Tim Ghianni was so supportive of our earliest efforts that when Dee Boaz, former editor of The Leaf-Chronicle and avid Roxy supporter, asked if Tim could have his book signing here, I was delighted that he had thought of us. And of course I said yes, so that we might pay back, in a small way, so many kindnesses.
Tim had a column called “Ghianni’s People.” I had planned to pen a script using his interviews, but, as the road to hell is paved … alas, I never did. I once said that each time he mentioned the Roxy, we would be good to sell one ticket. So with that in mind, he filled a paragraph of his column with “Roxy” repeated at least 100 times. How do you say anything but yes to someone who does that?
So tomorrow, Saturday, from 3:30pm until 5:30pm — right after the 2pm matinee of 101 Dalmatians and before the 6pm performance of 101 Dalmatians and an 8pm performance of The Wedding Singer — Tim and his co-author and friend, Rob Dollar, will be signing their book When Newspapers Mattered: The News Brothers and Their Shades of Glory. Copies of the book will be available for purchase ($25/paperback and $40/hardcover).
Tim was the longtime associate editor and columnist for The Leaf-Chronicle between 1974 and 1988. His co-author, Rob Dollar, was police reporter for the newspaper in the early 1980s. They formed a group called “The News Brothers” to help cope with the demands and stress of their jobs at The Leaf-Chronicle.
They used the group for charity fundraising, playing a movie called “Flapjacks: The Motion Picture” at the then-abandoned Roxy on November 12, 1982 (almost a year to the day when we opened in November of 1983). Tim says the book is partly about that but also about the days when newspapers really mattered and how that has changed over the years.
Evie Stack died December 10th of last year, and I didn’t know it. I saw her husband, Ben, outside of Mildred & Mable’s, which is where the Stacks’ furniture store — Lawning, Johnson & Garvin — used to be. Mildred & Mable’s has Evie’s picture at the front desk. When I asked for her, Ben told me that she had passed.
Evie and Ben were pillars of Clarksville’s downtown. Always ready to participate in any of our early attempts at street fairs or any promotion we might come up with to support the downtown, Franklin Street or us, they would certainly be on board.
I would often stop in to see Evie just to clear my head and relieve the pressure of not being able to relieve the pressure. She was an uncommon businesswoman, a lady with a generous and compassionate heart. Evie started out as a lowly employee of Lawning, Johnson & Garvin, but in time she and Ben owned the business lock, stock and building. I hated to see them close, but like all good things …
See you at the theatre!