Arts and Entertainment

It's the end of an era for the Clyde's printed schedules

This graphic from one of the Clyde Theatre
This graphic from one of the Clyde Theatre's schedules features the artwork of Scot Gaznier.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lynn Willeford

Print is dead.

At least when it comes to movie schedules.

The Clyde Theatre in Langley recently announced that its multi-colored printed schedules, which have featured the work of local artists for 38 years, are obsolete.

“The whole industry has changed,” said Clyde co-owner Lynn Willeford.

“We hated to break a 38-year tradition, but we’ve got to be more nimble these days, and a printed schedule requires too much lead time,” she said.

“It’s become harder and harder to book films well in advance, due to changes in marketing, booking and distribution of films,” Willeford said. “So we have to change.”

The Clyde can get a film about a month sooner if it uses e-mail and the Web site to distribute the schedule. With the switch, films will now show up on the local screen sooner than before.

The community has been understanding, Willeford said. The biggest concern is what customers would do to fill the empty space on their refrigerators without a beautiful Clyde Theatre schedule to hang.

“We’ve been giving out postcard-size magnets that have a picture of the Clyde at night on them, along with the Web site address and our phone number,” Willeford said.

“Most people are responding very well to the news; they know they’ll get to see a movie sooner and they’re happy.”

Eight hundred movie buffs have already signed up for the Clyde’s weekly “e-blast,” which comes out every Tuesday and includes the schedule and links to the films’ trailers. The newly refurbished Web site will also include a new blog for more info on each movie.

Some loyal customers of the Clyde were concerned that the change meant no longer getting to see beloved art-house and independent films, which the Clyde is dedicated to showing, along with the more commercial Hollywood blockbusters. But Willeford said those films will still be on the schedule. They’ll show on weekends instead of mid-week, to provide an alternative to the scheduled mainstream film.

Starting mid-October, the Village by the Sea movie house will book films every week or two instead of every six weeks, which is standard for American movie theaters. That means films will have a longer run than the usual three- or four-day stay they had before at the Clyde.

Folks can sign up for the weekly electronic notices when they’re at the Clyde or by e-mail to: Customers can also sign up at the Web site — click here.

“We’re sad to see the end of the calendars,” Willeford said. “So many have been beautiful or eye-catching or witty, and we loved partnering with so many talented artists.”

She still has a copy of every calendar since her husband and co-owner Blake Willeford bought the theater in February 1972.

In the years since, she said, the refrigerators of South Whidbey have been enlivened by the art of Karran West, Ed Nordin, Bob Sabatini, Gretchen Pedersen, Willy Maschmeier, Deon Matzen, Buffy Morrow, Janie Cribbs, Ro Purser, Briony Cribbs-Morrow, Bruce Morrow, Anne Belov, Christine Nyburg, Kim Kelzer, Mike Boyd, Scot Gaznier, Scott Freutel, Pamela Jacques, Frank Jacques, Julie Hougum, Tim Leonard, Denis Zimmerman, James Wills, Lee Wexler, Audrey Bishop and both Lynn Willeford and her then 6-year-old son.

It’s the end of an era, and a new beginning for the historic Whidbey Island movie theater.

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