Sidebar: Originally written at the end of August (published for the first time on “Silver Screen Reflections”).
Near the end of August, audiences near and far flocked to Gettysburg’s Majestic Theater to see the grand finale in the summer classic cinema showcase.
“The Band Wagon” (1953)
The “grand finale” of the theater’s summer classic cinema showcase series was the 1952 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical “The Band Wagon.” The film was shown on the evening of Aug. 23 inside the larger-than-life Majestic cinema and stage house. The Majestic is operated by Gettysburg College, the theater is under the banner of the Jennifer and David LeVan performing arts center.
Pre-Show introduction and Raffle Prize Giveaway
Before the presentation of “The Band Wagon” at the Majestic, there was a special pre-show introduction that was presented by Jeffrey W. Gabel, area movie buff and founding executive director of the historic theater. With his enthusiastic and entertaining opening before “The Band Wagon,” Gabel shared some interesting and fascinating facts about the film.
Shortly before the film started, two lucky audience members won the grand raffle prize that was given. The prize was two tickets to a future Majestic performance of the live stage play “In the Mood,” a retrospective tribute to Glenn Miller’s orchestra and other notable big bands of the 1940s.
“The Band Wagon:” The last MGM musical shot in the “Academy” ratio
According to Brian Cady and Frank Miller’s article on “The Band Wagon” for Turner Classic Movies, the film was one of MGM’s last screen musicals that was shot in the “Academy” (1:33:1) screen ratio, as the motion picture industry switched to widescreen film production the following year.
“The Band Wagon” had many memorable numbers, including “Something to Remember You By,” “Dancing in the Dark,” “I Love Louisa” and the signature tune at the conclusion of the film- “That’s Entertainment,” which was the only original song that was written for the film.
The aforementioned song served as the inspiration for MGM’s popular retrospective film series, “That’s Entertainment!” (1974, “That’s Entertainment II” in 1976 and “That’s Entertainment III” in 1994).
The grand finale in the Majestic’s “Summer Classic Movies” series: Enjoyed by everyone
Cinema lovers from near and far enjoyed the final film in the “Summer Classic Movies” series at the Majestic. I have seen “The Band Wagon” before on television (first on WETA’s classic film showcase many years ago and on numerous occasions on TCM). Seeing “The Band Wagon” on the larger-than-life big screen at the iconic Majestic was an interesting experience.
Special thanks to Jeffrey W. Gabel, founding executive director of the Majestic (for the tour and the complimentary ticket) and the entire staff and management of the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
History of The Majestic Theater at the Jennifer and David LeVan Performing Arts Center (part of Gettysburg College)
“The Band Wagon” will be shown on Turner Classic Movies on Thu., Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central and Thu., Mar. 16 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern/12:30 p.m. Central.