When I was a new Los Angeles resident my friend and neighbor Mary-Elizabeth often invited me to events that were sponsored by the LA Conservancy, including Downtown LA Walking Tours and also something called Last Remaining Seats (LRS). Little did I know LRS would become a special part of my summer traditions. In an effort to bring attention to, and enjoyment from, LA’s most historic theatres located on Broadway, the Last Remaining Seats program features classic movies Wednesday and Saturday evenings in June. I will never forget singing Happy Birthday to Tony Curtis while he stood live on stage before a screening of Some Like it Hot. Then there was the time we were treated to a live fashion show just before seeing My Fair Lady. And we laughed hysterically as Tatum O’Neal stole the show during Paper Moon, not believing that this was our first time enjoying this charming movie.
LRS is just wrapping up its 29th year. I’m now a member of the LA Conservancy but membership is not required for ticket purchase. And tickets are a very reasonable $16 (member price) and $20 (non-member price). Every year I look forward to getting the list of the season’s picks. Sometimes I choose old favorites, sometimes movies that I’ve not seen before, and ALWAYS I have in mind where to dine. In fact, it’s because of LRS that I was first introduced to Clifton’s Cafeteria on Broadway. Currently closed for renovation, we’ve had to find other great places to dine before the show, but we are waiting very eagerly for Clifton’s to reopen to the public.
During this recent 2015 season of Last Remaining Seats I made it to three movies, and each one was special in its own way. Since becoming a tour guide, I have wanted to get inside Sid Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre built in 1918. It’s now closed to the public and only open on special occasions. If you know his name, it’s because he is the mastermind behind Hollywood’s landmark Chinese Theatre. The Million Dollar Theatre sits proudly just outside the Broadway entrance of Grand Central Market. There on a hot summer night I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho with a friend who had NEVER seen it. Then I was invited to a Saturday night screening of How to Marry a Millionaire in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and it was just delightful watching Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall prancing around on the big screen as they try to find their guys. It is my favorite Marilyn Monroe movie! The last movie was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in the Orpheum Theatre, which was preceded by a Q and A with the grown son and daughter of the movie’s Director, Mel Stuart. They shared insight, stories and photos about how the movie came about. Then as a sweet gift, it was announced that every attendee in the audience would receive a $10 gift card to Sugarfina in Beverly Hills! I want to thank the LA Conservancy for bringing Last Remaining Seats to the public, and I look forward to your 30th season in 2016!
By Trish Procetto