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Poster in the lobby of the Stanford Theatre, May 2002

 

 

Hewlett Packard
1938 2002
R.I.P.

The Stanford Theatre still exists today only because of the employees of the Hewlett Packard Company. Without their achievements over the years, there would have been no foundation to purchase and restore this theatre.

Palo Alto might have had one more book store, or perhaps another restaurant. Architects had plans ready for a new "Casablanca Cafe" at this location when the Packard Foundation rescued the theater in 1987.

The Hewlett Packard Company was founded in 1938 in a garage on Addison Street only a few blocks from where you are now standing. Back then, the Stanford Theatre was showing brand new movies. In 1938 you could have seen Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in "Bringing Up Baby" and "Holiday." You could have seen Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood." You could have seen Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, and Tyrone Power in "Alexander's Ragtime Band." You could have seen Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur in Frank Capra's "You Can't Take It With You." You still can see these same movies at the Stanford Theatre. Our audiences know that they are truly timeless.

The HP Way also touched many people's lives. Most of us expected that it would last forever that it would prove as timeless as a Frank Capra movie. But those entrusted with the duty to safeguard it have exercised their legal right to make another choice. Dura lex, sed lex. The law is harsh, but it is the law.

HP employees are now on a new ship, being taken on a new voyage. The company has even changed its stock symbol to HPQ to stress that the "old" HP is gone. For the sake of the surviving employees, of course I hope for a good outcome. But it is hard to imagine that their leaders can invent something better than what they left behind.

David W. Packard
The Stanford Theatre Foundation

 

 


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