Celebrate the Golden Age of Hollywood

At the 5th Annual “History in the Headlines” Dinner

hollywooddinnerReservations are currently on sale for “A Celebration of the Golden Age of Hollywood,” the fifth annual History in the Headlines dinner, sponsored by the Mount Prospect Historical Society.  It will be held Saturday, April 16, at Rob Roy Country Club, 505 E. Camp McDonald Rd., Prospect Heights.

This year the Mount Prospect Historical Society will re-imagine the days when folks in both small towns and large cities crammed local theatres to see blockbusters (and now classics), such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone With the Wind,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and even “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

The 1930s and 1940s are remembered as Hollywood’s Golden Age.  During this period, new genres were formed, new stars were born and the studio system rose to mammoth status.  The eight major studios, each known for its distinctive style and stars, collectively produced 95% of all American films.  More than 7,500 features were released by the studios between 1930 and 1945 to eager audiences.

Stars like Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Shirley Temple and Ingrid Bergman became America’s version of royalty as more than 80 million people took in a least one film per week at the height of the cinema’s popularity – often to escape the difficult realities of life during The Depression, according to Lindsay Rice, executive director of the Society.

As with the Society’s four previous History in the Headlines dinners, patrons can choose from two meal options.  Those who picture themselves as aspiring actors and actresses, working as extras and taking any role they can get, can choose the $30 “Backlot Canteen” buffet meal of salad, bread, marsala chicken, penne pasta with marinara sauce and vegetable medley.

On the other hand, those who picture themselves as established stars or movie directors/producers may dine more elegantly.  They will want to choose the $75 “Brown Derby” steak dinner including soup, bread, twice-baked potatoes and a green vegetable.  Two complimentary bottles of merlot will adorn each “Brown Derby” table.

There will be dessert and a cash bar for everyone where signature cocktails of the era will be among the offerings.

No matter where you choose to sit, party-goers, who are welcome to dress casually or elegantly and even to wear clothing of the 1930s and 1940s, will be entertained after dinner by “Bette Davis,” played by living history actress Leslie Goddard.

“Few actresses in the history of film can rival Bette Davis for longevity and sheer public appeal.  In a career that stretched from 1930 to 1988, she appeared in such classics as Jezebel, Dark Victory, Now Voyager and All About Eve.  By 1942, she was the highest paid woman in America and had earned two Academy Awards.  She also created new kinds of film heroines: strong women grappling with power, romance, luxury and even violence,” says Goddard.

Davis also earned a reputation for being difficult to work with and her personal life was as tempestuous as her life onscreen.  Goddard’s portrayal is inspired by the book, Dark Victory by Ed Sikov.

There will also be a challenging Hollywood trivia competition, inserted during Ms. Davis’ intermission, and a movie-themed raffle with movie theater/restaurant prize packages, home movie night packages and other similar raffles offered.

In addition to the Society raffles, the Sew-Bee-It Quilters will be selling tickets for a lovely schoolhouse-themed throw quilt which they have created.  The winning ticket will be drawn at the dinner.  All proceeds from the quilt drawing benefit the Society’s 1896 Central School.

Seating is limited and may be reserved individually or in tables of ten.  For more information or to make your reservations via PayPal, click here.  You may also phone 847/392-9006, Tuesday through Thursday during office hours, to pay by credit card.

All of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Mount Prospect Historical Society’s Operating Fund.

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