A train wreck, a sword fight and even a witch burning.
These were among the action-packed plot points Gettysburg moviegoers saw in 1925 when they went to the Majestic Theater to watch Cecil B. DeMille's "The Road to Yesterday," the debut film when the theater opened.
And, apropos to the title of the 10-reel melodrama, the Majestic is hosting its own road to yesterday this summer with Movie Memories, the theater's annual classic movies series.
Each Wednesday, starting June 6 and running through Aug. 29, the Majestic will show a classic movie, pulled from the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best films of all time. For many movie goers, this will be the first time they get to see some of these classics on the big screen, said Majestic Theater director Jeffrey Gabel.
"Watch a Laurel and Hardy comedy at home, and you may chuckle to yourself, but watch them, in a crowded movie theater, try to haul that piano up that long flight of steps and you'll find yourself, along with everyone else, roaring with laughter," Gabel said.
Gabel said nothing can beat the big screen, where you see films in all their intended glory. You can get completely absorbed into the story, too, and watching it with others only heightens the emotional impact, he said.
Gabel, a lifelong movie buff and fan of Hollywood's Golden Age, picks the films for the series each year, and selects classics that he hopes will appeal to everyone.
It's hard to pick a favorite, but Gabel said if he had to choose one out of this summer's movies, it would have to be "Gunga Din."
"It has everything," he said. "Love, laughter, tears, suspense, a terrifying villain, and one of the most nail-biting endings of all time."
The historic theater underwent a $16.5 million renovation in 2005. With recordings of historic theater organ music playing before the film, it's kind of like taking the road to yesterday.
"We try to make each film presentation a special night of entertainment," Gabel said.
Before the movie starts, Gabel introduces the movie with an informative talk about the film's production and its stars. There's also a free raffle drawing of gifts donated by local businesses.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, and tickets are $6.
Films in the series include "Gunga Din," "Oklahoma," "Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory," "Born to Dance," "Double Indemnity," "Strike Up the Band," "Red River," "Bringing Up Baby," "Tarzan the Ape Man," "State of the Union," "Pride of the Yankees," and "Annie Get Your Gun."
- Steve Marroni,
If you go
LOCATION: Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg.
HOURS: The Movie Memories series starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays from June 6 to Aug. 29.
DETAILS: Tickets are available now. Visit gettysburg majestic.org.