Friday morning, getting ready for films and talks. Our next appearance is at the Shoals Theater tonight.
We met Stephen at the Shoals to help set up his BTTF merchandise store for the evenings event. We had the car parked on the street about a ½ block away. There was a lot of setting up going on because ‘First Fridays’, a downtown street festival was happening. Crafts, music, and street fun happening that night. The Shoal’s theater is a classic 1950’s movie house. It played all the big hits in the day, closed for a period of time when the movie multiplex opened across town and now it’s a very active playhouse. Wonderfully restored with a mauve and teal color scheme. The staff there was very helpful with tables and extension cords, etc. Oli got to climb on top of the marquee to drop down power for the DeLorean’s display charging system!
There was a separate box office at the base of a back staircase leading to the balcony. This is a now rarely seen architectural feature that existed as an old reminder of segregation. Ironically, a few of the locals noted that the balcony had some of the best seats in the house!
At 10 am we were off for Bernd Kruyt’s documentary on the flying taxi from BTTF part 2 and Michael Sheffee’s talk about that build and his career as an artist in film. Both were fascinating. Oli and I were lucky enough to see the Taxi up close and in person at the 2002 FX toy show. We had an immediate appreciation for the Citron DS that the taxi is built on.
And now to be able to say we know the man who made it happen is great.
After that talk we went to lunch, the gang is growing. George Lindsey, the namesake of the festival, (as well as ‘Goober’ from the Andy Griffith Show!) joined us for the meal and we all had a great time. Tonya Holly and daughter Lily of the Cypress Moon Studios (a local film and recording studio) also joined us. Oliver and I became bookends of the long table, and took turns making faces at each other from across the room. Then it was off to Bob Gale’s talk on writing. We were driven over by campus security and escorted up the back way to be able to sneak in a side entrance. Bob was very good with his analysis of how he works, how he works with others, such as Bob Z and how it’s important to study. -We are at a University, you know.
Then back to the Shoal’s where Oli and I prep a poster station and then take the car to the President’s reception. Now this is a big deal, because there are a lot of State House politicians present. We make a fine impression and hope the University receives the much deserved funding it is seeking. They arrived in a special transport vehicle and took turns posing with the car. I kept the engine running to provide power for all the lights, as there was no electrical outlet on the front lawn of the beautiful grand multi-columned building. Suddenly, there was a pop and smoky coolant came shooting out of the overflow tube, to the delight of onlookers. 'How does it do that?' they clapped excitedly. 'Movie magic!,' Oli lied, with a nervous smile. He turned on the heater and cooled off the engine. No damage, but the car did not like idling for such a long time. Oliver would like to take this moment to apologize to the lawns keeper of the university, for the little dead spot of former grass he unintentionally killed with boiling coolant.
Campus police saw the situation and radioed for some antifreeze. Just a minute passed, and I was filling up the tank again, and everything was perfect! Just in time!
George Lindsey arrived as we were parking and Oli took him for a spin, which turned out to be a personal tour of George’s school. Mr. Lindsey is a great patron to his school.
Now dashing back to the Shoal’s for the Q&A with the BTTF cast. Hosted by alum Danny Wilson who has a fine body of work and was recently seen in the movie ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ It was a fine session with Bob Gale, Claudia Wells, James Tolkan and Michael Sheffe. Lea Thompson wasn’t able to attend but taped a greeting and some answers to the panel questions. It was entertaining and we learned some new facts!
I’ve waited to the end of this portion of the blog to write for our little D. She was quite the star. Sparkled and shined. She enjoyed the cobble stone runway up to the theater, and the photos taken have brought countless smiles. Being outside of the Shoal’s under the marquee was a wonderful position to bring attention to the event. Folks that saw her in the daytime were quite impressed when the sun set and she lit up like the star car she is. All through the night I was helping kind and generous donation makers in and out of the car. It was a funny frenzy! No line, just ‘who’s next?’ from me, and the crowd jumping for their turn. That was fun, but what was amazing was watching Oli sign his posters. Michael Scheffe gave Oli a kind compliment when he equated the poster to Drew Struzan’s style. Oli was floating on air after that. Me too! The evening ended with a good night from Mr. Lindsey and dinner with the gang at the local Italian restaurant. And then a late night screening of “Lightning Salad Moving Picture” at the Zodiac. The movie included Bob Zemeckis requesting two unlikely candidate film students to start working on Back to the Future Part IV”. Funny, interesting, and glad we got to see it.