This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats Film Festival, with seven revival screenings in Downtown’s most historic theaters. Sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press, this year’s event features appearances by Leonard Maltin, Charles Phoenix, Tony Valdez, and Nancy Olson. Ticket holders will see Princess Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Academy Award winner The Music Man, Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling ways in Captain Blood, the city-sized primate King Kong, 1940’s riots in Zoot Suit, Norma Desmond’s close up in Sunset Boulevard, and Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! The revival film screenings are matched by the theaters that host them, all of which are older than the films themselves. This year’s theaters are the Los Angeles Theater (1931), the Million Dollar Theater (1918), the Palace Theater (1911), and the Orpheum Theater(1926).
Last Remaining Seats started in 1987 as a fundraiser by Conservancy volunteers, but in the last twenty-five years it has turned into something much more. The June 8th screening of Captain Blood will display the original theater drapes from The Jazz Singer (1927) and at the June 29 screening of Safety Last! Robert Israel will be live on the Orpheum Theater’s original Mighty Wurlitzer organ to accompany the silent comedy.
Current Conservancy issues include the 1951 Barry Building (once home to Dutton’s Books) in Brentwood, La Villa Basque, the Barlow Hospital, the Santa Anita Racetrack, and the Southwest Museum.