Thursday, January 24, 2013
A-Frames at the Main Street Cinema
My dad was a huge movie buff, and he introduced me to silent movies when I was just a tot. He used to buy 8mm prints of Charlie Chaplin and Laurel & Hardy movies from Blackhawk Films. I always looked forward to the weekends that he would pull the projector out. Over at the Main Street Cinema, before it became a Mickey Mouse-only theater, guests could watch clips from classic silent movies. In this 1950's image, zooming in to the A-Frame outside of the theater, we can see that they are playing highlights from Rudolph Valentino movies.
The pose on the ad is from a movie he made called "The Eagle." Here's a shot of the famous Latin Lover of the 1920's. If you've never heard of him, let me just tell you that he was as big as The Biebs in his day. Maybe bigger.
In March 1965, the theater was showing "Kismet," starring Otis Skinner.
Skinner's signature role was Hajj, the beggar, on both Broadway (1911) and in the 1920 and 1930 film versions.
For the first year of the park, guests could catch Western star William S. Hart in "Dealing for Daisy."
The movie was also called "Mr. 'Silent' Haskins," and was a 1915 release.
Hart was a pallbearer at Wyatt Earp's funeral in 1929.
In September 1960, these lucky ladies got to see Lon Chaney in "The Phantom of the Opera."
Chaney did all his own makeup, and those in the biz today still marvel at his genius.
As an extra bonus for today, here's a FauxD© image from August 1965, showing a cast member wearing a costume that doubled for both the Phantom as well as Mr. Hyde (of Dr. Jekyll fame) in front of the theater.
Vintage night time shots are hard to come by, but this one from June 1966 is a gem. You can almost reach out and touch that Wooden Indian!
It may be hard to imagine a movie without voices or talking, but as the late great Norma Desmond said, "We didn't need dialogue; we had faces!"
I am happy that the Cinema is still open, but it would sure be a lot more fun if it showed a variety of silent movies from that era. Just like the rest of the Main Street shops, it has lost a lot of character by becoming 100% Mickey Mouse. Bringing back actual variety to Main Street (and Buena Vista Street for that matter) would be a huge plus.
That's all for today, folks!
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