Planning Somewhere In Time Parties

By Jo Addie


Since attending SIT Celebrations from the beginning, I'm always impressed with the similarities between SIT fans.  Though we are of all ages,  come from various parts of the country, and have varying backgrounds, SIT fans are a splendid bunch.  By this I mean that our sensibilities are alike we are romantics at heart, believe in true love and commitment, appreciate beauty, and feel more comfortable relating to the elegant and genteel world of the past than our chaotic, violent present.  We long for the time when men aspired to be gentlemen, and women had time to be ladies.  It is for this very reason that SIT Parties should take place - we are a special breed, we SIT fans, and we have a lot in common, just because we love Somewhere In Time.  With the enormous success of Titanic, and other costumed films like Shakespeare In Love, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, people have indicated they are ready to time travel, and "taste the past", if only for an evening.

Why not explore the possibilities and plan a Somewhere In Time party of your own?  Once you begin to think along these lines, surely many options will begin to unfold for you, and before long, you'll be meeting new friends who are INSITE members in your area or you'll be helping your present friends discover the film that could eventually become their "favorite movie of all time".  (In which case, they'll be forever grateful to you.)

Theme Parties have been all the rage, ever since the Victorian era.  Costume get-togethers are the most delightful, and are loved by folks of all ages, as witnessed by all the attendees at the Somewhere In Time Weekends who make the effort to dress in some sort of period attire!  INSITE has always encouraged members to have regional events, but they needn't be of epic proportions--they can be of any size, just use your imagination and you're sure to come up with a plan for a fun event to share, mingling with others of like mind.

Most of you, romantic by nature, are well equipped to plan and carry off a very intimate Somewhere In Time celebration, especially for two, but we all need to recharge our romantic batteries now and again so here are a few tips for those who want to bring a night of magic alive, within a Somewhere In Time theme.

Party of Two

How about planning a very romantic "indoor picnic", a' la the sort that Richard and Elise enjoyed after their night of love?  Spread a pretty cloth, or a lace tablecloth, (even a bedcover will do) on the floor and then put out a few candles strategically placed around the room for mood lighting.  Serve a platter of finger foods so you both can enjoy the tactile sense of the food as well as the flavors. Richard and Elise shared chicken, cheese and crackers, fruit, such as grapes, and wine, of course, or champagne will do nicely!  And don't forget dessert!  How about a special touch, such as a plate of petit fours, or chocolates!  As you'll recall, Elise was wearing a lovely pegnoir set, (nightgown with a matching robe, hers, in lace) and Richard was wearing his shirt, unbuttoned!  A re-enactment of this playful and touching scene will surely invite romance, especially if you're playing the movie in the background, or at least the soundtrack . . . Need we say more?

Small Soirees (swa-rays')

With just a little effort, a Somewhere In Time soiree (evening party) will have lasting benefits, for all involved.  Why not invite all those friends who have never seen the film, (though you've been recommending it to them for years) to come over for a night of fun and romance?   A Somewhere In Time theme evening is just what they need after a hectic week of working in the "rat race", balancing job and home chores, and chauffeuring kids to their various activities, and feeling the stress on relationships that surely follow, definitely symptoms of late twentieth century burn-out!  For those wives who tell you, "My husband won't watch a chick flick like that!"  Tell them that fully 50% of the fans of SIT are MEN.  This fact has been proven true in all of our INSITE ventures:  membership, our SIT Events, and email responses to the SIT website, in fact, our foreign email is over 85% men. Though women might see it as a "woman's movie", it is told entirely from the man's point of view--it's Richard's story--so men relate to it very well.

Whether it be for a formal dinner party, (Victorian/Edwardian theme or no) or just curling up on the couch for popcorn and snacks for a more casual feel, ask your friends to "get in the mood" by wearing a little something special!  Of course, if you're planning a dinner party, your guests might enjoy the notion of really "dressing up" in period style.  But it needn't be genuine vintage clothes.  Men can wear suits with suspenders, or just vests and bow ties, and ladies can wear a lacy blouse and long skirt.  Almost everyone can rustle up these garments without much trouble.  And even if you're planning something casual, you can urge the dress-up idea.  Suggest they wear hats!  This is an easy way to conjure up a "period atmosphere", and it doesn't take much effort.  1912 was the "year of the derby" for men, and it was all the rage. For ladies, well, a hat was an essential part of her attire.   Hats of all shapes, from "toque" styles (a tall, brimless silhouette) to the elaborate wide-brimmed styles, laden with plumes, netting and flowers, were being worn on fashionable heads throughout the Edwardian era (1901--1914).

Now that your guests are planning what they'll wear, you get to work on the details.  How about simple party favors--they were a frequent nicety at Victorian parties.  Make your own, of paper, perhaps with a pocket watch theme, and wrap up candies in a bit of netting, with ribbon, as you often see at showers!   For decorations, use inexpensive and easy paper lace doilies under the glasses, use placecards around the table at each place setting, very Victorian!  Dress your lamps with lace over their regular shades and hang ribbons and bows from the light over your table.  Candles are wonderful, naturally, and be sure to play the right music!  (Paul Cook, actor/composer who played "The Doctor" in the final scene, has a wonderful CD, entitled, "Is It You?", music inspired by SIT and wonderful dinner music. (See:  With a little ingenuity, you can transform even a thoroughly modern home to reflect a period feel, temporarily, to suit your purposes. 

It seems appropriate here to mention the ideal use of the Somewhere In Time Gallery line of collectibles, which can come in handy to enhance your celebration:  mugs, magnets, Elise Portraits, invitations written on the beautiful note cards, key chains as favors, T-shirts to wear, and have a movie poster on display at the entrance to the party. Use the postcards as favors, and have the pretty images spread around abundantly for atmosphere.  Guests will want to look through INSITE Founder, Bill Shepard's great book, "The Somewhere In Time Story", all about the making of the film, from Matheson's inspiration of the "real Elise", Maude Adams, all the way to post production and beyond.  And you can have a lot of fun with trivia questions, from Steve Ellis' "Somewhere In Time Trivia Book", even arrange your own Trivia Contest!

What to do with your guests?  Well, for the main event of the evening, whether formal or casual, set a time to begin the showing of Somewhere in Time.  But be sure to allow plenty of mingling time, when your guests will want to share their ideas of romance and admire each other in their finery.  Take pictures, perhaps even those "serious" period photographs you often see in antique shops, with the man sitting in a chair and the wife standing beside him!  Perhaps, play a party game with a romance theme (definitely not Twister or Spin the Bottle!)  But you could try this one.  Have each of your guests write the finish to this sentence on a piece of paper:  "As a prelude to a special night of love, I wish my partner would"  And then collect them and read them aloud!  That's one way to get an assortment of ideas, even if they are hilarious!  Then when everyone has found a comfortable seat, turn the lights out, and start the film, and you might want to inconspicuously have a box of tissues handy.

Larger SIT Gatherings

Now, if you're feeling like meeting new friends from the INSITE family, then here's what you can do.  Plan a backyard picnic or a casual indoor gathering for late afternoon and early evening.  Invite folks from your area from the Membership Directory.  No need for special arrangements here, though at a regional gathering planned by a few Nashville members a few years back, a small banquet room at a hotel was rented, and a large screen TV was rolled in to show the movie.  Somewhere In Time fans come ready with romantic hearts. And they don't need excuses to celebrate SIT!  In fact, plenty of fans say they are sorely lacking in associates who share an interest in such things as a romantic lifestyle, and appreciation for the past, and are looking for folks to talk with on such topics. 

Now here is the perfect opportunity to enhance the gathering by bringing in the Celebrity Guests.  How?  Well, the Somewhere In Time Event Videos can bring the celebrities who created SIT right to you!  In these popular videos, Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, writer Richard Matheson, director Jeannot Szwarc, producer Stephen (Deutsch) Simon, editor Jeff Gourson, Bill Erwin ("Arthur") and Susan French ("Elderly Elise"), and others, have all shared their intimate stories and private interviews with us, for all time. The newest SIT Event Video, #6, "Jane Seymour Returns to Mackinac" has recently been released, sharing Jane's landmark visit with the fans at the SIT Weekend at Grand Hotel.  This video also has a second program on it, "The New York Premiere of Somewhere in Time, a fabulous event Universal threw to kick off the 20th Anniversary DVD, which BOTH Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour attended, also Teresa Wright and Stephen Simon--dream material you don't want to miss!  This video is a huge hit!  As time goes on, these historic visits with the celebrities will become even more special.  They may not always be able to be present physically, but they are on video for all time, to share with us, the devoted fans, the magic of Somewhere In Time. Few films have been documented to such an extent, and there is so much fascinating material in each one of the tapes.  If you decide to play one of the videos, or portions of each, your gathering will really feel like a larger affair. (Event Videos are available through the SIT Gallery line too)  Somewhere In Time Gallery. Of course, SIT fans will greatly appreciate the opportunity to gather, and they will likely volunteer to help you plan and even share the cost of such a party.  Even a modest "admission fee" would not be out of line.

We encourage you to get your creative juices flowing, and plan your own Somewhere In Time Affairs, large or small, and then tell us what you did, and how you did it!  You're guaranteed to make a lovely event if your theme is SIT, and one that you'll remember always (and so will your guests!)  If you need help or suggestions on how to coordinate larger SIT affairs, contact Jo Addie.

Don't Forget . . . 

At your SIT Party, be sure to use one of these toasts from 

a 1912 Bartenders Guide:

Here's to our sweethearts and our wives;
May our sweethearts soon become our wives,
And our wives ever remain our sweethearts.

When going up the Hill of Prosperity,
May you never meet any friend coming down.

May all single men be married,
And all married men happy.

To Woman:  The fairest work of the Great Author;
The edition is large, and no man should be without a copy.

May we have the unspeakable good fortune
To win a true heart, and the merit to keep it.

May Dame Fortune ever smile on you.
But never her daughter -- Miss Fortune.