Craig Smith lives a true Hollywood happy ending. "I have a Frank Capra life here, you know?" said Smith, the owner of the Firehouse Theater in tiny Kingston, Washington.
In oneThe 65-year-old, who aired on "CBS Sunday Morning" last weekend, spoke to correspondent Lee Cowan about his passion for movies and how he used his savings 10 years ago to turn a former fire station into a movie theater with two Transform canvases. the only cinema in town.
Watch the report here:
However, it is not easy to operate a cinema practically on your own, and the subsequent switch from 35mm film to digital projection was costly. Smith had to use credit cards and renegotiate his lease; When he ran out of cash, he stopped taking paychecks to keep the store going. The stress took its toll; One day he had a heart attack in the projection cabin.
Firehouse Theater fans have voluntarily gathered around Smith and set up a GoFundMe site to raise money for Smith's business. They had raised about $ 6,000 when Cowan's report aired on Sunday.
Within 90 minutes of the broadcast, thousands of "Sunday Morning" viewer donations were received that exceeded $ 100,000. As of Tuesday, the total was more than $ 182,000, from approximately 4,700 donors around the world, many in amounts of $ 10, $ 15, or $ 25. "Love your spirit and the determination of the community," wrote one donor. "We'll probably never be able to get to your theater, but here's a two-ticket donation to your wonderful space."
Among the donations there were encouraging comments like this: "Our children withhold part of their birthday and gift money for donations and wanted to support the theater after seeing & # 39; CBS Sunday Morning & # 39; mom and dad matched Thank you for bringing us some magic and good luck! "
Or on the other side of the country: "Greetings from Gainesville, Florida. Did you hear from your theater on Sunday morning what a great job you are doing for your city!"
It's a conspiracy that is not unlike Frank Capra's conclusion "It's a Wonderful Life" when Bedford Falls residents help save George Bailey's failing savings and loans.
Shortly after the goodwill explosion at GoFundMe, the Seattle Times reported on the changing fortunes of the firehouse. Smith said he was overwhelmed by the reaction.
In a note to "Sunday Morning" producer Jon Carras, Smith said: "You are all like angels who bless little people like me who hide in this beautiful country."