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So… who’s ready to hear the King of Rock n’ Roll and who wants to see lovely Ann-Margret? They sizzle together in Viva Las Vegas and the Pickwick Theater is proud to bring it to the big screen for your enjoyment. Made in 1964 it is considered by many to be one of the King’s best films. Though it didn’t walk away with any first place prizes it did received second place as a musical and third place for both Elvis and Ann-Margret for their musical performances in the Golden Laurel category which is not surprising when you realize that there are no fewer than 10 songs.

In a very few days this film will open on the big screen and you and your family can experience the magic of Vegas with all its pomp and ceremony. See the casino’s, the girls and experience the clubs as only two men on the search for one girl can bring you.

Please be advised that our last show was nearly 800 people in a theater that seats 950. If you want to get a good seat (and there really are no bad seats) come early and make your claim. Also, know that the line for the popcorn gets long fast as well. Advance tickets are still being sold at the box office or online. Those will stop being sold on the day of the show.

For more information please visit Park Ridge Classic Film.


Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Starring Elvis Presley & Ann-Margaret
November 13, 2015
Feature at 7:30 p.m. (85 Minutes)
The Pickwick Theater
5 S. Prospect Ave. Park Ridge, ILL

Regular – Day of $10 / Advanced $8
Seniors – Day of $7 / Advanced $6


What does it take for the stars to align correctly and a box office hit to occur? The answer is one director born 1899 (Alfred Hitchcock – London England), one male lead born 1904 (Cary Grant – Bristol England) and one female lead born 1924 (Eva Marie Saint – Newark, New Jersey.) Released July 28, 1959 North By Northwest became an instant classic. With a screenplay by Ernest Lehman and a score by Bernard Herrman how could it go wrong? The answer – it couldn’t and it didn’t. And so, it has stood the test of time.

As with Hitchcock’s earlier successes there was a misunderstood man who must fight to prove who he is and in the end discovers that there’s more to himself than even he knew. It’s a classic tale of misunderstanding but with lots of monkey wrenches thrown in. when you’re in trouble shouldn’t it be a trouble worth being in trouble for?

Cary Grant’s character Roger O. Thornhill is an advertising executive who’s used to twisting the truth around to sell a product. In his world that is a normal practice but in the real world doing what he’s used to can have some very big consequences. He soon finds this out when he is misidentified as George Kaplan. Without knowing it, he is now seen as a government agent.

At first Thornhill denies being Kaplan and tries to prove his true identity. Unbelieved, the spies who’ve kidnapped him attempt to kill him. By luck he gets away and in order to get himself out of the hot-seat he sets out to prove himself and find out who exactly, ‘this cap Kaplan is.’ Caught again and escaping again he must take on the identity of Kaplan in order to survive. Soon one of the greatest adventures ever to come to the big screen ensues but I won’t tell you any more. You’ll have to come to the Pickwick and see what happens for yourself.

The only other thing I’ll tell you is there is a beautiful blond who’s not exactly who you think she is and that the chase involves some breathtakingly scenic views of our great United States.

Other Notable Film Facts:

  • Budget = $4,326,000

  • Box Office = $9.8 Million

  • 1st Film to use Kinetic Typography (Opening Credits)

Script by Ernest Lehman

Lehman had 25 screenplays to his credit in which he amassed many awards including 6 Writers Guild of America Awards, 2 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, a Golden Globe and an honorary Academy Award in 2001 for his varied and enduring works. Among these works where such classics as:

  • The King and I (1956)

  • North By Northwest (1959)

  • West Side Story (1961)

  • The Sound of Music (1965) & wrote the soundtrack

  • Hello Dolly! (1969) & produced

Score by Bernard Herrmann

Herrmann worked a great deal for two men, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Wells. Starting with radio he regularly wrote scores for the Mercury Theater On The Air and was the one man Wells trusted when it came to what would become one of both men’s outstanding legacies, the 1938 radio drama – The War of the Worlds. For film Herrmann teamed up many times with Hitchcock and amassed quite the repertoire. Later he would work on several Ray Harryhausen films and in television he’d do the score for The Twilight Zone and Have Gun Will Travel. As of 2005 this versatile composer has two of his works (Psycho #4 & Vertigo #12) in the top 25 Greatest Film Scores by the American Film Institute.

  • Citizen Kane (1941) Salary $10,000

  • The Ghost And Mrs. Muir (1947)

  • The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)

  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1953)

  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

  • Vertigo (1958)

  • The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

  • North By Northwest (1959)

  • Psycho (1960 & 1998) Salary $34,500 –1960 Version

  • Cape Fear (1962 & 1991)

  • Jason And The Argonauts (1963)

  • Taxi Driver (1976)


North By Northwest (1959) Starring Cary Grant



The Pickwick Theater

5 S. Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL 60068



September 17th, 2015

Live Organ music by Famed Organist Jay Warren at 7 PM

North By Northwest at 7:30 PM (136 Minutes)

Diamonds in Our Midst

Many people I know and consider my friends talk about finding their soulmate. That person, they tell me, is hard to find and once found the best gift the universe has to offer.

For myself, I’m not sure about the Universe but I do firmly believe that there are special people that will appear in each of our lives. Some are fleeting but they serve a purpose and fulfill a need for that small segment of time they are in our lives.

Others, are lasting. They might be lifelong friends we meet as children, who we grow up beside and remain with us our whole lives. Some find us in the middle and help us along and still others find us near the end and bring light into those remaining years. Each is equally needed and loved.

But there is that One person who is different somehow. That person is the one who stands beside us and holds our hand in times of need. They are the shoulder we cry on, the most trusted person in our lives. They bring laughter and joy. At odd moments of the day when they are somewhere else they are still beside us. That person’s love and support is with us at every turn in the road. If we are smart and very lucky that person, who sometimes is labeled soulmate, also is our helpmate.

Hopefully someone reading this, who perhaps was ready to give up, will change their mind. Someone is out there waiting for them as they have waited and it isn’t a little green man. It could be someone who wants to give you green (money, flowers).

Let me just start by saying that I went to the victory parade last week. That one sentence tells you that I am a fan and that I think highly of our players. Now, standing in the sardine can of fans I overheard others talking. Some where saying that there were a lot of fans present that were not True Fans. This was based on the notion that a True Fan was one who followed the team’s exploits before they became champions. There I must put my proverbial foot down as I disagree with the statement.

I myself am a recent convert to the sport. It is true that by the time I joined they had already won a cup in recent years. That alone would put me on the list of non-true fans. Here I raise my hand and put up a disclaimer and prove myself to be a True Fan. How? By claiming ignorance. I did not know that they’d won a cup when I began to follow. Therefore, I am not one of those newbies who jumped on the bandwagon as they say just because they were a winning team.

My journey began shortly before the playoffs began in  2013. I’d never been a fan of any sport and I didn’t particularly mind or care. My Dad, for no apparent reason, one night suggested we turn WGN on and listen to a hockey game and see what we thought. We weren’t sure after the first game so we tuned in another night and gave it another shot. At first, I think we all had headaches. At least,  I know I did. I kept going back and forth in my mind where the puck was and trying to get it out of danger’s way. After all, at that time I didn’t know the names of the players. Knowing which side of the ice the puck was at was the only thing I could hold onto and so hold I did.

Given half a dozen games listened to, I began to recognize the player’s names. I no longer had to move my eyes back and forth or make my finger move from one side of my knee to the other. I knew when we were safe and when we weren’t. I started to see patterns and understand the rules of the game. In short, I was hooked. When I figured out that the team was going into the playoffs I got excited. I didn’t understand exactly what it took to reach the final win but I knew we were getting closer with every game. I held onto that. I read the newspaper. At that time, I was alone in Hockey. I didn’t know anyone who was a Fan. I had no one to ask questions of. I was a lonely practisioner of the sport.

As the Hawks got closer and closer I listend eagerly to every game. I missed none. I didn’t go out of the house when the game was one because the game had a life of its own. That night when we played Game 6 against the Boston Bruins was an eye opener. They were tough and I was sure we were headed to Game 7. Then suddenly the puck found the back of the Bruin net and I, along with everyone else, felt sure overtime was at hand. After all, there was almost no time left. Then, out of nowhere the puck was once again in the Bruin net. 17 seconds had elapsed since the tie and now if they could hang on for just a little bit more, they had the coveted Cup. It happened. I listened as John and Troy exploded and my family went wild from our own livingroom. We were Stanley Cup Champion Fans!

The next season was eagierly awaited and with it brought the knowledge that there were others like me out there who loved this sport just as much as I had gotten to. It was a wonderful feeling. I went almost a whole year without ever seeing a single game. I didn’t have to see a game to know what went on. The games were brought to life to me by two men who had played the game and who now told a new generation what was going on at ice level. The newspapers showed me what the players looked like and between the two  I learned much. In fact, I know more about the rules than many of my fellow fans who watch the television. They say I’m missing something by not watching the games, I say they are missing something by not listening to the games. Maybe we’re both missing something but the reality is that we are all Hawk Fans. That is the most important thing of all.

So now I’ve been a fan for over two years. I’ve been with the team almost every game through the ups and downs of the seasons. I’ve heard and watched the players get hurt, return and show the world that they are a force to be reconned with. The Hawks prove they are the team to beat on a regular basis and they have enough Stanley Cups in recent years to show the whole hockey world that they are champion stock. So am I a True Fan? I think so. In the end that’s all that matters.

These days there are so many ways to get from point A to point B. We drive, train, fly and boat. Each has it’s advantages but some give benefits not necessity thought of.

If you drive you decide to the second what time you’ll leave, arrive and which routes you’ll use. You can make unplanned stops. You can do as you choose but you must also always be alert. Other drivers don’t drive as well as you do and each of those seconds you’re behind the wheel brings new dangers.

Now, taking the train means living a scheduled life. Miss it and you’re late or you just don’t get to do what you thought you were going to. Once on, the only thing you have to remember is when to get off. You can sleep if you want. You can work, mingle with other riders or look out the window without driving off the tracks. Taking the train is a comedy. These is always something new. Passengers with odd clothing combinations, the smells of a variety of foods and then there are those conversations. Did they really just say that out loud?

Now if you live in Chicago and take the L you have a whole new experience. You pass homes with windows wide open practically butted up to the tracks. The train stops and you hear arguments with the occasional flying pan, TV shows in snippets and most importantly you watch life unfold as families grow up before your eyes one day at a time.

Flying is a little bit like taking the train. Only now it’s impossible to miss your stop. You’ll find some commuters but mostly you will find vacationers. Happiness is in the air (pun not intended but it works) as passengers expectations rise closer and closer to the surface.

Finally there is the boat. Like the plane, some use it often but that’s smaller vessels and not the norm. Vacation is not got going on the boat, the boat is the vacation. Being on a cruise is a 24 hour party. What more could you want?

We Americans love to travel. We’re full of life and we like to get there fast. America, the land of opportunity, the land of dreams, the best nation in the world to travel around and so much to see. Options? Sure, we have them. Plenty of them. Which one is your favorite and why?


In 1942 Hollywood released a hurriedly made movie meant to capitalize on another movie with a setting also taking place in South Africa. Algers had been a hit but now that Warners’ next film was ready they were no longer sure a success was possible. They knew they had a good cast but besides that they just didn’t know. The whole film’s production had been fraught with difficulties and so uncertainty hung in the air as they waited for the public’s response.

What Warners got was a huge surprise they have never stopped feeling blessed with. Casablanca was a hit with a capital H. The film’s earliest beginnings were steeped to the ceiling with doubts that it ever would be made. After all ~ it was based off a play that had never been produced. To say that Casablanca has a story to tell is a vast understatement. The making of this classic has its own lore.

What can I tell you that you don’t know? That all depends on how immersed in the movies or how much of a Casablanquiste you are.

Let’s start with the basics. It all began with a play written by Murray Burnett entitled Everyone Comes to Rick’s. The play was never produced but Warners bought it from Burnett for $20,000 in 1941. It wasn’t until May 25, 1942 that shooting began. What held it up? There was no screenplay but they were shopping for actors/actresses to play a part that they had trouble describing because there was no script and they were making the storyline up as they went along. That problem remained through the whole of shooting as no one knew the ending all the way to the final days of shooting. The big question? Who was Ilsa going to go with?

The legacy of Casablanca is very much like the earliest of Mack Sennett comedies where the cameras roll and whatever happens happens. The script was written day to day with the ink barely dry before being handed off to the actors only hours before shooting began for that day.

The norm on the set was confusion and arguments. People walked off and lines were rewritten by everyone. The characters evolved and without anyone knowing they created a masterpiece that to many film historians is #3 behind #1 Citizen Kane and #2 Gone With the Wind as the greatest film ever made.

Interesting Facts

Bogart was 43 ~ Bergman was 27

Henreid, Lorre & Veidt were all refugees of the Nazi party in real life.

The Film cost $878,000 and was 8% over budget.

Filming took 59 days and that was 11 days over schedule.

What: Early Valentines Day Showing of Casablanca
When: February 10, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Where: The Pickwick Theater ~ 5 S. Prospect Ave Park Ridge, Illinois
Admission: Regular $7, Seniors $5

downloadOver the years there have been many stars in Hollywood’s parade of stars. Some were fleeting and have long been forgotten. Others shone so bright that it is doubtful that their light will ever be extinguished. In the town of Potsdam, near Berlin, there was a babe born who was destined to fall between these two cosmic stars of the silver screen. Even his name is that which will cause some to shake their heads in a struggle to remember and ultimately fail. Still, there are those who will lick their lips and roll their eyes around for a second before the name clicks.

His name was Conrad Veidt and he was born January 22, 1893. It was an important year. The world’s fair opened in Chicago that year and Germany put her best foot forward to show the world that she was friendly to all people. Too bad that feeling of good will toward men didn’t last longer. But for the Veidt house this year was a joyous one.

Young Conrad grew up fast and at the age of twenty entered that long exalted line of men and women who brought dramatizations to the world. He stepped upon the stage in 1913 but he didn’t remain there long. In 1917 he took his career forward with the times and entered the German cinema. The expressionist movement was growing stronger and stronger and Veidt became a master.

German cinema at the time was morbid and strange and Veidt’s portrayals of morbid characters were always memorable. In The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari he played a demented somnambulist controlled by an evil doctor. To this day it’s considered a masterpiece of German cinema. The combination of hard angle camera work and Veidt’s own performance make it a unique experience.

His star was rising with each film he did but when he played the title role in The Student of Prague he’d reached the top. He now was world famous. Hollywood wanted a piece of the action and they came calling in 1927. He did a series of films for the US before returning to Germany when sound hit the airways.

When the Nazi’s took hold of Germany Veidt left his home for the safety of England. There was no place for him in a world that despised Jews and he found himself and his family under attack. He’d done the unspeakable and married a Jewish woman.

Still in 1930 he returned to his homeland on a visit and soon found himself in trouble. They wouldn’t let him leave. Under the pretext that he was too ill to travel they hindered his leaving. With the aid of the British studio Gaumont, he was able to escape when they sent doctors to prove his blooming health. It’s no surprise that he became British citizen in 1939.

In 1940 Veidt once again went to America to make films for the country who partially liked to take credit for his notoriety. Ironically this roles now were those of a Nazi and for those who don’t remember him before he turned into a German devil once more, he will always remain one. For it was his second to last film that would keep him in the stars column. He played Major Strassaer in Casablanca. He Was the newest man we Loved to Hate! – Sorry Erich Von Stroheim. Someone had to take the reigns into the talkies.

Sadly Conrad Veidt died of a heart attack that same year and the world was deprived of learning what was next in store for it. What would he have done? Who would he have given us?

A List of His Most Memorable Rolls:

  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)
  • The Hands of Orlac (1925)
  • The Student of Prague (1926)
  • The Beloved Rogue (1927)
  • The Man Who Laughs (1928)
  • Dark Journey (1937)
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
  • Casablanca (1943)

Lilian GishLillian Gish – 1st Lady of the Silent Screen

Lillian started working with a famed director after being sponsored by a close friend. Her frail build but strong mind gave her parts that many women would have turned down. She often played a down trodden woman who’s man has taken advantage of her to the point of leaving her, oft times with a baby or young child to care for with no more means than her own willpower.

Lillian herself was no wallflower. She quickly got to know the business and soon became her own boss; picked her directors, leading men and scripts. She had complete control of her creative efforts and no one who knew her even thought for a moment that they could get around her, small though she was, and no one tried. She was too often right. Her ideas were sound and what she touched turned to gold.

She is quoted as saying, “Let’s pretend.” Lillian said those words and she lived by them almost her entire life so that a nation and those another continent away could live, love and follow her into that make believe world found only on the other side of a picture screen.

Her story began October 14, 1896 in Springfield Ohio. Born to a drifter father and a future actress she seemed destined to live a parallel life with that of her future screen persona. Nearly a year and a half later a sister named Dorothy was born. With their father often gone, money became tight and their mother took the suggestion of friends and went on the stage. At the age of five Lillian stepped out into the footlights and there before the public’s eyes a star was reaching higher and higher towards its eventual zenith.

For the next eleven years the sisters would always be on the road. They no longer had a home. They lived the world of the performer to fullest complete with the constant hassle of finding a job and times when their food ran out. Always they were together and always they took care of each other.

It wasn’t until 1912 that things began to look up for Lillian. It began with a chance meeting of an old friend. Nineteen-year-old Gladys Smith was working steadily and invited Lillian and Dorothy to follow her into the new medium known as motion pictures. In that world she was known as Mary Pickford and she was quite successful. Though she no longer worked for the Biograph studio, she brought the girls to her old boss, D. W. Griffith and suggested he hire them. That same day they made their first film, “An Unseen Enemy.” It truly was a family affair as their mother was granted a part as well.

From then on things moved upward. Lillian became Griffith’s biggest find thanks to Mary and Lillian remained with him loyally for a decade. Dorothy worked with her sister in the beginning and shared her own amount of success but it would be her older sister, Lillian who would become an international name.

In those days the world was in some ways a lot closer. We didn’t have radio at first and when we did it wasn’t for the masses. Television was just an idea in a lunatic scientist’s mind. Yet the movies had become wildly popular. They didn’t talk but they didn’t need to.

The silence of the movies was a blessing in so many ways. The actor or actress’s own body became the lighthouse into the character’s very soul. We could see in their eyes every emotion in the human psyche. What they thought, what they felt, all that could be portrayed in a single flick of the wrist. Pantomime has many forms beyond that of a circus performer and the men and women of the silent screen knew exactly what they were doing. Lillian was a top master of this delicate art form. In her eyes you saw the misery of a trapped soul and you saw the beginning flicker of knowledge when a person realizes they have the power to stand up and begin again. For that she became widely known as The First Lady of the Silent Screen.

Beyond the art form, silence of the screen was a blessing to the masses. With the change of the flickered dialogue on the screen any nation in the world could watch a film produced in any nation in the world. Stars quickly became known internationally over night. Lillian was known the world over. She once said that when the movie began to talk the world became a little quieter. No longer could we share our films across the world. Sound had shut us out.

By 1928 her style of acting had became antiquated for many by the emergence of the glamour girl and the It girl’s of the roaring twenties. Fragile was supplanted by self-reliant and Lillian gave up the screen for the stage of her youth. There she once again found success alongside other stars of the screen. However she never turned her back on the medium that had made her a household name. Often she returned to the screen in bit parts and supporting roles and the audience welcomed her returns with relish.

She made her last film The Whales of August in 1987. Lillian had accomplished what few had; she’d become an icon that has lasted more than a lifetime. She died in 1993 at the ripe old age of 97 but she is long from forgotten. How could she? She made over a hundred films and her career spanned a remarkable eight decades. While the academy awards were not in practice until after she’d partially retired, Hollywood knew how to reward one of its greatest stars. In 1984 the American Film Institute awarded her its Life Achievement Award, which she humbly accepted from the hands of Douglas Fairbanks Jr., the man she most closely viewed as family, the stepson of her best friend Mary Pickford. Lillian herself never married but nonetheless she had lived a charmed life once the movies caught up to her. Suitors were many but none stood high enough to her ambition. She was content to be who she was and for that, her fans can be grateful. Thank you Miss Lillian.

A List of Her Most Memorable Rolls:


  • The Birth of a Nation (1915)
  • Broken Blossoms (1919)
  • Way Down East (1920)
  • Orphans of a Storm (1922)
  • The Scarlet Letter (1926)
  • The Wind (1928)
  • The Night of the Hunter (1955)


There was a time when the world was filled with romance. Ladies were ladies and men were brave and strong, ready to stand and protect a lady’s honor. Men knew how to race and jump horses and ladies knew the delicate manner of holding a tea cup. It was the time of the Old South. Plantations were large. Land owners were wealthy. Crops grew tall and the people lived day to day with the thought that life would remain so.

Reality has an unfortunate sense of humor. Lady luck is fickle and what was, was not to remain. War loomed in the air and the pride of the Southern gentleman was so loud it could be heard without a single word needing to be uttered. When Sumner was fired on the world changed in an instant.

Margaret Mitchell realized the story of the South’s struggle could best be told through the eyes of a single character. She rightly chose a spoiled Southern Bell as her protagonist. Scarlett O’Hara starts her journey as a young woman determined to have everything she desires even if it doesn’t belong to her. What she already has is of little consequence. In Mitchell’s now famous book Gone With the Wind, we follow Scarlett on her journey through every emotion man has to endure. Step by step her character grows but always there remains the Southern Bell who could charm the crown off the rooster’s head.

Mitchell’s work was instantly realized as a classic and readers impatiently waited for Hollywood to immortalize their newest favorite. They waited four years before Vivien Leigh sat before them on the porch steps of Tara. The movie too proved to be a huge success and when the Academy Awards came around Gone With the Wind stole the show.

Nothing had ever been seen like it before and the accolades continue to this day. That is why we are so excited to share this great story and wonderful movie with you. For one night only, the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge Illinois will be showing this film. Seeing this in its native form, on the big screen, is a real treat. The color, the sound, the size: no television in the world can compete with the enormity of a movie palace screen.

So if you’ve never seen it or have, if you own it or not, it doesn’t matter because this is a whole new experience. This is the real movie experience. It can not be duplicated. So please join us.

For more information please visit Park Ridge Classic Film.


The 75th Anniversary showing of Gone With the Wind


December 4, 2014

7:00 p.m.


The Pickwick Theater

5 S. Prospect Ave. Park Ridge, ILL


Regular – $7

Seniors – $5

Originally posted on WGN Radio - 720 AM:

The Park Ridge Classic Film Series will be presenting a special 75th anniversary screening of ‘Son of Frankenstein’ next Thursday October 30th at the wonderful Pickwick Theater.  Donnie Dunagan, the last surviving cast member from the film, will be a special guest.  Get more details when programmer Matthew Hoffman joins Nick Digilio.

To download this or any of Nick’s podcast visit our I-Tunes page.

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