Comments from TomWillett

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TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Jul 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Martin Kovacich was in my 8th Grade graduating class at Lafayette School in Hammond in 1952. Great days.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on May 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

I think I knew Mike Kovacich. I can’t find my 1952 Graduating Lafayette Echo right now. I am sure he was in my class with Mr. Brauer.

One of life’s lessons I learned from my first business employer, Nate Eisenhower, who owned the market across from the railroad tracks just down the street and on the other side of Calumet, was about honesty. Mr Eisenhower gave me a scale to use and some 100 pound bags of potatoes. I was in the basement of the store putting the potatoes into ten pound paper bags. He said “Put in the potatoes until the scale reads ten pounds, then… add one more potato.”

I am saddened by the loss of one of Calumet Avenues great business persons, Mr. Myzejewski, who was part of the life of all of us who grew up in Hammond in that era.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Mar 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I did not know Harry Coles. Miss Owens was one of the first people who I ever knew who died. She probably was under 40 years of age. She looked a lot like my mom. I do remember attending the graduation ceremonies for my brother’s class. Kenny Dodd was at the rear of the students who marched up the aisle in the gym building. The tall students walked in front and they were two abreast side by side, except Kenny was in the back alone. I would guess he did not like that. There also was a guy in my class named Kenny Hammond who ran away at about age 14 with his girlfriend and came back a few days later. I am not sure what happened with them. Others in my class included Carol Fanno who was a great singer. I hope she made it big. Veleeta Middleton was a wonderful piano player. Mr. Brauer had the wood shop. One other place that was as famous as the Calumet Theater which is now gone was Rovais. I used to stop there in the morning on my way to Lafayette to talk with the other kids and listen to the jukebox. Private Eddie Fisher singing Anytime, Frankie Laine singing That’s My Desire and Vaughn Monroe singing Ghost Riders in the Sky. I bought many comic books and sodas at Rovais. One of the best hamburgers I have ever had from a restaurant was the Miner Dunn 30 cent big hamburger. That was when White Castles were a nickel. Their fries were also big and plentiful and tasty. Popcorn at the Calumet, I believe, was 15 cents and Cokes and candy were a nickel.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Feb 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm

My brother Joe was in Mr. Hinsley’s class. I think Mr. Hinsley also taught Social Studies. Joe passed away about 3 years ago at age 71. When he was at Lafayette, probably in the Sixth Grade, he fell out of a tree and broke both his arms. His class got him a big bowl of fruit, apples and bananas and oranges and other goodies. It was a nice surprise. He rode in the blue Buick ambulance that I often saw racing through the streets. It was about a 1948 model. We lived at 5448 Calumet across the street from Lafayette for many years. We then moved to 5508 Calumet, closer to the Calumet Theater. If I remember correctly the admission for kids at the Calumet was 12 cents. Also 12 cents at The Orpheum and ten cents at The Hohman. The Parthenon and Paramount were twenty cents.

Donald Martin visited us one time after we moved to Kentucky. He brought Gerald or Jerrold Markley with him. Donald and my brother Joe would ride the Shore Line Transit bus with me from Hessville and they would examine each other’s lunch each day. They would call each other “Jelly Belly” or"Baloney Belly" depending on the contents.

It seems to me Kenny Dodd was in my brother’s class at Lafayette. Wayne Liss was my classmate who might have been well known at Lafayette. Teachers there included Miss Owens, Miss Huber, Miss Elvira Peterson and there was a substitute named Miss Funk. I think the music teacher was Miss Fairchild but I could be wrong.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Feb 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

You would have been in my brother’s graduating class at Lafayette. He was Joe Willett. I know there were two different classes at each graduation, Mr. Brauer’s and Miss Clippenger’s. It is possible there were some other 7th and 8th Grade teachers I do not remember, but I do remember Mr. Wilcox, Mr. Jonas (Band), Mr. Stout, I think, was the Gym teacher and of course the Principal, Mr. Sluyter. My brother went to Tech and studied Plumbing with Mr. Schell who died just a few years ago.

I think the Calumet also had The Egg and I and the Ma and Pa Kettle and Mr. Belvedere movies when they first came out. I do remember walking from Sibley over to State Street often and taking a shortcut over the remains of the State Theater, which, I guess, was the best theater in Hammond and maybe all of Indiana. Another person you might know from my nrother’s and your class at Tech was Donald Martin. He had a younger friend named Gerald Markley who I knew.

I hope all is well for you. I am doing fine in Tennessee now.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Feb 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Hi, Donald, I probably saw you there in the early 1950s. I moved from Hammond about 1950 to Hessville but still attended Lafayette grade school on Calumet. I am sure I went to the Calumet theater before we moved from Hessville to Kentucky in 1952. I probably knew some of your fellow students at Hammond High. I went to Hammond Tech. I knew Del Katcher who played guitar. He is now Del Casher. I knew Jerry Preusz and Dean Simon and others who would have graduated in 1956. I think the Calumet also had Legend of Sleepy Hollow and African Queen as first runs.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Jul 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks for the info. If I were to own a theater such as The Calumet I would show public domain oldies movies and have a live show, perhaps a talent contest. If BMI and ASCAP were too expensive I would have a talent show with public domain songs and novelty acts. At $40,000 for a price tag I would imagine the taxes would be low.

TomWillett commented about Calumet Theatre on Mar 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I went to the Calumet often as a kid. I lived on Calumet AV for many years from shortly before the end of WWII until about 1951. I went to Lafayette Grade School at Sibley and Calumet across the street from my house. I saw at least one of the Ma and Pa Kettle movies there as a first run. African Queen played there when it came out. The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow was at The Calumet, I believe. I think Song of the South was at The Calumet when it came out. Check out Bobby Driscoll’s story. Very sad. Also Mr Belvedere was a Calumet offering. The parthenon and Paramount on Hohman were for the Grade A movies, the Hohman and Orpheum were for kids with cowboy movies and serials. The Calumet would have been for the Charlie Chan and spy type and family films. I would love to go back there sometime and get that place going again.

TomWillett commented about X 1 & 2 Theaters on Feb 11, 2005 at 1:45 pm

Thanks, Christian,

I took the picture. I am the webmaster for I used to go to that theater in the 1980s when they had double features. I also worked outside the building as an movie extra. That was probably an episode of Hollywood Beat.

I worked with Johnny Legend in Bug Buster. There is a scene with the band, Trailer Park Trash. That is Johnny and Melba Toast on vocals. Johnny on sax. Myself on keyboard and a drummer.

I believe that theater is near the Free Clinic. It has been empty for a long time.

Tom Willett