It has been decades since we have seen a more uplifting ceremony than last month’s two-hour event.
Almost SRO (Standing Room Only) at the Whittier Theatre, as those attending had to park as far away as Spring Street on a rainy day to attend.
As the downstairs was almost completely filled and others went to the mezzanine, a dozen bagpipes and three great drums droned solemnly from the lobby and marched majestically into the darkened auditorium down the two central aisles and climbed the stairs to the stage.
A marvelous photo of Andrew Victor McLaglen appeared on the theatre’s new giant screen as the pipers engulfed us all from their stage performance, which totally conquered the audience as they played their proud Scottish melodies.
As the lights were turned up, the pipe and drum corps marched slowly down the stage stairs and out of the room—all of this before any introduction.
This was followed by a wonderful cast of family and friends, starting with the words of the late Andrew’s son, Josh; daughter Sharon Lannan; Cydney Bernard; Scout McLaglen, a grandchild who performed an exquisite ballet solo; Ethan Wayne, Gary Nelson; Maureen See, and concluded by daughter Mary, who assembled the throng for a toast of fine wine to Andrew Victor McLaglen.
The friends, some describing scenes displayed on the screen or imagined, caused many tears and yet as many smiles and laughs as we heard how this giant 6-foot-7-inch Andrew always had the ability to leave a family member or friend smiling by his jibes or stepping on someone’s toes during picture-taking or even movie-making, I presume.
How appropriate to have the song “Smile” beautifully performed by Susan Williams and guitarist Keith Busha at this stage of the proceedings.
Other great words came from family and friends, who used the giant screen at times. It made me think of how blessed we are that the late Dodie Gann has bequeathed the screen to the theatre.
— Go with the F.L.O.W. (Ferry Lovers Of Washington)