... with this blog, and I sincerely apologize, particularly after all the emails from people who either performed in one of these little shows or had a parent or other relative who did. One lady wrote to say her father used to lullaby her to sleep with a song from BETTY LOU. Others have shared fond memories of their elderly uncle or aunt still able to perform a song or two from a show they had done in their youth. Some have also sent some great pieces of memorabilia, so I'd like to share some of them with you, if I may.
Here's a performance shot from MEET ARIZONA, sent to me by a lovely lady who performed the role of Lettie in 1960 when she was in the 9th grade at Westlake Junior High in Erie, Pennsylvania. These same folks went on to high school together (McDowell, also in Erie) and are having their fiftieth reunion in 2013. She requested the music and lyrics to the title song and in return sent these great photos of their production.
This second is from THE GYPSY TROUBADOUR, performed in 1954 in Iuka, Mississippi. Their 55th reunion is in October, and they're planning a singalong of music from the show.
This last one is quite the story: a 1928 production of PICKLES, performed in Fortuna, California. I got a message recently from Dr. Alex Service, who runs the Fortuna (CA) Depot Museum:
I am writing from the Fortuna Depot Museum in Fortuna, California. We are involved in the historical research for a Halloween cemetery tour of one of the cemeteries here in town. The tour is in its second year as a fund-raising event for the Fortuna Cemetery District. The tour features actors portraying 8 of the people buried in the cemetery, giving five-minute monologues on their lives (and usually, on the unusual circumstances of their deaths). One of the people we are featuring this year was named Leo Gallagher. He was a sixteen-year-old actor, musician and athlete at Fortuna High School when he died as a result of injuries sustained in the school’s final football game of the 1928 season. As a result of this tragedy, the following spring the students voted to ban football at the high school, and football was not played at the school again until 1945.
I’m writing to you because one of the roles that Leo played in Fortuna High’s theatrical productions was J. Jennison Jones in Pickles, performed at Fortuna High on March 16, 1927. We were not having much luck discovering any information about this piece, until we ran across the descriptions of it on your blog. So, thank you again for the blog; it has made the difference between a large gap in our knowledge, and getting a good feel for the show and the role Leo played.
From the clippings Dr. Service sent, this was a freak accident (the details of which I'd rather not go into), but what I found amazing was the impact he had on the school for years afterwards. Truly, a case of "what would have happened if..."
I really do enjoy seeing these production photos and the memories that come with them, so please do send them on.