Jan 1 Strange cinema

'Film Oddities' showcases out-there clips from the reel world

'Film Oddities' showcases out-there clips from the reel world

January 02, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

FREDERICK, Md. - Film buff Eric Krasner plans to jump-start comedy month at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick with some off-beat 16 mm footage from his eclectic collection of old home movies, documentaries and commercials.

His "Film Oddities" presentation at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2, will kick off screenings in January of "Sherlock Junior" (1924), "Double Whoopee" (1929), "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964) and "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976).

"We just thought this would be a great, fun thing to do at the beginning of the new year," said Susie Miller, project manager of the Weinberg Center Transition Team.


You might not want to laugh at what you'll see during the "Film Oddities" show - including old film clips showing a Russian scientist swimming through a nuclear bomb-excavated lake to prove its safety, a trio singing holiday tunes after a few too many cocktails and personal hygiene tips for World War II soldiers - but you probably will.

"I'd say it will be uncomfortable laughter," said Krasner, of Frederick.

He will narrate the screening of 16 mm films from a collection he's been building since childhood.

"I was the kid who always ran the film projector in school," Krasner said. "I was always fascinated by movies, or just projection itself."

His collection includes more than 30,000 reels from the 1920s to 1986 that he's acquired from estate sales, private sellers and other sources. Founder and president of the Web site, Krasner supplies footage to The History Channel, MTV and other media outlets, he said.

He compiled some of his most unusual clips for "Film Oddities," including: a Technicolor film about rug-cleaning techniques in the 1950s; "Teenage Crusade," a film that pits 1950s "greasers" against teenage Christians; the biography of the class ring; men sorting mail on trains; grocery workers shoveling hamburger meat in the back of a store; and Russians nuking a natural gas fire in an attempt to squelch it, Krasner said.

Some of his favorite films are the old home movies with sound he's collected from a variety of sources, including a friend who found a stash of film canisters buried in the muck of a defunct chicken coop. That find contained the 1947 film of three intoxicated people singing around a piano - footage Krasner finds particularly amusing, he said.

"I call it 'I Love You When You Sing.' The wife is trying to harmonize, and you can just see the animosity between her and the piano player," Krasner said.

He also will invite viewers to choose which clips they'd rather see - like a choice between a seat belt safety commercial that Dick Van Dyke had to make following a drunken-driving arrest and footage of the two deaf Osmond brothers who were left out of the family's musical act.

Krasner will spare viewers from watching surgical clips and other graphic additions to his 16 mm collection, he said.

"I don't want anyone to see anything they don't want to see," he said. "I'll show odd films about odd insights. Come with an open mind."

If you go ...

"Film Oddities"

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2

Weinberg Center for the Arts

20 W. Patrick St., Frederic, Md.

Tickets cost $7, adults; $5, adults with AAA discount; $4, children.

The comedy series also will include:

n 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3

Buster Keaton stars in "Sherlock Junior" (1924), and Laurel and Hardy star in "Double Whoopee" (1929).

Tickets cost $7, adults; $5, children younger than 12 and adults with AAA discount.

n 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16

Peter Sellers and George C. Scott star in "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964).

Tickets cost $7, adults; $5, adults with AAA discount.

n 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23

Peter Sellers stars in "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (1976).

Tickets cost $7, adults; $5, adults with AAA discount.

For more information, call 1-301-228-2828, or go to on the Web.

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