Restoration Days Committee firming up ‘21 plans It’s a Hollywood themed celebration

With “Hollywood” the theme for this year’s Restoration Days (Aug. 5-7), it will be perfect timing for the King Opera House to have completed its Phase I restoration and be reopened in time for the celebration. Monday morning, masons were loading brick for the final few courses on the new front exterior of the building. Windows will go in next, then interior work will resume.

The Albia Restoration Days Committee met Friday to start firming up plans for the Aug. 7 celebration. The good news this year is that Restoration Days doesn’t run headlong into either the Monroe County Fair or the state softball or baseball tournaments.

This year’s theme is “Hollywood” and a number of events are being planned to coincide with the theme. Since the King Opera House has the closest relationship with Hollywood, showing movies made in Tinsel Town since it opened in 1904, much of Friday’s discussion centered on what might happen inside the newly restored building.

According to Dave Paxton, King Opera House Board president and co-director of the Restoration Days Follies, the theater is expected to be reopened by Restoration Days. He said he and co-Follies Director Dan Walker would be working on acts with Hollywood in mind. The Follies will be performed on Thursday and Friday nights, Aug. 5-7.

The theater board intends to have an open house throughout the day on Saturday and a couple of events were discussed, including showing the classic Hollywood movie, “Singin’ in the Rain” with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, which actually involves the tale of Hollywood converting from silent pictures to talkies. The King Opera House actually showed “The Jazz Singer” when it came out in 1929.

Another exciting project the Restoration Days Committee discussed was having a film-making contest, with would-be filmmakers using their iPhones or digital cameras to create 3-5  minute movies, either silent or talkies. The movies (think home movies or U-Tube with plots and characters) would be submitted on thumb drives to the techies on the King Opera House board who would download them on a computer and then show them on the big screen.

Restoration Days visitors would be invited to see the movies being shown on a continuous play, then vote for their favorites.  The votes (which would cost $1 each to be used as a King Opera House fund-raiser) would be tallied and “Oscars” would be presented at the outdoor concert Saturday evening.

Stay tuned for more information.

The committee also discussed tapping into Hollywood connections to Albia, including Robert T. Bates, who had an interior design firm in Hollywood after WWII, Adrienne Moser, who performed in the movie “Kid Boots” in the 1920s and ACHS graduate, Jenny Ladner, who is currently working in Hollywood.

If you are interested in helping with Restoration Days, committee meetings are the third Friday of the month, 12 noon at the Chamber office.