ARMACK – Award-winning Arcata-McKinleyville High School Orchestra (ArMack Orchestra) presents a double feature of hilarity: Laurel and Hardy in Two Tars plus Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr. The ArMack Orchestra provides the wonderful musical score, as well as the all important and amusing sound effects to accompany these silent film classics.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the most popular slapstick comedy duo in early film. They are known for their trademark bowler hats and their tit-for-tat retaliation that turns into hilariously ridiculous fun on film. Laurel and Hardy made more than 32 silent films and continued their shenanigans after this era, in more films on television.
Two Tars is one of the best comedies in the history of silent films and marked by one hilarious gag after another. This 1928 comedy is about two sailors home on leave from the Navy who meet two young damsels in distress. The young ladies accompany the sailors on a drive in the country in a rented vehicle, leading to one of the wackiest traffic jams anyone could imagine.
The second silent film in this double feature stars Buster Keaton in the 1924 movie Sherlock Jr. Keaton plays an unfortunate movie projectionist who is framed for a theft he didn’t commit. Keaton’s character fantasizes about becoming a detective to clear his name. He falls asleep while screening a mystery and dreams himself into the movie along with his sweetheart and archrival. What ensues is a comedic wonder with special effects and stunts that Keaton did himself.
Keaton is known for his pork pie hat, dead pan expression and physical comedy. Keaton spent a lot of time filming Sherlock Jr. because of the stunts and special effects. Keaton always insisted on doing his own stunts and was his nicknamed Buster by Harry Houdini after falling uninjured down some stairs when he was six months old. The term “buster” was used in vaudeville to mean a great pratfall.
The music behind the silent films was initially intended to drown out the noise of the projector and of
talkative audiences. Later, music became an integral part of film, creating a mood or building suspense. It contributes greatly to the atmosphere and gives the audience vital emotional cues to the movie.
Learning and playing the musical scores to silent films takes a great deal of practice and dedication. Maestra Carol Jacobson, who founded the ArMack Orchestra in 1995, continues to lead student musicians in their zero period class and in the many after-school and weekend practices to make sure the musical score is timed exactly. This includes the many special sound effects that require exact timing and technical precision.
Tickets can be purchased from any ArMack musician, or at the door. Admission is $5 and the movies are suitable for all ages. Show times are Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 17 to 19 at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Arcata High School and Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 24 to 26 at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Oct. 26 at McKinleyville High. This is a fundraising event for student musicians to attend the London Music Festival in spring 2015.
For more information, call (707) 839-1009 or visit armackorchestra.org.