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Ludwig, handymen spruce up Star Theatre exterior in time for Fourth

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By Jeremy Johnson

FORT LUPTON — Star Theatre revivalist Paul Ludwig is scurrying to give the hallmark building’s façade a final facelift by Fourth of July in hopes of evoking the spirit of giving and community pride.

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Ludwig and sidekick Tom Martz have been busy the last few weeks making the theater’s “best side” – the marquee, ticket office and front poster boards – look better just in time for Fort Lupton’s inaugural Old-Fashioned Fourth of July event, a shindig Ludwig and town officials are hoping will draw a big crowd.

“I know there’s a lot going on for the Fourth of July, so we wanted to get this (façade) looking fairly decent, and we wanted to get to a point where we could show people we are serious,” Ludwig said during a break from work June 20. “So we put new fluorescent lights in the marquee … and we’re going to strip it and paint it. 

“And then, on the marquee, we’re going to put ‘HELP SAVE OUR THEATER’ on both sides so we can start getting a donation campaign going,” he added.

Ludwig said the new touch-up is purely cosmetic and said a complete overhaul of the marquee will take more time and money.

“It really looks bad up front – it’s like a war zone,” he said. “At some point we’re going to have to take it all out and put up a whole new marquee.”

To help fund the project, Ludwig said the theater has been deemed a nonprofit, meaning contributions from individuals and businesses can also serve as a tax write-off. He said the city continues to support his endeavor, and so too, do the residents.

“Everybody seems to be happy with what we’re doing,” he said. “I haven’t heard any bad reports.”

He has heard some criticism, though, from those who point out the futility of running a small-town movie theater. But Ludwig said he has no delusions of grandeur, and to critics who claim he won’t make any money, he said that’s not his grand plan.

“We want to show some movies, but just some classics now and then,” he said. “Can I buy movies and show them in here? That’s something I’ll have to look into.”

Maybe Ludwig should consider the 1937 Technicolor classic, “A Star is Born,” for opening night — it is public domain, after all.