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Oswego County Historical Society Presents Classic Movie Night at the Oswego Theatre – Oswego County

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The Oswego County Historical Society (OCHS) proudly presents its annual classic movie night fundraiser with the legendary “Singin’ in the Rain.” This year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the musical masterpiece which will be featured on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Oswego Theatre, 138 W. Second St.
Tickets are a donation of $20 per person and are available at the Oswego Theatre, 138 W. Second St. and river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St. All proceeds from this special night will support the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the iconic Richardson-Bates House Museum in Oswego.
“Year-round, we offer events and programs that highlight our history,” said Justin White of the OCHS board of trustees. “This classic movie event is quite popular and each year we work on making an interesting connection to Oswego’s history.” 
This musical is a romantic comedy about a popular silent film star that falls for a chorus girl. It’s set in the late 1920s during a difficult time in the Hollywood film industry. The main character and his delusional and jealous screen partner are both trying to make the transition from silent movies to talking pictures.
Its stellar cast includes Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor. Kelly’s remarkable talent profile also included him as the co-director, leading actor, dancer, singer, producer, and choreographer of this movie. He was one of the most influential musical talents and athletic dancers of his lifetime. 
There will be many intriguing highlights to watch for that are often mentioned in classic movie trivia. This includes the incredible dance routines and vintage songs, which are lasting memorable moments in film history. Notable songs include “Good Morning,” “Make ‘Em Laugh,” and “You Are My Lucky Star,” just to name a few.
Motion picture history records and critic reviews have lauded “Singin’ in the Rain” as one of the greatest musical films and motion pictures ever made. It was part of a momentous time in Hollywood history. The year 1952 is often considered a great year of movies in cinema history. This recognition was due to the highest quantity of quality films by the notable movie companies and the record attendance. This film premiered at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Thursday, March 27, 1952.
The day after the official premiere, a movie critic Jane Corby of the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper wrote an enjoyable review, “Technicolor musical which has everything that a spring musical should have. It’s bursting with laughter, its dances are spontaneous and carefree, its songs are lilting and its cast is the right one to put over the very spirit of youth,” wrote Miss Corby. “Gene Kelly, who dances and sings in his most joyous mood, can a be slice of credit also for the direction of the film and staging and direction of the musical numbers, chores he shared with Stanley Donen.”
The rave review also added that Hollywood laughed at itself in this motion picture. “A picture of Hollywood taking a good look at itself and laughing fit to burst,” wrote Miss Corby. “That’s a rare mood for the production center, and if its merriment spills over into slapstick now and then, that only adds to the fun. The theme is the changeover from the silent films to the talkies in 1927 and the studio romance.”
Shown prior to the featured film will be a brief 1965 documentary entitled “Oswego Discovers Itself.” This informative and charming film was produced through a grant from New York State Council on the Arts and filmed by Columbia University Press staff. The documentary is a very reminiscent view of Oswego with local civic leaders and citizens of the time showcasing what Oswego had to offer. It included historic landmarks that should be preserved and protected.
It was filmed during the government’s plans of urban renewal that would eventually alter the city’s historic downtown. The documentary shows what was occurring in 1965 and what the future might look like. It’s a serendipitous connection to what has been happening now during contemporary revitalization planning. 
The documentary will be shown in the traditional spirit of the way newsreels reports were shown prior to the movie. Before the advent of home televisions, these features brought the national news to the public.
Interesting details have been added to make this a special event, including hosting it in Oswego’s historic movie theatre. There will be special door prizes and a souvenir program highlighting the history of movie, the theatre, and recognizing sponsors. Movie tickets have been custom designed by Oswego Printing to emulate a 1950s vintage movie-style tickets, providing a nice souvenir as well. 
“There is certainly something special about seeing a timeless film on the big screen in a historic setting,” said White. “It is a whole different experience than watching it on a television. This will be an opportunity to both enjoy and celebrate cinematic history, while supporting the museum.”
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has also proudly supported classic movie night events. “Oswego truly has remarkable history,” he said. “I have continuously learned more by attending the many events that highlight our storied past. There is so much to offer in our community. I want to support every endeavor that makes our historic sites such as the Richardson-Bates House Museum thrive. Events like this are vital to maintain the house museum and its services.”
Among the many classic movie night event fans is Oswego County Legislator Laurie Mangano, District 17. “As a young kid, I was fascinated by the Richardson-Bates House Museum,” she shared. “It was so fun for me to be able walk a short distance to spend time exploring such an amazing place full of history. Now, as I have been involved with non-profit organizations, I truly appreciate it much more. I completely understand and appreciate the dedication of all of the volunteers. They work so hard to preserve our local history and landmarks. This event is for a great cause.”
The movie will be shown in the main auditorium of the historic Oswego Theatre, which was designed by prolific international theatre architect John Eberson in the Art Deco design. It opened to the public in January 1941 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. 
“The historic Oswego Theatre is the perfect place to feature classic movies,” said OCHS board trustee Lyn Patterson. “It is such a unique example of Art Deco architecture and 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 and its rare collections.”
White added, “This has been special milestone year for the historical society’s museum. We continue to showcase its legacy by promoting local history in our community. The Oswego County Historical Society was formed in 1896, but for the first 50 years did not have a permanent headquarters. It was in 1946 that the fourth generation of the Richardson-Bates family generously gifted their Tuscan Villa residence to the historical society to be the first community museum.”
The museum officially opened to the public in 1947, and this year it is celebrating a remarkable 75 years in operation. It remains the oldest cultural and historical organization in Oswego County. It is one of the most intact 19th century house museums in New York State with the original furnishings and contents from one family. In addition, the society maintains an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that preserve the rich history of Oswego County. The organization relies on fundraisers to sustain general operating support.
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 at 135 E. Third St., Oswego; an historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. and other days by appointment.
For more information, visit the website at www.rbhousemuseum.org or call during regular hours at 315-343-1342.

Classic Movie Night 2022 Picture rev
“SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN” COMES TO OSWEGO THEATER – The Oswego County Historical Society (OCHS) presents “Singin’ in the Rain” for its annual classic movie night event feature. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Oswego Theater, 138 W. Second St. Tickets are a $20 donation and can be purchased at the theater and the river’s end bookstore, 19 W. Bridge St. Pictured from left under the restored original theatre marquee is Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow; Oswego County Legislator Laurie Mangano, District 17; and Oswego County Historian and OCHS Board Trustee Justin White. The trio are making a tribute to the signature umbrellas seen in the classic musical masterpiece. For details, call 315-343-1342.
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