Dr. Morton Laby, New York (1941)

1930s

Holyoke Theatre, Holyoke Circa 1930s

“My father, George Laby, was manager of the Victory Theater in the 1940’s. He used to go in to the theater even on Sundays to be sure that things were running smoothly. I will never forget that Sunday afternoon in December, a little after One in the afternoon, when he phoned us at home to tell us that he was coming to pick us up and take us to the theater. He didn’t tell us why, but a few minutes later his 1938 Packard entered our driveway, and soon my mother, my brother Ira, and I found ourselves seated in the orchestra at the Victory. I was even more puzzled since it was in the middle of a movie. A moment later the screen went dark, the house lights came on, and my father walked to the microphone at center stage. He announced to the startled audience that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and that America was now at war. Then he asked us all to rise and sing “The Star Spangled Banner”. The house lights dimmed, and the movie resumed. But life would never again be the same.”