Dan Gregory: Retro Guy
- Posted By : Lynn
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A 15-year-veteran of The Clyde, once-a-week projectionist Dan Gregory isn’t a fan of the new digital cinema. “I miss the old projectors,” he says. “I liked all the noise, the smell of the room, the scratchy films, and the uncertainty of each night’s show.” Given that Dan was completely unfamiliar with computers at the time of the turnover, however, there was still a lot of suspense every Tuesday until he mastered the new system.
When he’s not enjoying boring moments in The Clyde projection booth, Dan’s been the easy-going guy behind the counter at Hanson’s Building Supply for the past 28 years. Before that he spent nearly 20 years jumping from city to city managing Westin Hotels, ending at the iconic St. Francis in San Francisco. In fact, it was a hotel doorman in Seattle who first suggested that Dan come up and check out land on Whidbey. Five days later Dan and his wife Marilyn were the proud owners of five acres here.
He and Marilyn, who works at Boeing, raised three kids, Ruth, Andrea, and Daniel. They’re a movie-crazy family. In fact Ruth is now a documentarian who teaches movie-making at Shoreline Community College. We showed her documentary about the struggle to get a women’s ski-jumping event accredited by the Olympics at The Clyde several years ago to a packed house.
When asked how he got started at The Clyde, Dan says, “Blake pulled me aside and said, ‘You’re here all the time, how would you like to run the projector?’ I said, no thanks, it would ruin my theater experience. But then Blake told me I’d get paid, my family would get in for free and I’d get pop, popcorn and candy. I did the math: Two movies a week = ten tickets + snack bar = $35 an hour, and I changed my mind.”
Dan’s family life has directed a lot of his volunteer work as well. He started the first girls’ soccer team at SWHS and stuck with them for four or five years before they ever won a game. Like most Clyde staff, he’s been a Hearts & Hammers volunteer for years, and was also a charming candidate in the very first Friends of Friends Mr. South Whidbey contest. He’s been known to practice a stand-up comedy routine in the theater once everyone’s gone home, but we don’t know if he’ll ever take it public.
What does Dan like most about working at The Clyde? “The feeling of community, definitely.”
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