Catalina Island News

Catalina Island Museum Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Catalina Island Museum

The most elaborate science fiction film ever made – Close Encounters of the Third Kind – was released 40 years ago. You are invited to celebrate the film’s anniversary during a unique event at the Catalina Island Museum on Saturday, October 28th in its outdoor Ackerman Family Amphitheater.

Prior to its release in 1977, movie-goers were introduced to space travel through films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars. These films were wildly popular but left many wondering what, or who, might be out there. With the mysterious arrival of alien beings in Close Encounters of the Third Kind however, the Los Angeles Times noted that people began to ask “not Will we find them, but Will they find us?”

Following the immense success of JAWS, director Steven Spielberg added writing to his credentials with the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He also tapped production designer, Joe Alves, known for creating the sharks and set design for JAWS, to work on CE3K. For the film, Alves created what would become the largest movie set since Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments.

The museum’s celebration welcomes Alves in person to share behind-the-scenes stories and innovative techniques used in this classic film. Each attendee will receive a limited, first edition, signed book commemorating the movie’s 40th anniversary, a mashed potato bar with all the fixings and hosted bar by Steve’s Steakhouse. (Sculpting your mashed potatoes into Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower, à la Richard Dreyfuss’ character in the film, is up to you!)

Forty years later, Close Encounters of the Third Kind continues to charm, intrigue and captivate audiences with its iconic sets, music and storyline. This special event takes place at the Catalina Island Museum from 5:15 pm to 9:00 pm. Alves will speak at 6:00 pm followed by a screening of the film at 6:30 pm.

Tickets are $75. Only 100 tickets are available. This event will sell out! Each ticket includes the pre-screening event and movie admission. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 310-510-2414, or in person during your next visit to the museum. All proceeds benefit the Catalina Island Museum, Avalon’s only museum and the sole institution on Santa Catalina Island dedicated to the arts, history and culture. Further, your ticket price will support scholarships for five local high school students who are interested in film to attend the event and meet Alves.

The Catalina Island Museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film. Open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Avenue. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: