PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: August 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Now this is what I like...people seeing work being done at the Princess and reporting it to me.  Any work recorded will be added to the Princess Theater blog, which is really just a historical documentation of what happened to get our Princess restored.

Thanks Matt Waters (Channel 15 Manager) for these photos.  Please don't hesitate to seen photos anytime!

Matt reports that a concrete pad for a large trash bin has been poured in the alley behind the Princess and the Channel 15 studio, and that holes were drilled in the Princess wall for supports for the trash bin.
To me it's all restoration work and work documenting for the future.
Like I have stated before, it would have been nice if someone had documented the rebuilding of the Princess back in 1939.  These photos will mean something to future generations...long after we are all gone!

BTW, if you know these guys, please post a comment identifying them!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Stopped by the Princess today, just to see what had changed over the past two or three weeks.  The place has been cleaned up and looked pretty good, at least as much as a construction site can be cleaned with ongoing work.
One thing that struck me was how much you can see the old original lobby floor through the dust.  I'm sure it will be spit-shined (if not replaced) as the final act, but at least there was enough visible that it brought back old memories of standing by the concession stand waiting on my popcorn and drink.
Just about then, Jim Duncan walked up behind me and made me jump!  He keeps a pretty close watch on things down there daily.  We reminisced a little and then he went one way and I pushed forward into the recesses wearing my hardhat.
The cut from the Margrave building side into the Tappan side has been made and both sides are being sheet-rocked.
As I passed the complex later that evening, there were people on the roof of the Tappan building and debris was being jettisoned off the side into the dumpster on the street below.

Bottom line, there is a lot of working being done by a very aggressive work crew these days.  It seems to me that there is a strong push on to wind things up ahead of some unannounced schedule, which doesn't bother me any at all!

I've also heard that the retrofit of the old lighting fixtures has been completed, so I hope to have a photo, or two, of those in a day or two.  I think seeing them will really be exciting and bring back even more memories of the good times I spent in the Princess.
I also noticed a lot more wiring work in the main auditorium.  Note the trenches in the photo above that have been cut into the concrete floor for more power and sound wiring. Believe me, there are miles of new conduit and wiring that have been laid and pulled in this restoration job.  New wiring and outlets are everywhere.  It could be said that conduit and wiring, not just steel and brick, is holding up the new Princess!

More to come!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Governor Appoints Bill Landry To The Tennessee Historical Commission

I'm a little late getting this out, but I just received the press release about, and a photo of, my friend Bill Landry and his new book that is coming out next month*.  However, the current big news is his appointment as East Tennessee's Historical Commission Representative.

The official announcement reads:
Governor, Bill Haslam, announced on July 5, 2011 that Bill Landry has been appointed as East Tennessee Representative of the Tennessee Historical Commission. The appointment is effective immediately and runs through June 30, 2016. 
In making the announcement, the Governor writes:
In the thorough, aggressive search for candidates, your individual characteristics and professional qualifications were exceptional among the number of nominees who expressed interest. I consider it very important to ensure that Tennessee’s boards and commissions are filled with the most dedicated and qualified citizens. I believe that your participation   is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and the work it does. 
Thank you for your interest in state government and for your willingness to serve your fellow citizens of Tennessee in this way. Please accept my very best wishes. I look forward to working with you and all Tennesseans to make our great state an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”  
Landry is best known as the voice, host/narrator, and co-producer of THE HEARTLAND SERIES, which is in its 26th year of running on WBIR-TV, Channel 10, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since it began in 1984, over 1,900 short features have been produced, including 150 half-hour specials. WBIR –TV suspended production of the short features in September 2009, but continues to produce four hour-long specials annually. 

Landry’s appointment coincides with the much anticipated publication of his new book, Appalachian Tales and Heartland Adventures.Celtic Cat Publishing will release the 200 page tabletop book in September 2011*. The book includes approximately 170 pictures and 100 stories that provide behind the scenes insight into the making of the Series.  

Most recently, Landry has been assisting with the development of the Princess Theater Educational Complex in Harriman, Tennessee; teaching at Lincoln Memorial University; working with Hallsdale/Powell Utilities, and doing voice-overs with Sevier County Economic Development Council for their web site. Landry lives in Tallassee, Tennessee with his wife, Becky, next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

For more info:  Contact: Jim Johnston, 250-9964

*Bill's book will be sold locally at the Rocky Top General Store.  I'll let you know when it is available, and when Bill will be there to autograph your copy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


If you drive by the Princess this week, you'll probably notice the new shiny metal skin being added to the lower canopy.  It can't be long before the new LED marquee is installed!
If you look closely at the photo, you can see new AC units on the roof of the complex on either side of the Princess.  It's progress I like to see!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Owen Driskill, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Roane State Community College, has just announced the appointment of Megan Anderson as the manager of the "new" Princess Theatre!

This is a welcomed milestone in the progression of things to come for the Princess and Roane County.  

I haven't met her as yet, but the attached release outlines a ten year history of broad experience in theater production, and it sounds like she understands what the Princess dream means to us.

Best of luck Megan and welcome to our area and to our beloved Princess project!  We all look forward to supporting you in this important role.

Aug. 3, 2011
Megan Anderson named manager of Princess Theater

Megan Anderson has been named manager of the historic Princess Theater in downtown Harriman.

Anderson has more than 10 years of experience in theater production. Her background includes technical skills such as lighting, sound, and camera operation and includes business services such as payroll and customer relations.

I am thrilled to become the manager of the revitalized Princess Theater,” Anderson said. “I know how much the Princess means to the community, and I am looking forward to providing outstanding events and educational opportunities at the Princess.

Since March 2001, Anderson has worked extensively in the theater industry. Her experience includes several roles and responsibilities for a variety of events and organizations, including:
• Camera operator, switcher operator, and sound and lights operator for the USA Gospel Entertainers Musician Awards in Nashville
• Associate producer for the Smoky Mountain Cowboy Campmeeting Broadcast in Pigeon Forge
• Production associate on the special events staff for Landmark Communications Group in Nashville
• Associate producer for the Nashville Cowboy Church
• Special events staff member and camera operator for the Country Radio Seminar
• Special events staff member for the annual Country Music Awards

Anderson, a Nashville native, began her theater career in 2001. As a teenager, she worked at the Texas Troubadour Theatre in Nashville. During her three years there, she was a cashier; worked in concessions and housekeeping; helped manage payroll; operated spotlights; and served as the light director and as assistant sound manager.

I’ve been working in theaters since I was 16 years old, and it’s going to be an amazing experience to show students everything that goes on in a theater,” Anderson said. “I’m really excited, and I can’t wait to get started.

Anderson, 25, graduated from Volunteer State Community College in 2006 and earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and electronic media from the University of Tennessee in 2009. She will begin her duties on Aug. 15.

The theater manager’s role includes recruiting shows and events to the theater, fundraising, publicity and promoting arts in the community. Anderson will also assist with Roane State theater productions.

The Princess Theater is undergoing renovation as part of efforts to revitalize historic downtown Harriman. Constructed in 1926, the Princess was once a showplace. During its best years, the 900-seat theater screened movies to capacity crowds, but the Princess closed in 1999. Renovations to the Princess are scheduled to be complete this fall.

Roane State will assist with maintenance of the Princess Theater and provide expertise in purchasing equipment and coordinating events.

The theater is part of the planned Princess Performing Arts, Education and Conference Center, which also includes Channel 15, a television station operated by Roane State and the City of Harriman.
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