The good ole days

Museum On Main to bring back silent movie, wild west eras

Ever wonder what Pleasanton was like when silent movies were filmed or when bandits ruled the streets? The Museum On Main Street is bringing those days back with "Hollywood in Pleasanton" Sept. 20 and "Brothels, Bar Rooms and Bandits" Oct. 10.

Lights, camera, action

This is the second go-around for the movie-themed event, Hollywood in Pleasanton, as it proved to be a hit with families and fun-loving history buffs last year. The stars of the day will gather to walk the red carpet before two venues will host live performances of movie productions.

Rebecca Bruner, museum president, said local actors will be performing four of the more than 30 films that were short in Pleasanton in the early 1900s. One will be a circus scene starring Mary Pickford as seen in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" behind the museum, located at 603 Main St. Not far away her brother, Jack Pickford, will portray Tom in the funeral scene from "Tom Sawyer" when people believed he and rambunctious Huck had died.

Other movies include "Gigolo," the story of a man who becomes penniless upon moving to Europe, and "Yellow Dog," which is the story of patriotism during World War II. Both films, Bruner said, have themes -- such as changing fortunes and war -- that can have an impact today as it did back then.

Bud Abbot and Lou Costello from "It Ain't Hay" (some may recognize them as Councilman Jerry Thorne and Chuck Deckert) will also reprise their roles again this year with the live, comedic radio show of "Who's On First."

The movie events begin at 1 p.m. and will wrap up with silent films around 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children 8 and younger.

Head back to 1890

Sen. George Hearst is coming to town Oct. 10 to meet with local citizens. As the owner of Castlewood, he owns a lot of land in the area. People are coming from all over to celebrate, including friends from his goldmine in South Dakota. Leland Stanford will also be there, because he's not thrilled that Hearst is throwing a party and encouraging everyone to vote Democrat.

That's the scene the Bruner said will be set for the new event, Brothels, Bar Rooms and Bandits. The Pleasanton Senior Center will be transformed into Old West Main Street, circa 1890.

"You never know what's going to happen with a lot of banditos running around," Bruner said.

Not to worry, she added, because there will be Pinkerton men providing security.

It's the first time the Museum On Main has put on an event like this, which is suited for adults and includes food, entertainment and casino games.

"Pleasanton was known as one of the most desperate towns in the West," Bruner said. "There were a lot of bandits who would bring gold to the area, so it was a place to come and hijack people and grab their gold.

"For a long time it was known for bars and brothels," she added. "We thought it would be a fun event to bring a little history and go back in time."

This event, which they hope will become an annual tradition, will be from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 10. The cost is $40 and tickets are available at the Museum On Main Street, 603 Main St., or by calling 462-2766.

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