In 1975, a special film showing “American Graffiti” courtesy of the Blatt Bros. Grand Theater was featured as a fundraising event for the Bret D. Smith Memorial Scholarship at WACS, which resulted in the Grand Theater being raised $1,130.
Blatt Bros. donated the use of film and theater for the October 30 event hosted by the late William Gollnitz, manager and employees of the Grand Theater. Bret D. Smith, son of the late Robert and Darlene Smith, was employed part-time by the Westfield Theatre.
The recipient of the $1,000 Bret D. Smith Scholarship must meet certain criteria, including plans to continue their education, either in college or in a professional school. The WACS student will be selected each year by a committee consisting of the Head of the Grand Theatre, the Senior Guidance Counselor and the Senior Class Counselor.
Interestingly, the theater was among the committee members who helped select each year’s recipient. Little did they know in 1975 that in 1993 the Grand Theater would no longer be part of the Westfield landscape.
The theater and its “great” gesture combined with the generosity of the city show that the community cared about one of its own. The people of Westfield put their money and their stocks where their hearts were in 1975.
The upcoming exhibit at the Lake Shore Center for the Arts, Remember the Grand, will feature the story of Bret D. Smith as well as many other names involved in the history of the Grand Theater.