by Michelle Swift
Warnors Theatre in Fresno is giving Central Calley residents the opportunity to see this historic 1928 Movie Palace as it would have been decades ago, and take a step back in time for a night out in a bygone era. Your next opportunity to do so will be on June 26 at 7 p.m.
Their programing isn’t just about showing films. It’s about creating an experience. They do this by planning costume contests and other special extras that go along with the theme of the films. They also invite local film experts to speak about the films, and encourage volunteers working in concessions and other areas to dress up with the theme of the films. It all comes together to create a very memorable experience.
But wait, there’s more! Warnors provides tickets to various youth organizations to attend the films showings, in order to encourage youth to learn about the history of film, and witness the social norms within various decades. In the past, Warnors has given tickets to schools in Fresno Unified, Clovis Unified, and Madera Unified. The Boys & Girls Clubs have also gotten tickets as well. If you know a group of students that would benefit from attending Classic Films at Warnors Theatre, call Program Manager Michelle Swift at (559) 264-2848.
The doors open at 6 p.m. with a live theater pipe organ concert by Mr. Dick Cencibaugh, for guests to enjoy the while they take their seats. Warnors also enlists the help of film experts to give a bit of interesting behind the scenes info about the film before the showing begins, and our house organist plays our historic Robert Morton theatre pipe organ while everyone takes their seats. For some films, there will be a costume contest; and there will be a raffle at every showing so make sure that you get a ticket from a volunteer!
2014 CLASSIC FILM SERIES SCHEDULE
June 26th – True Grit (1969) with John Wayne
July 17th – The Wizard of Oz (1939) with Judy Garland
August 21st – Casablanca (1942) with Humphrey Bogart
September 18th – The Seven Year Itch (1955)
with Marilyn Monroe
October 16th – Night of the Living Dead (1968)
November 20th – Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
with James Dean
December 18th – Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
with Natalie Wood
If you haven’t been inside Warnors Theater, then you are sadly missing the most impressive building Fresno has to offer. Warnors Theatre is a National Historic American theatre built by Alexander Pantages–one of the most prominent managers of vaudeville entertainment and a renowned theater magnate. Opening on October 20, 1928, this theater was originally built to house vaudeville acts, and there’s even a room backstage designed to accommodate live animals.
In 1929, this Pantages Theater was purchased by Warner Brothers, and its name changed to “Warner’s Theatre.” Fresno thus became the second West Coast city to have a Warner Brother’s motion picture theater. The theater was used primarily for silent movies until “talkies” came out in the 1930’s. Mr. Caglia bought this theatre in 1973 from the City of Fresno, at which time it was doomed to be torn down, like so many other of Fresno’s Historic buildings. At this time the spelling of Warner’s was changed to Warnors for copyright purposes.
Warnors Center for the Performing Arts is now a 501 c.3 Community Benefit Organization that manages Warnors Theatre, Franks Place, and Star Palace. Any event that you attend at each of the venues enables the staff and volunteers to keep this incredible building open for the public to enjoy. The Warnors staff and volunteers believe that these gorgeous spaces are only valuable if they are being enjoyed by the community, and welcome any opportunity to show off the building. If you have never seen the inside of Warnors Theatre, then you’re missing out on the most beautiful thing man ever built in Fresno.
All of the films are $5 for individuals, and $10 for Families with no limit to family size. Tickets and Series passes are available at www.warnors.org or by calling the office at 264-2848
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.