Thursday, March 31, 2011

CLE Grandstand late 1950's and early 1960's.....

The CLE grandstand which stood approximately where the centre hallway of the Silver City Movie theatre is today was filled to capacity every Wednesday night in the 1950's and the early 1960's to watch stock car racing(jalopy racing as some would call it) to the thrill of thousands who attended. It was probably the most watched and supported sport here in Fort William and Port Arthur(well maybe next to hockey).
The common denominator for these next 10 photos is the grandstand. These photos clearly show its size and the thousands of spectators who attended.

Here is Glen Kettering giving his brother Barry a pep talk during a pause in one of the races(person behind his car is unknown). Note Barry's cut down coupe(what hot rodders call channeled). It was such a beautiful car that it could very well have made hot rod status for the street. Barry's fans lined up along the fence to view their idol(are you there? ...I am somewhere). The next picture which I have featured before again shows the crowds in the grandstand viewing a typical controversy with Louis Tocheri. Gotta love Louis' deuce 5 window coupe.

Tons of people again in these photos... the first one showing Albert Massaro #88 smiling directly at the camera and behind him is #13 Wes Inkster, who had a very tragic accident at the CLE track in the '50's which ended his driving career. #46 is Bill Machinski behind the wheel of his Plymouth coupe. Also note the extra seats between the grandstand and the fence. They were added due to the influx of more and more racing fans.

Here is a little incident between #54 Wally Prokosh and the Potter and Kerr driver Johnny Zatti. Off in the distance on the left is the packed grandstand as usual. #15 here is Lorne Morin's car with Merv Dove's borrowed engine(that's the typical gentleman that Merv Dove was). I believe it is a Plymouth 3 window coupe all cut down as they all started to do in the early 1960's.

Here is #2 Jerry Lepinski from the USA with his famed 1932 Ford 2-door sedan...another one that was beautiful enough to be street driven. Of course the grandstand is filled to capacity. The next picture shows the empty grandstand and gives you an idea of how huge it was. The cars in this photo are unknown.

Coming near the end of the racing years at the CLE track, these two colour photos show the beginning of the Late Model stock car years and the beginning of the super mods and sprint car era here. These photos were taken at the 1965 International Dirt Track Championships at the good ol' CLE track. Seeing these last photos almost brings a tear to the eye as it was truly the end of an era at the CLE track and of course the beginning of another era 2 years after these photos were taken, at Riverview Raceways, out highway 61.
Thanks to all those that took these wonderful photos for us to enjoy forever!!
Click on all photos once or twice to enlarge to screen size!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Colonial Theatre, 235 Arthur Street, Port Arthur, Ontario.....

Wow....Look a those cool old cars in front of the Colonial Theatre!! .... scroll down and click on all photos!!

Not to be outdone by the prestigious other theatres in Fort William and Port Arthur such as the Orpheum where the likes of actors from Stratford-On-Avon in England played to sell out crowds and the Lyceum, well known for its premium vaudeville acts, the Colonial Theatre opened on June 4, 1914 to rave reviews. It was referred to as "The Theatre Beautiful".
1100 patrons attended opening night and the Minneapolis Symphony entertained. It had comfortable roomy seats, was very well ventilated(lots of smokers in those days), and had a new incredible radium gold fibre screen to show the finest details of film in that era.
The opening night motion picture was called "Grant Morden". It was a film featuring a giant freighter by the same name recently launched at the Port Arthur shipyards.
If you strain your eyes and click on the photo to enlarge it you will see that "The Eddie Cantor Story" was playing.
Arthur Street then is now Red River Road after the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur in 1970 into the present city of Thunder Bay.
NEXT - another photo view and film

This next 1940's photo of the beautiful Colonial shows its detail and the fact that "City for Conquest" is playing, starring James Cagney and Ann Sheridan. The mini film is actually a sneak preview of the film....hope it works.a
The final view of the Colonial is taken about 1940 as well with a neat old 30's car in front of the theatre. "Caught in the Draft" was playing with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.

The last few pictures here is a lobby poster from "Caught in the Draft", a poster from the early Colonial Days and finally a Bourke's Drug Store matchbook cover. The address is shown as 224 Arthur Street, which is now Red River Road in Port Arthur. The last Colonial photo above shows where Bourke's Drug store was located on RR Road.
Click on all photos and posters to enlarge them!