The La Crescenta park will do duty as a movie house when Joe Rinaudo sets up shop on Saturday night.
By Isiah REYES
The Historical Society of Crescenta Valley invites the community to enjoy a night of silent movie shorts shown through an original hand-cranked projector on July 26 at Two Strike Park in La Crescenta.
The films are shown by silent film historian and projectionist Joe Rinaudo. His set-up includes an original 1909 hand-cranked 35-millimeter motion picture projector that is outfitted with a Magic Lantern glass slide attachment. Rinaudo said that the equipment allows films to be shown “the same way they were shown more than 100 years ago” and some years ago even caught the eye of Huell Howser. Howser, host of the popular “California Gold” series, featured Rinaudo in one of his shows.
Some of the films that will run are from Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and film pioneer and special effects wizard Georges Méliès. Local resident Gary Gibson will be assisting Rinaudo with the presentation.
“It’s going to be fun for the whole family,” Rinaudo said. “It’s my passion to spread the word to young people about the experience of motion picture which is rapidly disappearing now with the advent of digital technology.”
There will be a live accompaniment by Dean Mora, who will play music from the era to narrate the films on an electronic keyboard. Mora is a Los Angeles-born pianist whose interest in the 1920s and 1930s has led him to create several orchestras.
“Mora plays to the audience, so it will be like toe-tapping, snappy fun stuff,” Rinaudo said.
“People can come and see the projector and how the equipment looked over 100 years ago and hopefully a lot of people will have fun,” Rinaudo said. “Unlike many people’s concept of silent film, this is going to be run at the proper speed and the prints will be bright and sharp and clear with no scratches.”
Rinaudo did a show for the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley two years ago. The show was sold out and he wanted to do it again. Saturday’s show will be held outside to attract a greater audience.
Rinaudo has taken the silent films on tour and has presented them at the Balboa in San Diego, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Museum and the Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar.
The show is dedicated to the men and women projectionists who took film, music and equipment across the United States entertaining people in small towns that did not have a motion picture theater during the silent era.
The free event is a special opportunity for kids and film enthusiasts to learn modern movie roots. It will start at 7:30 p.m. at Two Strike Park, located at 5107 Rosemont Ave., La Crescenta.