They don't make movies like they used to, but you can still see many of Hollywood's legendary films at Tampa Bay's oldest theaters.
Tampa Theatre presents its annual Summer Classics series on Sundays through Aug. 28. Capitol Theatre in Clearwater serves up celluloid memories on Tuesdays through Aug. 30.
The movies begin at 3 p.m. Sundays, but arriving early yields benefits beyond good seating. The place opens its doors at 2, and there's always a volunteer escorting visitors on a mini tour of the historic 86-year-old movie palace at 711 Franklin St. before showtime.
Around 2:40, the theater's signature embellishment — the 1,400-pipe Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ — rises from beneath the stage, with a volunteer playing vintage pop tunes.
Several classic films including The Grapes of Wrath(Sunday) will be shown in restored 35mm prints. Other presentations include after-show discussions with University of South Florida professors Harriet Deer (Spellbound, June 12; A Place in the Sun, June 19; The Godfather, June 26; Casablanca, July 10) and Michael Foley (The Red Shoes, Aug. 21).
Tickets for the Summer Classics series are $9 for all ages, and $7 for Tampa Theatre members.
Looney Tunes cartoons will be shown before each performance except the concluding program, 1924's silent Peter Pan (Aug. 28), with the Wurlitzer providing live musical accompaniment. Tickets for that special event are $12, with discounts available for seniors, military personnel and theater club members. Visit www.tampatheatre.org for information.
Tampa Bay's oldest active movie venue, the 90-year-old Capitol Theatre, presents Capitol Classics on Tuesdays through Aug. 30. Tickets for most movies are $6 for all ages. The concession stand offers popcorn, candy and beer and wine. We also hear the pickles are popular.
Highlights of the classics lineup include The Big Sleep (Tuesday), Singin' in the Rain (June 21), Rebel Without a Cause (July 12), Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii (Aug. 16) and John Wayne's final performance in The Shootist (Aug. 30).
Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St. in Clearwater, also has a couple of Friday night summer treats for 1980s movie buffs, marking the 30th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark (June 17) and the 25th anniversary of Top Gun (July 29). Those tickets are $8 for all ages. For more information, visit www.rutheckerdhall.com or call (727) 791-7400.
Steve Persall, Times film critic