Tuesday, May 06, 2008


You already know that this year marks the 30th anniversary of National Lampoon’s Animal House and that this summer I’ll have a special goody or two related to that anniversary coming up right here at this space. But 1978 also marked the unveiling of a local Los Angeles treasure, a revival house that, despite tough times is enjoying a bit of a revival of its own these days. The New Beverly Cinema is 30 years old this month, and Michael Torgan has decided to celebrate the occasion by recreating the first calendar created for the theater by his dad, Sherman Torgan, the original force behind the New Beverly, who passed away last summer. In a statement on the New Beverly’s web site, Michael speaks of his tribute to his dad’s original vision for the theater:

“The May 2008 is lovingly dedicated to my dad Sherman, who was the main driving force behind the New Beverly from its founding in '78 until his sudden and untimely passing this past July. The New Beverly would have never made it this far without him, and we'll never forget him.”

The only deviations from that schedule (which you can read here) will be the Tuesday Grindhouse Film Festival shows, the midnight movies, and a substitution for Logan’s Run through May 6, necessitated by the fact that no studio print of the movie seems to be in existence!

The double feature, a tribute to the science fiction offerings in waning days of MGM in the ‘70s, that originally featured Logan’s Run, survives thematically, however. You can see Westworld (1973) and Soylent Green (1973) at the New Beverly tonight and tip your hat not only to the visions of the future that managed to squeak through the studio at a time when executive James T. Aubrey, Jr. was slashing budgets and alienating talent, but also to the memory of the recently deceased Charlton Heston, and to Sherman Torgan as well. And I have it on good authority that my friend Haruka Sometani-Straight, a pure-at-heart, card-carrying member of the New Beverly faithful, will be providing freshly baked Soylent Green cookies free of charge to those who attend tonight’s screening. Those of you who have seen Soylent Green may rest assured that Haruka has not varied one iota from the original recipe provided by the visionary urban planners whose template for population control proved so effective in the movie. And they’re delicious too! My tummy’s already grumblin’. See you tonight at the New Beverly, Haruka!


Murray said...

Wow, I remember going to Soylent Green with you. I also remember going to Westworld and Logan's Run, but I do not know if it was with you or not. What I would give to be able to see these movies again in a theater with you, especially if they had open captions available. Perhaps someday we can watch these movies together on DVD on one of our home big screen TV's. Shall we set a date for say this time next year at your new house. :-) PS: We will invite your next door neighbor Bruce too.

greg6363 said...

The rights to Logan's Run are owned by Warner Bros. (from the Turner library) so I'm incredulous when I hear there's no evidence of a studio print in existence.

driveindude said...

Usually, when there is no studio print available that sometimes means there may be a push coming from a studio to release a restored edition, so lets hope for a new print coming soon. Not always but lets hope.

bill said...

Reminds me of that episode of "The Simpsons" which for one reason or another partly takes place in the future. At one point, you see a box of Soylent Green, and on the front it says "Now With More Girl!"

Editor A said...

That was a brilliant Simpsons joke, Bill. Congrats New Bev!! I used to be a card-carrying member too, but DVD ate me. Every now and then I make a foray back out to the theaters, but the cost and travel time beats me back down (although cost was never a problem at the New Bev!!). I think I logged enough screenings the first 5 or so years I lived here when I literally crisscrossed town driving from one screening to the other, seeing 2 or 3 movies a day or more! Probably about 10 a week. So hopefully Haruka will forgive me one day that our screening manias did not coincide.

The New Beverly is the best film education the general public or filmmakers can get. Just spend a couple of months there.

Editor A said...

Did you already see this?

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" theme on ukuleles.

Somehow it seems an ill fit, but since you are all things Leone I thought I would pass it on.

Of course, it doesn't top when you, me and psaga saw the original whistler at the Alex Theatre!!

(I see this video is old. You probably posted on it months ago.)

cat said...

I was there for the show on Monday! Glad to hear that Tuesday, Solyent Green Day actually featured Solyent Green for all!

I'm going tonight to catch Slaughter House 5, can't wait.

christian said...

Damn, I missed you last night, but I wrote about the Soylent Green snacks on my blog! A great double feature.