I can’t remember if I’ve ever focused an entire “Cutting Room” on just one event. What I know for an absolute fact is that nobody remembers all 20 years of this column. So, we’re going to say that for the first time ever, “Cutting Room” is entirely dedicated to “Abbott & Costello.”
Sorry, I forgot someone: Frankenstein.
Actually, I forgot two someones: Frankenstein and Bruce Crawford.
That is to say that at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, at the Omaha Community Playhouse, Crawford will host the ultimate throuple , as “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” Tickets for the classic film screening are $24 and can be purchased online, by calling 402-341-6559, or by going to Help Equipment at 8522 Park Drive.
As cool as Abbott, Costello, and Frankenstein’s progressive polyamory is, that’s not why this event gets an unprecedented “Cutting Room” to itself. It earned that distinction because it marks three decades of Crawford’s Omaha film events. “I never imagined these events would go this far in 30 years!” Crawford told me in an email. We’ve spoken lots over the years, as we met almost a decade before I got this sweet film critic gig …
In ’98, when music was grungy and only Al Gore knew how bad the climate would get, Crawford came into the Barnes & Noble I worked at with a few friends: Ray Bradbury and Ray Harryhausen. They were in town for a “King Kong” screening that marked one of Crawford’s early film events. Talking to those fellas makes that one of the best days of my life. Of the more than 80 guests who have attended screenings over the years, you’d be hard pressed to outdo those Rays of sunshine in my book. Still, Crawford keeps a great, ever-expanding list that ranges “from Debbie Reynolds to Patty Duke to George Lucas sitting in the balcony when we screened ‘American Graffiti’.” From what I know, those three are not in a throuple.
When I asked him for the big moments he remembers, Crawford ran off a ton. He pointed to screenings for “Ben Hur,” the time Janet Leigh attended the “Psycho” event, “The Longest Day” showing that honored D-Day, and many others. No word on whether the actual Frankenstein will attend the 30th anniversary event, but I wouldn’t put it past Crawford (or Frankenstein). “It is gratifying to meet people who have come from far and wide to attend our events, from as far as Florida and Canada,” he told me. Celebrating cinema and championing Omaha are two things I can get behind, like Abbott and Costello behind Frankenstein.
A sincere huzzah for 30 years, Bruce. Let’s do another 30?