Warner Film Center unveils museum plans, announces “Gala Hollywood Party”
NEW CASTLE, PA — The Warner Film Center unveiled its floor plan for a museum commemorating the Warner Brothers’ historic first theatre at 18 S. Mill St. yesterday.
Cass Warner, CEO of Warner Sisters Inc. and granddaughter of Harry Warner, one of the original four founding members of the Warner Brothers entertainment empire, addressed approximately 100 well-wishers at the site of the old Cascade Theatre in downtown New Castle.
The inaugural event displayed the museum’s first-completed attraction, a mural depicting old New Castle, by local artist Ken Cole, which covers one wall in the entryway.
Representing the Scottish Rite Cathedral, Rob Cummins, president, and Dawn Piroli, coordinator, announced a joint entertainment project with WFC at the magnificent 2,700 seat Cathedral auditorium in New Castle – beginning with a “Gala Hollywood Party” featuring dinner, a movie, and dancing, Friday, November 22. Information about that event can be found at www.picturepalaceseries.com.
Rita Dorsch, WFC Community Development Trustee, introduced a fundraising campaign with a “Kickstarter” video, designed to make $23,078 – one dollar for every current resident of New Castle – for WFC’s educational and entertainment goals in the city.
The Marine Corps Reserves also partnered with WFC to place a “Toys for Tots” receptacle at the museum’s entrance.
David Esposito, of the local firm Eckles Architects, displayed the floor plan for the new museum. Eckles Architects designed the original 1907 theater, and Mr. Esposito showed original 1907 plans for similar theatres.
The Cascade Theatre, the first theater operated by the four famous brothers, opened on Feb. 2, 1907, and is currently under redevelopment and restoration by the Warner Film Center, a non-profit organization. The WFC was organized over 15 years ago by the group’s president, Jerry Kern of New Castle, to protect and revitalize this historic site.
Ms. Warner, of Los Angeles, serves on the Board of Advisors of the Warner Film Center and came to New Castle to show her on-going support for the museum dedicated to the memory of her family’s enterprise.
The crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation when Mr. Kern told the story of the first “Toys for Tots” Campaign. Marine Corps Reservists began the program in 1947 with the support of Warner Brothers Movie Theatres in Los Angeles.
Yesterday’s event commemorated that beginning with a new partnership between local Marine Reserves and WFC. A Marine in dress blues installed a container in front of the Cascade Theatre, and Karen Kern, wife of Jerry, with the Marines’ Hymn playing in the background, placed a Raggedy Anne Doll in the container. A Raggedy Ann doll was the first toy donated in 1947.
Joining the others at the rostrum, Jack Oberleitner, WFC trustee and Project Development Director, said that he welcomed the participation of current, former, and “in spirit” residents of New Castle in supporting the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area, and invited potential Advisory Board members and volunteers.
Others in attendance included New Castle Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo, Lawrence County Commissioners, members of the Lawrence County Historical Society and the Lawrence County Tourism Board, and media representatives.