Nearly Lost, Silent Movies Found at Two Strike Park

Projectionist Joe Rinaudo will be making his way to Two Strike Park on Saturday to share some of his favorite silent movies.
Photo by Julia KOHUT

By Julia KOHUT

Throwback Saturday will be found at Two Strike Park when silent movie night returns.

Movies have been a form of entertainment for decades. Most people go no further than their own living room to sit down and enjoy Hollywood’s latest action flick. But anyone interested in taking a step back in time is invited to come to Two Strike Park on Saturday, July 30 to experience historic silent cinema in the Park. The screening will begin at 8:30 p.m; the park is located at 5107 Rosemont Ave. in La Crescenta. The screening will begin with a cartoon before the main event: seven silent films ranging from 1896 to 1929.

The man behind the event, Joe Rinaudo, has been restoring and preserving silent films for decades. The show he puts on is “to educate people about the motion picture history.”

While it may seem for many that silent films are a thing of the past, Rinaudo said this era is “my nostalgia.” He now works to give people the same experience as movie-goers from over a century ago. Rinaudo will be hand-cranking the films on his 1909 Power’s 6 Motion Picture Machine, just like the projectionists once did in the traveling shows from decades past. There will also be a live accompaniment on the piano from Cliff Retallick.

In between reel changes, Gary Gibson will be projecting original hand-colored glass slides.

The show will feature three comedy shorts. One of these shorts, “The Battle of the Century,” is a Laurel and Hardy film that includes what many have called one of the greatest pie fights in cinema history. Three thousand pies are thrown in the film. It also has one of the first instances of product placement with the appearance of an LA Pie Company truck.

Another of the featured movies is truly a time capsule film. It was created by the Miles Brothers early in the last century in San Francisco. The Brothers had extra reels of film, so they decided to put a camera on the front of a trolley and slowly go down Market Street, perfectly capturing the vehicles, architecture and life from that era. A few days later, the Brothers took the film to New York to produce it. It was on the next day, April 18, that the great earthquake of 1906 tore apart San Francisco. Incredibly, the modern movie-goer can witness a small slice of life just four days before the devastating earthquake struck.

Attending Saturday night’s show is free; the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley will be on-site selling popcorn and baked goods. All proceeds from these sales will be going back to the Historical Society, which will help finance future shows. It is recommended that anyone coming to the event bring their own chairs and blankets and arrive early to find a good spot.

This event is sponsored by the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley, whose members will be present and eager to talk to anyone interested about local history, as well as the LA County Parks & Recreation Dept. With the department’s help, as well as the time and effort by Joe Rinaudo, folks are able to enjoy a near-lost art form.