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Birthday Wishes

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, June 03, 2004, at 12:04AM

Kathy and I -- along with 2000 other people -- saw Some Like It Hot tonight at the Los Angeles Theater. Doors were set to open at 7, so Kathy was going to pick up Subway on the way and come over to my place at like 6:15. We'd eat and then walk around the corner to the theater. She was running a bit late and pulled in at 6:40. She told me there was already a big line. We walked over and ended up getting in line on the north side of 5th street. It seemed like a lot of people in front of us, but really it was only a couple hundred, and it's a big theater.

At 7 they opened the doors and the line quickly moved to get people inside. We sat just right of center, about 2/3's of the way back on the floor. The interior of the theater was a mix of the impressively ornate and the depressingly run-down. The architecture and artwork were amazing. This truely was the last of the great movie palaces, and most of that still shows. What also shows, though, is years of neglect. Kathy noted that downstairs the children's room looks decrepit. Everywhere you can see hints of how amazing the place might look if fully restored, but at the same time the reality is that the job is nowhere near done. Hopefully events like this one can help that cause.

The show began with a short from the late 20's of a man and his female band. It wasn't originally intended to be humorous, but it was. Then it was time for Tony Curtis. He told a few tales about the making of the movie, and then a cake was brought out (today -- 6/3 -- is his birthday) and the audience sang to him.

And then he motioned for the film to roll.

The Los Angeles is one of those theaters where the screen reaches all the way to the floor of the stage, and as the opening credits of the film rolled we were treated to a picture you don't see anywhere else. The curtain is pulling back, the names are beginning to appear -- Marilyn Monroe... Tony Curtis...

And as his name is there on the screen, there he is. He's the silhouette still standing in the lower left corner of your screen, watching as the film begins and the capacity crowd applauds.

It was a great night, a great film, and a great experience. I look forward to looking around more in four weeks when we're back at the Los Angeles for It Happened One Night. But first it's next week at the Orpheum for Sunrise.

And last, but not least, it's not only Tony Curtis's birthday today -- It's also my mom's. I'm sure she doesn't know they share that.


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