In ancient times, before the dawn of history…there were no DVD or Blu-Ray players, no HBO (not in Sumter, anyway) and no streaming online video from Netflix. People went to see movies at the theatre, at the times when they were shown. Hard as it is to believe, that was the case in the 1978 when the world was caught up in Fifties nostalgia upon the release of the blockbuster movie version of Grease, adapted from a smash Broadway musical.
When it played in Sumter, as I recall, the highest-grossing movie of the year was “held over” for something like eight weeks—almost unheard of at that time, and definitely these days, when most movies are available on home video three months after release. I am pretty sure, also, that it played at the Sumter Theatre, a beautiful Richardson-Romanesque edifice at 21 North Main Street that was nearing the end of its days as a movie palace.
Well, get ready for a nostalgic ride. Almost 35 years after it gave Sumter’s shoe stores a run for their money to keep Candies high-heeled slides in stock, Grease is back at the old Sumter Theatre, which has been known for several decades now as the Sumter Opera House. With John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Didi Conn, the late Jeff Conaway, other major stars of the day and those timeless songs, this classic movie comes to life once again on the big screen on Friday night, August 10 at 7 p.m. And in a flashback to its original release, the film will be “held over” in the form of a Grease-themed event on August 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday morning will feature a car show, costume contest and refreshments for sale on Main Street in front of the Sumter Opera House. (Please note: the movie will not be shown on Saturday.)
Admission to the movie on Friday night is $2.50 per person; refreshments are available for sale. The Saturday event is FREE to the public, with a car show sponsored by Sumter Cruisers. For more info, please call (803) 436-2635.
Get the family and friends (if the mood strikes you, dress up as your favorite character), and go together like “ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong!”