After being off over the holidays, Throwback Thursday is back and well-rested.
This installment, courtesy of the Hazleton Standard Speaker newspaper, gives a close-up view of the Capitol Theater in downtown Hazleton in 1953. Look closely at the theater marquee. The male lead in the movie “Flight to Tangier” was none other than Jack Palance who grew up in the nearby mining village of Lattimer Mines.
The tough-as-nails Palance wasn’t born with his stage name. He was born Vladimir Palahniuk. His family was Ukrainian and his father was a coal miner.
And the theater? Well, according to cinematreasures.org, it closed in 1963. Palance, who dabbled in various professions before acting, including professional boxing and journalism, died in 2006 at age 87.
He served as a bomber pilot in World War II and won an academy award for his role as Curly in the 1991 film “City Slickers” with Billy Crystal.
Remember that famous exchange between Curly and Crystal’s character, Mitch Robbins?
As they are riding side by side on their horses, Curly holds up one finger and asks Mitch if Mitch knows the secret of life. After Mitch asks if the secret is actually Curly’s finger, Curly tells him it’s “One thing. Just one thing.” He tells Mitch that if he sticks to that one thing, nothing else mattered.
Mitch asks that the one thing is, but Curly smiles and tells him that’s what he has to find out. Mitch eventually figures out that “one thing” is his family.
So today’s TBT gives us two things — memories of theater and of a native son.