OSWEGO — The Oswego County Historical Society is proudly celebrating the 75th anniversary of the historic landmark Oswego Theatre, which opened it doors in January of 1941.
A classic movie night showing the popular film “Casablanca” will be featured on October 13 at 7 p.m. in the Oswego Theatre located at 138 W. Second St.
All proceeds from the event will support the Richardson-Bates House Museum in Oswego.
The Classic Movie Night committee is pleased to announce some very special recent additions to the event the night of the movie.
“The theme of the event is the 1940s decade, by creating an atmosphere of traveling back in time,” said Justin White, president of the OCHS board of trustees.”Everything will have an amazing connection to the 1940s in Oswego.”
Coincidentally the setting of film “Casablanca” also takes place in Morocco in 1941. It premiered at the Hollywood Theatre in New York City on November 26,1942, and was first shown in the Oswego Theatre in February of 1943 when released nationally.
The movie tickets have been designed by Oswego Printing to emulate movie tickets that would have been used in the 1940s era.
“Casablanca” is considered one of the most beloved romance dramas ever made in cinema history.
It won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture in 1943.
“Another milestone event also took place in 1943 here in Oswego,” White said. “United Nations Week is an incredible Oswego story and I am pleased to announce that we will be showing a short film newsreel of that week-long celebration prior to the movie.”
This addition will show an example of newsreels that were shown prior to movies.
Prior to the use of home televisions, the latest news topics could be seen prior to movies in a public presentation.
This was particularly relevant during World War II.
United Nations Week occurred in Oswego two years before the United Nations was officially created.
During World War II, Oswego was surprisingly chosen by the Office of War Information to be the location in 1943.
Oswego was deemed a fine example of small town America.
The film was made to be shown internationally not stateside.
However, the film was arranged to be shown in 1944 to a large community audience at the Oswego Theatre under the success of the first manager Walter Powers.
“There is certainly something special about seeing a timeless film on the big screen,” said White. “This will be an amazing opportunity to feel what is was like to be in the a brand new high-style theatre in small-town Oswego 75 years ago. The United Nations Week newsreel film will give a sense of what Oswego was like in the 1940s.”
The movie event will be shown in the main auditorium of the historic Oswego Theatre.
The theatre was designed by prolific international theatre architect John Eberson in the Art Deco style of architecture.
It opened to the public in January of 1941, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
“The historic Oswego Theatre is the perfect place to feature a classic movie,'” said OCHS board trustee Lyn Patterson. “It is a great example of Art Deco architecture and will be a perfect backdrop for this event. The ticket donation will help us support the ongoing maintenance and necessary preservation needs of the society’s museum.”
A photographic display about the Oswego Theatre will be on view, along with many interesting door prizes.
Another “delicious” 75th anniversary this year is the chocolate candy M & Ms.
The Mars Chocolate Company has donated cases of M & Ms that will be distributed to patrons of the movie event.
Tickets are a donation of $20 per person and are available at the Oswego Theatre and River’s End Bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St.
Since the tickets were designed in keeping with the style from the 1940s they will make a great souvenir.
A special program featuring a history of the theatre and the movie to be available to all participants.
The OCHS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich history of the county.
The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum, a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 – 5 p.m. and other days by appointment.
For more information call during regular hours at 343-1342.