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Arts & Culture

Silent Movie Night Features Old School Action At Spreckels Organ Pavillion

The Spreckels Organ Society's silent film night draws thousands. Monday it will showcase Buster Keaton's
Bob Lang
The Spreckels Organ Society's silent film night draws thousands. Monday it will showcase Buster Keaton's
Spreckels Organ Society Silent Movie Night

For three decades the Spreckels Organ Society has been bringing silent movies to life.

If you love Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan and his movies “Police Story,” “Shanghai Noon” and “Rush Hour,” then you might be interested to know that silent comedians like Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton were major influences on his work.

Monday at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, the organ society will screen Buster Keaton’s short “One Week” for its next Silent Movie Night. The film stars Keaton as a newly married groom who is given a build-it-yourself house. This film and more specifically Keaton’s “Steamboat Bill Jr.” were the inspiration for the final stunt in Jackie Chan’s “Project A Part 2” where Chan brings down the house as a tribute to his silent film idol.

“One Week” will screen with Monty Banks’ “Chasing Choo Choos.” Both films will have live accompaniment from Scottish organist Donald MacKenzie, the house organist at London’s famous Odeon Theatre. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday but arrive early because the organ pavilion draws large crowds.

“One Week” is Keaton at his best and seeing it as it was originally intended with live music and with a crowd of people will make you realize why his films were so popular. You may also develop newfound respect for the amazing stunts of silent comedians who worked without green screens or modern safety precautions.

An organist accompanies "The Eagle," starring Rudolph Valentino, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on Silent Film Night last summer, Aug. 19, 2013.
Bob Lang
An organist accompanies "The Eagle," starring Rudolph Valentino, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park on Silent Film Night last summer, Aug. 19, 2013.