Silent Film Fridays launches Friday, December 6th at City Auditorium
New program pairs classic silent films with live “soundtrack” performed on historic Mighty Wurlitzer.
The film is silent. Not so, the Mighty Wurlitzer.
DOWNTOWN COLORADO SPRINGS – A new film series will launch Friday, December 6th at City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa Street at 8p.m. Screenings will continue monthly on the first Friday of each month through May 2014.
Experience silent films how they used to be done. Back in the day, the “pre-talkies” screened with live musical accompaniment. Huge pipe organs replicated orchestral music and movie sound effects, all against the whir of the film and projector reels. Silent Film Fridays presents a series of film classics with live music performed on downtown’s historic Mighty Wurlitzer by the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society.
“Arts and culture play a central role in the health and vitality of Downtown Colorado Springs, and downtown has so many one-of-a-kind cultural experiences,” says Susan Edmondson, President and CEO for Downtown Partnership, continuing, “We’re thrilled to offer a chance to wonder at the magic of the silent film era in this way.”
Friday’s event presents a Laurel and Hardy double feature, with the holiday comedy Big Business (1929) and Their Purple Moment (1928). The movie “soundtrack” will be performed live by Las Vegas-based concert organist John Ledwon. Ledwon has performed nationally and internationally, and has served as President and Board Member for the American Theatre Organ Society. For the past 15 years, Ledwon has been an organist for Disney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
Now housed in the City Auditorium, the “Mighty Wurlitzer” was originally installed in 1927 in the Burns Opera House. When the Opera House was slated for demolition in 1973, members of the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society spent thousands of hours to save the organ. After carefully dismantling and removing the organ, members then rebuilt it for installation in the City Auditorium in 1979.
Silent Film Fridays is presented as a partnership between Downtown Colorado Springs, the City of Colorado Springs City Auditorium, and the Pikes Peak Area Theater Organ Society. Support comes in part from Colorado Creative Industries, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Boettcher Foundation as part of downtown’s Creative District programming.
This month’s screening is timed to coincide with First Friday Downtown, which features free gallery openings, artist receptions, and performances from 5 to 8 p.m. at more than 20 venues on the first Friday of the month. Admission to Silent Film Fridays is a suggested donation of $5, with free admission for those 17 and under. Beer, wine, and popcorn will be available for purchase at the hour long event.