Observing Chandler’s colorful past: event celebrates city’s historical lore

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The lore accompanying Chandler’s colorful past may not be the stuff around which old-timers spun their tales. “ChandLore,” it seems, is the exception.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, Historic Downtown Chandler will transport visitors back in time with a celebration of yesteryear, promising a “living history” experience through live character storytelling and music.

Among the cast of newly brought-back-to-life characters will be such notables as George T. Peabody, who in 1912 promoted up-and-coming Chandler as a booming metropolis of the future; Irene “Animal Girl” Schroeder, a 1930s-era imitator of the Bonny and Clyde duo who became the first woman in America to die for her crimes in the electric chair; Harriet “Flip” Fullerton, whose Stanford education and a life that included such friends as a young John F. Kennedy produced a woman of considerable social standing; and Bill Swift, a pro boxing manager of the 1950s who shouldered the blame for Zora Folley not winning his title bout with Eddie Machen.

Those are some of the most flamboyant characters from the city’s past who will magically reappear, but foremost among them will be a reconstituted Dr. A.J. Chandler, whose namesake city survived the rough-and-tumble days of yore—and the lore that accompanied them.

Stationed along Boston Street and San Marcos Place under a historic colonnade, actors from ImprovMania will bring these bygone characters to life.

David Specht, owner of Improv Mania, shares in the excitement of this new event:

“The ImprovMania cast is thrilled to portray these characters from Chandler’s colorful history. This event will be educational, and should also be really fun.”

Alongside the lively actors retelling their remarkable stories will be a variety of musical acts from a barbershop quartet to a banjo player performing songs from bygone days.

Downtown Chandler will also commemorate Chandler’s founding year of 1912 by offering $19.12 specials from participating businesses.

For a list of offerings and participating businesses go to www.downtownchandler.org.

Said Mary Murphy-Bessler, executive director of the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership:

“This truly unique event celebrates Downtown Chandler as a place where hip and historic collide for a one-of-a-kind experience and a destination to be enjoyed by all.”

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