Downtown movies to show second Thursdays

Commerce – When daylight dissolves into darkness on Thursday, Aug. 12, Hollywood features will return to downtown Commerce. Academy award winner Sandra Bullock stars in "The Blind Side," the first in a series of free outdoor movies.

"The Blind Side," is based a true story about a family in Memphis, Tenn., who befriends and later adopts a high school student with strong motivation to excel in football. He now plays professional football for the Baltimore Orioles.

Five sponsors are working together to bring the free entertainment to downtown Commerce: the City of Commerce, the Commerce Chamber of Commerce, the Commerce Public Library, Family Video, and Texas A&M University-Commerce. The Commerce Public Library will sell popcorn and other concessions at each showing. A steering committee has been formed to make the final selection of future movies, to formulate policies for the events, and to seek indoor venues for monthly showings November through March.

The movies will be shown on two vacant lots owned by the city between City Hall and Main Street. That area is scheduled to be developed into a park for various events. Those planning to attend the movies should bring lawn chairs. The movies will begin at 8:30 p.m. or as soon as darkness is appropriate for projection.

In addition to the feature films, selected short subjects will be shown. Two Roadrunner cartoons will precede the August feature. Drawings for free prizes from Commerce merchants and institutions are also scheduled. The movie for the second Thursday in September will be "To Kill a Mockingbird" staring Gregory Peck. This year is the fiftieth anniversary of that notable film. Members of the audience will receive comment cards and ask to recommend future movies.

Fred Tarpley, coordinator of the project, says the purposes of the downtown movies are to provide community entertainment, help revitalize the downtown area, and bring the town and the university communities together at the film events. Groups from neighborhoods, churches, schools, and civic clubs are encouraged to make second Thursdays a regular gathering.

At Cowhill Coffee Express on Main Street, Jerold Thomas has already paved the way for regularly scheduled entertainment with the third Thursday "Songwriters Concert" staged by Brad Davis.