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Thanks to behind-the-scenes folks

By Staff | May 15, 2009

The world is full of behind-the-scenes people.

You know the people I’m talking about. They’re the ones who we give so little thought to and yet they are so important.

They are the people who take care of all the details so the rest of us can enjoy ourselves. Generally, they are the ones who do not receive credit or fame. They tend to stay out of public view. They often work quietly, in a way that does not attract attention.

Last week, I attended an appreciation open house for two such people – Ted and Lu Miller. As many know, they managed the Centre Cinema for the last 22 years. During their time running the theater, they were classic behind-the-scenes folks.

Behind-the-scenes people are often quiet, low-key, gracious and friendly. Ted and Lu fit that description to a tee. They took care of the business at hand to make sure those of us who attended the movie had a good time and enjoyed an evening out at the local theater.

How many times do you go to the movies and never give a second thought to who takes care of things around the place? I was recently given a tour of the theater. Anyone who has ever been around the building knows it’s a big place. That means it takes a lot of hours to clean and maintain the business.

So many of us treasure the local theater. Where else can you go to enjoy a movie, with tasty popcorn and a soda, all with plenty of leg room to stretch out? You can’t go to the big movie theaters in a larger cities and do that. And if you try, you’ll pay a whole lot more to do it.

For those of us who enjoy the movies here at home, we don’t often give a lot of thought to what goes into the day-to-day operations that Ted and Lu took care to see got done.

It’s a treat to be able to go to the local theater. I’ve always said it’s really just an extension of your living room. You know everyone there.

Plus, the building holds a lot of nostalgia for many people. Those who have been going to movies there since their childhood, say the place hasn’t changed much. Going to the movies brings back a lot of wonderful memories for those who grew up here. And if you didn’t grow up here, it’s almost like taking a step back in time. It matters not that the technology isn’t up to speed. Who cares if there’s no state-of-the-art surround sound? Nobody seems to mind that the place hasn’t been updated in many years. It’s about the experience. And thanks to the time and attention paid by Ted and Lu, that experience was top-notch.

Who came to the theater hours beforehand to turn on the heat so you could enjoy a movie in cozy comfort on a cold winter night? Who warmed up the popcorn maker so you could indulge in a treat? Who cleaned up after movie-goers every night?

Unfortunately, behind-the-scenes people are often underappreciated. They’re the ones who see to it that everything is in place. They clean and repair. They set up and take down. So often those of us attending an event or taking part in some sort of outing don’t think of all the time it takes to pull it off. For many venues, hours of manpower are invested before the public even arrives, not to mention all that’s done during and after an event.

So the next time you take time to notice one of those behind-the-scenes people, be sure thank them.

Those who have gone to the local theater for years will surely miss Ted and Lu. But we look forward to a new chapter and an appreciation for the new behind-the-scenes owners.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

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