Mike Zeabin’s Civic memories date back to the 1950s when he was poster boy for the theatre, walking the eight miles from Blewett and back. He remembers summer evenings with Woody Woodpecker cartoons to get an enthusiastic audience primed for the main feature, maybe a Jerry Lewis flick. One movie experience stands out in particular.
“I went with my grandmother to a 3D movie. We had to wear special glasses, so when they threw a hammer or a rock or anything it came full force towards you,” Mike writes. “My grandmother screamed, ‘Michael, get me out while I am still in one piece!’ I hugged her and said, ‘Grandma, take your glasses off.’”
Mike’s grandmother got over the shock of 3D, remarking that, “I wouldn’t want to wear these glasses on the street.” I can imagine she probably didn’t.
Assuming 1953, could the film they saw have been It Came from Outer Space? Certainly, 3D movies seemed the stuff of science fiction at the time. Although the Civic Theatre will not be going 3D on the main screen for Star Trek: Into Darkness, this sci fi film could still make your grandmother jump out of her seat, never mind surround sound the like of which Mike’s grandmother could not have imagined.
Getting the theatre ready for its first digital film has itself been edge-of-your-seat. Cable, panels, projector, speakers: everything has to arrive on time, in the right order, with the physical space ready to roll despite occasional surprises. Luckily, folks in the thick of things have kept a sense of humour throughout.
Here’s a recent email exchange:
Theatre Manager Jason Asbell, to Board and Staff:
I had Uhura contact everybody in the Federation as to the whereabouts of our warp coil, I mean projector and front speakers. Apparently CN is having trouble with their transporter pads because the speakers didn’t teleport to 719 Vernon Street as planned. They are said to arrive Tuesday — time unknown.
Sue and I have come up with a best and worst case scenario and based on the confidence communicated by Graeme (CNX) to be able to work under a short deadline, we believe a June 14th opening is still our target.
That said, the Klingons do possess cloaking technology and they could still ruin our picnic.
NCTS Treasurer Rick Dietrich, reply to Jason, cc’d to all:
We’re only at warp factor five, captain. She can take a lot more. The dilithium crystals are good, I checked them myself.
A few of these went around, and I’m pleased to say that the Klingons were no match for the U.S.S. Civic. The sound panels made it, and were wrestled through the stage doors. Volunteers worked feverishly to get them installed, and surround speaker brackets mounted. The old projector has been dismantled (no small feat) and the new one installed. Speakers arrived on Saturday.
If it feels at times as if we’re going Where No Man Has Gone before, we are enormously fortunate to have the goodwill, elbow-grease, and expertise of so many. In particular for this round of the digitization process, I’d like to acknowledge our amazing staff and spectacular volunteers, who basically said with complete confidence: “Second star to the right… and straight on ’til morning.”
To that, I offer the Vulcan salute.
Anne DeGrace is the president of the Nelson Civic Theatre Society. Large Popcorn, Extra Butter runs every two weeks. If you have a memory to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more at civictheatre.ca