Friday, April 18, 2008

What do Priates of the Carribean and "An Evening of Once Act Plays" have in common?

OK, lets eliminate the obvious and trivial connections first. Yes, Capt'n Jack was our Pharaoh in Joseph, and yes, Pirates was partly filmed in Utah. But that isn't the connection...

Back in the 1920's, a Magna family, the Huffakers, owned a furniture store. It was located about a block west of the Empress Theatre. On September 24, 1926, Mrs. Huffaker had a baby; a boy. They named him Clair. (Don't ask, I haven't a clue.)

As Clair grew up (the family lived on 8950 West), it's not hard to imagine the young boy spending his 14¢ on a Saturday to come watch movies at the Empress. Teenaged Clair may have even been thumped by George Smith's flashlight a time or two.

Somewhere along the line -- We like to think it was while watching movies in the Empress --Clair Huffaker developed an interest in writing. Not long after the Empress closed, 1959 to be exact, found Clair in Hollywood writing TV Shows and films. He wrote episodes of Rawhide, The Rifleman, Bonanza, 12 O'clock High, and others. His movies include Seven Ways from Sundown (with Audie Murphy), Flaming Star (Elvis Presley), And The Comancheros (John Wayne). And he wrote a novel or two; The Cowboy and the Cossack is considered a classic by some.

And so we hope that the young playwrights whose plays we're producing on the Empress Theatre stage will be as inspired by the Empress as Clair Huffaker was and have as much success, or more.

So what does that have to do with Pirates of the Carribean? Just this... Clair's daughter, Sam Kirkeby (it's really Samantha) supervised the scripts on all three Pirates movies.

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