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Update #4

Perspective: The life lessons of a family in the movie business

5 comments

Food for thought from a rambling mind:

I just walked out of a historical presentation at our local movie theatre, The Onarga Theatre. It was about the history of this small town theatre, the Very First, talking picture show south of Chicago in the US back in 1937. The history was pretty cool, and the place is facing the same dilemma as we are at the Harvest Moon. But one thing struck me more than anything when I was watching the presentation about the older films and the transition from it's start as the brain child of the Thomas Edison, to the Lumiere brothers, Nickelodeon mini theatres, Vaudeville, silent films, talkies, then color, and now the High Definition 3D films we see today. That fact was that of all those old disciplines, they are only preserved in memories and museums. Vaudeville, black and white, silents, all of these medium and the movie houses that housed them and have since vanished. It actually caught me off guard. In this modern age of HD movies on my iphone, internet everywhere you turn, and the constant chatter of millions of distractions everytime we sit down to see a movie, watch tv, each a meal, the slow pace of watching a movie in your car with your friends and significant other is something different and special.

The big thing that literally brought me to tears? The realization that the next two weekends will be the very last time I touch 35MM film as it rolls through our projector. Flipping the switch, hearing the buzz of the rectifiers as the 5000 watt bulbs fire up, the click and whirl of hundreds of small gears pulling the miles of film through the projector is a unique sound I'm never going to hear again. Although I'm not the main projectionist; over the years I've helped to deliver the movies, splice them together, rewind, make the announcements, pick the trailers and previews, and trouble shoot these mechanical beasts that breathed life into thousands of movie titles over the past 23 years. The full force, knowing that the end of this season may close this landmark sends tears to my eyes whenever I think of the memories. It's where I got to spend time with my Mom and Dad, brother, close friends, and had some of the only memories I can't forget in recent years. On top of those feelings, knowing that Sunday the 30th, we will take apart our last film, dim the screen lights, turn off the transmitters, and walk away from over two decades of memories and over 130 years of 35MM film showing us our weekend entertainment, I'm going to feel lost.

Every fall, I look forward to getting off from the drive in and enjoying my weekends with friends out at other theatres, concerts, and relaxing at home. But this year feels so different. This is potentially the last time I'll be here; selling tickets, joking with our friends new and old, watching the film run its course until the blue light signals the end of the movie, and the end of an entire era in our history. As the credits roll on our movie, the one featuring two family's dreams of a drive in movie theatre, our struggles, joy, passion, and finally the climactic ending. I hope to see a sequel. One where this drive in bursts back to life like a phoenix in the spring, with new projectors, a big celebratory festival to enjoy our revival and rebirth as one of the few digital drive-ins in the country. Will you help me write this memoir, contribute to the movie of my life, and preserve something of our past outside of walls of memories and museums?

Thank you for reading this, and if you have any good memories of the Harvest Moon over the past 58 years, please feel free to post them below. This is more than a theatre, It's literally my life since I was a child.

Sincerely,

Ben Harroun and family

Comments

    1. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Dena Strong on September 20, 2012

      Another thought - could you set your Kickstarter target to $60K and do one of the screens, then work on funding the other screen later?

    2. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Dena Strong on September 20, 2012

      Is it possible to do Prosper-style community "microloans" through Kickstarter? Because the co-op at Lincoln Square raised about half a million dollars by having 10 year loans from the community that it would pay back at a specific time with specific interest rates

      What I can afford to give away outright is lower than what I could afford to loan if I knew I'd get it back - does Kickstarter allow you to create "loan rewards"?

    3. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Brad Smith on September 19, 2012

      I'm a college freshman this year, and I moved from Paxton about 11 years ago. But years before that, I remember pulling up in our jeep on the weekends that my mom wasn't working and playing on the swings, waiting for the movie to start, getting those little glow ball-stick things and getting candy-rationed by (at the time) seemingly over-caring parents. Even after we moved, occasionally we make the 40 mile trek out to Harvest Moon just to watch a movie.
      I had so much fun not only watching the movie, but having that added social aspect that you just can't get at home, or even at an indoor movie theater. It really makes me sad that something as amazing won't be there for my children, let alone for next summer even.
      Oh the sad day when memories start passing you by, forever to stay in the past :(

    4. Missing_small

      Creator Jan Dobson on September 19, 2012

      If only I had the money, I would give you the whole amount to keep the drive in open.

      I'm still hoping you will find your miracle that allows the Harvest Moon to reopen next spring. I can't even imagine what it will be like not to be able to bring my son and his friends out to the drive in a few times a year. I love bringing one of his friends who has never been to a drive in movie. Inevitably, they love it and are enthusiastic about coming back again and again.

      Crossing my fingers for you.

    5. Missing_small

      Creator Joni Peters on September 18, 2012

      Very heartfelt and moving, Ben. I don't know where I would start with my memories of the Harvest Moon, because, like you, I grew up there, albeit in a different generation. That was back when the drive-in could only afford to show the B movies, and everyone at school called it "the passion pit." I will sorely miss the Harvest Moon and all of the tremendous effort your family has put into the place since the '80s. I will also shed a tear on the last Sunday of the season . . . for my dad's dream and for your dream. I continue to hold hope that the funds will be raised. I know your miracle is out there somewhere.

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    We will be grateful for the support in keeping this historic landmark open for future generations!!!!

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    $6.00 to save it reward: This reward gives you 1 free admission in 2013, plus your choice of 1 free small soft drink or 1 small popcorn. For those that cannot make it to the Harvest Moo, we will send out limited edition bumper sticker, a hand crafted Limited Edition Harvest Moon Keychain made out of recycled 35MM film that has played through the historic projectors at the drive in, and send you an invite for our FREE digital premiere party.

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    This is the admission reward: Near or far, this $6, when donated by enough people, will be the difference between closing and staying open. For those of you that can make it out to the Harvest Moon, we will reward you with one free admission pass for a movie of your choice in 2013. For those that can't make it, we will email you a set of limited edition Harvest Moon Drive In pictures detailing the theatre and our old 35MM film projectors, and mail you a copy of our limited edition Harvest Moon bumper sticker. You will be featured on our website, facebook page, any News profiles we are featured in, and on the BIG SCREEN in our 'We saved the Drive In' preview before each movie in 2013.

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    Supporter of the Harvest Moon. 1 free admission to a new digital movie in 2013, including a free small popcorn and large drink- Plus the donor's name will be listed on the Harvest Moon's website and play in our 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013.

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    Friend of the Harvest Moon. 2 free admissions to a new digital movie in 2013, including a free small popcorn and large drink for each admission- Plus the donor's name will be listed on the Harvest Moon's website and play in our 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013.

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    Global Reward: For those that won't be able to visit the Harvest Moon Twin Drive In in person, we will provide you with a video walk through tour of this historic theatre, including a photo montage of the grand re-opening in March or April of 2013 with the digital systems. We will include a tour of the current projection booths and systems, and the new projection booths we have to build to house the new digital equipment. We will email you a link to download the high resolution video. We will include a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset photo to download and print out, and include the donor's name on screen and on the Harvest Moon's special Donor's Page.

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    Duo Reward: This is a donation for those that want to support the cause but will probably never visit the Harvest Moon. We will ship out 2 'Save the Drive In' T-shirts of any size(s-3xl) and a limited edition Harvest Moon bumper sticker!

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    Close Friend of the Harvest Moon: 4 free admissions, including a small popcorn and large drink for each admission. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013. 2 FREE 'Save the Drive In' T-shirts will be included in this package.

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    Bronze Reel Reward: 4 free admissions, including a small popcorn and large drink for each admission. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- Plus name on Donor Plaque in the remodeled Snack Bar- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Americana Reward: We will ship out a small 35MM film trailer that has been played at the Harvest Moon, 2 'Save the Drive In' T-shirts, and a Limited Edition Bumper Sticker. You will be getting a piece of history that will be lost forever at the end of this year.

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    Dinner and a Movie for 4 PLUS+: 8 free admissions, including a small popcorn and large drink for each admission. 2 large Monical's Pizza to share, and choice of Funnel Cake or 3 Candy Items for dessert. You will get 1 'Save the Drive In' T-shirt or Hoodie. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- Plus name on Donor Plaque in the remodeled Snack Bar- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Silver Reel Reward: 2- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- Plus name on Donor Plaque in the remodeled Snack Bar- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Golden Reel Reward Plus+: 8- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Each donation includes 4 'Save the Drive In' T-shirts or 2 Hoodies. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- Plus name on Donor Plaque in the remodeled Snack Bar- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Under the Stars Reward: This is a reward for those that are going above and beyond to support the drive in, even though they may never make it here. we will provide you with a video walk through tour of this historic theatre, including a photo montage of the grand re-opening in March or April of 2013 with the digital systems. We will include a tour of the current projection booths and systems, and the new projection booths we have to build to house the new digital equipment. We will email you a link to download the high resolution video. We will include a limited edition Harvest Moon Print, signed by the artist, a reel of 35mm film that has been played at the Harvest Moon, and include the donor's name on screen and on the Harvest Moon's special Donor's Page.

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    Business/Group Package: 20 free admission passes, including a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each pass. Company/Group's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- Plus Company/Group name on Donor Plaque in the remodeled Snack Bar- AND to top it off, 30 seconds of pre-movie screen time with your company/group's logo and contact information shown on each screen as a donor for 1 full year once the Digital is installed!

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    Platinum Reel Reward: You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 5x7 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall' in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 10- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Titanium Reel Reward: You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 8x10 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall' in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 15- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    Diamond Studded Reel Reward: You will become an honorary projectionist on our last weekend of showing movies on film in 2012. You will get to see how the film runs, make announcements, and enjoy one last glimpse of the industry that is fading into the sunset. And You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 8x10 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall' in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 20- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    The Clifford and Joyce Orr memorial Reward: This is a group/business/family/team reward. You will be granted a private showing in 2013 for up to 200 people. Each person will receive a 'bottomless' drink and popcorn cup that can be used during the length of the movie until intermission. You will be able to pick a film of your choice(depending on availability) PLUS- You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 8x10 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall' in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 20- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation.

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    The Harvest Moon Signatory Reward: This is a group/business/family/team reward. You will be granted a private showing in 2013 for up to 200 people. Each person will receive a 'bottomless' drink and popcorn cup that can be used during the length of the movie until intermission. You will be able to pick a film of your choice(depending on availability) PLUS- You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 8x10 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall' in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 20- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013- AND to top it off, an invite to our Digital Premiere Party where you will receive a limited edition Harvest Moon Sunset print personally signed by us thanking you for your Donation. FINALLY, you will receive long lasting recognition with your family/group/team/business name for each of our fields. You will be given choice of Screen 1 or Screen 2 and a permanent plaque will be mounted under each screen as well as your being placed in the opening previews for that screen recognizing your donation.

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    Name in Lights Reward: We will send a limo to pick up and bring back you and up to 6 other guests for our Digital Premiere Party(must live or be staying within 45 miles of the Harvest Moon). We will put your name up on our Marquee for the entire week before proclaiming you to be our largest donor. We will provide you with a dinner of Pizza at the theatre, or Snack Bar/Burger Barn food of your choice for the entire group for the evening's showing- You will get a prime spot to view the movie from either in the limo or on our comfy lawn chairs with a free stereo boombox, PLUS- You will be immortalized in Harvest Moon History- Your 8x10 framed photo with your name labeled and donation level will be mounted on our special 'Donors Wall', ABOVE ALL THE OTHERS AS OUR TOP DONOR, in the remodeled Snack Bar- Plus 20- One-year movie passes good for unlimited trips in 2013, and a free small popcorn and large drink combo for each visit. Donor's names will be listed on the website and in the 'We Saved the Drive In' feature on the screens before each showing in 2013 AS OUR TOP DONOR- AND to top it off, This will occur during our Digital Premiere Party showing, where you will PICK THE MOVIE WE SHOW(depending on availability)- Plus you will receive a full sized FRAMED Harvest Moon Sunset Print signed by us thanking you for your donation. All of this will occur in April or May of 2013 depending on when the digital equipment is completed.

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    Projectionist extraordinaire Reward: This is a very special reward, and available only to 1 very special donor. We will actually package up and give one of our current projection systems to this donor. It will include a few reels of vintage 35mm film, All the necessary equipment to play a movie: Lamp house, Rectifier, Vintage Simplex XL Projector, sound head and all! You will be able to add this valuable piece of American History to your collection and display it proudly, what was once used at virtually every movie theatre until this past decade.

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Funding period

- (38 days)