The Oswego County Historical Society Presents a Classic Movie Night at the Oswego Theater

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The Oswego County Historical Society Presents a Classic Movie Night at the Oswego Theater

September 30, 2022

The Oswego County Historical Society (OCHS) proudly presents its annual Classic Movie Night with the legendary “Singin’ in the Rain.” This year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the musical masterpiece which will be presented on Thursday, October 13 at 7 p.m. at the Oswego Theater, 138 W. Second St.

Tickets are a $20 per person donation and are available at the Oswego Theater, 138 W. Second St. and the River’s End Bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St. All proceeds from this special evening will support maintenance and preservation of the iconic Richardson -Bates House Museum in Oswego.

“Throughout the year, we offer events and programs that highlight our history,” said Justin White of the OCHS Board of Directors. “This classic film event is hugely popular and each year we work to make an interesting connection to Oswego’s history.”

This musical is a romantic comedy about a popular silent film star who falls in love with a backup singer. It is set in the late 1920s, during a difficult time in the Hollywood film industry. The main character and his delusional and jealous screen partner both try to make the transition from silent films to talkies.

Its stellar cast includes Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor. Kelly’s remarkable talent profile also included him as the co-director, lead actor, dancer, singer, producer and choreographer of this film. He was one of the most influential musical talents and sport dancers of his life.

There will be plenty of intriguing highlights to watch out for that are often mentioned in classic movie trivia. This includes the incredible dance routines and vintage songs, which are memorable moments in movie history. Notable songs include “Good Morning”, “Make ‘Em Laugh”, and “You Are My Lucky Star”, to name a few.

Film history archives and critics alike hailed “Singin’ in the Rain” as one of the greatest musical films and motion pictures ever made. It was part of a memorable period in Hollywood history. The year 1952 is often considered a great year for cinema in the history of cinema. This recognition was due to the greater quantity of quality films by notable film companies and record attendance. This film premiered at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York on Thursday, March 27, 1952.

The day after the official premiere, film critic Jane Corby of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper wrote a pleasant review: “A Technicolor musical that has everything a springtime musical should have.” He bursts into laughter, his dances are spontaneous and carefree, his songs sing and his cast is the right one to convey the very spirit of youth,” Miss Corby wrote. “Gene Kelly, dancing and singing in his happiest mood, may also be a slice of credit for directing the film and staging and directing the musical numbers, duties he shared with Stanley Donen.”

The rave review also added that Hollywood made fun of itself in this movie. “A picture of Hollywood looking good and laughing out loud,” Miss Corby wrote. “It’s a rare vibe for the production center, and if its cheerfulness turns into slapstick every once in a while, that just adds to the fun.” The theme is the transition from silent to talking in 1927 and romance in the studio.

Before the starring film, a short documentary from 1965 entitled “Oswego is discovered”. This informative and charming film was produced with a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and filmed by the staff of Columbia University Press. The documentary is a very evocative view of Oswego with local civic leaders and citizens of the day showcasing what Oswego had to offer. It included historical monuments that should be preserved and protected.

It was filmed during the government’s urban renewal plans which would eventually alter the city’s historic downtown. The documentary shows what was happening in 1965 and what the future might look like. It is a fortuitous connection with what happened during the planning of the contemporary revitalization.

The documentary will be shown in the traditional spirit of how news reports were shown before the film. Before the advent of home televisions, these features brought national news to the public.

Interesting details have been added to make it a special event, including hosting it in the historic Oswego Cinema. There will be special door prizes and a souvenir program highlighting the history of film, theater and recognizing sponsors. The movie tickets were custom designed by Oswego Printing to mimic vintage movie tickets from the 1950s, also providing a nice memento.

“There’s definitely something special about seeing a timeless film on the big screen in a historic setting,” White said. “It’s a whole different experience to watch it on TV. It will be an opportunity to both appreciate and celebrate the history of cinema, while supporting the museum.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow also proudly supported classic movie nights. “Oswego really has a remarkable history,” he said. “I have continually learned more by attending the many events that highlight our rich past. There is so much to offer in our community. I want to support all efforts that make our historic sites such as the Richardson-Bates House Museum flourish. Events like this are essential to maintain the house-museum and its services.

Among the many fans of classic movie night events is Oswego County Legislator Laurie Mangano, District 17. “As a young child, I was fascinated by the Richardson-Bates House Museum,” he said. -she shares. “It was so much fun for me to be able to walk a short distance to spend time exploring such an incredible place full of history. Now, as I have been involved in non-profit organizations, I really appreciate it so much more. I completely understand and appreciate the dedication of all the volunteers. They work so hard to preserve our local history and landmarks. This event is for a great cause.

The film will screen in the main auditorium of the historic Oswego Theatre, which was designed by prolific international theater architect John Eberson in the Art Deco design. It opened to the public in January 1941 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

“Oswego’s historic theater is the perfect place to show classic films,” said Lyn Patterson, OCHS Board Member. “It is a unique example of Art Deco architecture and a perfect backdrop for this event. Donating tickets will help us support the ongoing upkeep and necessary preservation needs of the society’s museum and its rare collections.

White added: “This has been a landmark year for the Historical Society Museum. We continue to showcase his legacy by promoting local history in our community. The Oswego County Historical Society was established in 1896, but for the first 50 years it had no permanent headquarters. It was in 1946 that the fourth generation of the Richardson-Bates family generously donated their Tuscan Villa residence to the historical society as the first community museum.

The museum officially opened to the public in 1947 and this year it celebrates 75 years of operation. It remains the oldest cultural and historical organization in Oswego County. It is one of the most intact 19th century house museums in New York State with original family furnishings and contents. Additionally, the society maintains an extensive collection of artifacts, documents and photographs that preserve the rich history of Oswego County. The organization relies on fundraising to maintain general operational support.

OCHS is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the county’s rich history. The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St., Oswego; a historic monument listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on other days by appointment.

For more information, visit the website at www.rbhousemuseum.org or call during regular hours at 315-343-1342.

“SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN” COMES TO OSWEGO THEATER – The Oswego County Historical Society (OCHS) presents “Singin’ in the Rain” for its annual Classic Movie Night event. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 13 at the Oswego Theater, 138 W. Second St. Tickets are a $20 donation and can be purchased at the River’s End Theater and Bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St. On the pictured left under the marquee of the restored original theater is Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow; Oswego County Legislator Laurie Mangano, District 17; and Justin White, Oswego County Historian and OCHS Board Trustee. The trio pays homage to the iconic umbrellas of the classic musical masterpiece. For details, call 315-343-1342.

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