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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New England Summer Theatre 1941

Some 74 years ago, in May of 1941, the start of the summer season in New England was launched with a huge variety of professional summer stock theatre.  Part of that endeavor included offering apprentice slots to young people for training in acting and the technical aspects of theatre, for which the students paid a fee and worked hard, sometimes along with the greats from whom they learned. These ads are from Theatre Arts magazine, May 1941.

Katharine Hepburn was one of the players at the Ivoryton Playhouse in Ivoryton, Connecticut, early in her career, and returned as a visiting star in 1941.  Also on the roster that year you see Buddy Ebsen, Ethel Waters, Conrad Nagel, Glenda Farrell, John Beal and others.

The Lake Whalom Theatre was in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and some of their guest stars included Ethel Barrymore, Edward Everett Horton, Gloria Stuart, and Ruth Chatterton.

There were other opportunities with The Nantucket Players on the island, and the Barn Playhouse in New London, New Hampshire, which guaranteed students three speaking parts in professional productions.

These were the day before going to grad school for an MFA in acting.  And before the days of television and remote controls and that living room recliner, where the local playhouse was the place to be on a warm summer evening under, and the with, the stars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Judy Garland at the Storrowton Theatre, West Springfield, Massachusetts

In early summer 1967, Judy Garland toured New England, and played a week at the Storrowton Theatre tent in the round.  Her concert appearance is described by Ray Kelly of the Springfield Republican in this retrospective piece from MassLive last year.   She stayed at the Schine Inn in Chicopee during her Storrowton engagement.  Judy wouldn't be with us much longer; she died two years later, also in the month of June.  I'd love to hear from anyone who attended those performances.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuskeegee Airmen Tribute - Westover Air Reserve Base - Chicopee, Mass.

The famed Tuskee Airmen of World War II will be the focus of a tribute at next weekend's Great New England Air Show at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  Here, the press release with information.


Make Plans to be Inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen
Next Weekend at Westover ARB

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Red Tail Squadron, America’s tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, is bringing its RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit mobile theater and WWII P-51C Mustang aircraft to the Great New England Air Show at the Westover Air Reserve Base May 16 and 17. The exhibit is a unique FREE opportunity for all ages to experience the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen – America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel.

The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit will be open to the public beginning at 8:30 a.m. In addition, the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s P-51C Mustang will be available for up close viewing while on static display. It is a rare treat for attendees as it is one of only a few like it still flying.

The exciting RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a fully functional movie theater featuring the original short film “Rise Above,” designed to take the audience on a journey through time – and then through the air. Visitors get an intimate look at the struggles and challenges faced by the Tuskegee Airmen, who showed extraordinary courage and strength of character as they fought for their right to serve our country during WWII. The theater’s dynamic 160-degree panoramic screen creates the sensation of being in the cockpit soaring above the clouds in the P-51C Mustang, experiencing the excitement and thrill of flying breath-taking aerobatic maneuvers. It’s much more than a history lesson; the Tuskegee Airmen’s ability to triumph over adversity serves as a means to inspire others to RISE ABOVE obstacles in their own lives and achieve their goals.

“The exhibit is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure,” said CAF Red Tail Squadron Leader and P-51C Mustang pilot  Brad Lang. “Kids and adults walk away from this experience with a greater understanding of the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen. Their story, and that of the CAF Red Tail Squadron, is a means to inspire them to achieve their potential. It’s a message that resonates with all ages because of the unique and interactive way it is told. It’s an experience not to be missed.”

Westover Air Reserve Base is located at 57 Patriot Ave. in Chicopee, Mass. Admission to the Great New England Air Show, and parking on base, is FREE!

About the CAF Red Tail Squadron
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Their three-fold outreach program includes an authentic, fully restored WWII-era P51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen; the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit 53’ mobile theater featuring the original panoramic film “Rise Above”; and educational materials and programs for teachers and youth leaders. The CAF Red Tail Squadron is part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). To learn more about the organization, it’s mission or to become a donor, visit or follow the Squadron on Facebook at
About the Commemorative Air Force
Collecting and flying warbirds for over half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is the largest flying museum in the world. The CAF is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to honoring American military aviation history through flight, exhibition and remembrance. The organization feels this is best accomplished by keeping the aircraft flying. The CAF has approximately 11,000 members and a fleet of over 160 airplanes assigned to 70 units across the country. These units, comprised of CAF volunteer members, restore and operate the planes, which are viewed by more than 10 million spectators annually. Visit or call (877) 767-7175 for more information.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Cartoonists Day

Happy Cartoonists Day!  

Have a look at one happy cartoonist here (my twin brother, John).

Now Available