one of those stories retold over the years and not really true.
Some interesting information about Mr.Robin Bell-Irving would help you know more about history on this coast. His father , Mr. H.O. Bell-Irving came from Scotland and settled in Vancouver. He had 10 children and the 6 sons were all sent to private schools to be educated. He was a severe task master. His fortune was made in the fish cannery business and his chain of canneries was the largest on the coast. He invested his money in a number of other businesses and diversified. One of his sons was Robin and he came here to Powell River as Manager of the mill. He did not stay here for many years, as his health was poor because of being gassed on the front during World War one. Robin’s son, also called Robin was the leading BC pioneer in Geriatric medicine. He spent his early years here in Powell River where his father was a top executive of the Powell River Co. Dr. Bell-Irving was instrumental in developing the Lion’s Gate Hospital and all their geriatric programs. He was a well loved teacher.
One of Robin’s cousins was Budge Bell-Irving who, amongst other things lead the Canadian Infantry Brigade during the second World War. he became BC’s Lieutenant-Govenor.

The article ends stating that all the credit for the success of the new building should go to Myron McLeod who was instrumental in the planning and building of the theatre.