Hollywood actor and Lake Placid resident James Tolkan, seated, signs an autograph for Sue Pulitzer, which she got for her son, Chip. Tolkan was there to support the Hollywood Theatre in Au Sable Forks, which is seeking to transition to digital cinema as part of the Go Digital or Go Dark campaign.
Community members showed up in droves to help raise funds for a local theater threatened with “Go Digital or Go Dark.”
A full house attended a night of music at the Hollywood Theater Aug. 18, which included an appearance by actor and Lake Placid resident James Tolkan.
“The continued success of the movies depends on theaters like this one,” said Tolkan, who is most famous for his roles in the “Back to the Future” trilogy and “Top Gun.”
Tolkan said he was approached by Jay Town Supervisor Randy Douglas about appearing to help the fundraiser.
“I think that it is my civic responsibility to help out the local communities that I am a part of, and when they called I wanted to help out,” he said.
“We called James about two weeks ago and he said he had to see if his wife would let him do it,” Douglas said. “We were very grateful that he was able to come and help us out.”
Along with Tolkan, theater-goers to the fundraiser were treated to a musical review of several classic movies by Susan Richards and Eric Klotzko.
“Susan approached me about this and said that she was going to do this and do everything in her power to make sure that we were able to stay here,” Hollywood co-owner Sierra Hanf said. “She is quite the draw and she has a beautiful voice.”
Richards, who works in the supervisor’s office, said she had the full support of her boss once she decided to hold the event.
“This is something that is really special to him, and he is such a dedicated person to this community,” Richards said.
“My brother, sister and I would always run over to watch the movies here,” said Douglas, who grew up across the street from the Hollywood. “We are so very thankful to Sierra and (husband) Corey because they have been so dedicated to everything that goes on in the community, and we are happy to help and assist them in any way that we can.”
The fundraiser is part of a nationwide “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign. Movie theaters are being asked to make the transition from standard film to digital cinema, which requires new projectors, screens and sound systems. While many major cineplexes can meet the price associated with the change, smaller theaters around the country have been struggling to do so.
“Originally, the change was supposed to be made by this fall,” Hanf said. “We are starting to get the feeling from people that we are talking to that we are going to get through the winter season to change over, but we don’t really know and probably will not know until it happens.”
Hanf said that the community has been very supportive of the cause.
“We have had a lot of moral support,” she said. “It has been absolutely wonderful. Everyone asks us what they can do.”
“Anything that anybody can do to keep this landmark open in this community is helpful,” Douglas added.
Along with the fundraiser, money for the digital switch is being raised through the Adirondack North Country Association. Those interested in an online donation can visit the website razoo.com/story/Save-The-Hollywood or adirondack.org. Donations can also be made at the Hollywood Theater in Au Sable Forks.