When Stephanie DeVito first came into my office to share her vision of MIRACLE ON GENESEE STREET, well, for starters, it was September. Or maybe it was early October. But it definitely was NOT snowing. And still, probably because she was so full of enthusiasm for the event particularly in her descriptions of what would happen when and where, etc., I felt the very first drops of holiday cheer making their way steadily toward all of us here on Genesee Street. And so I said yes, on behalf of Auburn Public Theater, to being whatever part of the grand plan for the day she needed APT to play.
This year, Auburn Public Theater is honored to be the host site for B.I.D. activities starting at 2:00pm and lasting until every last child has had the chance to sit and talk with Santa & Mrs. Claus. These very special guests will be joining us just after the holiday parade and the lighting of the tree in front of Memorial City Hall.
Also, at 1:00pm and 7:00pm on Friday, November 25th and at 3:00pm and 7:00pm on Saturday, November 26th and on Wednesday, November 30th at 7:00pm, Auburn Public Theater will be screening Miracle on 34th Street in our Cinema Space. All five screenings of the film are free and open to the public. I can still remember watching this film for the very first time, the 1947 version to be clear, one Christmastime in the early to mid-1970s. During the final scene, a young Natalie Wood is chanting to herself, “I believe, I believe, I believe” as she rides along in the backseat of the car until she sees it – HER HOUSE! – and shrieks for “Uncle Fred” to pull over! She runs up the hill to the house with the “For Sale” sign in the yard, pulls open the door and runs up the stairs. Her mother and “Uncle Fred” follow behind her, yelling for her to come back and to mind her manners, etc., etc., etc. But at that point, no one really cares what they’re saying. Because those of us who know, know. (And we didn’t need a trial to prove it to us either. That part of the movie was obviously made to help out the grownups.) Then, when Uncle Fred looks over and sees Kris Kringle’s cane leaning against the fireplace, well, that was the whole movie for me, a wink from Santa Claus himself.
I like what Bosley Crowther of the New York Times said about the film in 1947: “For all those blasé skeptics who do not believe in Santa Claus – and likewise for all those natives who have grown cynical about New York – but most especially for all those patrons who have grown weary of the monotonies of the screen, let us heartily recommend the Roxy’s new picture, Miracle on 34th Street. As a matter of fact, let’s go further: let’s catch its spirit and heartily proclaim that it is the freshest little picture in a long time, and maybe even the best comedy of the year.”
I’m with him and not just about the film either. For all those blasé skeptics, for all those who have grown cynical and weary of the monotonies of life, let this be an invitation to you to come downtown on Saturday, November 26th and catch the spirit of the holidays – together. Happy Holidays. Happy Every Day.