Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tampa Theatre in "Obedient Heart"

A snapshot from my novel, Obedient Heart:
"What's wrong, Maggie?" Jennifer asked. "You look sad."

"Oh, I'm not sad, dear." She picked at her food with her plastic fork. "Well, maybe I am, just a little. The paper said The Inn of the Sixth Happiness is coming to Tampa Theatre in a couple of weeks. That's my favorite Ingrid Bergman film." She put down her fork and slapped the arm of her wheelchair. "And I'm stuck in this place and in this thing." "Oh, I wish I could--"
"You wish you could take me. I know. But I've seen your car. My wheelchair won't fit, so let's not think about it."
(Later, when Jack McGowan asks Jennifer is she'd like to go to a movie, she declines.) Jack reached for the doorknob and paused. "You know, Tampa Theatre has a special screening of a classic Ingrid Bergman movie this week. Maybe we could do that Thursday evening."
(Of course, Jennifer mentions Maggie's desire to see that film. And Jack, being the gentleman who knows the road to Jennifer's heart is through her compassion for those less fortunate, offers to take Maggie with them.) TAMPA THEATRE is another local landmark I use to bring my characters to life.
This historical theatre, which opened in Tampa on October 15, 1926, is one of our city's finest jewels. Housed across Franklin Street from the TECO plaza, one would never guess its opulence from it's near-ordinary facade. But once inside, you walk on mosaic tiled floors, climb marble steps to the balcony, and gaze up at 99 faux stars in the ceiling. The theatre has 1446 seats in the auditorium and, aside from airing independent films, is famous for its Summer and Winter Classic Series.
My husband and I have made it an annual ritual to attend the July showing of Casa Blanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. We own a DVD of this cult movie, but there's nothing like watching it on the big screen. And during these events, the theatre offers Bugs Bunny cartoons before each movie.
And we must not forget the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ! The massive instrument rises through the stage floor as the organist plays a medley of show tunes, usually followed by the film's theme song, and finishes with Phantom of the Opera. Words cannot do this presentation justice. You simply must experience it. The late Rosa Rio played the Wurlitzer for silent movie events. She was beyond her hundredth birthday when she played her last performance.

This summer, the theatre will bring back one of my favorites, Some Like It Hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemon, and Tony Curtis. The last time they aired this film, Tony Curtis made a rare appearance. He was still as handsome as ever with white hair! His gracious treatment of fans endeared me to him even more. And, yes, I have this on DVD, too. It's so much more fun to attend the screening at the theatre.
A sampling of the films offered this summer are:
A Place in the Sun
Elizabeth Taylor and
Montgomery Cliff
The African Queen
Humphrey Bogart
Katherine Hepburn

Gone With the Wind
Clark Gable
Vivian Leigh

They'll also host a sing-along showing of The Wizard of Oz.

You can see why I simply had to include one of Tampa's finest historical features in my award-winning yet-to-be-published novel.

(As a PS, Blogger still hasn't resolved the spacing issues that have plagued me in my recent posts. I apologize for the huge gaps between my paragraphs & photos. I correct it six or seven times, but it goes right back to the gaps when I publish the post)

1 comment:

  1. Spacing-schmacing. I know it's not your fault. It's all good so is your piece.