Love classic movies and television? Then the Western New York Movie Expo is worth checking out.
The second annual Expo – taking place Sept. 1-4 in the Hilton Garden Inn Airport – will have two screening rooms showing shorts and feature-length films from pre-code comedies to animation, early talkies and silent movies with live musical accompaniment. In a large dealer's room, you'll find movie reels, lobby cards, photos, posters, cameras and other collectibles for sale from dealers traveling here from cities including Chicago, Boston, New York City and Minneapolis.
"We try to show unusual things," said the event's founder Alex Bartosh. "We'll show British comedies, thrillers and film noir, plus have an animation fest. We'll be doing tributes to old-time radio greats like Jack Benny or Eddie Cantor and rare television."
The WNY Movie Expo is an off-shoot, of sorts, of the Syracuse Cinefest which Bartosh had attended annually. When it ended its 35-year run in 2015, Bartosh bought the equipment and started the Buffalo-based festival. He plans to make it a Labor Day tradition so film fans can mark it in their calendar.
It opens at 9 a.m. Friday and screens the first movie – "All the Kings Horses" with Carl Brisson and Edward Everett Horton – at noon. Movies then run continuously, except for a dinner break, for about 12 hours with the last Friday screening at midnight, "The Flying Serpent" with George Zucco.
The list of programming is long with more than 60 shorts and full-length movies. A full schedule can be found here. Below are just a few highlights.
"It's In the Bag," 1 p.m. Friday. The 1945 comedy stars Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Rudy Vallee and Victor Moore.
"The Glenn Miller Story," 8:30 p.m. Friday with Jimmy Stewart playing the revered band leader.
"Banjo on My Knee," 2:15 p.m. Saturday. See Barbara Stanwyck sing and dance in this musical comedy co-starring Joel McCrea and directed by John Cromwell.
"In the Zone: Rod Serling's Time Travel," 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday with archivist and historian Michael Pipher. The presentation from the Rod Serling Archive and the Bundy Museum includes the original pilot episode, "The Time Element"; "The Twilight Zone Live: Walking Distance" (the episode featuring music by Bernard Hermann) and a time travel montage. The episode "Once Upon a Time" with Buster Keaton will be shown at 9:30 p.m.
"Battle of the Century," 9 p.m. Saturday. Laurel and Hardy launched 5,000 pies in this recently restored 1927 comedy which featured an epic pie-fighting scene.
Hal Roach rarities, 1 p.m. Sunday.
"The Lost World," 4 p.m. Sunday. This 1925 dinosaur film from Willis O'Brien was the precursor to "King Kong." It will be shown in a Kodascope release with music by Jeff Rapsis.
"Zaza," 8 p.m. Sunday. Gloria Swanson stars in this silent film, recently restored by Kino. Rapsis again performs live music.
Science fiction, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday. This programming block has short films adapted from short stories by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury as well as two episodes of "The Ray Bradbury Theatre" and more.
Western New York Movie Expo
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 1, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 2-3 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 4 at Hilton Garden Inn Airport (4201 Genesee St., Cheektowaga). Admission is $12 Sept. 1-3 and $6 Sept. 4 or $35 for a four-day pass. Student discounts are available.