Kathy's Corner

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Grownups love talking about things that existed when they were a kid that either don’t exist anymore or aren’t as good as the olden days.  Unfamiliar words like “Automat” and “telephone booth” and “drive-in movie” get thrown around. Summertime always reminds me of a magical memory of growing up on Long Island…a drive-in movie. Some of my greatest movie memories…and my worst act of misbehavior…happened at the drive-in movie theatre.

Showing movies outside for groups of people in their cars goes back to the Theatre de Guadalupe in 1915 in New Mexico. The first official patented drive-in opened in June, 1933 in Camden, NJ. With the invention of speakers that attached to each car, drive-in movies sprouted up all over America. There are even still a couple within the Kids Corner listening area, so new generations can discover this family activity.

Drive-in movie theatres were open from late spring into the first cold days of fall.  A humongous screen stood outside, with row after row of parking spaces facing the screen. Each parking space held a speaker that you hung on your window to hear the movie. The speakers never sounded good. The drive-in opened in the evening when it got dark, and cars full of families lined up for a good spot to park their car and see the screen. If the older folks in your family went to the drive-in like I did, they probably remember going in their pajamas and bringing a pillow to sleep on.

There were lots of families with lots of children in Huntington, NY where I lived, and the drive-in theatre entertained the whole family cheaply, since kids were admitted free. Later, when drive-ins began charging kids as well as adults, people came up with creative ways to pack a lot of people into cars without being seen.

The 110 Drive-In was my family drive-in. It was on the edge of town, surrounded by open space and farmland and very little light. Like star gazing, a drive-in theatre needs a dark sky. My favorite part of 110 Drive-In was the rides open before the show and during Intermission. There was a small merry-go-round and a train that circled around the snack stand. Little kids walked across train tracks to the snack stand and rides.

It was on this train at the 110 Drive-In that I did one of the worst things a kid can do. My brother Tommy and I were in one car. In front of us was a Dad and a little girl. The girl had pink cotton candy. The Dad turned to me and said his daughter didn’t want the cotton candy and did I want it. And that was when I made my big mistake. I said yes and took the candy from a stranger. I figured “good deal!” and proudly returned to share my good fortune my mother and Grangree, who were standing by the train station and saw what happened.

 You can imagine how upset they were that I had forgotten the rule: NEVER EVER TAKE FOOD FROM STRANGERS. If you can’t imagine, picture a lot of yelling. It was the kind of yelling worried Moms do when their kid does something that could have turned out dangerous. It was a lesson I learned well that night because my mother was so upset.

I have very happy memories of seeing movies at the 110 Drive-In, along with one awful memory when we saw a movie called “Old Yeller” (warning: the dog dies) and I was not prepared. I saw “Jailhouse Rock” with Elvis Presley at the drive-in. I saw movies that my brother missed because he fell asleep, but I was mesmerized, even when I didn’t understand the plot. I remember the darkness all around us and the squawky sound of the speaker clamped to the window. I remember wearing pajamas with feet in them when the weather turned colder. I remember the Intermission music that counted down the time until the movie started and the song “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” that advertised the yucky food they sold at the snack bar. I knew it was yucky because my mother spent the whole intermission talking about how terrible the food looked. When Big Tom (my father) took us, we sampled everything they had in the snack bar that my mother never let us have. Maybe a 5 on the yuckiness scale. Some of my best memories of my father are going to the drive-in: just him, my brother and me.

Ask  old people in your family if they remember going to the drive-in when they were kids. Kids Corner Producer Robert Drake remembers sitting on the hood of the car to watch the movie with pillows under him. The last time I went to a drive-in was the year of America’s Bicentennial and we went to an all-night marathon of movies. Just before sunrise, they gave out good coffee and donuts that would have pleased my mother.

Like most drive-in movie theatres across America, the 110 Drive-In became a flea market on weekends in the 1970’s and eventually was demolished. Today a big hotel stands where my 110 Drive-In once was. Nothing will ever diminish the memories of the huge screen, the darkness all around us and the warm feeling of being with my family in the car.

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I am not shy about my love for musical theater. I’ve enjoyed shows like Annie, Aladdin Jr., Bye Bye Birdie and Into the Woods at school and camp thanks to my niece. I often throw a show tune into the musical mix on Kids Corner. I’m delighted that people know the name Fiorello H. LaGuardia because of my affection for the musical Fiorello! based on his life. I am firmly convinced that many of the world’s challenges can be addressed through show tunes.

Spring is the most wonderful time of the year for a musical theater fan!  It’s time for the Freddy Awards, broadcast live on WFMZ-TV from the Lehigh Valley on May 25. The State Theater in Easton, PA will be filled with high school musical theater students competing for the Freddy Award for Excellence in categories honoring sets, costumes, orchestras and individual and collective performances. There are musical performances throughout the broadcast, including a production number from each of the schools nominated for Best Overall Production. The competing high schools represent the Lehigh Valley area, including Northampton County and Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, and Warren County in New Jersey. The Freddy Awards’ Scholarship Program has helped many high school students attend college and pursue theater studies, both on stage and in production.

You may live near one of the high schools competing in this year’s Freddy Awards! Perhaps you have a family member involved with one of the shows in the competition. Like a great sports team, a great theatrical production depends on the contributions of all the people involved. It’s a real community effort, as we hear every year on the Freddy Awards when the winners for Best Costumes thank “the costume Moms and Dads.” I have been enjoying the Freddy Awards for several years, and have great memories about performances from The Producers, Ragtime, Guys and Dolls and The Heights. I believe some of the young performers I’ve enjoyed on the Freddy Awards will be among Broadway’s best someday. I also believe that young performers watching on TV at home can be inspired by The Freddy Awards.

The fun, competition and performances of The Freddy Awards has been captured in a documentary called Most Valuable Players. This movie gives a nice look behind the scenes at the Awards. What I especially like in this film is the genuine enthusiasm the staff at the State Theater has for the Freddy Awards and for the students participating in it.

Information about Most Valuable Players:


There is nothing like live musical theater, and the Freddy Awards live telecast captures that spontaneous energetic feeling beautifully. This year I’m thrilled to attend the dress rehearsal of the Freddy Awards the night before the broadcast. I wonder if the show will change before the live broadcast! One thing I know for sure: there is incredible sportsmanship on display at every Freddy Awards, as the audience full of performers cheer loudly for each other. For an evening chock full of joy, I recommend that you track down this year’s Freddy Awards Broadcast. And on with the show!

Information about The Freddy Awards Broadcast May 25, 2017:




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When you hear the words “old person,” who do you picture? Do you picture someone you know and love? Do you think of someone on TV with a long white beard and grey hair? Do you picture someone as old as your parents? Someone even older than your parents? Me?

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Like almost everything else in my life, my green thumb (or lack thereof) comes from my Grangree.

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Kathy welcomed Lee Arnold from the Pennsylvania Historical Society to help explore the rich history of immigration to America. Click READ MORE to listen to the interview.

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The Candy Carnival

Every year, as a favor to the adults out there - we ask the kids that listen to Kids Corner to vote for the most favorite - and least favorite - candy choices. This will help grownups decide on what to purchase when they decide to stock up on Halloween candy this season!

So...... imagine it's Halloween night. As you look into your Trick-or-Treat bag, which candy will you most like to see, because it is your FAVORITE candy and which will you happily give to your mom or dad, because it's your least favorite? 


Kathy will announce the results on Monday, October 23 during the weekly Kindie Music Party. This will give adults enough time to make the wise choice when shopping for Halloween candy that week...


Kids Corner Candy Carnival

My Favorite Halloween Candy Is
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My Least Favorite Halloween Candy Is
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