The Clyde Family

From the Balcony


Wait, that’s not right.

“As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a gangster.”

Nope, something’s still off.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

There we go.

My name’s Brook Willeford, and my Clyde story starts in an Empire Strikes Back sleeping bag in the balcony.* That’s where I curled up when my parents were both working at the theatre and it was just too late for me. I would lie in the balcony or the projection booth, watch the bright lights flashing on the dark ceiling, and dream of galaxies far away.

Thirty-ish years later, I’m back on the Island full time, building a house with my lovely wife, and joining my parents in the family business. I’ve been a volunteer coordinator, a game designer, a game writer, an advertising copywriter, but through it all, I’ve been a movie lover and an Island boy at heart. Now I get to be an Island boy in fact, and bring my love for the movies to the community I grew up in.

Whenever my parents tell someone that I’m joining the family business, the first question that person has for me is “What are you going to change?” My answer has always been: “Nothing.” My parents have done an amazing job making the Clyde a part of the community, and the community a part of the Clyde. In my mind, that’s the most important thing about a small community business, and I never want that to change.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to add something, of course. I’d love to see video games at the Clyde, either as part of charity efforts such as Extra Life ( or as community competitions. But really, I just want to help keep the Clyde front and center for another generation or two of South Whidbey-ites.

May the movies be with you, always.


*I suppose my Clyde story properly starts at two weeks old, crying in the lobby because the car crashes in The Blues Brothers were too loud (I strenuously disagree with my two-week-old-self now). But the sleeping bag is my first Clyde memory.

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10 responses to “From the Balcony”

  1. Danita Zanre says:

    I’m sure you will have a wonderful time and contribute greatly in the family business. Many congratulations!

  2. Judy Burnett says:

    What a pleasure to read about your return and I’m so thrilled to hear that you will be continuing the family business! The Clyde truly has been the heart of this community; and for yourself, what better way to have a rich and rewarding life than to carry on with the same traditions. Thank you and your wife for committing yourselves to this endeavor and hope to see you at the movies soon.

  3. B Jason and Joy Brent says:

    Welcome back to the island. My wife and I really enjoy the Clyde even though we have to drive down from Oak Harbor. Ever think of branching out? Look forward to meeting you soon.

  4. Terri says:

    Good memories and many more to make! Congrats!

  5. Please, please, no video games…it would take away from the wonderful, quaint ambience. We so love the Clyde!!!!

    • Lynn says:

      Don’t worry, Chris. The gaming would involve no physical changes in The Clyde (they bring their own gear) and would only happen when the theater wasn’t being used for movies–daytime or late night. And think how much fun it will be for gamers to see their actions on the big screen!

  6. Arwen says:

    I think this is just the best news. I love movies and I love whidbey and I love your family! You are going to be awesome at this!

  7. David and Jill Campbell says:

    Congratulations on coming back to the Island and taking this on! We are proud for your parents and so happy for the two of you– We look forward to someday having enough time and energy to visit the Clyde more often! (I might just see you at EVERY “perfect Langley movie”!)

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