I am often totally amazed when things come together when my brain and its memories start operating on overtime. On occasion I then have material for an article and that has happened a few times lately.
About two weeks before Christmas, I discovered one of the physical therapists, Cara Daffron, who has been helping me with my shoulder, had written a book, an e-book titled The Epiphany of Mrs. Claus. I downloaded the book and enjoyed reading it.
Around the same time, the name of Randy Galvin, who was a year ahead of me at Southport High School, popped up. Randy was an amazing fellow. He was an excellent athlete who wrestled and played football. He also was involved in the junior and senior school plays. During those years, it wasn’t very often that a high school or college student who was involved in athletics was totally interested and involved in participating in school plays.
He attended Indiana University and was a very good Big 10 wrestler. His high school coach was Chauncey McDaniel and his college coach was Chauncey’s brother. He graduated from IU with a Masters of Theater Arts degree. He then taught school in Chevy Chase, Maryland and later at Butler University.
In July 1967 he opened the Black Curtain Dinner Theater in the Talbott Square area of downtown Indianapolis. The building was opened as a movie theater in the early 1920’s and became the first professional dinner theater in the city.
I have fond memories of attending plays at the dinner theater. My wife and I enjoyed the dinners and the play each time. Randy had an entertainer, John William Higar, later known as Billyjohn Rainbow, who painted upside-down landscapes and portraits on stage during intermissions. When finished, he would flip over the painting to reveal the real image to the surprise of the audience.
I remember driving through the downtown area of Indianapolis and looking to my right and spotting Billyjohn driving in the lane beside me. He was also painting an upside-down picture as we motored along. I quickly dropped back a bit and watched from a much safer distance.
During the time that Randy owned and operated his dinner theater, he also was very instrumental in the growth of the Talbott Village neighborhood.
As I was going through materials to put together this article, I came across something that stopped me in my tracks. Randy was an author. I discovered that he wrote only one book, titled Christmas Attitudes, with seven Christmas-related skits. We lost Randy Galvin way too soon. He passed away in 1997.
I sat back and smiled as I thought about learning about two Christmas books that have been written by two people I have personally known. This all happened within a one-month period before Christmas and with Christmas as the theme of each book.
Thank you, Cara, and thank you Randy. I have enjoyed these memories. Even the Billyjohn ones.