A few years ago I columnized about the seating conditions at various venues in the Quad-Cities.

The verdict on the seats at Prospect Park Auditorium, home of the Quad-City Music Guild, was: Some of the best leg room in town, but way too tight from side to side.

I'm sure the Music Guild didn't take action on that opinion the minute its members read it, but it has redeemed itself with new seats, which the public can try out beginning next weekend during its production of "Scrooge."

They're wider and closer to the ground, Guild president Bob Williams said. The seats have been a fixture in Prospect Park since 1978 and were restored in 1999.

But the seats themselves are almost 100 years old, coming originally from a silent movie house in Florida.

"They weren't designed for this rake (stage angle) on the floor that we have," Williams said. "And they're not designed for the body type we have now."

I took a 10-second test drive and found the new seats are much more comfortable, with more of an angle for the back.

"The way the old seats were designed, it forced you to lean forward a little bit," Williams said. "Not a lot of people recognized that."

Wider seats also means fewer seats. About 36 were lost.

A $160,000 "Please Be Seated" campaign paid for the new seats, as well as new carpeting. A company inspected the theater and designed the seats to fit Prospect Park.

The campaign also paid for a new sound booth, replacing the one that shared the light booth that was actually separate from the auditorium. The sound booth is now on a "Juliet balcony" above the audience, but that also cost 24 seats.

The eliminated chairs did not go to waste, though. Large portions of them went to the Center for Living Arts, The District Theatre and an elementary school in Rock Island, as well as to help start a theater for the new Princeton Players.

Music Guild members bought up some of the remainder as souvenirs, and some teachers bought them for use as reading corners in their classrooms.

Like ‘em or not, the previous seats were solid - and just may outlive us all.

Olsen brothers in TV Guide

Bettendorf's Eric Christian Olsen, 34, is not only featured on the cover inset of the current TV Guide magazine, but he's also pictured inside with his brother, who serves as his stunt double.

The magazine highlighted an episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" in which Olsen's Marty Deeks character is the main focus of the story. On the inside, there's a shot of him with David Paul Olsen, 35, who has worked on stunts for nine episodes of the hit CBS series. The Internet Movie Database lists his other stunt credits as the movies "The Back-Up Plan" and "G-Force," as well as the TV soap operas "General Hospital" and "The Young and the Restless."

David Burke can be contacted at dburke@qctimes.com. Follow him on Twitter @Entguy1.

 

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