ABOUT THIS ARTICLE: This
article appeared just before the Roxy's 60th Anniversary
celebration, which took place in August and September of 1990.
The Roxy Theatre will be soon
showing some of the greatest films of all time, with classics
like "Casablanca" and "Gone with the Wind"
on the schedule -- among others.
You might think this was an
easy event to put together. Just think up five good movies and
order them in, right? Wrong. Ask Roxy owner Mike Blakesley about
the headaches of putting together his Anniversary Classics series,
but make sure you have plenty of time to listen.
"My film booker and I
started with a list of about 200 films," Blakesley said.
"From that list, we eliminated quite a few movies we didn't
think anyone would really want to see, such as `The Story of
Louis Pasteur,' which was an Oscar winner in 1936.
"We narrowed it down to
about 10 films. That was when the real headache began."
The original plan was to have
the top movie from each decade of the past 60 years. Three of
those films ("Gone with the Wind" from the '30s, "The
Ten Commandments" from the '50s, and "The Sound of
Music" from the '60s) made the final list.
"The top film of the 1940s
was Disney's `Song of the South,' " Blakesley said."
However, it's not in release right now, and you can't get a Disney
film unless it's in release."
The top film of the '70s was
"Star Wars," and the biggest hit of the '80s was "E.T.
The Extra Terrestrial." "There are no prints of those
films available," Blakesley said. "It seems like the
older a film is, the more likely you can find a print of it."
To fill in the list, Blakesley
selected "Casablanca," a black and white classic from
the '40s, and 1939's "The Wizard of Oz."
"I picked 'Oz' because
it's been on TV a hundred times, always chopped up by commercials,"
he says. "When have you ever been able to sit and watch
the whole movie without being interrupted?
"The phone rings, company
comes, somebody switches channels. I've always wanted to see
that movie in a theatre.
"I picked 'Casablanca'
because every time it's on TV now, it's colorized, which ruins
the way it looks. We'll be showing the original black-and white
biggest challenge in the anniversary list was "Gone with
"There are only three
copies of that film in the nation, can you believe that? And one
of them will be in Forsyth this fall," he says.
"They wanted an outrageous
amount of money for 'Gone with the Wind,' Blakesley said. "Our
booker was able to talk them into a more reasonable figure, but
only after I gave my solemn word that I would treat the film
with the utmost care."
After all the movies were lined
up, the next hurdle was advertising.
"The crew at The Independent
Enterprise has been very indulgent; I'm surprised they still
let me into the building after all the advertising catastrophes
I've created with this project."
Getting one sheets, or posters,
for the films was another problem.
"Nobody makes one sheets
anymore for any of these films," Blakesley said. "However,
they did have some left over, from reissues."
Those posters are now hanging
proudly on the walls of the Roxy, and Blakesley said he plans
to keep all of them when the shows have left town.
"Anybody who wants my
'Gone with the Wind' poster will have to pry my fingers off it,"