CHESTNUT HILLS KIDS' MOVIE THEATER AT THE BLILEY HOUSE
During the Second World War, my father, Frank Dawson Bliley, started showing home movies in the basement of our house at 965 West Arlington Road in Erie, Pennsylvania. They were really rented 16 mm films. He wanted was to boost morale of the neighborhood kids who were tired of all of the scary things they were hearing about the war. The films were a mixture of Westerns, science-fiction, and comedies, with a couple of cartoons thrown in. At first it was just the kids from within several blocks, but word soon got out and the "neighborhood" grew to a radius of several miles. My dad and mom did not mind the additional kids as long as there was room. The movies continued after the War and into the early 1950s. Recorded April 13, 1945.
There is one record recording of the kids in the basement of the family house at 965 Arlington Road. The movies were regularly scheduled for Friday nights throughout the winter season. There appears to be only one record recording of the activities. After all, this was all about the kids and motion picture entertainment. The date of the recording was April 13, 1945, the day after President Franklin Roosevelt died. My mother, Isabelle Bliley, was the master of ceremony for the occasion and worked the crowd of kids in the basement with a microphone extended from the record recorder in the living room above the kids. The recording starts out as she asks the kids if they like the Wild Bill Hickok series of movies. No doubt, this was the feature film of the night. The recording begins with the kids’ interviews and then the first minute of the movie. No doubt, she was soon headed upstairs to turn off the recorder. Then, the recorder was turned on for several activities to honor the late president.
Isabelle Marie Bliley (35)
And many more.
Audio: MP4 / 6.8 Mb / Length 14:00
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Interviews about the kids' favorite movie characters—
0:00–9:13, then the movie starts.
List of children interviewed, in order, as best as can be determined.
- James Walling
- Mary Ann Berry
- Gary Earhart
- Richard Chiverna?
- Jerry Lord
- Cecilia Heit
- Bill Pierce
- Elizabeth Lewis
- Lois Buhl
- Caroline Taylor
- Michael Traphagen
- Bill Connor?
- Elizabeth(?) Angellotti
- Bill Angellotti
- "Kip" Pierce
- Robert Prozan
- Lloyd Moore (Sister Peggy)
- David Bly/Bliley? (Isabelle's Son)
- John Hesiter
- Susan McLaughlin
- Menal? Fox?
- Sandy? McLaughlin
- Francie? Burns?
- Dick Bliley (Isabelle's Son)
- Jeanie Bliley (Isabelle's Daughter)
Basement Theater—Winter of 1949 or 1950
From newspaper article.
For more infomation on the
Chestnut Kids' Movie Theater and photo, click here.
Note of Death of President Roosevelt
- U.S. National Anthem, 0:00–9:13
- Pledge of Allegiance, Lead by Peter Traphagen, 9:13–12:12
- God Bless America, One verse, 12:34–13:25
- My Country, ’Tis of Thee, 13:25–14.02
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