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Phoenixville's Colonial Theatre to show silent film Sunday
Tuesday June 6, 2017 12:01 AM
Living in the 21st century can be exhausting. Every once in awhile, it feels good to step back into the good old days.
Flash back 97 years, when entertainment wasn't found on a handheld device. People had to be creative to live a little. The 1920s have their claim to fame for many things, and none of those is more important than the silent films that rose to prominence.
"Silent films are made up of scenes with no sound and accompanying instruments to fill the emotions of the film's characters," said Gary Coller, a volunteer at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville and marketing chairman of the Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley.
"The instruments attach detail to certain scenes and moments, and the infinite number of possibilities in the tonal range of these instruments capture the audience's attention," said Coller, 70, who has been a lifelong supporter and preserver of silent films and their accompanying instruments.
He knows a lot about silent films, and loves to talk about them.
The Colonial Theatre, best known for its annual Blobfest to celebrate the cult classic "The Blob" from 1958 (partially filmed in Phoenixville), features a pipe organ that makes the silent film viewing experience complete, by providing accompanying music. It recently underwent an $8 million renovation.
"Unlike the preservation of rock 'n' roll, with guitars being passed down generations and generations, you can't pass down an instrument like the organ unless you have it as a community asset," Coller said.
The Colonial Theatre is one of the last hot spots for a taste of the 1920s, he said. There remains a place in popular culture for silent films, according to this afficionado.
To prove it, the Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley is sponsoring a showing of Harold Lloyd's "Speedy," a silent film from 1928, with Don Kinnier at the keys of the pipe organ, at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Colonial Theatre, 227 Bridge St., Phoenixville.
Coller decided to do something special to encourage teens to come out and see this movie. He's paying for the first 100 students who show up with this week's issue of Voices and a valid high school ID. For others, admission is $11.50 for adults, and $6.50 for those 15 and under.
"From reading Voices throughout the years, I have seen a number of students who have seen a silent film or have an interest in them," Coller said. "These films are open for everyone and are about everything, so people shouldn't shy away from them."
Announcements of upcoming theatrical silent film exhibitions.