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JUDY GARLAND AND FRED ASTAIRE ON BROADWAY

When was the last time you watched Fred Astaire or Judy Garland on the giant screen of a movie palace? If you live anywhere near Los Angeles you have that opportunity this coming Saturday when Easter Parade unspools at the majestic Los Angeles Theatre. It’s part of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s annual Last Remaining Seats series, a highlight of every calendar year. I’ll be there to introduce this delightful MGM musical, with its stars in top form and a bevy of tuneful Irving Berlin songs. Future best-selling novelist Sidney Sheldon wrote the screenplay and the score, by Johnny Green and Roger Edens, won an Academy Award. What more could you ask? How about a discount on your ticket price? Read on.

The Conservancy’s annual series of classic films in vintage theaters began last week with L.A. Confidential at the Orpheum and Laura at Sid Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre. Year after year these showings sell out, but there are still tickets left for two programs I’m hosting: Easter Parade on June 8 at 8pm and Wings on June 21 at the Ace Hotel (aka the United Artists Theatre), also at 8pm. William Wellman, Jr., whose father made the landmark Oscar winning silent film, and Paramount archivist Andrea Kalas will be with me that night. You can read the entire schedule HERE.

These screenings attract a wide range of Angelenos, not just diehard movie buffs, which is what makes them especially enjoyable for me. As to the venues: The Los Angeles Theatre was the last movie palace built on Broadway and is also the most opulent. It opened in 1931 with the premiere of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. There’s a photo on display of Chaplin with one of his guests that night, Albert Einstein!

The United Artists Theatre was the first-class showcase for the company of the same name, and its Moorish design was inspired by Mary Pickford’s trip to Spain in 1926. It’s unlike any other movie house I’ve seen, and it’s exciting to see Mary, husband Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and other stars in frescoes on the walls. This theater was closed to the public for many years before Ace Hotel undertook a major restoration. I still get a thrill every time I go…and so will you.

If you need one more twist of the arm, here goes: because you’re reading this piece you qualify for a special admission price. All sales take place online and the Conservancy is offering a generous 25% discount for you lucky people. Just click HERE for Easter Parade and HERE for Wings, and enter promotional code MALTIN (all caps.) I hope to see you there.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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