Harbor’s historic 7th St. Theatre offers a cornucopia of classic cinema — 17 for 2017

The schedule serves up a staggering selection of cinematic styles and stories.

By Scott D. Johnston

Downtown Hoquiam’s historic 7th St. Theatre offers its annual gift to Grays Harbor film fans with a cornucopia of classic cinema covering 17 movie weekends in 2017. From “Duck Soup” to “The Dirty Dozen” and “Rocky” to “Rear Window,” the schedule serves up a staggering selection of cinematic styles and stories.

The theater was built in 1928 and is one of the few remaining vaudeville and movie palaces from that era that features a curved “atmospheric-style” ceiling, complete with painted sky, clouds and embedded twinkling stars. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Restoration projects go back as far as 1976. The current owner and operator is the volunteer-driven, non-profit 7Th Street Theatre Association. Created in 2002, it began showing classic movies the next year. Located at 313 7th Street in Hoquiam, the venerable venue also hosts a variety of stage productions and concerts yearly. Schedules, rental information, technical specs, history and more can be found at www.7thstreettheatre.com.

Currently, the theater runs two film series. Movies made at least 50 years ago comprise the “Silver Screen Classics” (SS) series and are shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. The “Classic Film Series” (CF) shows not-quite-so-vintage films at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Scheduled to screen in 2017 are:

Jan. 20-21 (CF): “Rocky.” Set in the boxing world’s underbelly of club fighting, this 1976 drama has become both iconic and a bit of a cliché. In addition to winning three Oscars including Best Picture, it achieved the unusual result of helping its screenwriter (Sylvester Stallone) become a superstar action hero actor.

Feb. 17-18 (CF): “Moonstruck.” Pop diva Cher showed she could do a lot more than sing and dance when she grabbed her Best Actress Academy Award for this 1987 romantic comedy. The annual Valentines movie features the “Take Your Honey to Hoquiam” promotion with area restaurants and florists offering free movie tickets with qualifying purchases.

March 11-12 (SS): “Rear Window.” Alfred Hitchcock directed James Stewart and Grace Kelly in this classic suspense story that mixes voyeurism, romance, paranoia and anxiety. The 1954 flick also has a small part for songwriter Ross Bagdasarian, who would go on to create Alvin and the Chipmunks.

March 24-25 (CF): “The Iron Giant.” An animated family feature that works quite well for adults, the 1999 movie offers lush, richly detailed imagery and a story with well-developed characters and plenty of heart and social conscience.

April 7-8 (CF): “Empire Records.” The employees of an independent music store learn about each other as they try anything to stop the store being absorbed by a large chain in this quirky 1995 movie.

April 22-23 (SS): “Duck Soup.” As Rufus T. Firefly, president (or is it dictator?) of bankrupt Freedonia, Groucho leads the four Marx Brothers and Margaret Dumont in this 1933 comedy classic that deftly mixes slapstick with social satire.

May 6-7 (SS): “My Fair Lady.” The 1965 film version of the smash Broadway musical won eight Academy Awards and stars Audrey Hepburn and Best Actor Rex Harrison.

May 19-20 (CF): “Jurassic Park.” The kind of movie best enjoyed on the big screen, Steven Spielberg’s 1993 realization of the Michael Crichton novel featured ground-breaking effects that brought a film favorite for decades — dinosaurs — to on-screen life as never before.

Aug. 19: Hot August Frights. This is the fifth annual edition of the all-day B-movie horror and sci-fi cinema schlockathon that has offered as many as 10 different titles in one day. Fans can buy tickets for individual movies, or specially priced all-day come-and-go passes.

Sept. 2-3 (SS): “Rio Bravo.” The Duke was at his finest in the second of his five action-adventure films directed by Howard Hawkes. John Wayne was joined in 1959 by Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan and teen idol Ricky Nelson.

Sept. 22-23 (CF): “Footloose.” Actor Kevin Bacon broke through with this 1984 drama-musical-romance about a rebellious city kid transplanted to a small town where literally, “Your mama don’t dance and your daddy don’t rock and roll.”

Oct. 7-8 (SS): “The Bride of Frankenstein.” Arguably the best of the original Frankenstein films, 1935’s Bride has Boris Karloff returning as the monster and screen legend Elsa Lancaster as his balky betrothed.

Oct. 27-28 (CF): “Ghostbusters.” Saturday Night Live alumni Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis combined forces on this crazy, occasionally crude comedy smash from 1984 whose cast included Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, Ernie Hudson and Rick Moranis.

Nov. 4-5 (SS): “The Dirty Dozen.” An engaging World War II adventure, the 1967 film was also a vehicle for stuffing more than a dozen stars onto the same screen, including Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, George Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and others.

Nov. 24-25 (CF): “The Polar Express.” Tom Hanks brought his voice to six different roles, from Scrooge to Santa Claus, in this 2004 adventure-fantasy that offers ground-breaking animation directed by Robert Zemekis.

Dec. 2: Ho Ho Hoquiam Movie. The biggest single night movie crowd at the 7th Street Theatre each of the last few years has been for this highlight of the Ho Ho Hoquiam holiday shopping promotion. This year’s title is to be determined.

Dec. 16-17 (SS): “Holiday Inn.” Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire starred in the 1942 musical comedy that featured the Oscar-winning “White Christmas” song by Irving Berlin. Twelve years later, elements of the plot were restructured into the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye holiday staple that shares the famous song’s title.