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Karie's Blog
Karie (site owner) Written by Karie (site owner)
Jun. 4, 2009 | 7:21 PM

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BUCK PRIVATES at the Million Dollar Theatre

There are many annual film events that I look forward to every year and Last Remaining Seats is at the top of that list.  I love the old movie palaces in downtown and everything about them.  I love the old theatre smell, the architectural details, the lavish design and the enthusiasm of the crowd.  Even if I have seen all of the films in the series, I still cannot resist the lure of seeing them on the big screen in a movie palace.  Last night I went with some friends and saw BUCK PRIVATES at the Million Dollar Theatre.  The Million Dollar was original built in 1918 (which is incredibly old by Los Angeles standards) and was the first local theatre to be run by showman Sid Grauman, who would eventually take over the Egyptian in 1922 and then the Chinese in 1927.  Sculptor Joseph Mora designed the elaborate and highly dramatic exterior facade and the auditorium was designed by William L. Woollett.  The exterior and interior design form a Spanish Baroque look that is gothic and theatrical.  In the late 1940s the Million Dollar became a showcase for Spanish language performers and films.  It was eventually closed and re-opened in 2008. 

The Last Remaining Seats show was intended to give us the feeling of being back in the 1940s during a live war time radio broadcast.  Host Maxwell Demille was on hand along with musician Dean Mora and the Fort McArthur Officers Orchestra.  The Satin Dolls also provided some vintage allure by performing two numbers including “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.  Singer Kayre Morrison provided a beautiful rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  That song always gets to me.  Then they had a “Salute to the Troops” where everyone stood up and we all sang the national anthem.  While it may sound cheesy to some, this was a very moving and sincere tribute.  My Dad fought in Vietnam and both of my grandfathers were in WWII, so I grew up with an understanding of what that meant.

After the big tribute they showed a “News of the Day” newsreel about WWII and then the film….Abbott and Costello in BUCK PRIVATES.  Made in 1941, this film was actually screened at the time in a theatre right down the street for wartime audiences.  The comedy was great, but I was even more excited about seeing The Andrews Sisters, who perform several songs in the film.  All in all, last night was a wonderful, old fashioned night at the movies.  It is nights like that when I fall in love with Los Angeles all over again and when I remember what made me want to be here in the first place. 

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  1. just sounds like a great time.  haven’t seen this movie in ages

    Posted by Gordon S. Miller on 06/05 at 12:09 AM