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LHHM commented about Palace Theatre on Aug 18, 2007 at 8:34 pm

“Rain or Shine,” an early Frank Capra movie, not seen on the big screen for more than 70 years, has been restored and will debut on Sept. 15 at Netcong’s Palace Theatre.

“Rain or Shine” was released in August 1930, just two years after the introduction of sound into movies. It starred Joe Cook, one of the leading comedians of the day, and his sidekick, Dave Chasen, as well as Tom Howard and Joan Peers.

“Rain or Shine” had been a successful Broadway musical when a young Frank Capra decided to adapt it to the silver screen as a non-musical.

Originally released by Columbia Pictures, the film was a vehicle for Cook to show off his many talents. Completely restored by Sony Pictures, the film now is considered important as an example of Capra’s work prior to his success as director of such hit movies as “It Happened One Night,” “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Meet John Doe” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Why Netcong? Cook formerly lived at Lake Hopatcong, just a few miles from the theater. He is considered one of the lake’s most famous residents, having lived there full time for almost two decades. In fact, he entertained most of the cast of “Rain or Shine” at his lake house, known as Sleepless Hollow.

Originally finding fame in vaudeville, Cook became one of Broadway’s leading stars in the 1920s and 1930s and starred in the Broadway production of “Rain or Shine.”

The premiere is a collaboration of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum and The Growing Stage Theatre, which makes its home at and operates the Palace Theatre. Built in 1919, the Palace was an entertainment landmark for more than 50 years in the communities of northwestern New Jersey. Commencing as a silent movie and vaudeville house, it later featured talking movies, local high school plays and graduations, minstrel shows and other live entertainment.

Tickets for the Sept. 15 premiere are $10 and can be obtained through the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum by calling (973) 398-2616, or at LHHISTORY@ ATT.NET.