Mover and Shaker

Kathrine Dana Shaw with Cynthia Shaw Bowers


A frank and inspiring story about a remarkable woman, Kathrine Dana Shaw, the closest and oldest living relative of Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote the world's best-seller book Two Years Before the M...
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A frank and inspiring story about a remarkable woman, Kathrine Dana Shaw, the closest and oldest living relative of Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote the world's best-seller book Two Years Before the Mast and established maritime law to protect abused sailors from cruel captains at sea. Kay, encouraged by the Danas to seek a writing profession, chose instead to pursue a life in acting which she thought would be the solution to save her mother, siblings, and herself from abject poverty. During Kay's childhood, she witnessed time and time again God's miraculous provision through trees, which Kay could climb and throw down nuts or fruit for herself and hungry siblings below; fallen branches she burned for warmth; leaves to obscure her body from a wicked stepfather; and God's care through kind neighbors, strangers, and family members who came to the rescue when she had no other options. Like her uncle Ross Ilif Dana, an astute businessman, newspaper editor, politician, and civic and religious leader, who adopted Kay after her mother died of pneumonia and mentored her in publicity, public relations, and successful business development, Kay gives God the credit for giving her the opportunity as a teen to work in the newspaper, construction, and camping rental businesses owned by her uncle, which prepared her for future business endeavors. As a young woman living in Orange County, California, with confidence, being business savvy, and having a contagious smile, she stepped into a man's world, ready to leave her own mark in business. Kay's first business, Cathrine Coleman's Charm School, provided the catalyst to meet Mr. Walter Knott, owner of Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, California.

Walter Knott, recognizing immediately Katherine's knack for publicity, offered her employment at Knott's. Kay flatly refused and told him, "I only want to work for myself." After giving Kay a personal tour of the Bird Cage Theatre, he asked for her honest opinion of the show. She told him frankly, "The actors are amateur, and I can bring in a professional cast that will enable the theater to make money." Walter believed in Kay's ability to publicize and produce and allowed her to lease the theater. Kay, true to her word, brought in a seasoned cast, including Dean Jones (pre-Disney), whom she knew from the Drunkard on Hollywood and Vine, California, and Skip Young ("Ozzie and Harriet").

Kay, attired in her Spanish dress, twirled, stomped her feet, and danced Flamenco to draw crowds in front of the Bird Cage Theater. Kay's first play she publicized and produced, Streets of New York, was a smashing success. Kay named the troupe "The Birdcage Players." Many more successful shows followed. Later, Kay met her husband, C. Fulton Shaw, owner and operator of Old MacDonald's Farm at Knott's Berry Farm, where Kay developed another business "The Party Garden" with a children's marionette theater. Kay was off and running and brought in newspaper, radio, and television publicity to gain public recognition for the Berry Farm. With Kathrine's love of historical films, she decided to help produce the film The Real Story of the Civil War, directed by Louis Stoman, which won an Oscar in 1957 for Best Short Film. Kay continued to develop her writing skills, as her uncle Ilif Ross Dana had hoped, and wrote, directed, and produced plays for her community in San Juan Capistrano, California. Kay, following in her famous Dana family's footsteps, began to lead in political, civic, and religious endeavors. Kay's story will encourage women, the downtrodden and poor, to branch out and trust God to "pull the ox out of the mire" and provide provision and a path to new beginnings.

Kathrine Dana Shaw with Cynthia Shaw Bowers | 9798886162493 | book-has-featured-image