Safety Last! at the Orpheum

Gordon and I went downtown for the last show of the Last Remaining Seats season. We decided to go down early to check out one of the new restaurants in the area. We’d tried to eat at BierGarten a couple years ago but it was so crowded we couldn’t get served and make the show. There was plenty of room last night so we gave it a try. I understand why they had plenty of room. I thought the BierGarten beer selection would be a robust, German lager. It was almost tasteless. I’ll stick to Stella or Fat Tire from now on. Or even Sam Adams. The food was better. I had the Duck and Marsala Wine sausage and Gordon had the brat. His was better but they were both good. The same couldn’t be said for the service. The young woman gave us lunch menus, then acted like we were stupid when we ordered off them. It took forever to get our orders and we couldn’t talk because the USA/Columbia soccer game was on. So we watched. BORING! But we can say we tried it. There was no temptation to have another beer and we got in line for the show.

The program started with a silent cartoon, Out of the Inkwell, by the Fleischer brothers (the guys who did Popeye, I believe). Gordon and I smiled at each other, remembering that one of the Fleischer brothers (can’t remember which one) lived at Peyton Hall in Hollywood when we did. He must have been in his 80s then. Wonder what happened to him when we all got evicted so the complex could be demolished. That was one of the reasons we joined the fledgling Los Angeles Conservancy. Peyton Hall was just one year short of being named a cultural-heritage building. The complex was built on the site of the Joseph Schenck mansion to house his movie stars when they flew into town to make a film. It had an olympic-sized swimming pool and our apartment had a formal dining room and a back entrance. It was great. Unfortunately, it was replaced by a 540-unit building. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Oh well, the owner paid us a $1,000 moving fee (we’d been spear-heading the lawsuit to stop demolition) and we knew we couldn’t win so we cut our losses and bought the Cesspool. Lots of memories. Anyway, back to last night’s entertainment. I’d never seen a Harold Lloyd silent film. I’d heard about them of course but had managed to miss them. Am I glad I saw this one. Before the film began a local film historian talked about the locations used around Los Angeles. He also showed how some of the effects were done. It was fun, seeing way the building across the street from the Orpheum was used in the climbing scene. Then we got down to business. I was amazed. It was funny, it was exciting…even knowing how the effects were done I couldn’t watch it. I whispered to Gordon, “I have acrophobia!” and cringed. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before. The action was accentuated by the organist who accompanied the film–Robert Salisbury who played the Might Wurlitzer organ. The movie was only 70 minutes long so Salisbury conducted a Q&A about accompanying movies and the Wurlitzer. Gordon, the ex-keyboard guy, really enjoyed that. Then we went home. Can’t wait til next year.


Here are some pictures of the Orpheum Theater. Steve Needleman did a great of restoration.


IMAG0088 IMAG0089 IMAG0090 IMAG0091 IMAG0092 (1)


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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