The South Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, located at 412 E. Faulkner in El Dorado, delves into the history of vintage and classic Hollywood with The Silver Screen Series. Beginning Tuesday, October 10 at 6:30pm and continuing every second Tuesday through December at that same time, SAHPS will host an evening of free educational entertainment for anyone who loves movies.
Each evening will begin with a brief history of the selected film being shown, followed by a screening of the film and backchat afterwards. The films have been selected from the vast Michael G. Fitzgerald Collection, which contains over 600 16mm films ranging from the 1920’s through 1970’s.
The original films are too delicate to run through a projector and many are in need of restoration, so viewing selection is limited to analog and digital availability. Michael’s collection contains dozens of films that are now considered “lost” and hundreds that have never been released for television or home video.
The first selected film is the 1960 horror classic 13 Ghosts. Reclusive Dr. Zorba has died and left his eerie mansion to his penniless nephew Cyrus Zorba and his family. Along with the house, the Zorba family has also inherited the occultist's collection of 12 ghosts, who can only be seen through Zorba's special goggles. The family members, their lives at risk upon the discovery that Dr. Zorba's fortune lies hidden somewhere in the house, receive aid from unexpected quarters as the threat to their lives is revealed.
Directed by, king of the gimmick, William Castle and starring Charles Herbert, Rosemary DeCamp, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Donald Woods, John Van Dreelen, and Margaret Hamilton, the haunted house fright fest is not rated and has a runtime of 84 Minutes.
Showing on Tuesday, November 14, is Universal Studios’ 1942 musical comedy What’s Cookin’. The jazz infused, madcap comedy was directed by directed by Edward F. Cline. The film stars The Andrew Sisters, Jane Frazee, Robert Paige, Gloria Jean, Leo Carrillo, Billie Burke, Charles Butterworth, Grace McDonald, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Ryan, Charles Lane, Woody Herman and “The Jivin’ Jacks and Jills”. The film is not rated and has a runtime of 69 minutes.
Showing on Tuesday, December 12, is Universal Studios’ 1945 sentimental ghost story That’s the Spirit. This precursor to Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, was directed by Charles Lamont and stars Peggy Ryan, Jack Oakie, June Vincent, Gene Lockhart, Johnny Coy, Andy Devine, Arthur Treacher, Irene Ryan, Buster Keaton, Victoria Horne, and Edith Barrett. The film is not rated and has a runtime of 87 minutes.
During your visit be sure to experience the Michael Fitzgerald Collection now on display at the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society. The exhibit is a sampling of this vast collection of over 10,000 items, donated in memory of Michael’s mother, Tommie May Murphy Fitzgerald, includes over 600 vintage 16mm films, many which are now considered to be lost, hundreds of first edition books and autobiographies inscribed and signed by their authors, rare studio stills, headshots, lobby cards, posters, press books, records, and hundreds of cards, letters, and postcards. Almost every item in the collection was provided by the stars and authors, themselves, to the man who was not only a fan but a friend.
For more information about The Silver Screen Series at The South Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, call 862-9890 or visit www.soarkhistory.com.