QUESTION: What was F.M. Kirby's first name?
We have dedicated the last few blogs to three of the Fabulous Four: The Four Lads, The Four Aces, and the Four Freshmen. That's because, on one fabulous night in 1987, January 22nd, all three bands got together to entertain the good people of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. The American Treasure Tour has a poster celebrating that night displayed right in our Toy Box. We;ve talked about the bands; today, we would like to tell you a little bit about the venue.
What is now the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts was originally the Comerford Movie Theater. Located on Public Square in downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA, the theater opened their doors on August 18, 1938 to people wanting to see Tyrone Power and Don Ameche in Alexander's Ragtime Band. Comerford was a theater chain at the time, and this was to be their cornerstone theater - Art Deco architecture, five separate lobbies, large oval mirrors and tall fluted columns were dominated by a gorgeous chandelier comparable to the one that graces the Empire State Building. It evoked awe-inspired reactions in those who walked through its doors. 1949 saw a lost lawsuit by Comerford. Paramount took over the theater and continued to entertain audiences until the late-1970's, when commerce moved out of the city center and multiplex theaters opened in the suburbs. The Paramount struggled. Many of its interiors were removed, the building deteriorated, and it was being threatened with destruction. In 1985, local hero Albert Boscov, king of a popular department store, saved the theater with the help of the a number of donors including the prominent Kirby Foundation, named after F.M. Kirby I, the founder of the famous F.W. Woolworth 5 and Dime, another local hero. The restored theater re-opened on December 21, 1985 and has been open ever since as a performing arts center. Only rarely are movies ever shown in the space (including a 2006 return of Alexander's Ragtime Band), but events such as the Fabulous Four concert continue to draw crowds to this now-iconic destination.
Check out their website for what they have coming up! http://www.kirbycenter.org
ANSWER: B). Fred Morgan Kirby.