Classic movie experience returns

Classic movie experience returnsBy TIMMY NEIPP II

News Review Correspondent

As we near the halfway point of the summer, the “Summer of Movie Magic” is in full swing at the Historic USO Building

Hosted by Nick Rogers, the classic family movies are drawing crowds in search of low-cost entertainment in a nostalgic setting.

The Historic USO Building has become a hub of community activity, including ongoing programs that support and honor veterans and the popular “Open Mic Nights” every other week.

Seven years ago, Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert volunteers Andrew Sound and the late Alan Alpers came up with an idea to host movie screenings every other week.

Rogers said his love of film, first developed in childhood, led to him taking over the movie nights.

“I’m really a movie buff, so when I got here, I really got into it and I wanted to help with it. And then finally, I just went up to Allen and said, ‘Can I just do it?”

He loves that the building has become so pivotal to the community. “We have these movies, at an inexpensive price so that people can come in and enjoy these things and really learn about the historical society also.”

The building opens up at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, offering attendees a chance to re-live their childhood movie experiences — complete with watching a popcorn machine preparing the crunchy white goodness while you wait.

Rogers loves sharing this experience with others and believes that the audience loves receiving it. “We have a theater-like setting, like going to the old single-room movie theater. It was a whole different concept then, and I like bringing that to people. “

After purchasing affordable snacks from a cheerful lady at the counter, guests are seated in the auditorium, where chairs have been arranged in rows and around tables.

The audience is then treated to some classic cartoons to kick off the evening of family fun. Guests are then greeted by Rogers, who acknowledges his sponsors, thanks the audience for coming and supporting the movie night and often shares behind-the-scenes details and secrets about the featured film.

“We keep the audience’s interest in the movies, because, you know, many people have seen these movies many times, but if you showcase them in different ways they become brand new,” said Rogers.

“I love it just because I love how the community loves it, like the smiles,” said Rogers, “and I think that people feel good when they leave here.”

Around certain holidays, the movies can even offer an opportunity to bring residents of the community closer together. “I loved it at ‘White Christmas.’ We did that where we had a very large crowd, and everybody sang at the end when I prompted them to sing, so that was very heart-warming.”

Rogers’ favorite movie, “Sunset Boulevard,” is a perfect example of what makes the movie nights a wonderful experience.

“I wanted people to see this magnificently written movie, and when the movie was done, I turned and looked at the audience, and nobody said a word, and then all of a sudden they got up and started applauding. They had to let it sink in what they had just seen, and it shows the power of really good storytelling,” said Rogers.

Anyone can come to the Historic USO Building and enjoy the experience of Movie Night, filling seniors with nostalgia, and providing a feeling of novelty to the younger generations. And everyone can feel the joy of seeing a great classic.

A donation of $2 per person is suggested. For the rest of the summer, Rogers will continue rotating between classic Disney and science fiction favorites every Wednesday.

Pictured: News Review intern Timmy Neipp highlights the “movie magic” offered each summer at the Historic USO.

Story First Published: 2017-06-23