Catalina Island News

Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit Provides a Rare and Authentic Cinema Experience

Catalina Island Museum

Moviegoers are preparing to make their annual pilgrimage to Catalina Island and transport themselves back to the silent film era of the "Roaring Twenties." The Catalina Island Museum’s Silent Film Benefit on May 21st presents silent movies the way they were intended. This year’s Silent Film Benefit features two of the screen’s funniest comedians in two classics: Buster Keaton, the "great stone face," stars in One Week, and the all-American boy next door, Harold Lloyd, takes center stage in The Kid Brother.

Just like in the days of old, both films will be accompanied by live music. No orchestral group in America is better known for their work in silent films than the acclaimed Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.  A quintet of piano, violin, cello, clarinet and cornet, the Mont Alto Orchestra has provided accompaniment to silent film classics for over 25 years.  They have performed to superlative reviews before sold out audiences across the United States. The film critic Leonard Maltin calls himself a "longtime fan," and The New York Times wrote of them: "The results are often breathtakingly beautiful and always in the strict service of the film…"

If the musical talents of the Mont Alto Orchestra combined with two of the funniest comedies of the silent era aren’t enough to take you back to the glory days of filmmaking, then add to the mix one of America’s most majestic movie palaces, the Avalon Casino.  When this two million dollar pleasure palace was opened in 1929, its builder, William Wrigley Jr., had yet to be convinced that “talkies” were the future of the movies. He installed a magnificent pipe organ and constructed a theatre of such progressive design that engineers building New York’s Radio City Music Hall traveled to the Casino to study its remarkable acoustics.

Like to dress up? Attend the Silent Film Benefit in period dress and win a prize for best-dressed individual or best-dressed couple. Prizes will also be awarded for the best character from each film. Judging will occur upon arrival.

The 29th Annual Catalina Island Museum Silent Film Benefit takes place at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 21 in the historic Avalon Casino Theatre.

Do not wait to purchase tickets. This year’s event is sure to sell out. Tickets are $25 for members of the museum and $28 for general admission. Purchasing tickets is easy. Please call 310-510-2414, visit the museum in person, or go to the Silent Film event page at the Museum's website.

The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon’s sole institution devoted to art, culture and history.  The museum, its digital theater and store are currently located on the ground floor of Avalon’s historic Casino and are open 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website.