Cool summer in the city

Victoria Theatre ushers in hot weather with Cool Films Series

By Jim Bucher

It’s always a sure sign of summer when the Victoria Theatre Association announces the Summer Cool Films Series.

Yep, pretty cool films that are damn hot! Pardon the expletive, but damn, they are. Oops, damn it, sorry.

There’s nothing like enjoying a motion picture in the historic theatre where generations of Daytonians, including this one, did the same. As a youngster I experienced first-run movies like “Mary Poppins” and “Herby the Love Bug,” to name a few.

Ken Neufeld, President and CEO of Victoria Theatre Association and The Arts Center Foundation agrees. “There’s no better way to spend your summer than at the historic Victoria Theatre watching classic films,” he says. “Come on down and see these great films on the big screen with us this summer.”

This year’s lineup is a nice mix of classic, eclectic, and crowd favs. Shall we begin?

Did anyone catch Feud, the mini-series featuring the backstory on the making of “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” The documented events, with a little embellishment, portray the sniping and backstabbing between Hollywood legends Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the filming. Well, now you can imagine it all while catching this macabre classic July 7-9. Check out Bette’s Casper-the-Ghost makeup. Yikes!

What would summer be without Gene Kelly? No worries, he’s here in spirit, along with the late Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor in “Singing in the Rain.” Never does this Hollywood all-time time classic ever get old?  And Gene literally singing and dancing in the rain has no equal. Released in 1952, catch it July 14-16.

1970’s Clint Eastwood starring “Kelly’s Heroes” projects July 21-23. Also with Telly Savalas, the late Don Rickles, and, before playing Archie Bunker (“Ah, jeeze, Edith”) on TV, Carroll O’Connor.

The funny “Clue” from 1985 is on the silver screen July 28-30. Based loosely on the classic board game, it stars Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, the irresistibly hilarious Madeline Kahn, and Christopher Lloyd.

1954’s “Brigadoon,” Aug. 4-6, brings back Gene Kelly, along with his dance partner in many films, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson. Directed by Liza’s dad, Vincente Minnelli.
In my opinion, one of Paul Newman’s best roles is 1967’s “Cool Hand Luke.” Unspooling Aug. 11-13, it also stars George Kennedy, who was hilarious in the “Naked Gun” movies, and Strother Martin.

1951’s “Royal Wedding” starring Fred Astaire, Jane Powell, and Peter Lawford, plays Aug. 18-20, and 1971’s “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” runs Aug. 25-27.

Enjoy free popcorn and soda in the lobby beginning one hour prior to show time and a classic cartoon just before the movie.

As they say on TV, wait there’s more! The gang at the Victoria present the Family Films series Thursdays at 10 a.m. in case you need to get out of the house with the kids.

“Follow That Bird” shows July 6, “The Neverending Story” July 13, “The Muppets Take Manhattan” July 20, and “Flipper” rounds out the year on July 27. You know, ‘cause everyone loves the king of the sea.

And if that’s not enough, for the night owls there’s Reel Late at the Vic on select Saturdays in July and August. The late night series presents Prince’s classic “Purple Rain” July 8, “Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same” July 22, and, a personal favorite, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Aug. 26.

For Mechele Pritchard, VTA director of contracts and licensing, who schedules the film program, it is truly a labor of love with one major issue.

“It is fun, challenging, and occasionally rather frustrating. Every year it gets harder and harder to find 35mm prints. The majority of theatres have gone digital and with degradation and wear and tear of the celluloid, prints aren’t holding up. The Victoria’s rich past includes many years as a movie house, and we continue to honor that period of time every summer with the Cool Films Series,” she says.

Now that is cool.

Folks, trust me, there’s no better place to see some mighty fine, cool, old films where they were meant to be enjoyed.

Have I ever steered you wrong before? Wait, don’t answer that too quickly.

Cheers, and dim the lights.


The Victoria Theatre is located at 138 N. Main St. in downtown Dayton. Tickets for the Summer Cool Film Series are $6 or $35 for a 10-show passbook. For more information, please visit

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Jim Bucher
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at

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