Sleeping Beauty and the El Capitan
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Classics at the El Capitan
by Doug Marsh
The El Capitan Theatre has instituted a series of Saturday Morning Movies. Each feature will be shown just once from now until June 1. These Disney animated and live action films will be presented at the Hollywood Boulevard landmark at 10am.
If the showing of Sleeping Beauty on Saturday, January 12 is any indication of the time and care being lavished on this series, they will be very popular. Every detail of the showing was handled with the kind of showmanship that is seldom seen in todays movie theaters.
The El Capitan has always taken its status as a showplace quite seriously. Uniformed attendants were present in force on the Saturday morning I arrived to view Sleeping Beauty. In the lobby a group of madrigal singers in medieval garb were entertaining the large crowd of adults and children. A display of ball gowns included both adult and childrens sizes. Most interesting were members of a local spinning club, turning wool into thread at their spinning wheels. I was careful to avoid the pointed spindles, lest I prick my finger and fall asleep during the film.
Inside the auditorium all seating was available. I was able to get my favorite location, the front row of the balcony near the center. Live organ music was being played on the Wurlitzer. At show time, we were treated to a special theme song, delivered by a live hostess who proceeded to entertain us. She was quite good, presenting some ventriloquism, corny jokes, and prizes.
Every child who arrived in costume was paraded across the front of the theater, and each was given a token gift. Then it was sing-along time. We lustily sang as live organ music accompanied the images on the screen. The two selections were The Mickey Mouse Club March and Winnie the Pooh.
Finally it was time for the feature. But, there was one more surprise-a showing of the cartoon short Flowers and Trees. This was, of course, the first cartoon to win an Academy Award. It was given the special award in 1932 in recognition of its innovative use of full Technicolor.
After the film, the audience was invited to view a special exhibit in the theaters basement gallery. In addition to the spinning club, and a larger collection of ball gowns, there were historical exhibits. They consisted of original art from the Disney Studio, as well as merchandise from the 1959 release of the film.
Sleeping Beauty was just spectacular on the big screen. And the El Capitan gave it a fitting showcase. I hope all of the film showings will be just as special as the one I saw on January 12.
Admission is $6 and there is a group rate of $5.50 each for twenty or more. A block of ten or more Saturday series dates may be purchased at $5 each. The upcomig films in the series are:
- February 9: Lady and the Tramp
- February 16: Pollyana
- February 23: The Rescuers
- March 2: The Parent Trap!
- March 9: Bedknobs and Broomsticks
- March 16: The Rescuers Down Under
- March 23: Babes in Toyland
- March 30: The Love Bug
- April 6: Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
- April 13: The Sword in the Stone
- April 20: The Fox and the Hound
- April 27: Oliver and Company
- May 4: Robin Hood
- May 11: Petes Dragon
- May 18: Swiss Family Robinson
- May 25: The Aristocats
- June 1: James and the Giant Peach
- El Capitan Theater Official Site
For address and more information
-- Poster February 5, 2002
-- Story by Doug Marsh