These days, our kids are so used to a media-filled world that reacts at the touch of a fingertip, blasting sounds, lights and constant motion I’d venture to say it’s safe to say very, very few of them are even aware that movies used to be silent with only the dramatic sounds of a theater organ to fill the room. If you’d like to give your family a “reel” dose of culture this fall, you have a fantastic opportunity coming up on Saturday, November 1st. (Sorry, I realize that breaks my “things to do in October” theme, but I wanted to give you advance notice to plan to be there, since the time and date are specific, unlike pumpkin patches, which are open all month long.)
On November 1st, the historic Warnor’s Center for Performing Arts located at 1400 Fulton St. in Downtown Fresno will be showing the original, silent film version of Phantom of the Opera, complete with organ accompaniment by organist David Moreno and featuring professional operatic accompaniment during the songs of the film, making this “silent” movie feel all-encompassing and taking advantage of Warnor’s amazing 86-year-old pipe organ. The pipe organ is one of just 21 remaining of its kind in the country and is known to be so fantastic, that it was the reason Warnor’s owner, Frank Caglia, purchased the theater in 1973. According to Warnor’s history, Caglia bought the organ and the theater just happened to surround it. Caglia is also rumored to have been the first patron to buy a ticket to see a film at the theater, back when it was known as Warner’s Theater. Then owned by the Warner Brothers of Hollywood fame, Fresno was the second West Coast city to boast a Warner Brother’s motion-picture theater. Prior to its movie days, the theater had originally been built to host vaudeville acts, and even has a staging area that was designed to corral live animals!
If you’ve never been to Warnor’s Center for Performing Arts, it truly is quite a sight to take in. You can get a sneak peak with the interactive 360 degree tour found on Warnor’s website. I’m certain November 1st’s Phantom of the Opera showing will truly offer families a unique and memorable cultural and historical experience. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention – admission is only $5 per person, and if you dress in character for the film, your entrance is free! Concessions begin at 6pm (and are rumored to be much more affordable than typical movie theaters) and the show begins at 7pm, so arrive early to ensure you get a good seat.