19 March 2011

Funny Girl: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

Week 12-Did (or do you still) see many movies?  Describe your favorites.  Where did you see these films?  Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place.

I love musicals of all kinds, movie or stage.  Funny Girl is my all time favorite movie musical.  Who wouldn't fall in love with Nicky Arnstein and his ruffle shirts?  I remember seeing Funny Girl at the Harbor Beach Community Theater on North Huron Avenue in Harbor Beach, Michigan.

The theater, in Harbor Beach, was a great place to watch movies.  It was an old fashioned, Baroque-style theater.  The red velvet curtain graced the stage that housed the movie theater screen and was used for live theatrical performances, too.  The theater was on the north side of the Community Center, which housed the library, a gym, a lending library for art work, and meeting spaces.  It cost $.50  to see a movie, rising to $.75 when I was in high school.  The movie theater is still in use today.  The community has restored the beautiful 1920's building adding a mural depicting historical images of Harbor Beach. 

I loved everything about Funny Girl, and still do.  The music, the costumes, and the story line.  The cast of Barbra Streisand, Omar Sharif, Walter Pidgeon, Kay Medford and Anne Francis sang some of my favorite songs.  Who doesn't love "I'm the Greatest Star", 'Don't Rain on My Parade", and "People"?  Barbra Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Funny Girl.  It was nominated for Best Picture, but lost to 'Oliver', another movie musical.


  1. I also love "Funny Girl" and know the lines by heart, after playing the video/DVD multiple times. Back in the 60s it was on Broadway, and when I was in NYC I was tempted to see the play, but who heard of Barbra, so we did something else instead. My big loss. Thanks for the memory.

  2. I was very close to including Funny Girl in my post in this 52 weeks series. Before I saw the film, I loathed Barbra and I have no idea why. Some friends had been to see Funny Girl and raved about how wonderful it was. She said that if I didn't just love the film, she would pay my $1 admission.

    I LOVED the film and became a Streisand fan to this day. Also fell for Omar! On long road trips, I break into song with several tunes from the film. "Don't Rain on My Parade" is a favorite as well as "My Man." This was definitely a landmark film for me. In fact, just watched parts of it via the new movie streaming feature on Amazon.com last weekend.

    "What are they gonna do? Shoot the swans? Deese lovelies?"

    Thanks for the memories!

  3. Barbara and Susan, thanks for the comments. I enjoy sharing our love for Funny Girl and Omar with you.

  4. I have some old theater seating from this theater, their painted red with black armrests. I was wondering if anyone out there knows when these seats from? I do know that the interior was updated, hence the reason the theater seats are in my possession. Thanks to anyone who would love to take a guess.

    Tim Eagle

  5. The theatre was built in the 1920's. Do you know if you have the original seats? I wonder if the Harbor Beach Historical Society might be able to help you. Contact information for them is here:


  6. They replaced the seats. They moved the old seats upstairs.

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  8. Hi, I followed a facebook link to this blog because a friend tagged the library in a comment about it. I am the current Director at the Harbor Beach Library, which operates the Community House that houses the Harbor Beach Theatre. I want to comment to Tim Eagle regarding the seats that he has from our theatre. I'm not sure when the downstairs original seats were removed from the Theatre, but at the time they were in this building, they were a dark would with metal sides. It is possible that the seats you have were painted after they were removed from the theatre. The balcony seats were replaced in 1994, so that we no longer have any of the original seats in the theatre. However, we still have some the same type of original seats in our gymnasium.

    We are currently trying to raise money to upgrade the Theatre's projectors to digital projectors so that we can continue in operation. We have raised close to $20,000 locally and are looking to raise an additional $45,000 for the projector upgrade.

    If you would like more information about the Harbor Beach Community Theatre, go to the Theatre page on our library website: http://www.hbadl.org/index.php/2012-06-25-20-01-22

    Vicki Mazure, Director, Harbor Beach Area District Library

  9. Dear Vicki,
    Thank you so much for the information you provided on the seats. I remember checking many books out of your wonderful library. It is a treasure to the community.