Laurel TV: History of Laurel Shopping Center, Part 2

The latest episode of Lost Laurel on Laurel TV is the second part (and finale) of our special History of Laurel Shopping Center. Whereas Part 1 focused on the 1956 grand opening festivities, Part 2 covers the 1966 expansion that doubled the shopping center’s size; as well as the 1971 addition of Georgetown Alley, and 1979 arrival of Laurel Centre Mall. There’s also a segment on the shocking 1972 assassination attempt of Governor George Wallace.

Laurel Leader “History Matters” columnist Kevin Leonard and I had the pleasure of spending a morning reminiscing on location with Denny Berman, whose father and uncle built Laurel Shopping Center. Denny, who fondly remembers the Fifteen Fabulous Days grand opening as a six-year-old, essentially grew up at the shopping center—where he eventually joined the family business, and today is a General Partner of Berman Enterprises.

This episode also marks entirely new territory for me, having had to learn (very quickly, I might add) to both film and edit it myself. Tyler Baldwin, who had not only deftly handled such duties for each of the previous episodes—but initially pitched the very idea for the series—started a new job in December. (Good luck, Tyler!) Rather than start over with another director, I decided to take a stab at producing it all on my own and simply delivering the final product to Laurel TV. While it was a little scary, (and a lot of work) I have to say, I did enjoy putting it together and being able to see the story evolve from start to finish. I hope you’ll enjoy the result, as well.

My thanks also to sound designer Donnie Conty, who (despite having never been to Laurel before in his life) joined Kevin, Denny and me on that cold, rainy morning at Laurel Shopping Center to ensure that I filmed everything correctly. He then worked his audio magic on the final cut, making sure it sounds great.

My plan is to continue producing the show on my own, hopefully still at a rate of one new episode per month. I’ve already started on January’s edition, which you’ll see a teaser for at the end of this one. It will cover the Lost & Found Laurel exhibit, which just closed at the Laurel Museum on December 21st. Beyond that, let me know what you’d like to see! I’m considering everything from past restaurants, department stores, specific neighborhoods, vintage crimes, and more. Keep the ideas coming, and as always, thanks for your interest!

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2 thoughts on “Laurel TV: History of Laurel Shopping Center, Part 2

  1. Kirk Felix says:

    Hello Richard,

    I know you are probably looking for interesting items to present, so I thought I’d take the liberty to give you a couple.
    I have been a fan of Lost Laurel now for several years. I love the interviews and all the visions of Lost Laurel that you present. A segment that I think needs to be presented is the year that Laurel held it’s Centennial. Their was a lot of preparation for this event and a massive outdoor stage production held at the Laurel Race Track that I believe was called the Laurel Spectacular which covered the history of Laurel for the Last hundred years. The year was 1970 or 71 and there was much coverage in the Laurel Leader. I was personally involved with the procurement of many of the items that were needed for this production to be presented. It may make for a great episode. I know there was a VHS film made of the “Spectacular”. It was filmed by Robert Uhl who was one of the steering committee members. Thomas Coward was also involved. He lived on Muirkirk Road. on the outskits very near the BW Parkway off RT 197. A former News Reporter for the Laurel Leader is a very close friend of mine who now lives in Florida Adele (Boose) Connelly. I can probably put you in touch with her, if you’d decide to go ahead with piece on the Centennial.
    Something else you might find interesting is an episode about the “World Famous Laurel Rescue Squad”. They were instrumental with keeping George Wallace alive between Laurel and the hospital.
    Well I have said my piece. Keep up the great work I really enjoy watching and reading about Lost Laurel here in Canada. They were instrumental with keeping George Wallace alive between Laurel and the hospital.

    Best always

    Kirk Felix

  2. I was in the Centennial play along with the rest of my family.The Berman Brothers also developed other shopping centers in the Laurel area as I recall.

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