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Safety Last at the Paramount (Peekskill, NY)

Well, last night’s show of Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last (1923) was a blast. If you’re within driving distance of the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill…go see something there. It’s a beautifully restored 1930 Paramount Publix Theater. It originally seated 1500 or thereabout, but several rows had been removed in order to build a performing stage.

This was my second show there; I’d performed in the spring of 2004 — did two nights, one of Chaplin shorts and another of Keaton’s Seven Chances (plus One Week). In ’04 they rented an Allen organ for the show; the instrument Allen provided was a nice-looking one but unfortunately was a few decades old and had that “ballpark” sound (their C19, which is a more recent model and has real TPO samples, was in the shop). This time I decided to bring the Miditzer. You can see it in the photo. The Miditzer was a quick set-up (15 mins) as usual and the Paramount’s tech/audio crew had the sound level set within a minute or two…fastest audio tech I’ve had.

Jon Yanofsky and his team there are to be commended for making silent films with live music a part of their programming landscape. They’re really dedicated to connecting their audiences with the theater’s history as well as offering big-name acts. The place is a real treasure, and a real pleasure to work at.

Cliff Cronin, a silent film fan and stuntman who did a program in December ’06 at my Silent Clowns series in NYC on Buster Keaton’s stunt work, came to the show. Great to see him again, and hear that he was doing his presentation somewhere in Connecticut this month.

Have gotten videos of Dovzhenko’s Earth (MoMA on Fri May 18 at 8:30), Ozu’s I Was Born, But… (Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY on Tues May 22 at 7:30) and The Black Pirate (Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY on Tues June 19 at 7:30) out of the library to pre-screen and prep for those shows. Check out my performance sched at my website for a list of the 9 shows I have at MoMA in June during their annual film preservation festival called To Save and Project.

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