Classic movie nights continue

In the Audience

By NICK ROGERS

According to the 2018 calendar, the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert’s Classic Movie Night series will be entering its ninth year of delighting our community of movie fans. Having just completed the last series with an encore presentation of that classic fun-filled filmed journey down the Yellow Brick Road, it is time to embark on a new cinematic voyage.

“Reel People” is just that … a series of distinguished motion pictures depicting the life and times of real people who have shaped history in imaginative, interesting, and sometimes important ways. This series premiers on Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 7 p.m. and runs through Feb. 21 on flex Wednesdays.

The year 1941 saw movie legend Gary Cooper finally receive a much-deserved Oscar® for his portrayal of real-life World War I hero Sgt. Alvin York, one of the most decorated American soldiers of that war. A bawdy, hard-drinking conscientious objector, York had incredible skills with a rifle that made him a somewhat reluctant hero. Howard Hawks’ masterful direction blends heart-pounding action with tender, down-home rural charm. The horrific attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurred while the film played in theaters, helped propel this Warner Bros. epic into a true box-office champ. The film’s patriotic theme helped recruit soldiers for service in WW II... young men sometimes went directly from the movie theater to military enlistment offices.

“Reel People” come from all walks of life. Ruth Etting was a talented singer and film actress of the 1920s who rose to show-business prominence from humble stints as dance hall girl and chorine. With the help of Chicago mob boss and eventual husband Marty Snyder, whose jealousy and obsessiveness dominated all aspects of Etting’s career, the entertainer achieved the heights of super stardom in recordings and radio, the Ziegfeld Follies and early talking films.

Along the way, Snyder’s many violent fits of temper very nearly killed Etting and her career. James Cagney’s spot-on portrayal of Snyder, in this 1955 box office smash from MGM, nabbed him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Cagney’s personal choice for the role of Ruth Etting was his good friend, Doris Day, who bested Jane Russell and Ava Gardner for the coveted role of Etting.

Day’s riveting dramatic performance assured stardom for the popular singer-actress, but sadly, her breakout star turn failed to win her a nomination. Such the pity, as you will see!

Two more “biopics” will screen in February. So stay tuned. For film titles, call 760-375-8456 or stop in for a new film schedule. Admission is a much-appreciated donation, only.

The Historic USO Building, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. opens each flex Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for hungry film lovers to taste the tantalizing treats from the thrifty Snack Bar, which premiers a brand-new epicurean delight on Wednesday, Jan. 10. The “Coso Queso” grilled cheese sandwich features a thick slab of American Cheese nestled between two pieces of Texas Toast and grilled to buttery perfection. The plate will include cookies and chips and will cost only $4. Add a piping hot cup of delicious Tomato Soup for only $1.50, and you have a wonderfully warm treat for these cold wintry movie nights.

HSUMD invites classic movie lovers to join the film fun. Happy Hollywood New Year… at the Movies!

Story First Published: 2018-01-05