TO THE EDITOR: Get set for a galaxy of stars stopping by The Best Western Plus the evening of Saturday, Dec. 4, for a parade of special-guest appearances second to none, on reel-to-reel 16mm film, that is.

Starting at 7 p.m., the hotel’s conference room will host a gala 70th-anniversary screening of 1951’s storied, all-star Technicolor biopic “The Magic Box,” turning it into a Mecca for regional film buffs if only for two hours. An account of the life and times of William Friese-Greene, sadly forgotten inventor of motion pictures,

“The Magic Box” was produced to augment the iconic Festival of Britain, a national exhibition and fair welcoming millions of visitors throughout the UK in the summer of 1951. Intended as a "tonic for the nation," this spectacular cultural event and template for Expo ‘67 attempted to raise the spirits of a country still recovering from World War II.

Created to promote a feeling of resilience in the masses, the festival recruited everyone who was then anyone on British stage and screen to do their patriotic part in “The Magic Box.” This resulted in scores of wonderful cameos led by Laurence Olivier’s in the film’s most memorable scene, as a bobby suddenly pulled from his beat to witness, in utter astonishment, Friese-Greene’s first successful experiment with projected celluloid. In the key role of the festival’s cinematic ambassador, “The Magic Box” moves briskly from one captivating sequence to the next, draped in drippingly gorgeous stained glass-like three-strip Technicolor, with Oscar-winner Robert Donat’s brilliant performance as Friese-Greene the rudder that steers the whole enchanting enterprise to sublimity.

The Best Western Plus is located at 446 Route 3 in uptown Plattsburgh, adjoining 99 Restaurant. Free, with donations welcome and free refreshments as well. Register planned attendance by emailing serious_61@yahoo.com or text/call 518-802-1220.

ANDY MACDOUGALL

Plattsburgh

 

TO THE EDITOR: With the recent opening of the U.S. border to Canadian car traffic, my brother and his wife decided to make an overnight trip to Plattsburgh.

Masking is still the way when going into stores here, and we did the same at the big mall in Plattsburgh. One store owner started to yell at us, chastising us that masks are no longer necessary and that we are sheep, following the group.

We were really shocked at this despite the interview we saw with a mall manager on TV, saying Canadians were missed for the past 18 months and are very welcome. I can say that we certainly didn't feel welcome.

Covid is still out there, and basic precautions are still the way, no matter which side of the border you live on.

IAN STUART

Montreal

 

TO THE EDITOR: The board members of First Night Saranac Lake have come to the difficult decision that we must cancel the event this New Year's Eve event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

We cannot accurately predict what the virus numbers will be like on Dec. 31, but COVID-19 incidence remains high in northern New York, especially for unvaccinated people. Also, last year saw nationwide spikes after Thanksgiving and Christmas. We don't want First Night to endanger anyone, that would go against the heritage of Saranac Lake, which was established in the late 1800s as a place to cure from another deadly respiratory disease, tuberculosis.

Still, it is hard for us to cancel for the second year in a row. For 14 years, until 2020, First Night has offered a wonderful opportunity for people to get together and celebrate with great music, comedy, kids' entertainment and more. We fully intend to come roaring back, and we will be in touch as we know more.

As we look ahead, we are recruiting new board members. If you love fun local events, have interest in booking entertainment, organizing volunteers and venues, or spreading the good word, please contact board Chair Sue Patterson at trilliumdogs@gmail.com.

FIRST NIGHT SARANAC LAKE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SUSAN PATTERSON, CHAIR

ELIZABETH VAN ANDEN, VICE CHAIR

PETER CROWLEY

SANDRA FIORILE

CAROLINE HAMBLEY

JUDITH PEREIRA

AURORA PFAFF

CHARLES VAN ANDEN

Saranac Lake

  

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