The Show Started on the Sidewalk
Medford and Ashland, Oregon (May 3 & 10, 2017) — "Let's go to the theater" has been heard throughout the Rogue Valley for nearly a century. Historian George Kramer gives the background of many of the local theater companies in the valley at May’s Windows in Time lecture, The Show Started at the Sidewalk: The History of the Holly and Other Theaters, May 3 at the Medford Branch Library, 205 South Central Avenue, and May 10, at the Ashland Branch Library, 410 Siskiyou Boulevard, from 12pm – 1:00pm at both locations.
Motion picture palaces from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” were often architectural flights of fancy intended to transport ticket holders from Main Street to far off and exciting places, often long before the screen lit up. Building upon nickelodeons and the simple storefront “silent screen” of the pre-WWI era, by the late-1920s and 1930s “talkies” helped Americans escape the Great Depression, if only for a few hours. In southern Oregon movie theatres like the Varsity, the Rogue, the Craterian and most especially the Holly Theatre, dominated downtown, with huge neon signs, elaborate facades and interiors. In “The Show Started at the Sidewalk” restoration consultant George Kramer will explore the history of movie palaces in southern Oregon, talk about their builders and their design, delve into the on-going restoration of the Holly Theatre, the largest movie palace in our region when it opened in October 1930.
George Kramer earned a master’s degree in historic preservation from the UofO. He has worked on numerous theatre restoration projects, including the Holly. An Ashland resident since 1982, George wrote the downtown historic district nominations for Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass, as well as work in Talent, Phoenix, Jacksonville, and throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The monthly “Windows in Time “ lunchtime lectures are offered free to the public, on the first and second Wednesday throughout the year from 12pm–1 pm. The talks are jointly sponsored by the Southern Oregon Historical Society and Jackson County Library Services. For more information, please call Jackson County Library Services at 541-774-6996 or visit jcls.org.
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