I've known John Gilbert for a long time. A long time ago, he spearheaded the Save the Bradley campaign.
He loves movies and movie theaters and worked at them.
After he helped save the Bradley, with a lot of sweat equity in the building and several fundraisers, he turned the keys over to the Junior League of Columbus.
The Junior League had a great idea of turning it into a teen center, but teens go from one trend to another as quickly as the weather changes.
After the initial excitement, the teens who crowded into the theater, left to find other forms of amusement.
I think the Bradley should have been become a movie theater. One that didn't show first-run movies, but perhaps classics. And instead of just popcorn, candy and soft drinks, maybe dinners.
I mean, how many times have you gone to meet a friend for a 7 p.m. movie after leaving work and not having enough time to have dinner? Popcorn and a Coca-Cola is not dinner.
So why not have a hamburger and fries before the movie starts in a movie theater?
In fact, why can't Carmike Cinemas turn the Peachtree 8 into one of those dinner and a movie-kind of place?
It would have to be cleaned up a little, and add a kitchen, but you know that old saying, "You have to spend money to make money."?
One of my sisters lives in Charleston and there's a theater like that and she loves it. She took our mother there once and the only complaint my mother had was that it was too dark to read the menu. The food was good, she said.
Maybe even the Bradley could be turned into such a theater.
It's got the space. I believe when it had seats on the floor and in the balcony, the capacity was 1,400.
The seats on the floor are all gone, but you could set up tables. That would be even better than putting ledges or airplane-type tables in front of the rows of seats in an existing theater.
Besides, with tables, you can go with your friends and really make a night of it.
With the white water coming, this might be a way to keep some of those folks in town to maybe spend the night?
Anyway, back to John Gilbert.
After he left Columbus, he went to work for the theater inside the CNN complex, where he dedicated one theater to showing "Gone with the Wind."
I'd see him now and then when he'd come to town to run movies for the Columbus Film Society.
A couple of summers ago, he was working with Reynolds Bickerstaff in renovating another old movie house. This one is two doors down from the Bradley. I think that project stalled and I'm not sure what the status is.
Right now, he's working for SBN-TV. It's Signature Broadcasting Network, and its tagline is "It's All About You."
It's a local television broadcast that features news just in your community. Instead of having a channel on cable, you watch online.
It started in McDonough, just south of Atlanta, and recently moved into the Columbus area. Eventually, Chuck and Judy Peterson, who started SBN, want to expand to other cities.
John, who worked at WRLB-TV 3, is now back in television.
Sandra Okamoto, arts writer, can be reached at email@example.com or 706-571-8580.