Harveys Lake History

The Summer Playhouse 'Beautiful'

Part 5

After the War Makinson became a salesman in the law-book industry.  In 1973 he moved to Lexington, Virginia, founding a cooperative art gallery Artists in Cahoots in 1980 which featured his land and seascape art work along with other artists.  Interviewed at age 93 in January 2009, he especially recalled Roscella Lightner at the Lake playhouse.  She was married to a vaudeville comic Fred Lightner and her friendship with Elaine Barrie likely led to Barrie’s appearance at the Lake.  Fred Lightner appeared in several movies after 1935, and in 1948 in The Babe Ruth Story.  He also appeared in the Broadway play Off to Buffalo in February 1939 and Hit the Trail which lasted for four performances in December 1954.

Artists in Cahoots

Goerge Makinson's Artists in Cahoots cooperative in Lexington, Virginia. Mr. Makinson is seated in the front row with the bow tie.

Cecile Wulff, one of the Lake's original stars, seemingly had no noted theatrical success after 1939.  She died at age 83 in 1993 in Brooklyn, her home town.  The Lake playhouse actor Paul Kirk Giles (1895-1976) continued in an acting career with his last performances in the TV cult classic Dark Shadows in 1968-1971.

The Nanticoke apprentice Franklyn Lenthall (1919-2001), a Wyoming Seminary graduate, who appeared at the Lake playhouse in Easy Virtue, had an extensive theatre career including movies between 1947 and 1952, for example, Naked City (1948) and The West Point Story (1950).  He appeared in regional theatres between 1950 and 1970 but was best known as the co-owner, producer and director of the Boothbay Playhouse in Maine from 1957 to 1974, founding the Boothbay Theatre Museum and serving as its curator from 1974 to 1990.  He published widely in magazines on theatre history and other topics and he was an expert on theatrical manuscripts and autographs.  He also was a faculty member of several prestigious theatre academies. 

The Harvey’s Lake Playhouse did not reopen in 1940.  At a later time the playhouse building was razed.  The looming War years would impact the Nation and the Lake.

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Copyright 2006-2008 F. Charles Petrillo