Electric Shadow

Heroes of Small-Town Cinema

My pal John Gholson tweeted a link to this story, which is partly an obituary of cinema owner/operator Bill Schulman, but more a compact history of his family independently owning and operating movie theaters in non-metropolitan towns in Texas:

One of those theaters included the Manor East 3 in Bryan, one of the first six theaters in the world to implement the Dolby Sound stereo system. This theater was so popular, “The Man from Snowy River” ran 38 consecutive weeks, longer than it ran at any other theater in the world.  Mr. Dolby himself visited their theater in Bryan when it showed “Star Wars.”

It's a great series of stories that not enough people will read. Just as important is Gholson's personal tribute to the man:

That key allowed me to go in and make up and break down the films that would arrive, but also (with Mr. Schulman’s permission, of course) allow me and a guest or two to sit up in the formerly “coloreds’ only” balcony of the old place on weekends and watch trash cinema (biker flick The Devil Riders, faux-documentary Forbidden Sexuality and Texas-made stag cheapieCommon-Law Wife) and Woody Woodpecker reels that he’d collected over his many years of theater operation. I can draw a direct line backward from my current job as a movie critic and blogger to the days when I was a teenager with my own access to a movie theater any time I wanted.