The renovations to the Warner Theater should be worth the wait; SeaWolves ready

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The hype in New York surrounding the 90th anniversary of the Empire State Building reminds me that Erie’s Warner Theater turned 90 last month. But unlike the New York City skyscraper, which was restored to the tune of $ 170 million and now looks great, the Warner’s iconic entrance on State Street is completely closed – no marquee, no brass ticket booth. polite, nothing at all.

But a lot of work is going on behind the French Street Theater, where you can already see the giant door of the new addition, which will allow massive sets to be set up for the biggest concerts and Broadway shows.

No, Warner’s 90th birthday isn’t much to celebrate, but wait until next April when the theater shines again in downtown Erie.

One final note about these amazing buildings that opened in 1931. It was in the midst of the Depression, and it’s almost unbelievable that so much money was invested in that time.

• When Johnny Crawford, the young actor who played Chuck Connors’ son in “The Rifleman,” passed away last week at age 75, I remembered his visit to Erie in the early 1960s. His song, “Your Nose is Gonna Grow ”was a hit at the time, and the late Myron Jones, who owned WJET Radio, brought in Crawford for an appearance. I remember it well because my cousin, Roberta, who lived near Akron, was so crazy about Crawford that she insisted on coming to Erie to get her autograph.

• David Cohen, bestselling author of nearly a dozen books from Erie, was pleasantly surprised last week when, in a television interview with Hillary Clinton, his book, “The Clintons: their history in photographs, ”Could be seen from the front and in the center of his library.

Cohen said he never sent the Clintons a copy of the book, but that they liked it enough to get one.

The new UPMC park entrance, presented on April 30, will soon be open for the next Erie SeaWolves season in Erie.  The team survived cutbacks in minor league baseball and within a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Fans will see new renovations to the park, including this entrance at the northwest corner of the facility.

• Erie SeaWolves’ home opener against Akron is scheduled for Tuesday at UPMC Park, and the renovated stadium will be presented today from 3 pm to 5 pm at a party hosted by Erie Events. It is an honor for many that improvements to the 26 year old fleet were funded and completed in time to save the SeaWolves. The team was originally on a list of 42 minor league clubs – later reduced to 40 – that Major League Baseball decided to sweep away.

The SeaWolves are back:After the postponement of the pandemic, the season opens

• Keen-eyed viewers of old cable TV reruns of “Hawaii Five-O” spotted Pat Monahan, from Erie, in one of the recent shows. I’m told that the popular singer showed pretty fair chops.

• A Smokey Friendly Cigar Express store is scheduled to open soon at the former Schell gas station and convenience store at 4719 Peach Street, which is undergoing renovations.

Russell Stachewicz, 50, who co-owns John Russell Brewing Company with his partner John Melody, is featured on January 29 at Summit Township.  The brewery opened for catering service.

• It’s a big year for John Melody and his partner, Russ Stachewicz, who plan to open their new Bay House Oyster Bar & Restaurant later this summer. The well-appointed restaurant, located at the top of the parking lot of the Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel, will offer spectacular views over Presque Isle Bay.

• A special Ruth Humes 100th birthday party at Oliver’s Rooftop restaurant in the new Hampton Inn on Erie Bay piqued the interest of Nick Scott, owner of the place. When Scott first met Humes, she mentioned that her father cut her hair 80 years ago.

• Christ Scott and his wife, Pauline, ran a beauty salon near Eighth and State Streets, where he styled the hair of several ladies in Erie’s society. As a boy, Nick remembers sweeping his hair at the store, then running to work at the family restaurant in W. Ninth and Peach Street. Christ and Pauline Scott later opened Scott’s Motel at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park. “Ruth and I had a great time tracing the memory trail,” said Nick Scott.

Dining room on the top floor:Oliver’s Rooftop restaurant opens at the Hampton Inn & Suites on Erie Bay

• Former WJET-TV sports presenter John Evans, who later served 12 years in the state legislature, is retiring from his post as Pennsylvania Small Business Advocate. He has held this position for the past eight years. Evans plans to move to Florida.

• Sorry to read the recent unexpected passing of Barry Sturm, who was a talented local athlete and a lovely person. Son of former Mercyhurst University tennis coach Bob Sturm, Barry was 64 years old.

Obituary:Barry Alan Sturm 1956 – 2021

• Ann Miaczynski is one of the many people in this region who turn beach glass finds into works of art. Ann recently presented beautiful designs adorned with the colored glass to members of her extended family.

• The decision in New York to shave the hotel Pennsylvania, made famous by Glenn Miller’s song, “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” reminded me of my time there in 1994. I went to the famous play that inspired Miller to write the song – him and his wife lived there before knocking it was tall as a conductor – and was surprised to see it as a potential crime scene.

A maid told me that an elderly couple booked the room and committed suicide there. When I said, “Oh that’s awful,” she said, “Oh, it happens about once a year. This piece clearly meant a lot to many older couples. “

Kevin Cuneo can be reached at [email protected].

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