South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society

SAHPS News and Press Releases

Check out What's Cookin' at the Historical Society

The South Arkansas Historic Preservation Society, located at 412 E. Faulkner in El Dorado, announces the screening of the vintage and classic Hollywood film “What’s Cookin’” as the Silver Screen Series continues Tuesday, November 14 at 6:30 PM.  This particular film features the young singing and dancing sensations, “The Jivin’ Jacks & Jills , the group that first interested Michael to collect this era of Hollywood.  We will begin with a brief history of “What’s Cookin’”, followed by a screening of the film and backchat afterwards.  This film has been selected from the vast Michael G. Fitzgerald Collection, which contains over 600 16mm films ranging from the 1920’s through 1970’s. These 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.


Wat’s Cookin’ is a swingeroo…rootin’, zootin’ swing-stars…teen stars…hot licks and hip-cats…GOOD TIME!


There’s plenty of cookin’ in this brisk, breezy Andrews Sisters vehicle.  The plot concerns the efforts by a group of entertainers to package a weekly musical radio show.  Their biggest obstacle is a lack of sponsorship, but this is overcome when eccentric business executive J.P. Courtney agrees to pony up the necessary dough on behalf of his talented niece Sue.

Meanwhile, at the Courtney estate, Sue's uncle and aunt, J.P. and Agatha, meet with their advertising counselor Bob Riley. She complains that the radio station only plays classical songs. Sue offers to help them out by asking her new friends to make swing music for the radio station. They do so and Bob notices Anne, whom he immediately falls in love with. Sue meanwhile falls in love with young performer Tommy.


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