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Archive of: Entertainment

Jim Ameche and WJBC December 1949

Jim Ameche helped WJBC Radio inaugurate new building, 1949.

National radio personality Jim Ameche (center) helped WJBC Radio inaugurate its new transmitter building, new pylon antenna, and other capital upgrades by serving as master of ceremonies for a three-hour variety show, aired December 7, 1949.

Bloomington Coliseum June 1938

Coliseum in Bloomington, 1938.

Opened in December 1898, the Coliseum was a field house-type structure with phenomenal acoustics. It hosted everything from famed sopranos to Jazz Age dance bands. Interestingly, the old Coliseum stood directly across Front Street from the “new” (now 10-years old) U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

Memorial Day 1960 African-American Legionnaires

Memorial Day parade, 1960.

The Redd-William American Legion Post color guard heads north on East Street in downtown Bloomington during the Memorial Day parade of May 30, 1960. Redd-Williams was the Legion post for local African-American veterans.

Memorial Day, May 30, 1935 Downtown Bloomington

Memorial Day parade, 1935.

Memorial Day 1935 in Bloomington included a parade that began at the McBarnes Memorial Building on East Grove Street.
This photographs shows the local Boy Scout contingent heading south along the 100 block of South Main Street.

When Uptown Was Downtown Normal Theater, 1967

Normal Theater, 1967.

This photograph is undated but we know the Robert Redford-Jane Fonda romantic comedy “Barefoot in the Park” played at the Normal in late September through early October 1967.

Society Horse Show Fans Field, Bloomington, 1953

Bloomington Horse Show, 1953.

Seen here is “High Tide,” first-place winner of the June 20-21, 1953 horse show in the hackney singles stake. Owned by S.S. Ferguson of Heyworth, “High Tide’ was driven by Orris Gray (holding the reins). Presenting the trophy (center) is Philip Schandein. Joe Wiltermood is on the left.

Irvin Theatre, June 1938 202 E. Jefferson St., Bloomington

Irvin Theater, 1938.

Opened in 1915 as the finest movie house in the Twin Cities, the Irvin (or at least its marquee) is seen in this June 1938 sidewalk-and-street scene. The view is looking east. The old theater was torn down in the fall of 1987 and today the site is a surface parking lot for Second Presbyterian Church.

Smell that Smoke! Cecil Cone’s Barbecue, May 1953

Barbecue, 1953.

In early May 1953, former Bloomington Mayor Cecil Cone brought past and present city officials together for a barbecue at his home, 703 E. Market St. Seen here (left to right) are Mary and Cecil Cone, Clarine Mather, and city councilman Monroe Dodge.

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival Lunch & Learn Talk Today, 12:10 to 12:40 p.m.

Kickapoo Creek Rock Festival, 1970.

A fascinating discussion was given on the myriad of court battles surrounding the May 30-June 1, 1970 rock & roll festival in southern McLean County. As seen in this photograph, not all of the estimated 60,000 spectators were hippies, yippies, freaks, Bohemians, peaceniks, avant-garde radicals, druggies, merry pranksters, flower children, long-hairs, or drop-outs!

Depression-Era Skaters Bloomington, Circa 1930s

Children with skates, undated.

This lovely photo is a mystery. The year, location, and those pictured are unknown.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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