Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday September 17th 2014

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See the Classics in a Classic

By Jennifer Leigh

Just like the beach and road trips, keeping cool inside a movie theater is a summertime ritual. However, if you’re not too keen on popcorn flicks, why not stick to the classics?

Back for its third year, the Saenger Classic Movie Series will begin this weekend.

“The public has really become pretty faithful followers of the series,” said Kathy Summerlin, marketing director for the Saenger Theatre.  “The first year we averaged about 550 in attendance. The second year, we increased our attendance by about 45 percent averaging close to 800 in attendance.”

For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit the Saenger Theatre, the movie series is the perfect introduction. Tickets are affordable and you don’t have to dress up.

“It also gets foot traffic downtown on the weekend when normally summers are a little less busy because a lot of the locals are heading out to the beach for entertainment,” Summerlin added.

And if you haven’t yet enjoyed a film that was made before the Internet was even imagined, you’ll find the films are timeless—even classic.

“We are not allowed to compete with the local theaters with first-run movies either,” Summerlin said. “So we are somewhat limited in what we can show, but we prefer showing the classics. It just fits with the atmosphere of the Saenger.”

And since the Saenger is just as packed as a blockbuster opening, it’s safe to say film fans enjoy the the movie choices as well.

“I think people are hearkening back to a slower-paced time when we weren’t bombarded with cell phones, social media, emails, etc,” Summerlin said. “They just want to unplug and see a movie on the big screen the way movies were meant to be seen. We have one of the largest screens in Pensacola besides the IMAX screen at the Naval Aviation Museum, and it’s just nostalgic.”

For the second year in a row, the Saenger has made the movie series an interactive event by letting the community choose the films to be shown.

“It’s our way of letting the public speak out and choose exactly what they want to see,” Summerlin said.

This years picks run the gamut from westerns, comedies, thrillers and more. And for just $5 a pop, you can see all of them. Not a bad way to spend the summer.

Saenger’s Classic Movie Series

July 12 “Yankee Doodle Dandy” 1942
James Cagney, famous for his gangster films, shares his singing talents in this musical that tells the story of renowned composer, actor, playwright and songwriter George M. Cohan.

July 19 “Psycho” 1960
Perhaps one of the most famous Alfred Hitchcock’s films, the story involves a woman on the run, a creepy motel and even creepier innkeepers.

August 2 “King Kong” 1933
See the original “King Kong” that spawned several remakes throughout its 81-year history.

August 9 “Rebel Without A Cause” 1955
James Dean plays a troubled teen who has just moved to a new town. Think of it as the “Twilight” of the 1950s.

August 16 “American Graffiti” 1973
There’s no spaceship or gold robots, so you might be surprised to know that this film was written and directed by George Lucas. The film pays homage to his teenage days in the 1950s.

August 23 “Dr. No” 1962
You might think of Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig when you think of James Bond, or 007. But the original was Sean Connery.

August 30 “How the West Was Won” 1962
America’s cowboy, John Wayne, or The Duke, leads this story that depicts the Gold Rush, the Civil War and the industrial revolution.

September 6 “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” 1963
This adventure comedy follows an all-star cast (Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and Ethel Merman to name a few) as they search the country for some treasure.

September 20 “Vertigo” 1958
Another Hitchcock classic tells the story of a retired San Francisco detective getting back into the investigating game to follow an old friend’s wife.

September 27 “Blazing Saddles” 1974
From the crazy mind of Mel Brooks, “Blazing Saddles” is about a corrupt political boss who hires a black sheriff to ruin the western town. But all does not go as planned.

CLASSIC MOVIE SERIES
WHEN:  7 p.m. Saturdays
WHERE: Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox
COST: $5
DETAILS: pensacolasaenger.com