Friday, November 23, 2012
Orpheum at Christmas Time
Let the holiday season begin! And what better way to do it than with a Christmas movie? It's how my family always started ours. I remember my aunt putting in Miracle on 34th Street for the first time when I was a kid on the little t.v. in her kitchen and she and my grandmother and I sat around the table and watched it (while probably eating some Christmas goodies). Of course I loved it, along with many other classic movies that I was introduced to sitting in that kitchen.
I've had the idea to do an illustration featuring a movie theater for a while. This is a sketch I did a few years back:
I got busy with other things and set it aside until recently. The photo I used as a reference is of my hometown Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa in the 1940's. It's my favorite place in town, and I actually have gotten to see Miracle on 34th Street along with several other holiday films that have been shown there since it re-opened. It's so beautiful inside, I like to pretend while I'm sitting in the dark in this grand old theater watching the movie that I've gone back in time to when they first showed it.
I used my collection of old photographs from the 40's for the inspiration, too. I love to see the clothes they wore back then- especially the hats. I have about a dozen photographs of this same family through World War II, winter play, and summer camps. I wonder sometimes about who they were and what their story was.
Maybe their mother or father took them to see Miracle on 34th Street during a Saturday afternoon matinee after some Christmas window shopping. The movie came out in 1947 when my grandmother, Ann Taylor, was 27 years old. Her birthday was Dec. 6th (which was on a Saturday that year, coincidentally) so I decided to put it on the marquee. I was surprised to learn that Maureen O'Hara was the same age! I added two movie posters on each side of the doors- one is The Bishop's Wife, another great holiday flick with Cary Grant and Loretta Young. The other is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison (and Natalie Wood!) and it's one of my all time favorites. They both came out in 1947 as well. It was fun being able to add those personal things!
My grandmother walking in downtown Sioux City, 1940's.