July 16, 2007

The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Dawn Bryant Tourism Talk Column

By Dawn Bryant, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Jul. 15--Fans who want to take a ride down memory lane with The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park can catch a documentary next month on ETV.

"The Last Ride: Memories of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion" will air several times next month: 5 p.m. Aug. 25; 2 p.m. Aug. 26; 1 a.m. Aug. 29 and 7 p.m. Aug. 30.

The 30-minute documentary -- one of at least three that are being done -- includes interviews with local residents who frequented the park, which shut down in the fall after 58 years.

"The highlights of the program are the people's stories, like Jack [Thompson] and Dino [Thompson] and some like me who were just tourists -- the people who loved the Pavilion and will miss it -- a lot of people," Steve Folks, a senior producer at ETV who coordinated the program, said in an e-mail. "There are some things like the beauty pageants, vaudeville shows, jitterbugging and so forth that not many people would know about and would find interesting."

Burroughs & Chapin Co. Inc., which owned The Pavilion, also has compiled a DVD that was given to its shareholders.

Another documentary in the works is from the perspective of Scott Addison Clay, former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark Garner's grandson, who has childhood memories of playing at the park. An air date and channel haven't yet been set. Encore Video of Myrtle Beach is helping Clay, who now lives in California, put the documentary together.

"It's more or less from the perspective of someone who grew up with The Pavilion," said Rik Dickinson of Encore Video. "It's not just the history."

This is the beach's first summer without the longtime landmark, though several Pavilion rides have found a new home in the Heroes Harbor section of Broadway at the Beach, near Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.

A few miles away in the Pavilion's former spot, crews still are working on the 11-acre site to remove all the park's remnants.

B&C, which owns the site, plans to build a mix of stores, restaurants, lodging and attractions there, but hasn't released details or a timetable for the development. The company has said it won't start work until the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corp. makes progress toward building a milelong boardwalk stretching from Second Avenue North to 14th Avenue North.

Developer sentenced Barry Landreth, the California developer who worked on The Pavilion redevelopment until questions emerged about his credentials, was sentenced last week to six years in federal prison.

Landreth, who worked on the Pavilion project for nine months ending in early 2005, got in legal trouble for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked $1.5 million from investors, including some of his students at the University of Southern California.

The sentencing was harsher than a nearly four-year prison term prosecutors had recommended in exchange for Landreth's guilty plea for one count of wire fraud, according to The Associated Press.

His defense attorney asked for leniency, but U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney said Landreth abused his position as an instructor in real estate finance to lure investors and promise them big returns on real estate projects, the AP reported. Instead, he used investors' money to buy luxury items, including a Cadillac Escalade and several show horses, prosecutors said.

"That's what's so upsetting in this case," Carney said.

Landreth, 38, who lives in Fullerton, Calif., apologized to his victims.

"I know you guys hate me at this moment," he said, quoted by the AP. "I really hope that at some point you will accept my apologies."


--What -- "The Last Ride: Memories of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion"

--Where -- ETV

--When -- 5 p.m. Aug. 25; 2 p.m. Aug. 26; 1 a.m. Aug. 29 and 7 p.m. Aug. 30.


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