91st Anniversary Theatre Celebration and Casablanca Gala

91st Anniversary Theatre Celebration and Casablanca Gala

Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 06:00 PM to 09:00 PM
91st Anniversary Theatre Celebration and Casablanca Gala

Winner of the 1942 Academy Award for Best Picture, Casablanca is a timeless tale of love, romance, intrigue and sacrifice set against the backdrop of World War II as thousands of refugees are trying to make their way out of Free French Morocco to eventual freedom in Spain; a story all too familiar today in so many places of the world.   

The film features Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as the star crossed lovers, whose lives take vastly different turns.  And then there's Dooley Wilson singing "As Time Goes By" along with such memorable lines of dialogue as "We'll always have Paris", "Here's looking at you kid" and perhaps the best remembered words spoken by Bogart, "Louie, I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"

This film, which also won Best Screenplay and Best Director, will light up the silver screen at 7 pm, preceded by the reception that begins at 6 pm.  

The theater, which is the oldest, continuously operating movie theater between L.A. and San Francisco, first opened its doors on April 27, 1928 barely a year after talkies had stunned the country and launched the movie business into a whole new trajectory.  
It was part of the newly constructed "Alcazar" building and carried that namesake on its marquee.  Owner Henry J. Muller invested $500,000 in the project and builder Alex D'Alfonso claimed that is was "...as strong and sturdy as the Rock of Gibraltar". The building had gone up just three years after a massive earthquake had rocked the South Coast of California in 1925, causing widespread destruction in Santa Barbara; so his words were reassuring to many.
There to greet theatergoers that first night was the manager and Carpinteria resident, Oliver Prickett, an actor who had an ongoing association with the Pasadena Playhouse and who had encouraged the establishment of the theater.  Local growers had sent so many flowers they overflowed from the lobby out onto the sidewalk.  Telegrams of congratulations from executives of M-G-M, Paramount and Christie Films had been sent to Prickett, some of which can be seen displayed in the lobby.
Patrons were treated to a live band and the premiere showing of the comedy "The Fifty-Fifty Girl".  Admission was $1.10, quite a sum considering the usual price was around 25 cents!
So how does all this fit together with Casablanca?  Well, it turns out that Oliver Prickett has a small, non-speaking role in the film as a waiter at the Blue Parrot, a watering hole run by Sydney Greenstreet. 
The one hour reception includes specialty drinks and appetizers by HEAT Culinary. Attendees are encouraged to "dress the part" for the evening as well!

Tickets for the event are $20 per person and may be purchased online, Murphy's Vinyl Shack, Laughing Buddha Thrift, and if available, at the theater box office starting at 6 pm the night of the show.

Rated: PG

TRT: 1h 42m