More than 450 Fans Come to See ‘Black Panther’
How do you entertain nearly 3,000 Pacific Palisades residents, families and friends? One movie at a time.
Every Saturday in August, Movies in the Park organizers hosted a night out at the Palisades Recreation Center; kids ran around the Field of Dreams and there were free hot dogs, courtesy of Park Advisory Board President Mike Skinner and grilled by the Rec Center staff.
“They are delicious,” said resident Paul Trull, who was munching on one on August 31. “It’s a nice event.”
Staff said they ran out of buns during a showing of “Incredibles 2,” which screened on August 24, but that could be expected because almost 700 people came to see the movie.
Members of the Palisades High School football team sold water, soda and candy, joining the fun while earning money for their program.
Lucky moviegoers who won the raffle received a grocery thermal bag filled with a blanket, flashlight, a hat and a football, sponsored by Palisades Funding.
Presbyterian Youth Pastor Hayden Roush and his wife, Village School teacher Heather Holguin, were manning a free popcorn “bar.” People could take a bag of popcorn and then add a topping(s) of their choice, which included candy, sprinkles and sauce. “We’ve seen some crazy combinations,” Roush said.
Movies in the Park is a nonprofit founded in 2004 by David Williams and John Wirth and joined by Andy Frew and Brad Lusk.
“It’s been really good this year,” Williams said. “The crowds have been pretty consistent. The sponsors are great.”
In an earlier story Williams said that one of the toughest aspects of the event is finding sponsors, but “Dan Urbach has been a sponsor for 14 of 16 years, Gelson’s had been a sponsor for 12 years – and this year we have a whole group of new sponsors.”
This year’s sponsors were: Thesman Family, the Palisades Woman’s Club, Gelson’s, Kehillat Israel, Marc Michael Eyewear Studio, Palisades Pitstop, Palisades Presbyterian Preschool, Palisades Village Rodeo Realty, David Tishbi, the Optimist Club, Dan Urbach-Realtor (Compass), Pacific Palisades Dentistry, Palisades Funding and the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association.
Williams is already thinking about next year, noting “We are going to keep the Arnie Wishnick movie night.”
The first film this year, “Back to the Future”, was selected by residents in honor of long-time Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Arnie Wishnick, who passed away in April.
Wishnick, in addition to participating in all community events and basically knowing everyone in town, used to write movie reviews for the local paper, giving different movies up to five palm trees if he liked them.
Williams is heartened by the new generation of Palisadians who attended the event this summer. Before each movie, “I ask how many are here for the first time, and I ask them to raise their hands. There are still a lot of first timers,” he said.
“The Park staff has been amazing this year, they’ve served thousands of hot dogs,” Williams added.
Frew admitted his favorite movie in August was “Incredibles 2.” “It was fresh and entertaining, and I loved Baby Jack.”
Generally, the movies that draw the largest audiences are Disney and Pixar, but those movies are often “blacked out” in the summer, which means they aren’t available to MITH.
“If we could do Disney/Pixar every week, we’d do it,” Frew said.