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Art Proctor, 'grandfather of cinema' in S.L., dies

Published: Friday, Sept. 18 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Art Proctor

Brian Nicholson, Deseret Morning News

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Arthur Charles Proctor, 77, who at one time operated the Avalon Theatre, Video, Vista and Blue Mouse theaters, died Sept. 15, 2009.

Called the "grandfather of cinema" in Salt Lake City by his family, he was one of Utah's best-known nostalgic movie experts.

"Art was the city's single greatest influence for the preservation of classic movies from what we now call the Golden Age — the 1930s, '40s and '50s," said Chris Hicks, former Deseret News movie critic and entertainment editor.

"Unlike most film buffs, he didn't just talk about old movies — he showed them on the big screen in his theaters week after week for years. Then, when VHS movies came on the scene, Art opened a video store and rented those same golden oldies. I'm sure he had the largest collection of classic films in the state, and he loved to share them. His contribution to the local movie scene really can't be measured."

When local theaters struggled to survive in the early 1990s under pressure from theater chains and video rentals, Proctor told the Deseret News his movie philosophy in 1993:

"We play the old classics and have a clientele that like them. They don't want to be insulted by all the trash in the movies, and I like to present good entertainment and feel good about it when I go home."

Family members say he was often heard whistling and singing familiar movie tunes and repeating the line, "Good movies like good books never grow old."

Born on Oct. 24, 1931, in Salt Lake City, he graduated from South High School.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009, at the Holladay Stake Center, 4568 S. Holladay Blvd., Holladay. Friends may call on Friday, Sept. 18, 6-8 p.m., at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 Highland Drive, and at the Holladay Stake Center Saturday from 9:45-10:45 a.m., prior to services. Interment will be in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.

Tributes can be left online at www.mem.com.

— Lynn Arave

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