July 2024


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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Around Town: Reel Life Memories

By Gary Wamsley
Berthoud Recorder

I stopped by the library on Monday evening and noticed quite a few people sitting in the meeting room in the dark. I stuck my head in the door and saw that they were enjoying the Monday night movie time. Just one of the many library activities offered during the year.

That got me thinking about the “old” days when even small towns had their own movie theater. In the early 1940s the theater in Grant, Neb., population 1,000, was less than a block from our house. My uncle Herold was the projectionist at that time, and my mother was the cleaning lady. I was only 3 or 4 years old and have only vague memories of the seats and the projection room.

I was a little older when we lived in North Platte, and I do remember those theaters. A town that large, around 10,000, could support three theaters. Times have changed and apparently, people need more choices, or the movie industry pumps out more movies, so that we need to have theaters with multiple screens. These theaters are now area theaters, and our downtowns no longer have that draw.

Still, all is not lost. Local movies still survive, but in a different format. Berthoud has two movie venues, and both are free. The library’s Monday night movies and Wildfire’s twice a month Friday night movies in the park are popular “theater” events. The seating may not be as comfortable as the opulent Fox theaters of bygone days, but they do provide popcorn or you can bring your own. These may not be the latest releases of new films, but the choices have been top rated. Wildfire has three more films this summer, and the library program is ongoing. Take advantage of the opportunity.

The library has several ongoing programs in addition to the movies. I stopped in the community center last week to watch the transformation of an ordinary man into a clown. As he painted his face and donned his costume parts, he explained each step to the kids. This was a kids program, but the adults in the audience seemed to enjoy and learn as much as the little ones. This week they have an organ grinder. It has been a long time since I have seen an organ grinder on the streets. As I remember, I watched a grinder and his monkey perform on the streets of New York City several decades ago and I am sure these Berthoud kids, and probably their parents, have never seen one. This will be a “no monkey” program, but I understand the organ is authentic.

County fair season is approaching rapidly, and it is a great time. I stopped in to see the Sagebrush Riders 4-H group have their Monday night meeting. The local 4-H clubs will be in everything from sewing to horses. I hope you are planning on attending. If you can’t make it, we are planning on bringing as much of it as possible to you. We are close to both the Larimer and Boulder county fair grounds, so we enjoy reporting on both.
Hope to see you there and around town.

Voices & Thoughts – Around Town
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