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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Museum theater to be dedicated in memory of Don Gillaspie

  • Reception will mark unveiling of plaque in honor of man who recorded local events for three decades
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  • The theater at the West Kern Oil Museum will be dedicated to the memory of local videographer Don Gillaspie.
    The Museum will hold a reception Saturday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. to unveil a plaque naming the theater in Gillaspie's honor.
    The reception also will formally kick off several new exhibits, including a display of the world famous Dobro guitar that was invented in Taft by the Dopyera brohers.
    Also featured will be displays of vintage pottery – another invention of the Dopyera family – as well as antique perfume bottles, glass slippers, cameras and toys.
    The event also will introduce an exhibit by local photographer Karen Mitchell.
    As owner and operator of Chroma Teleproduction, Gillaspie chronicled local events that aired on local cable television Channel 11 from 1983 until lung cancer took his life last year.
    He was an active Museum volunteer and served on the board of directors the last 10 years of his life.
    Gillaspie provided the video that was the basis of the Taft Heritage series on Channel 11 that was researched, written and hosted by historian Pete Gianopulos.
    Gillaspie videotaped hundreds of local events, such as parades, entertainment, church services, city council meetings and activities sponsored by local schools. In fact, covering school events was a particular joy.
    He created and directed a local news program written and performed by students at Roosevelt School.
    A Taft resident since the age of two, Gillaspie was active in many Westside area organizations as well as his church. He sang in the Kern County Masterworks Chorale.
    He is largely responsible for furnishing the Museum's theater.
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