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TOPIC: R.I.P. Bill Horton

R.I.P. Bill Horton 07 Mar 2009 23:56 #31117

  • Orpheum
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Today, my family and I attended the funeral for Bill Horton who, along with his wife Selma, operated the Roseland Theatre in Pana, Illinois.

This is no ordinary theatre man. Bill has been operating the projectors at the Roseland since 1951 and he resisted the temptation to convert his booth over to platters and Xenon bulbs. To this day the Roseland is still reel to reel and carbon arc. That is where I come into the story.

About two years ag,o my wife and I were checking out nearby theatres and paid a visit to the Roseland. We were greeted at the boxoffice by Selma and I introduced myself as the owner of several nearby theatres and was excited to see their classic theatre. Selma was very polite and soon took me to the booth to meet Bill. In the booth, Bill was very proud to show me his vintage Strong Mogul carbon arc lamphouses and Century projectors. I mentioned to him that I learned how to run these back in the day and if he ever wanted to take a weekend off to give me a call.

About six weeks ago Selma called me and asked if I could help Bill get the film ready for that week because he had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and was very weak from the chemo. I went and helped and as time went Bill was able to do less and less to the point where I ran the booth completely.

This past wednesday the cancer took Bill and the exhibition industry is a little darker without his carbon arcs.
Here is a youtube video taken of him several months ago operating his projectors.

Selma is going to run the theatre for the next few weeks (I'll continue to help with projectors) to finish out her commitments, at which time my family has agreed to take over operations. I intend to pay tribute to Bill with a lobby display of vintage projectors and this picture:

Jeff Eisentraut,
Eisentraut Theatres
Last Edit: 08 Mar 2009 00:00 by Orpheum. Reason: Forgot to sign it
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Re:R.I.P. Bill Horton 08 Mar 2009 02:28 #31118

  • revrobor
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Sorry to hear this Jeff. I'm sure he'll be missed. I enjoyed watching Bill in the video. Brought back a lot of memories. I started as a union operator in 1950 and worked that same type of equipment for decades. I'm numbered among those who believes carbon arcs put out a better picture than xenon and I've worked both. I've been blessed with good health and hope to continue in this business for some time to come hopefully with my own place once again. Good luck to you and your family.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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