The Pryor Times

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March 19, 2007

Allred featured in new book

“The theater is the heart of the community,” said Allred Theatre owner, Gene Oliver.

As in many small towns, the Allred, located on Main Street, is the heart of Pryor. Photographers Tony and Eve Worobiec, of England are hoping to capture the beauty of small town cinemas in their new book “Icons of the Highway: Celebration of Small Town America.”

Tony Worobiec has published several books including “Rhythms of the Land,” “Beyond Monochrome, Toning and Handtinting Photographs” and “Photo Art.” Together Tony and Eve have published “Abandoned America: Ghosts in the Wilderness.”

“The book (Abandoned America) itself was about the abandoned homesteads that you might find in America. Then we thought we needed to do a follow up book,” said Tony.

Their publisher was also interested in what would follow.

“We kept coming back to the state looking for a new project. We just couldn’t see it at all. Then we realized that each time we went to a diner, we went to a hotel, they were disappearing. The ones that we used to go to were disappearing. Then we thought the whole downtown seems to be shifting out toward the motorway,” said Tony. “Then we suddenly realized that these lovely old fashioned cinemas were doing the exactly the same. They’re moving to these mega complexes. This is really a culture we associate with America, we’re thinking about the 50’s and 60’s. It’s when America was set aside from the rest of the world. When America was really at its peak as far as culture is concerned. So we thought let’s see if we can discover it. Let’s see if we can find it. We decided what we needed to do was cinemas.”

Eve said that maintaining an interest in small towns is really the goal of the couple as they work on their book. They want to capture the things “Europeans would associate with the U.S.A. like movie theaters, motels with great big showy (signs), diners ... symbols of America,” Tony said.

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