I’m doing a little flashback to last summer and bringing you the Totem Pole Playhouse! Surrounded by the beautiful Caledonia State Park – and just up the road from Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum – is a summer stock theater that first opened in 1950. An arsonist destroyed the theater in 1969 and the present building was constructed in 1970. More than a handful of famous actors have walked the boards of this charming theater, including Shirley Jones, John Ritter, Lee Meriwether, Curtis Armstrong, Sada Thompson, and Jean Stapleton.
If you are a regular RoadsideWonders reader, you may recall that I mentioned the theater in my Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum post last year. Jean Stapleton (of All in the Family fame) and her husband, William H. Putch, owned and operated the Totem Pole for nearly 30 years. Mr. Putch passed away in 1983 and Ms. Stapleton sold the theater. Her son, actor/writer/director John Putch, has since used the Totem Pole as one of the filming locations for his movie Route 30.The theater’s season typically runs from May – August; but there are also special events throughout the year (including classic movies). I have been to several shows at the Totem Pole and I highly recommend it!
Yes, I realize that I broke the cardinal rule of “cruiser posing” and I didn’t take the picture with the pipes facing the viewer. So, sue me.
When I arrived on this particular day, the matinee show intermission was just ending. The theater doesn’t have a lobby, so patrons typically stroll the grounds or enjoy refreshments on the front porch. When the last of the crowd filed back into the theater, I walked over to take a picture of the ‘Curtain Is Up’ sign and the sweet lady who was manning the box office ran over and said, “Oh, let me turn it around so that you can get both sides!” 🙂