Historic Park Theatre Silent Movie Comedy Film Festival This Weekend
To kick off its second century of operation, celebrate the silent film era, as a fundraiser to preserve the on-going operation and restoration of this unique historic site, and because it’s just great entertainment, Estes Park Film Festival, Steve Smersh and the The Historic Park Theatre are delighted to bring you four days of Silent Film Comedies. This year the shows began at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, the 21st, then contnues at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the 22nd and 23rd and finally on Sunday, the 24th at 2 p.m. Each day you will see three great comedy shows from the silent movie era with selected masterpieces of the best comedians, such as Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton; it’s wholesome fun for you and your family. Most of us are familiar with today’s motion pictures and the sound that accompanies them, but not all of us have experienced the unique art form that combines cinema and live piano. And if you’ve never experienced it or missed last year’s show, then be sure to come this year. While there are silent films being shown at a few venues here and there, too often they are accompanied by a recorded sound track, not by an actual live piano, and not by an accomplished and seasoned pianist with the talent of Scott “Flyin’ Fingers” Wilseck. Scott started playing piano at the age of nine. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, he played with various bands in the Chicago area for over 20 years. He plays ragtime, country, blues, gospel, dixieland, ethnic, elevator music, western and can improvise in many genres. He’s a member of Riverside Ramblers, the Estes Park dixieland band, but has also played in the Estes Park area with various singers, mostly country or western, summer of 2013, a gospel mass, and solo performances for benefits around town. Scott tells us: “My first piano at home was a baby grand electric player. I would listen to those piano rolls, which were mostly ragtime, and I was fascinated. As a kid, I would go to the silent movie theatre in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. I would watch the film and listen to the piano player accompanying the film. It was a lot of fun. I play a lot of different music types, but I always liked ragtime. When I was seven years old, my first vinyl LP was a Johnny Maddox album full of great ragtime. It is so nice to be accompanying silent movies. You know, I love to play ragtime, but there aren’t a lot of venues available for that type of music. Silent movies provide that venue and playing along with them… interpreting them, lets you do a lot of different music styles.” Scott accompanies silent movies with music of all different eras, but the songs are played in the style of the early 1900s, which makes them excellent background for the action on the screen. Did we mention… These shows are great fun for the whole family! You don’t have to check ratings to see if it’s okay to bring the kids, and the kids will love it! Uproarious, pies in the face fun!
If you have not had the chance to experience this one-of-a-kind entertainment, then this is the perfect place for it. The theatre is the oldest motion picture theatre in the United States originally built specifically to show silent movies. So, even if you have seen a silent film accompanied by live piano, it’s still hard to beat a theatre with the tradition and history of The Historic Park Theatre. Even though the theatre has a new digital projector, much of its original charm and character remains, qualifying it for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The theatre has survived a variety of hazards throughout the years, including wind, lightning, and flood damage. Even though the theatre is located alongside Fall River, it survived both the Lawn Lake flood of 1982 and the more recent September 2013 flood.
The Historic Park Theatre begins its second century this year! What could be more fitting and fun than showing movies as they were during the first years of operation? And who better than the talented Scott “Flyin’ Fingers” Wilseck to accompany them. Come to one of the shows and enjoy this rare, delightful, one-of-a- kind event – a unique opportunity to see silent movies just as they were performed long ago, in a theatre now over 100 years old!
Advance tickets are now on sale in Estes Park at Macdonald Book Shop, 152 E. Elkhorn or the Park Theatre, 130 Moraine Ave. or go online to: www.silentepff.eventbrite.com or the links at either www.historicparktheatre.com or www.emosticmusic.com.