The Cambria community has lost one of its major icons.
Jim Buckley, who founded the Pewter Plow Playhouse in Cambria in 1976, passed away Sept. 23 after experiencing declining health issues.
Those involved with the playhouse say Buckley was a driving force being the venue and its productions, often serving as a director, actor, singer, and musical writer all at the same time.
“There’s just so much to say about him. It’s hard to just pick and choose,” said Viv Goff, Pewter Plow’s treasurer and box office manager. For the last 18 years, Goff has also been an actress and singer with the community-based group.
“He was a genius. What an artist. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do,” Goff said.
She told New Times that in his early years, Buckley designed elaborate window displays in the 1920s and 1930s for New York City department stores. He went on to design camouflage for the U.S. Navy during World War II, after which he attended drama school in London. Goff said Buckley also designed theater sets in New York and displays for Beverly Hills boutiques, and even designed Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
“He was a very strong character person. He knew what he wanted; he did what he wanted,” Goff said.
For those at the Pewter Plow Playhouse, the show must go on.
The group will open Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks on Oct. 9, featuring the same actors and singers who participated in the production the last time the playhouse put it on—under the direction of Buckley—31 years ago.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay