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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Jerry Sohl Shoots for the Stars August 1958

Jerry Sohl, 1958.

After twelve years as a Pantagraph reporter, Gerald “Jerry” Sohl (left) decided to pick up his family and head to California to become a full-time science fiction and fantasy writer. Seen here are his wife Jean Gordon, son Allan, and daughters Marty and Jennifer (we’re not sure who’s who, daughter-wise). Sohl already had nine novels published and would become a successful television scriptwriter.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Annual YMCA Circus Downtown Bloomington, March 1938 Part 2

YMCA Circus high-wire, 1938.

Seen here are two members of the Billetti Troupe, a nationally touring high-wire act that wintered in the Twin Cities.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Annual YMCA Circus Downtown Bloomington, March 1938 Part 1

YMCA Circus trapeze act, 1938.

For nearly a century, Bloomington-Normal served as winter training grounds for trapeze artists and aerial acrobats from across the country. Thus it’s not surprising that the local Y’s annual circus show featured not only local amateur talent but big-time national acts as well. Seen here are C.W. Brooks and his daughter Beverly June Brooks of the Brooks Family act performing on opening night, Monday, March 21, 1938

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

American Passion Play Behind the Curtain, 1963

American Passion Play, 1963.

The American Passion Play, staged in Bloomington since 1923, is the oldest such retelling of the story of Christ in the nation. Seen here are last-minute preparations during the 40th season, which opened on Sunday, March 24, 1963.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Lakeside Country Club Aerial 1930

Aerial view of Lakeside Country Club, 1930.

Established in 1923, Lakeside Country Club made use of a former clay brick and tile pit enjoying a second life as a small recreational lake. The view here is looking northeast. That building is long gone. The current clubhouse dates to 1972.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Fourth Generation American Passion Play, 1961

American Passion Play rehearsal, 1961.

he American Passion Play, staged right here in Bloomington, is the nation’s oldest such staging of the story of Christ. Seen here is five-year-old John Aldridge during a rehearsal. His parents Jack and Carol Aldridge were also Passion Play performers. And appearing in previous seasons were both his grandmother and great-grandfather.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

American Passion Play Backstage Laughs, 1954

American Passion Play, 1954.

Every spring Delmar D. Darrah’s theatrical retelling of “the greatest story ever told” is brought back to life on the local stage. The American Passion Play tells the story of Christ and his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. The former Scottish Rite Consistory Temple has served as the play’s home for all but one season. Seen here are actors (left to right) Stanley K. Norton, Gus Winker, and Walter Berg at a late March 1954 rehearsal.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Home TV Storefront, 1954 216 W. Washington St., Bloomington

TV Storefront, 1954.

Cecil M. Carlock opened Home TV sales and repair in January 1954. Home TV lasted a year or two before it closed. Note the glass block cross set in the brick wall to the immediate right. That’s the edge of the old Salvation Army building.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Bloomington Center for Performing Arts Downtown Bloomington, Undated

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, undated.

Opened in 1922, the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts was originally known as the Bloomington Consistory or the Scottish Rite Temple. Designed by Chicago architects Harris W. Huehl and R.G. Schmid, the auditorium was built to be the home of the American Passion Play.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

I'll huff, and I'll puff … ISNU Puppet Show, January 1960

ISU puppet show, 1960.

On January 14, 1960, Illinois State Normal University’s puppetry class staged its third annual pageant at Metcalf School. There was an afternoon performance for the university laboratory school’s lower grade children, and an evening one opened to the public. The program included “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” and other fairy tales

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