The Hollywood Theater’s Guest Programmer Series launched last year with movie events curated by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, Mt. Lebanon native Gillian Jacobs, and chef/restaurateur Kevin Sousa. On March 22nd, the historic theater will embark on the next installment of the series with Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood actor David Newell. Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the beloved PBS show, will present two films, the 1934 W.C. Fields comedy It’s a Gift and the 1932 Laurel and Hardy short The Music Box.
It’s A Gift stars Fields as an unhappy grocer who buys a California orange grove, only to realize that his new investment isn’t the promising business opportunity he expected. The Music Box showcases Laurel and Hardy in a classic scenario as two bumbling movers struggling to push a grand piano up a steep flight of stairs.
In addition, Newell and Hollywood Theater Executive Director Chad Hunter will mark the occasion with the official launch of the new Pittsburgh chapter of the international Laurel and Hardy fan organization Sons of the Desert. The new chapter, called Swiss Miss Tent #319 (after the 1938 Laurel and Hardy film Swiss Miss), will meet quarterly at the Hollywood Theater to watch Laurel and Hardy films and to help preserve the legacy of the legendary comic duo.
The program will also include an introduction and autographs with Newell, a pre-show performance on the Hollywood’s theater organ by Pittsburgh Area Theater Organ Society President Dale Abraham, and a sweater drive benefiting a local shelter. Each person who brings a gently-used sweater will receive a free small popcorn at the concession stand.
Doors for David Newell Presents: It’s a Gift and The Music Box open at 2 p.m. followed by the film program at 3 p.m. The organ performance will take place at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8, $6 for seniors 65 and over, children 12 and under, and students with valid ID, and are available for purchase at Showclix.