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from the Forsyth Independent-Enterprise, August 2, 1990

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE: This article appeared just before the Roxy's 60th Anniversary celebration, which took place in August and September of 1990.

The Roxy Theatre will be soon showing some of the greatest films of all time, with classics like "Casablanca" and "Gone with the Wind" on the schedule -- among others.

You might think this was an easy event to put together. Just think up five good movies and order them in, right? Wrong. Ask Roxy owner Mike Blakesley about the headaches of putting together his Anniversary Classics series, but make sure you have plenty of time to listen.

"My film booker and I started with a list of about 200 films," Blakesley said. "From that list, we eliminated quite a few movies we didn't think anyone would really want to see, such as `The Story of Louis Pasteur,' which was an Oscar winner in 1936.

"We narrowed it down to about 10 films. That was when the real headache began."

The original plan was to have the top movie from each decade of the past 60 years. Three of those films ("Gone with the Wind" from the '30s, "The Ten Commandments" from the '50s, and "The Sound of Music" from the '60s) made the final list.

"The top film of the 1940s was Disney's `Song of the South,' " Blakesley said." However, it's not in release right now, and you can't get a Disney film unless it's in release."

The top film of the '70s was "Star Wars," and the biggest hit of the '80s was "E.T. The Extra Terrestrial." "There are no prints of those films available," Blakesley said. "It seems like the older a film is, the more likely you can find a print of it."

To fill in the list, Blakesley selected "Casablanca," a black and white classic from the '40s, and 1939's "The Wizard of Oz."

"I picked 'Oz' because it's been on TV a hundred times, always chopped up by commercials," he says. "When have you ever been able to sit and watch the whole movie without being interrupted?

"The phone rings, company comes, somebody switches channels. I've always wanted to see that movie in a theatre.

"I picked 'Casablanca' because every time it's on TV now, it's colorized, which ruins the way it looks. We'll be showing the original black-and white version."

The biggest challenge in the anniversary list was "Gone with the Wind."

"There are only three copies of that film in the nation, can you believe that? And one of them will be in Forsyth this fall," he says.

"They wanted an outrageous amount of money for 'Gone with the Wind,' Blakesley said. "Our booker was able to talk them into a more reasonable figure, but only after I gave my solemn word that I would treat the film with the utmost care."

After all the movies were lined up, the next hurdle was advertising.

"The crew at The Independent Enterprise has been very indulgent; I'm surprised they still let me into the building after all the advertising catastrophes I've created with this project."

Getting one sheets, or posters, for the films was another problem.

"Nobody makes one sheets anymore for any of these films," Blakesley said. "However, they did have some left over, from reissues."

Those posters are now hanging proudly on the walls of the Roxy, and Blakesley said he plans to keep all of them when the shows have left town.

"Anybody who wants my 'Gone with the Wind' poster will have to pry my fingers off it," he says.