The popular Alfred Hitchcock classic film noir “Strangers on a Train” will be featured on Thursday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. in the historic landmark Oswego Theatre at 138 W. Second St. All proceeds from this special night will support the ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Richardson-Bates House Museum.
“This has been an exciting year for the historical society, as it continues to showcase its legacy by promoting our amazing local history in the community," said Justin White of the OCHS board of trustees. "The Oswego County Historical Society was formed in 1896, but for the first 50 years did not have a permanent headquarters. It was in 1946 that the fourth generation of the Richardson-Bates family generously gifted their Tuscan Villa residence to the historical society to be the first community museum”
The museum officially opened to the public in 1947, now celebrating more than 70 years in operation. It remains the oldest cultural and historical organization in Oswego County. It is one of the most intact 19th century house museums in New York State with the original furnishings and contents from the family. The society maintains an extensive collection of artifacts, documents and photographs that preserve the history of Oswego County. The organization relies on fundraisers to sustain general operating support.
“Year round we offer events and programs that highlight our history,” said White. “This classic movie event is quite popular and each year we work on making an interesting connection to Oswego history.” There will be a brief feature on a legendary local Oswego hero prior to the featured film. Another interesting touch is a trivia connection between the Bates family and the Hitchcock family. Hitchcock’s only child Patricia appears in a supporting role in this movie.
“One of the generous donors of the Richardson-Bates House in 1946 was Sally Bates, the daughter of Norman and Florence Bates,” said White. ”Sally left Oswego as a young woman in the mid-1920s to pursue her dream as an actress. Her successful career made her a well-known leading-actress on Broadway for over a decade. There is an interesting connection between Sally and Alfred Hitchcock during her final lead actress performance in the 1942 drama Solitaire. The young girl receiving the child role in the play, and making her first debut as an actress, was none other than Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia. That was when Sally Bates played the mother of Patricia and became friends with Hitchcock family.” This year’s classic movie is a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock and his daughter Patricia’s 90th birthday.
The feature film is based on a 1950 psychological thriller novel of the same title written by American novelist Patricia Highsmith. The intriguing movie plot is a twist and turns suspense involving a pro tennis player and a wealthy playboy beginning with their random chance encounter on a train. The movie is often considered a top fan favorite of Hitchcock’s long list of successful thriller movies. According to Hitchcock himself, a climactic scene that takes place toward the end of the movie in an amusement park was the most terrifying for him to direct in all of his films. “The film noir always brings a particularly dark mood intrigue,” said White. “Even though these classic mystery movies have been featured for decades, it always keeps you on the edge of your seat to find out what happens,”
Many interesting details have been added to make this a special event including hosting it in Oswego's historic cinema theatre. There will be special door prizes and a souvenir program. A Charles Hubert skeleton dial pocket watch generously donated by J.P. Jewelers of Oswego will be a raffle item to take chances on. This item is reminiscent of a traditional kind of watch that would have been used on a train by conductors. The movie tickets have been designed by Oswego Printing to emulate a vintage movie-style one and will be a nice souvenir, as well.
Many movie critics have lauded “Strangers on a Train” to be one of Hitchcock’s best film noir movies and it was a transition period in his unique creativity that he was best known for. There will be many intriguing highlights to watch for, that are often mentioned in classic movie trivia. This includes a unique reflection in a pair of glasses, a significant lighter, a runaway merry-go-round carousel and the memorable Hitchcock cameo.
"There is nothing like seeing a timeless film on the big screen," said White. "It is a whole different experience than seeing it on television. This will be a special opportunity to both enjoy and celebrate cinematic history and support the museum, as well."
The movie will be shown in the main auditorium of the historic Oswego Theatre, which was designed by prolific international theatre architect John Eberson in the Art Deco design. It opened to the public in January of 1941. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
"The historic Oswego Theatre is the special place to feature classic movies,'" said OCHS board trustee Lyn Patterson." It is such a unique example of Art Deco architecture and is a perfect backdrop for this event."
Tickets are a donation of $20.00 per person and are available at the Oswego Theatre at 138 W. Second St., River's End Bookstore at 19 W Bridge St and Byrne Dairy at 97 W. Bridge St.
The OCHS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich history of the county. The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum at 135 E. Third St. in Oswego, a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1 – 5 p.m. and other days by appointment. For more information visit the website at www.rbhousemuseum.org or call during regular hours at 315-343-1342.