These silent films are going to sound great!
The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra will stage Haunted Hollywood at The Church-in-the-Gardens Community House in Forest Hills on Sunday, Oct. 30, at 5 p.m. While three silent movies show on a large screen, the ensemble will play their original scores and make sound effects from 1910s and 1920s.
“The Haunted House,” a 1921 comedy starring Buster Keaton, headlines the show. This 21-minute short depicts Keaton as a bank teller who gets involved in a robbery with a theatrical troupe. The crooks end up posing as ghosts in a haunted house while on the lam.
“The Adventurer,” which Charlie Chaplin wrote and directed in 1917, is also on the list. The Little Tramp plays an escaped convict who saves a young damsel from drowning in this 31-minute comedy. Her wealthy family is awed by his heroism, but her long-time suitor helps prison guards catch him.
“Haunted Spooks,” a 1920 comedy starring Harold Lloyd, is the nightcap. Set in the South, Lloyd’s character competes for a belle’s romantic affection with another man while also vying for an inherited plantation with a niece. At one time in this 25-minute short, he gets a series of people to wear white sheets covered in flour to convince his niece that the main house in haunted. At other times, he makes failed suicide attempts after the belle rejects him.
The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is the world’s only professional ensemble that is entirely dedicated to recreating musical theater, cinema, and dance from the Silent Film Era, which stretched from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Rick Benjamin, who is the conductor, founded the group in the 1980s after discovering more than 4,000 turn-of-the-century scores that had belonged to band leader and Victrola recording star Arthur Pryor.
Tickets are $20 ($10 for students, free with children under 12). After the concert, the audience will be able to meet the musicians and drink free beverages provided by Glendale’s Finback Brewery.
Photos: Paragon Ragtime Orchestra’s Facebook page