Raiders of the Lost Ark, United Artist Theater, Los Angeles

Gordon and I went to the LA Conservancy’s showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark at the United Artists Theater on Broadway this afternoon. I hadn’t been in that theater for over twenty years. Reverend Scott (a TV minister) based his congregation and TV studio there. I remember he had his Bible collection on display. That’s gone, of course. The Ace Hotel bought the property and made a boutique hotel around the theater. They also restored the theater (did a great job) and now have concerts and screenings. Gordon pointed out that the four United Artists who split from the studio system and developed the project (Mary Pickford, DW Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin) had themselves included in the wall frescoes. They had the studio heads painted (on the opposite wall) as demons. Hey, it was their theater, they could do what they wanted. I’m constantly amazed at the lushness of the movie palaces. I’m glad people are making the effort to save them. Everybody is getting in on the bandwagon. Paramount donated the film for screening and Jerry Bruckheimer and his wife were sponsors.

A Superman cartoon opened the program. Dave Fleischer was the director. He lived in Peyton Hall (the apartment complex Gordon and I lived in when we first came to Los Angeles). He and his wife were retired at the time. I have no idea where they went when the complex was torn down. I always thought all Hollywood people were rich. Guess not.

I don’t think I’d seen Raiders in its entirety since it first came out in 1981. Still enjoyed it. Lots of action although the foley effects (celery whapping to sound like punching) got a little old. I remember thinking in 1981 that there was something not quite right with the film. There was nothing wrong with the actors; Harrison Ford and Karen Allen were wonderful. The problem was the script. What clunky dialogue. I thought Lawrence Kasden was better than that. But I guess he was writing for kids so it worked just fine.

We thought a drink at the Ace Hotel would be fun. Just one problem–no bar open in the afternoon. So we just went home. One interesting comment on how Downtown has changed; I saw a Rolls Royce parked at a meter on a side street. Twenty years ago that car would have been stripped in five minutes. It’s now safe to park in some sections of Downtown. Skid Row is another story, of course.

This was the last event for this season. I’m curious to see what they’ll present next season. Maybe we’ll have more time on our schedule to see them all. We’ll see.


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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