By Maddy PUMILIA
About 50 people attended Saturday night’s free screening of the 1942 movie “Captains of the Clouds” at Two Strike Park. The screening was not only a chance to enjoy a film under the stars, but to also pay homage to former resident and actor Dennis Morgan, a ’40s and ’50s movie star who is credited with pushing the idea forward of building the park.
“Every year, we try to do something to remember Dennis Morgan and to honor his legacy. He helped get this park built,” said Larry Muepo, park supervisor for both Two Strike and Crescenta Valley parks. “This is a way to help the community remember his contribution.”
In 1949, Morgan reportedly said to the Los Angeles County board of supervisors that he would donate five acres of property to build a park if L.A. County also bought land for the park. Morgan wanted to build a baseball field for children to play. He had seen a poster of a child who was hit by a car while playing baseball in the street. He said any child who was forced to play baseball on the street had two strikes against him. The third strike could be getting hit by a car.
Dennis Morgan’s family also attended Saturday’s screening. Morgan, a resident of the Crescenta Valley area, died in 1994. In attendance were Morgan’s nephew and his wife Bob and Lynne Barkar; Morgan’s youngest son and his wife Jimmy and Betty Morner. Also attending were his grandson James Morner, his grandson’s fiancé Jessica Hawari and fiancé’s mother Betty Hawari.
Parks and Recreation provided the 16-foot by 10-foot screen and moviegoers were given free popcorn. Before the movie, the viewers got to see old newsreels from the 1940s.
“It’s great to see he’s being acknowledged for starting this park,” said Morgan’s nephew Bob Barkar. “The fact that the park is here is a legacy. It’s a benefit for the community.” He added that Dennis had a positive connection with the youth.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Jimmy Morner of the event.
“It’s awesome they do this,” agreed Betty Morner.
Attendees were of all ages. Terry and Joey Larocca brought 2-year-old Moxie to the outdoor theater. They live about a block away from Two Strike Park.
“We can watch a movie with our daughter and not disturb others,” Terry said.
Cousins Craig Nameny, 15, and Mary Thompson, 14, came to the movie at their grandmother’s request and ended up having a good time.
“I like the atmosphere,” said Nameny. “It’s pretty cool, pretty chill.”
“Captains of the Clouds” was the first of four Crescenta Valley outdoor movies for the month of August. “The Sound of Music,” will be shown on Saturday at CV Park, 3901 Dunsmore Ave. in La Crescenta. On Aug. 26-27, the Montrose Shopping Park will show “American Graffiti” and “Grease” in the Andersen’s Pet Store parking lot, 2218 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose.