Pull on your bobby socks and slick back your hair – Montrose is hosting a film festival.
By Mary O’KEEFE
“Where were you in ’62?” That is the question that the movie “American Graffiti” asked and one the community can answer at the 2nd Annual Montrose Film Festival. Friday and Saturday nights will be a time to relive the days of fast cars, bobby socks and poodle skirts.
On Friday, the public is invited to the screening of “American Graffiti.” The 1973 film, written by George Lucas, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck and directed by Lucas, is a look at America in its last moments of innocence. The Vietnam conflict was underway but hadn’t escalated to the point of the nation’s large protests, and the feeling of the 1950s was still in the air. High school grads take one last night to cruise the strip of their hometown, with endless possibilities of meeting someone new or winning a drag race.
On Saturday, the 1978 film “Grease” will be shown. The film’s music was written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, screenplay by Bronte Woodard and adaptation by Allan Carr. It was directed by Randal Kleiser. The film stars John Travolta as Danny Zuko and Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsen. The two had fallen in love during a summer romance but once back at the same high school the relationship is not so simple. It has good girls and bad girls, bad boys and worse boys – all sharing their philosophy of life as they know it in high school.
Nostalgia is the theme for the two nights. The movies are a look back at a simpler time when families actually did go to movies together with no vampires or werewolves involved. The free movie nights are being held at the former site of the old Montrose Theater in the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue in the parking lot of Andersen Pet Shop. The Montrose Theater was at that location from 1924 to 1987 when it was destroyed by fire. Steve Pierce and Tony Smith organized the Montrose Film Festival last year and got positive feedback.
“It was very successful,” Pierce said.
The event is not only a way to foster community but also a way to help local businesses. Several Honolulu Avenue restaurants will have to-go menus available for movie guests. Teen members of Crescenta Valley High School and Rosemont Middle School Prom Plus Clubs will take dinner orders from moviegoers for the participating restaurants. They will then take the money/credit card to the restaurant for payment and bring the food to the movie patrons.
Prom Plus Clubs will also be selling soda and candy with proceeds going to the organization, which provides a safe alternative for after prom parties for CVHS.
The evening will start with music on Friday provided by the Sardo Brothers Band and on Saturday, the Maetros will perform.
And if the movies were not enough of a nostalgic look back to the ’50s and ’60s, the Montrose Film Festival organizers have one more surprise.
The two films share a love of cars. From the infamous ’56 T-Bird in “American Graffiti” driven by the mysterious blonde to “Grease Lightening,” the 1948 Ford refurbished by the Rydell High School boys, the cars driven by the movie teens were as important as their human co-stars.
To celebrate the screenings, Dwight Sityar and the Early Rodders car club – hot rod and car enthusiasts – will be cruising the avenue with cars from the films’ eras.
Sityar has been working on getting just the right cars for the two nights. His love of automobiles and the time when imagination was as important as engineering skill are obvious just by speaking to him.
“I liked those cars [of the 1950s, early 1960s],” Sityar said. “They were easy to fix.”
He and Pierce reminisced about the cars of those days and how they couldn’t wait until each September when the new models would come out.
“Back then, you could take a car out of the showroom and drag race it,” Sityar said.
Cars will be cruisin’, Prom Plus Club kids will be dressed in ’50s costume acting as waiters while the public enjoys free popcorn, dining under the stars and the chance to watch a good movie.
The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. both nights. Chairs are provided for the guests. The City of Glendale provides the movie screen. The movie is free.