Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Weinberg Center to ring in the New Year with classic Marx Brothers films

1935 ad for the Tivoli Cinema, showcasing the
Marx Brothers film "A Night At The Opera."
(The Frederick News-Post/Randall Family LLC/
Newspaper Archive)

PROLOGUE: This was originally written as part of a group multimedia blog project in my Online Journalism class at Hood College (with two fellow “friends of the Matinee”).  Enjoy!  

Groucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo’s zany antics.  Margaret Dumont’s deadpan reaction to Groucho’s wisecracks.  “Hooray for Captain Spaulding.”  “Hail, Hail Freedonia.”

Fans of slapstick and classic comedy in the Frederick area may start the New Year by treating themselves to an afternoon of iconic comedy classics at the Weinberg Center for the Arts.

The theater will showcase a double dose of films featuring the Marx Brothers on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 10 at 2 p.m., as part of the Weinberg’s “Cinema Classic Series.”

The first film that will be shown in the Marx Brothers double feature event will be the 1935 film, “A Night at the Opera,” directed by Sam Wood.  This was the brothers’ first film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, alongside Margaret Dumont and Kitty Carlisle.

Vintage Tivoli memorabilia booth, inside the lobby
of the Weinberg Center for the Arts. Photo: Chris Hamby.
Then, the Weinberg will showcase the 1933 motion picture, “Duck Soup,” directed by Leo McCarey. “Duck Soup” was the brothers’ last film for Paramount Pictures, featuring Dumont and the “fourth” Marx brother, Zeppo Marx.

This would be Zeppo’s last film with his brothers, as he later pursued a successful career as a talent agent.  According to “A&E Biography,” he also worked as a successful inventor, notably helping the Allied effort during World War II on developing special clamping devices for secure transportation of atomic bombs on the “Enola Gay.”

Out of all the Marxes’ comedies, both “A Night at the Opera” and “Duck Soup” have been considered the best out of the Marxes’ film career, according to the movie guide, “VideoHound’s Golden Movie Retriever.”

The two films were shown at Frederick’s crown jewel theater, when it was known as the Tivoli cinema during their general release years.  Both Marx Brothers films were made by two different studios, and the theater was owned by rival studio Warner Bros. Pictures, which owned the Tivoli from the late 1920s until 1948.

Interior of the Weinberg Center (former Tivoli) stage with
movie screen.  Photo: Chris Hamby
John Healey, executive theater director of the Weinberg Center for the Arts, said that the upcoming Marx Brothers double-feature screening of “A Night at the Opera” and “Duck Soup” is important to the theater’s motion picture heritage.

“Film is a very large part of the history of the Weinberg Center,” Healey said.

Jef Cliber, box office manager of the Weinberg Center, said that he was delighted that the two Marx Brothers films would make their return to the big screen.

“It’s nice to see some of those older films make a return to us,” Cliber said.  “There was enough of a demand for us to create another niche where there are different kinds of films.”

Katherine Orloff, an assistant professor of journalism at Hood College, said that the timeless humor of the Marx Brothers would be a great way to kick off the New Year.

“What better way to start 2016 with laughter and happiness,” Orloff said. “Laughter is the best medicine.”

The cost of admission for the Marx Brothers double feature screening at the Weinberg Center is $7 for adults and $5 for children, students, senior citizens, Frederick city employees and members of the military.

Marx Brothers Double Feature Screening: “A Night at the Opera” (1935)/”Duck Soup” (1933)

Jan. 10 at 2 p.m.

Weinberg Center for the Arts

20 W. Patrick St.

Frederick, MD 21701


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Television Corner: "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" to be shown on Antenna TV in January

“Carnac the Magnificent.”  “Stump the Band.”  The “Tea Time Movie” with Art Fern.  Floyd R. Turbo.  “How Hot/Cold was it?”  “And now, ladies and gentlemen… here’s Johnny!”

23 years after Johnny Carson (1925-2005) bid farewell to "The Tonight Show" on NBC, one of the major classic television subchannels will showcase vintage episodes that were hosted by the original "king of late night."

"The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" on Tribune's Antenna TV

Tribune Media's Antenna TV network will showcase full-length episodes of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" beginning in January.  According to Cynthia Litton’s article in “Variety,” Tribune made an agreement with Carson Entertainment Group to broadcast full-length, classic episodes from 1972 to 1992.  

What happened to the pre-1972 episodes?

According to Litton’s findings in “Variety,” a small fraction of pre-1972 episodes exist of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” (consisting of both tapes and filmed kinescopes, since NBC was known for re-using videotape at the time, thus destroying many tape masters ). 

An alternative to the current state of Late Night television

Antenna TV’s showcase of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” will be great for those who have never watched Carson’s incarnation of the “Tonight Show” and for those who want to re-live the “golden age” of late night TV with Johnny, Doc Severinsen (with his NBC Orchestra) and sidekick Ed McMahon.  

Where to watch:

Starting Jan. 1 at 11 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Pacific

In the Washington, D.C./Frederick, area: WDCW-TV 50.2/Comcast 201

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

RiffTrax Live: “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” to be shown in theaters on Dec. 3rd

A re-post (from the offshoot blog of "At The Matinee," "Silver Screen Reflections").  

For those who watched the “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day ‘15” streaming marathon, there’s another “cheesy movie” serving presented by several familiar voices from the cult series.

It’s time for “RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” (1972)

Fans of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and “RiffTrax” will be in for a holiday treat, as Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett will riff the 1972 Z-budget kiddie holiday film, “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.”

The cast of RiffTrax, in conjunction with NCM Fathom Events, will present a live broadcast screening of this low-budget Christmas film in select theaters from coast-to-coast, on Dec. 3.  A re-broadcast of that night’s screening will occur in select cinema venues on Dec. 15.

An advertisement for the RiffTrax screening of “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” was seen throughout Shout! Factory TV and their streaming broadcast of the “MST3K Turkey Day ‘15” event on YouTube (in-between each episode).

From a long line of cheesy, low-budget “kiddie” holiday films…

“Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” is one of many cheesy holiday films that have been riffed by the cast of RiffTrax over the years, including “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964) and K. Gordon Murray’s English-dubbed Mexican fantasy film, “Santa Claus“ (1959).  Both aforementioned films have also been shown on MST3K.

Why you should see the RiffTrax version of this holiday “turkey” (for those that may have never watched MST3K or RiffTrax):

If you didn’t watch the “Mystery Science Theater” marathon, or have never experienced a “RiffTrax Live” screening, then this is the perfect opportunity to experience movie riffing at its finest on the big screen, through the courtesy of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett.

RiffTrax Live Presents: “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” (1972)

Broadcast live in select theaters nationwide on Thurs., Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Closest cinema venue to the Frederick area (to see the live broadcast of "RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny"):

R/C Gateway Gettysburg Theaters 8
20 Presidential Circle
Gettysburg, PA 17325
Phone: (717) 334-5575

Buy Tickets from R/C Gateway Gettysburg Theaters 8 (via

Complete list of theaters from coast-to-coast that will be showing “RiffTrax Live: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”(on Dec. 3, via NCM Fathom Events)

NOTE: A re-broadcast of the RiffTrax screening of “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny” is scheduled for select theaters from coast-to-coast on Dec. 15.  

Yet according to the theater listings for the re-broadcast date (via NCM Fathom Events), R/C Gateway Gettysburg Theaters 8 will not be showing the Dec. 15 re-broadcast (the listing of theaters for the re-broadcast may be updated by then).

More information about "RiffTrax"