By Kathy L. Collins

The Tampa Theatre will celebrate its 90th birthday with a day full of movies. As a present to the community and a nod to the year that the Tampa Theatre opened, 1926, all of the movies are just a quarter. The celebration will take place on Saturday, October 15 with a screening of four films.

According to Jill Witecki with the Tampa Theatre, “The titles span an impressive eight decades of filmmaking, and include a silent film with live accompaniment on Tampa Theatre’s original Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ- an homage to the Theatre’s early days as silent film house.”

Tickets are available on Saturday, October 15, cash only, at the box office located at 711 N. Franklin St. in downtown Tampa.

First up at 11:45 a.m. is Hugo, an unusual movie that straddles the worlds of art cinema and technical showpiece. Hugo, which won many awards, was made by acclaimed director, Martin Scorsese. Hugo tells the story of an orphaned boy living alone in a railway station. The boy’s fate is tied up with a toymaker who happens to be George Melies, a real life French film pioneer and visionary director. Hugo’s search for a connection with his father leads into the world’s search for the lost Melies.

At 3:15 p.m. come see the 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist. The movie is set at a time of great change in both the movie business and the country- the late 1920’s. Silent movies were giving way to talkies at the same time that the United States was suffering through the Great Depression. The Artist will have a special element as Dr. Steven Ball will play an original score of his own composition on the Tampa Theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer.

At 7 p.m. you can see Buster Keaton in The Cameraman. Keaton was not the first silent film comedian, but he was among the best. The Cameraman showcases him at the peak of his form.

Last, at 10:10 p.m., stay and see Cinema Paradiso, winner of the 1989 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. According to Witecki, “It is a movie about loving movies. That is why we have included it among our special presentations for our 90th birthday, and also because it is our CEO’s favorite film.”

Doors for each film open one hour before show time. For more information, please visit

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