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‘Casablanca’ kicks off Classic Film Series at Hamburg Strand

Series created in response to public interest in old black-and-white movies

By Kolleen Long, For Digital First Media

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Classic films will return to the big screen in Hamburg via an upcoming movie series at the Strand Theater, 6 South Fourth Street.

The series will begin with a showing of “Casablanca,” a 1943 black-and-white film featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, on Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. The academy-award film follows the star-crossed lovers as World War II begins and is often misquoted with the familiar line, “Play it again, Sam.”

Theater Manager Bethany Sholl said the idea for the Classic Night Series grew from the Strand’s Faith Night Series, which began in October 2016.

“After our December [2017] Faith night movie, which was ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ people got really excited and asked about ‘White Christmas’ and other black-and-white movies,” Sholl said. “We thought maybe we should give it a try and see how people responded. “

By early January, Strand staff came up with a list of films and printed flyers for customers to see. Feedback has been positive, Sholl said.

“When people have seen the list, they’ve gotten really excited,” she said. “We can’t wait to see how many people come to the first showing.”

The new movie series will continue each month on the second Tuesday. Faith Nights are the fourth Tuesday of each month. The classic roster includes on March 13 “Grease,” a 1978 high school musical with John Travolta and Olivia Newton John and on April 10 “Singing in the Rain,” Gene Kelly’s 1952 romance and musical. On classic nights, show times are at 7 p.m. Tickets include a popcorn and soda.

Selections have been made for the entire 2018 series. However, Sholl notes, patrons are welcome to make suggestions for 2019 by calling the Strand at 610-562-4750, emailing or leaving a message on their Facebook page.

And what, exactly, constitutes a classic?

Sholl admits, “[I’m] not sure. We took a poll on Facebook with people’s suggestions. They were all over the place. From black and white movies to 80s cult classics, it was interesting to see what people thought of when thinking of classics.”

In addition to the classic and faith series, the Strand will continue to show first-run movies. Regular show times are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Mondays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Movie selections are posted online and on the restored matinee in front of the historic building, originally constructed in 1799 and converted to a theater in 1920. Since 2013, the Strand has been run by the Our Town Foundation of Hamburg.

The theater hosts community events including Kids’ Art Classes Feb. 3, 10 and 17 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. led by local artist Hil Eldrige. The building is also available for group and party rentals.