Ted Hatfield brought Hollywood to Halls

Sandra ClarkHalls, Obits

Ted Hatfield was a bundle of energy who loved motion pictures. He worked in the industry from age 12 until the last time I saw him rambling around Halls. Ted died on May 22, 2024, at age 87.

Mike Campbell, who founded Regal Entertainment, said, “Ted was a lifelong ambassador for the movie industry and we were lucky to lure him to Knoxville to represent Regal. His enthusiasm and devotion to his work and his family was truly inspirational. He will be sorely missed but not forgotten.”

Campbell grew Regal from a dozen screens to the Halls-based business that was sold to Cineworld for $3.6 billion in 2017. Along the way, Campbell acquired a theater chain based in Culver City, California. And with that deal, he lured Ted Hatfield to Halls.

Between Ted and Mike, all the folks moving here were convinced that they were coming to Halls, not Knoxville. Their arrival boosted real estate values, their kids boosted Halls schools and Regal hired a lot of locals. All-in-all a good deal.

Ted and Carla Hatfield were the front folks, immediately joining the Halls Business & Professional Association and the Halls Republican Club. And when Ted showed up for a meeting, the quality of door prizes soared. Ted brought movie swag. We assumed it was from Regal. But then we learned it was from Ted.

It seems he was a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures – the Oscars. The Academy has 18 branches and Ted was a part of the marketing and PR branch, eligible to vote on any and all of the Academy’s 23 categories including Best Picture.

It was great fun to see members of the Halls GOP wearing T-shirts promoting “Shakespeare In Love” and ballcaps from “Forrest Gump.” Next thing I know, Ted is running for the state Republican Executive Committee where he beat the incumbent and served two terms.

His obituary relates an early Ted story: “At 12, long before child labor laws, Ted worked for the local movie theatre in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a neutral vacation spot for the East and West Coast mobsters. Ted held seats for Owney Madden (a co-founder of NY’s Cotton Club.) Owney and his henchmen took their seats and flipped Ted $5 each time. His salary was 35-cents an hour. The gangsters ran the clubs and invited Ted to see all the big acts of the time, like Tony Bennett, et al.”

Ted had five sons – all Eagle Scouts as he proudly announced. And he could talk for hours about the feuding Hatfields and McCoys. His wife, Carla, continues to live in Halls and says a celebration of life will be planned for a later time. Condolences may be left at www.mynattfh.com/.

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