Lindo Theatre welcomes pioneers of comedy to the big screen

posted by Michael Zoldessy on August 21, 2012 at 7:55 am


FREEPORT, IL — The advent of silent films in the late 19th century brought to the screen some of the most influential, well-known faces in the history of comedy. Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers rank as the most popular and legendary film comedians of the silent film era. And, as a tribute to this timeless film genre, the Lindo will be presenting its next film series — Early Classic Comedies. All show times are at 1 and 7 PM on select Wednesdays at the Lindo Theatre, located at 115 S. Chicago Avenue in downtown Freeport. Co-sponsored by Highland Community College and Stephenson County Historical Society, admission to the Early Classic Comedies Movie Series is $20 for the entire series or $5 per movie. Tickets are available at the Lindo Theatre box office. The series will kick off on September 5th with a Harold Lloyd film entitled “Safety Last!” (1923).

The king of daredevil comedy, Harold Lloyd is best remembered today as the young man dangling desperately from a clock tower in “Safety Last!” His films frequently contained “thrill sequences” of extended chase scenes and daredevil physical feats. From his early black-and-white shorts to his full-length talkies, Lloyd recognized that humor was nothing without a sense of play. He also understood the role fear could play in heightening comedy. His rigorous and often acrobatic techniques earned him the respect of others in the film industry.

No list of comedies can be complete without mention of Lloyd along with his contemporaries Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers, all of whom helped shape the early classic comedy genre. Lindo’s Early Classic Comedies Movie Series will be bringing these early motion pictures back to the big screen: “Safety Last!,” “The General,” “City Lights,” and “A Night at the Opera.” And, as an added bonus for those who purchase tickets to the entire series, the Lindo Theatre will offer complimentary admission to the 1952 musical comedy “Singin’ in the Rain,” on December 5th.

Schedule for Early Classic Comedies Film Series: September 5 — “Safety Last!” (1923), featuring Harold Llyod Critically hailed, “Safety Last” follows country boy (Harold Lloyd) as he heads to the big city to seek success. While working as a clerk in a department store, he talks the manager into offering $1,000 to anyone who can bring more customers into the store. He arranges a stunt climbing a building as a human fly, but when his friend disappears, he must make the climb himself. The film includes one of the most famous images from the silent film era: Lloyd clutching the hands of a large clock as he dangles from the outside of a skyscraper above moving traffic. Starring: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis and Bill Strother

October 3 — “The General” (1926), featuring Buster Keaton Inspired by the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase, Buster Keaton not only stars in “The General” but co-directed the film with Clyde Bruckman. During the Civil War, a zealous railroad engineer (Buster Keaton) is rejected for military service and spurned by the girl he loves. When his train is stolen by spies with his girlfriend aboard, he embarks on a hilarious adventure to pursue the train single handedly and straight through enemy lines. Starring: Buster Keaton, Marion Mack and Glen Cavender

October 24 — “City Lights” (1931), featuring Charlie Chaplin Written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin, “City Lights” follows a little tramp (Charlie Chaplin), who has a profound effect on two people. First is a wealthy man he saves from killing himself while in a drunken stupor. Second is a lovely blind girl who mistakes him for a wealthy duke. Through a series of misadventures, he earns enough for eye surgery so she can regain her sight. Starring: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill and Florence Lee

November 28 — “A Night at the Opera” (1935), featuring the Marx Brothers A smash hit at the box office, the Marx Brothers take on high society during “A Night at the Opera.” Two lovers who are both in opera are prevented from being together by the man’s lack of acceptance as an operatic tenor. The brothers arrange for the regular tenor to be absent so the young lover can get his chance. Starring: Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx

PLUS, A SERIES BONUS: December 5 — “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) This 60th Anniversary “bonus” film tells the story about silent movies that are giving way to talking pictures, and a hoofer-turned matinee idol, who is caught in that bumpy transition, along with his buddy, prospective ladylove and shrewish costar. Starring: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds

The films in the series have been selected with the assistance of Dr. Ed Finch, Executive Director for the Freeport Historical Museum, and Alan Wenzel, Speech and Communications Instructor for Highland Community College. There will be a brief introduction before each movie and a discussion led by Dr. Ed Finch and Alan Wenzel following the movie. Movie-goers are encouraged to stay after the movie to participate in this exchange.

Classic Cinemas, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, is a family-owned company operated by Willis, Shirley and Chris Johnson. Established in 1978, Classic Cinemas operates 13 theatres with 100 screens in the northern Illinois area. Each auditorium is equipped with state-of-the-art digital projection and sound technology. For more information on Classic Cinemas, please visit

(Thanks to Norman Plant for providing the photo.)

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