Big Weekend

Big weekend, time traveling.

Growing up, the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta was the third closest movie house to my house, although, at a vast geographical distance of two miles yonder, my mother would seldom drive me over there to the other side of the globe.

Sunday, my wife and I motored more than 160 miles to attend the 70th anniversary celebration at the Plaza.

Take that, Mom!

The theatre opened for business on Dec. 15, 1939. To mark the seven intervening decades of flicks, a few classics from Hollywood's golden year are being unspooled. You may have heard of several of them. How do you say "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind"?

"Gulliver's Travels" (1939) Trailer via YouTube

We watched "Gulliver's Travels," the second full-length animated feature film ever released, following "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Brothers Max and Dave Fleischer, the able competitors of Walt Disney, crafted this musical comedy while producing their clever Popeye the Sailor cartoons for Paramount.

"Gulliver's," of course, is the tale of a "giant" held prisoner and walked over by tiny Lilliputians.

I know the feeling. Darn cats.

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939) Trailer via YouTube

We also saw Frank Capra's inspirational "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with the remarkable James Stewart as an idealistic young patriot thrust into the United States Senate and a dire battle against political corruption.

This superlative picture is as timely (sadly) and powerful today as it was multiple generations ago.

Where are our Jefferson Smiths?
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