The date was, I think, 1983, at about this time of year, and pretty much everything was right with the world. The Carter years were over, I was at USC and had, after a bit of flailing around, found something I liked and was was good at that I figured I could spend the forseeable future doing. It was springtime and I was taking a fun elective, "Introduction to Cinema", or some such course title.
I can't now recall the professor's name, but he was quite entertaining and well versed in the material. I remember in particular one of his theories, probably not 100% serious, that people in the first few decades of the 20th century lived their lives much more dramatically than we do now. This would explain, he said, why silent movies look so over-acted to us, but yet when he went back to the original period newspaper reviews of the features, he invariably found praise for the naturalness of the performances. At any rate, we screened many of those silent classics as well as more modern flicks into the French New Wave period and beyond. The kicker for the course was that for the final project, we would split into groups and make our own short films.
Well, as it happened, one of my Computer Science friends was in the course with me, so we formed a group of two for the project. I had, from somewhere, a Super-8 camera with an attached flood, so we were good on the technical side -- all we needed was an idea and script.
Now, one of the films we had screened was Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. I don't know what I would think of it now, but at the time, I believe we both thought it a bit pretentious, and more importantly, a good subject for parody (which could only be helped by the fact that everybody in the audience would have seen the film recently too). I recall very few of the details, but the key fact is that a robed avatar of DEATH was going around taking lives with visual metaphor of a candle going out. We figured that with modern medical technology and life support, HIS job might be a bit less easy. We kicked it around a bit and figured we could get a usable 10 minutes from the idea easily.
Since I had the camera, and there were only two of us, it was obvious that my friend was going to have to be DEATH. It was a bit of a problem that she didn't look at all spooky or dangerous, but she had some ideas for that. Now, she was from North Augusta, so I have no idea how she knew more about this piece of Columbiana than I did (other than I rarely paid attention to anything outside of a book in those days), but she walked us down to the Vista (which was not called that at the time) and into Bluestein's Dry Goods. I had only a vague idea what a "dry goods" store was and certainly would not have automatically included sheets in that category, but she easily found a good sized, inexpensive sheet, and we were out the door. Next we stopped at the grocery for some black Rit dye, and mixing that up in my mother's washer (I have no idea how the next load of clothes came out), we dyed the sheet black.
Wound in black sheets, and with a bit of white makeup, my friend was a perfect DEATH. Next we made some cardboard signs saying "Life Support", and got some trick birthday candles. We put the signs up over the end of hall double doors in LeConte College (the CSCI building at the time), and our tracking shots had DEATH wafting through the corridors of that building and through the doors into the "Life Support" ward. At that point, the idea is that we would cut to the trick candles, and that everytime DEATH would snuff one out, it would re-light. Finally, he would be so frustrated he would break the 7th Seal (on a bottle of Seagrams 7..) We planned the shoot for well after hours (there was no building security in those days) and everything went perfectly without a soul present to ask what in the world we were doing. We got enough footage that we figured we were golden and wrapped up.
Next, I had the film developed, and it was time to edit the movie together. At that point I was suddenly stricken with pollen season allergies like never before and never since. It was non-stop sneezing, and my eyes were watering so badly I literally could not see to use the Moviola. In the end, my friend had to take it and set it up in the downstairs computer remote in the (as we called it at the time, Physical Sciences building) and she edited the movie together completely on her own during her late night shifts as the computer operator there. She did a great job of it, and the film was a hit with the class, we got good grades and moved on to the next semester. As far as I know, she still has the reel somewhere, but I'm sure it's better in memory that it would be watching it again now...
And that's my Bluestein's story!
Chipco specializes in building a wide variety of desktop computers for just about any application.
Columbia has had more tech companies than you might expect, back at least to the days when NCR was building innovative systems in West Columbia. Still, I was unaware of this distributor, nestled with a cheerleading academy in a business park off of Farrow Road. I'm not sure exactly when they closed, but given that it was just in Have Your Say and that we recently turned a month over, I suspect it was the end of March.
(Hat tip to commenter Joe)
Another day, another Piggly Wiggly.
This store, at the corner of Clemson and Hardscrabble Roads, looks like it was a pretty nice one, though I can;t ever recall going inside. I might have thought that it would have benefitted from the closing of the Food Lion across the street, but in this case the ongoing woes of the chain seem to have outweighed any additional traffic from displaced Food Lion shoppers.
The closing of this store started rather oddly, with an "inventory reduction" sale. Since there is no reason for a grocery store to ever have such a sale in the normal course of events, this seems to have been some sort of signal that the store was closing before the management was able to say that officially.
This closing will be a big hit for Magnolia Pointe, as The Pig was the only anchor in the main strip of the shopping center. There is a CVS in an outparcel region, but that won't bring shoppers in to the shopping center proper.
(Hat tip to commenter ken holler)
As the Two Notch and Irmo locations favored each other, so this location, off of Hardscrabble near Clemson, favors the Lexington site, right down to the tattered flag atop semi-circular entryway. LoopNet has a nice aerial view of the property, which as of yet is still fully equipped as a gym.
Attractive as the building is, you have to wonder how the next tenant will feel about being on New Life Fitness Drive..
I think they have not quite moved yet, but New Rate Title Loans on Broad River Road near SLED is selling their building and getting ready to go.
This newish former mortgage building sits on the old Chopping Block location. LoopNet says it has been vacant since 2011, which is longer than I would have guessed, but ties in pretty well with the housing crash.
There are a lot of "House Of Pizza" restaurants around, but I'm not sure if it's a chain of some sort, or just a common name choice. Usually though I see them with a (smaller) town name like "Pontiac House of Pizza", "Camden House of Pizza" etc and not an owner's name like this small storefront at the corner of Clemson and Hardscrabble Roads. This was always on my "to try" list, but as it was so far from where I normally am, I never got around to it in time.
Commenter TahoeChic (who was not impressed) supplied the name for this business that I noticed while taking pictures of Lexington's defunct New Life Fitness. New Life was at the back of Charter Oak Court, while Carolina System Built Homes is at the front.
Driving by, I couldn't quite (and still can't quite to some extent) figure out what the place was. There is obviously a patch of building sites with a mostly constructed building, a set of foundations and then a site with what looks like part of a roof coming out of the ground. The former showroom building seems to be complete though, and from the real estate sign, you can get the whole shebang for less than the price of an upscale house.
I need to go back and get come better pictures, but the Manigault-Hurley Funeral Home closed down in mid March. This funeral home had been a fixture in Columbia since 1923, and provided respite for grieving families in Columbia's Black community starting in the Jim Crow era when other places would have turned them away. 91 years is a pretty good run by any standard! The State says the home's historic record books will be donated to USC's South Caroliniana Library.
(Hat tip to commenter Sidney)
UPDATE 4 April 2014: Added hat-tip to commenter Sidney.