My Dad always wanted what today's Vegas performers have, a long term venue that is mostly under their control. At one point he had talked to the owners of the old Rialto Theater in South Pasadena, and considered turning the warehouse at the old location of Owens Brothers into a Theater Annex for the steakhouse next door. In 1971, he and a group of investors tried a Summer Season show in the local mountain resorts near Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. They scouted locations and were impressed with the numbers of visitors to Lake Gregory and the local village. They rented a tent and turned it into a venue for evening entertainment and weekend matinees.
"Back Again for the First Time, Family Entertainment In Nostalgic Tent Show Surroundings."
I remember when we first set up having some passerby asking what time the meeting was. They thought we were a revivalist church.
The show was promoted with two big banners across the main street through town, one near the narrow road that lead to the village and one right outside the back of the theater.
At night it was lighted with floodlights to direct people to the main entrance of the theater.
Also in front of the Entryway were several large photos blown up from the shoot done for Argosy Magazine back in the 1960s. These were mounted on 4 X 8 sheets of plywood and stood up with triangular leg stands. I have not been able yet to find a shot of them. All of this was across the parking area for the lake which was just North of the location.
The interior of the tent looked like a regular theater. We had taken the shopping center stage and adapted it to the front of the house. In the back there were risers that were supposed to be inexpensive seats for the crowds but since the theater was not usually packed, most people ended up down front close to the stage on show nights.
We posted handbills and posters all around the town. Some had the rainbow spectrum background without any graphics. There was also a peach background poster that had some nice graphics used in other promotional material. Here is what that looked like.
It was a great experience but not a big money maker. The really nice part of it was that we did the show so regularly that things moved pretty smoothly and the show never lagged because of some problem with a set up. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and they were well rehearsed. If we had taken the full evening show on the road, it would have been a burden on the family. This was another case of Dad making a decision to do the show in one spot so that we could have a fairly normal life. He had come back six months earlier from traveling with my older brother Chris on a Circus tour. They had to caravan with the troop and sleep in a trailer. I think my Mom laid down the law and said no to that kind of tour. Kirk and I needed to be in school. So the summer at the lake was a compromise.