When friends ask you what you did on vacation at the end of the summer, you can tell them you’ve been to America with Cary Grant, you made it to the Royal Albert Hall with Jimmy Stewart and Doris. Day and hitchhiked on planes, trains and cars with Steve. Martin and John Candy.
And to think: you can do it all without ever going beyond the Ohio Theater.
Starting next month, the Ohio Theater will once again host the CAPA Summer Film Series, which officials say is the longest-running classic continuous film series in the United States.
The 52nd edition will start on July 22 and run through August 29 – a more compressed schedule than previous editions but much longer than the shortened 10-day version of the series which took place last September under strict guidelines in capacity and social distancing.
Specific safety guidelines, including on mask wearing, had not been determined at the time of publication, but the capacity of the theater will certainly be well above the 11% allowed in last year’s film series, said CAPA vice president of programming Rich Corsi.
“(We’re) very happy to be able to expand it this year and just super excited for fans of the upcoming series,” Corsi said.
Classic movie fans hail the return of an extended film series
Among those fans is downtown resident Press Southworth III, a loyal series participant who typically sees between 75% and 80% of the lineup each season.
“It’s a way to spend a very relaxing summer evening, where you have the comforts of the theater and the big screen,” said Southworth, 73, also executive director of the Jazz Arts Group. “I admit, I’m trying to get down to the first five or six rows, where that screen is right in front of you.”
Along the way, Southworth has seen many of the same faces season after season.
“Some of these people, I don’t even know their names,” he said. “They are the same people, in the same seats.”
While this year’s series will run shorter, the number of films shown – 21 feature films plus two “Cartoon Capers” programs on Saturday mornings – equates to a normal year as most will only be played once. (In normal years, the majority of movies are shown for several days.)
“It’s a full summer in six weeks,” said film series organist Clark Wilson, who for the 30th summer will play the “Mighty Morton” pipe organ for half an hour before the show and during intermissions.
In fact, the series will break new ground in cinema this year.
For the first time in its history, the series will open and end with films directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The series will begin on July 22 and 23 with Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (it’s the one with Stewart and Day as American tourists who find themselves at the Royal Albert Hall on a mission to find their kidnapped son) . And, on August 28 and 29, Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”, starring Cary Grant as a commercial fleeing various spies, will close the series.
In between, eight series premieres are on the bill, including Indiana Jones’ fourth adventure, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (July 24); the classic drama “Sounder”, with the late Cicely Tyson (July 30); and the escape film “The Defiant Ones”, starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis (August 27).
On August 7, John Hughes’ “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” will also premiere in the series, starring Steve Martin and John Candy as travelers who are suspicious of the road (and each other). .
Returning favorites span a wide variety of genres, from musical (“Mary Poppins”, July 25) to goofy comedy (“My Man Godfrey”, July 29) to science fiction (“The Day the Earth Stood Still “, July 31).
A “Fright Nite Friday with Fritz!” The version of “Friday the 13th” – with prerecorded commentary from former WBNS-TV personality Fritz Peerenboom, aka “Fritz the Nite Owl” – will air (when else?) On August 13, a Friday. (Peerenboom is currently not scheduled to appear in person.)
The 1923 silent film “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”, starring Lon Chaney, will be screened on August 19 and 20 with live organ accompaniment by Wilson.
“People think of it as a horror movie,… it really isn’t,” Wilson said. “It’s a pathetic tale, it’s a love piece, but it gives a great chance to use a lot of good music, and even French-inspired organ compositions.”
Corsi predicts that next summer’s series will be even closer to normal, with a longer schedule, multiple dates for more films and the use of 35mm prints. (This year, all screenings will be digital due to uncertainties over the studios’ ability to ship prints on time.)
“It’s coming back,” Corsi said. “We are delighted to have what we have right now.”
In one look
The 52nd Annual CAPA Summer Film Series will take place July 22 through August 29 at the Ohio Theater, 39 E. State St. Single tickets cost $ 6, or $ 5 for seniors, and can be purchased at the Ohio Theater box. office on the day of each show. Ticket strips, $ 35 for 10 tickets, can be purchased by calling 614-469-0939 or visiting www.capa.com. Check the website for up-to-date information on theater capacity and safety guidelines.
All movies start at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
This year’s program:
• July 22-23: “The man who knew too much”
• July 24: “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”
• 2 p.m. on July 25: “Mary Poppins”
• July 29: “My man Godfrey”
• July 30: “Sounder”
• 10 a.m. on July 31: “Cartoon capers” program
• July 31 : “The day the earth stood still”
• 2:00 p.m .: August 1 “The Long, Long Trailer”
• 5 August : “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974 version)
• August 6: “A tale of two cities”
• August 7: “Planes, trains and automobiles”
• 2 p.m. on August 8: “Pinocchio”
• August 12: “M. Deeds go to town”
• August 13: “Fright Nite Friday with Fritz!” presentation of “Friday the 13th”
• August 14: “Out of the past”
• 2 p.m. August 15: “The king and me”
• August 19-20: silent film “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”
• 21st of August : “East of Eden”
• 2 p.m. on August 22: “Jason and the Argonauts”
• August 26: “To have and not to have”
• August 27: ” The rebels “
• 10 a.m. on August 28: “Cartoon capers” program
• August 28, 2 p.m. August 29: “From North to North-West”