Hollywood on Hamilton: Remembering Hess’s

Hollywood  on Hamilton: Remembering Hess’s takes a rare look into the much-loved Allentown shopping place. Hess’s Segment One         Lesson Plan Segment One Hess’s Segment Two   […]

Hollywood  on Hamilton: Remembering Hess’s takes a rare look into the much-loved Allentown shopping place.

Hess’s Segment One         Lesson Plan Segment One

Hess’s Segment Two         Lesson Plan Segment Two

Hess’s Segment Three Lesson Plan Segment Three

Overview:

From sweet memories of eating strawberry pie at the world famous Patio Restaurant to the vivid recollections of rubbing elbows with guest celebrities, Hollywood on Hamilton will trigger nostalgia for the glamorous days of shopping in style on Hamilton Street. Crystal chandeliers and glamorous models created an aura of elegance found nowhere else in the Lehigh Valley at the time.

Lehigh Valley PBS uncovers valuable film unseen for decades, including prime-time televised fashion shows; Patio waitresses serving kiddy meals in miniature ovens; and a forgotten interview with the marketing genius who made Hess’s a house- hold name — Max Hess, Jr. The son of the store’s founder, Max led the store into record growth from the 1930s through the 60s. Hess used extravagant promotion and sophistication to create a department store of distinction.

Hollywood on Hamilton revisits the annual international flower shows, when the main floor blossomed into an indoor garden. Remember the expensive, high quality fashions in the French Room? You’ll hear from a woman who saved several  imported gowns from that department. And you’ll get a glimpse into Max Hess’ elaborate home, including a visit to the nightclub where many of his Hollywood friends partied after visiting the store.

In the early 1970s, after Max Hess sold the store, branches of Hess’s began springing up in malls all along the east coast — from Rome, NY to Rome, GA. But Hess’s hit financial trouble, and in 1996 after selling many of its stores to a competitor, the doors of the flagship store on 9th and Hamilton Streets were shut for good. The closing of Hess’s signified the end of an era, but fond memories of this shopping paradise still thrive in the hearts of thousands of Lehigh Valley folks. Whether you worked, modeled, or shopped there, Hollywood on Hamilton: Remembering Hess’s helps you relive the golden days which may be lost but not forgotten.

Sponsored by: The Morning Call, Mix 100.7 WLEV and LV PBS