Show Biz

Show Biz

One of the jobs I worked on in Glasgow, Montana was an old theater in town that had been shut down for quite some time.  We were re-wiring it.  I was working on removing the old copper wiring and putting in new wiring.  I had a pile of old copper wire about 3 feet high and 5 feet across.  I was intending to get the owner’s permission to take it to the local Pacific, Hide and Fur and recycle it for cash.  I was waiting until I had the job completed before I approached the owner.

About the time we were concluding the job I went on vacation.  When I got back one of the other guys told me I had missed a great opportunity.  The owner had told him to go down in the basement and haul that pile of copper wire to Pacific, Hide and Fur.  He told me that they had gotten $60.00 for it.  That was in 1953.

The boss had taken them all to dinner at a nice restaurant.

Rats.  Foiled again.

A number of years later they built a new theater in town.  “The Survant.”  It was built by a California contractor who apparently had no idea of how cold it could get in Glasgow in the winter.

It was built with minimum insulation.  The local heating contractor knew about Montana winters.  He put in a bank of four 200,000 BTU furnaces.  Winter was coming on so they had the furnaces running to keep it warm.  Every once in a while we would hear a big WHUMP!  The whole building would seem to shudder.  We didn’t know if it was an earth quake or someone running into the building.  We looked around for the cause.  Everything seemed to be working fine.  No damages anywhere we could see.

One day the California contractor’s foreman went up stairs to the projection room where the furnaces were located.  Shortly afterward I had to go up stairs to check something or other.  I had my head just about level with the floor and could see the foreman leaning down looking at something on the furnaces.   All of a sudden there came that WHUMP!

Fire came out of the furnace, covered the whole floor almost to where my head was at floor level.

The foreman was dancing around to an unheard tune and to an unknown beat trying to evade the fire.  When it was all under control we determined that furnace system had a faulty control.

One of the units would fail to ignite and gas would spread across the floor.  Another unit would come on and ignite the gas that had come from the first unit.  Hence, the shudder and Whump.

I have notice in recent years that The Survant is no longer in operation.

Sorry.  Nobody got into the movies.

We didn’t even make the news.

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One Comment

  1. Frank Seiler says:

    Whenever flame and explosion is part of the set, it may be good to not be one of the stuntmen 🙂

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