Some films have
been revived, even resurrected decades later from the tomb of
a film vault and brought back for a stint on TV or made
available in a new format, such as Laser disc or DVD.
Many films have been restored, and even re-released, such as
Disney is known to do for their classics. But Somewhere
In Time is the only film on record to have been
`re-premiered', able to boast its three major stars present
for the occasion, along with a throng of fans! Having
been denied a proper Premiere on September 17th, 1980 on
Mackinac Island, because of a rare Actors' Strike which lasted
3 weeks, Somewhere in Time received its due twenty years
later, largely because of its fans' ardent fervor!
I was there in 1980
on the island, for what was supposed to be a true and splendid
Premiere, and the film was debuted to the enthusiasm of the
island residents and the press, but alas, no stars! It
was considered "work" for actors to make personal
appearances to promote a movie, going on talk shows such as
The Tonight Show and presenting clips. So none of that
ever happened. And surely, it hurt the film--no denying
that. That is why, such a miraculous night as occurred
on October 24th, 2000 adds such a noteworthy punctuation to a
legacy about which writer Richard Matheson has recently
exclaimed, "You can't kill this film with a stick!"
evening had all the trappings of a proper Premiere . . . a
prestigious theatre, the very new AMC Empire 25 Theatre on
42nd Street. It had Red Carpet Arrivals, with
stars stepping out of their limousines, to a crowd of
delighted fans on the sidewalk. It had the press corps
toting big cameras to catch it all on tape, for nationwide
broadcast. It had executives from Universal Studios Home
Video to guide the affair. And it had its major stars,
Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Teresa Wright and producer
Stephen Simon to be honored by everyone present!
allowed for fans to be present, something truly rare for a
premiere, which is usually reserved for press and film
echelon. INSITE members were invited to attend, and
encouraged to dress in period attire, and 132 of them made
plans for this glittering evening. Notice was short,
based on little more than 3 weeks, as soon as it was told to
me by Jane Seymour that both she and Chris were committed to
coming, so Universal Home Video went frantically to work to
plan the event, choosing a day that they hoped would be
perfect timing--not interfering with the already sold-out Somewhere
In Time Weekend at Grand Hotel, but close to the
October 31 release date of the new SIT DVD/special edition
video, and not too close to Halloween so as to have too much
press competition. However, the week before the
Premiere, wouldn't you know, it was determined by fate that
the World Series would be NY vs. NY, the first time that
happened since 1956, game 3 would be that evening, and the Charlie's
Angels Premiere would be set for the same night in the
same city . . . so we had more competition for press than
anyone could have anticipated! Thus, the press was not
nearly what we had hoped for. Universal was prepared by
providing their own camera crew for the entire evening,
providing B-roll coverage for all press that didn't attend.
Fox News did terrific coverage, cutting the material in their
truck and putting it up on the satellite for news programs
nationwide, while the event was still going on!--and also
taping a nice in-studio interview with Jane Seymour, with
added footage of the premiere for their Celebrity Profile
program the following weekend.
Many fans are fond of
finding the 'circles within circles' that are carefully woven
into the story of Richard and Elise by consummate writer
Matheson, as well as the 'after stories' of the film's
interesting life, and many will appreciate these amazing facts
to add to the circularity. The AMC Empire 25 Theatre was
built in 2000 on the site of the original Empire Theatre built
in 1912. Portions of its architectural features were
salvaged and placed within the street level lobby of the new
12 story theatre complex. Maude Adams, the real stage
actress on which the character of Elise McKenna is based,
played opposite John Barrymore in the former Empire Theatre.
And, what's more, Christopher Plummer, won the Tony Award for
portraying Barrymore in the one-man Broadway production of
"Barrymore". Add to this, Jane Ayer, the woman
whose PR firm Universal hired to promote this unique Premiere,
has the distinction of being the granddaughter of the man who
wrote, "Oh, You Beautiful Doll", a classic song
which plays prominently in Somewhere In Time.
Jane Ayer, herself a fan, was delighted to play a role in the
film's revival, especially in view of her very personal link
to the movie!
While all the guests
took their seats in Theatre #9 on the fourth level, the
Reception area was being roped off and set up by Hilton Hotel
Catering. Several other celebrities had been invited,
but were unable to attend. Christopher Plummer was out
of the country and John Barry, who lives not far away, early
on expressed interest in coming, but cancelled, unfortunately,
due to work commitments. Dana Reeve was at home with Will, as
they had just let their nanny go.
Ken Graffeo, VP of
Universal Studios Home Video opened the evening by telling the
audience, "It's a really exciting night, and I'd like to
applaud all of you because not only do we have a stellar group
here, but to watch all of you procession in, and the costumes,
it's fantastic, and a real honor to be here."
Stephen Simon took the microphone and gave a warm speech,
"Twenty-five years ago, I walked into a book store, found
this book called "Bid Time Return", fell in love
with it. Begged my way into the movie business, got a
job, first day on the job I called the agent for Richard
Matheson. We met and started a lifelong collaboration and
friendship...we began this journey. Two years later we
enlisted Jeannot Szwarc, our wonderful director and the
journey began for the three of us. Unfortunately,
Richard and Jeannot can't be here tonight. I spoke
to them this morning and I'll be talking to them later
tonight. They asked me to vote their proxy and on behalf
of all of us, do a couple of thank yous. First of all,
Thank you so much to Universal Studios Home Video, to Ken, to
Craig and most particularly, Maria, who put so much effort
into doing this. Thank you for recognizing our film.
It's one thing to say, `I think I can, I think I can, I think
I can', and it's another thing for you guys to recognize it.
Thank you fans of this movie, who have bought the videos,
rented the videos, are gonna buy the new video, gonna buy the
new DVD, who have demanded your cable company show the
film--you are the ones that really established this.
Thank you Jo Addie for all the amazing efforts that you're
doing, and one particular thank you . . . there's one fan who
began this, many, many years ago, who said `I'm gonna get this
film recognized', and more than anything, tonight is a
testimony to his love and his devotion, Bill Shepard, stand
up! Somewhere In Time's number one fan!"
Amid a long and
moving ovation, Christopher Reeve arrived, bringing himself
into the theatre by the use of his sip-and-puff control system
on his high-tech chair, and after he positioned himself before
the audience, in front of the screen, Maria LaMagra (Universal
Studios Home Video Executive) introduced the other celebrity
guests for the evening, to stand beside Chris: Jane
Seymour, Teresa Wright, Stephen Simon and myself, Jo Addie.
Then USHV VP Ken Graffeo presented Chris with a giant donation
check in the amount of $25,000 for the Christopher Reeve
Paralysis Foundation. Chris delivered a brief speech,
saying "I want to thank Universal, first of all, for
making the movie in the late `70's when screen romance was
sort of out of fashion. This movie has lasted so long in
the hearts and minds of the people all around the world, and
much has been said about the making of the film and it was
truly a magical time. And when all of us look back on
the videotape inside our heads, the videotape of our lives, we
will always want to put the `pause' and the `play' button on Somewhere
In Time as one of our all-time most cherished
memories." Then Jane said, "Unlike any other
movie I have ever done, before or since, or probably will ever
do again, there was a magic to this movie, and that magic is
what everyone loves, and the magic was real and the magic is
on the screen. My children are telling me that their
friends at college have discovered this movie and the magic
goes on, and everybody loves it."
While exiting the
front of the screen, Jane asked husband James Keach, with
popcorn and soda in hand, if he was going to stay and watch
the movie, and James eagerly said, "Yes, I'm going to
watch the movie!", to which she lovingly replied,
"Well, let me know how it comes out". (James
had been snapping pictures of all the excitement for the
family album with his own camera). Teresa also
opted to stay and see the film on the big screen. During
the movie, Universal had prepared a VIP Suite for Chris and
Jane so they could be interviewed by a string of press
representatives lined up outside the closed doors. I was
invited to be present for all of these pre-arranged
interviews, as well as the half-hour-long online chat.
(We will present the transcript of this chat in the first
quarter issue of INSITE, 2001)
In one of his
interviews, Chris was asked how he feels about all the fuss
that is being made over a film he did 20 years ago, and he
said, "I'm very, very grateful because I think all of us
want our work to be noticed, no matter what we do, whether we
build bridges or paint houses, whatever, and it's just an
honor to have something actually last and make a difference in
people's lives--when you look back and sum it all up, when
you're 80 or 90 and can say, `that one was important to
people, made a difference'. It sort of may go out of
fashion in the movies from time to time, but it never goes out
of fashion in people's lives . . . and that's the search for
true love and for true romance. And really, in
entertainment, sports, even government, really it's the will
of the people that finally carries the day. And when
there's a grass roots movement in pursuit of whatever cause,
that will always win. And I think for there to be a
grass roots movement of support for this film that has lasted
for 20 years, it's just an incredible honor and a real
testament to the fact that people can make their feelings
known and make a difference. But we owe it entirely to
fans around the world. And I really never had that
experience before, to where a piece of work was really so, so
unkindly treated when it came out, and that was by the
critics, the pundits, the experts, but the REAL experts are
real people and they are the ones who say, `this is a movie
worth saving' and they did something about it and for that,
we're very grateful."
When asked what she
thought about the evening's festivities, Jane smiled
broadly and said: "As I recall, when it came out
there was no deal at all about the movie, that's what's so
exciting, that there is a big deal about it now. I think
what's exciting is that the AUDIENCE discovered it . . . you
know, so many times you make a movie and they advertise it and
really kind of push the public to see it or the critics say
whatever they say--this is a movie that the public discovered,
the people discovered, and it's passed on from generation to
generation. And I really see no reason why it won't go
on and on because the way it's been filmed, it is timeless.
"When I read the
script, I HAD to do it. There was no two ways about it.
You usually don't go in for a job saying 'by the way, I have
to do this.' You usually go in and you hope and pray
that somebody MIGHT consider letting you do it. And I
was absolutely outrageous as I recall, and think I went in
there, and just looked them straight in the eye, and said 'I
have to play this', because I did, I read it and I said, this
is going to be my movie. This is the movie I want to
make more than anything else."
An interviewer asked
Jane, "What was it like getting out of the limo tonight,
and seeing all these people dressed in period (attire), on
42nd Street, in the middle of New York?"
She answered, "I
think it was unbelievable, and especially on the night Charlie's
Angels was opening, I thought there was such a wonderful
contradiction here. It was fantastic--the costumes that
these people have made are more intricate than the originals
as I recall, and the love these people have for this movie is
never-ending. They meet all the time, they have these
wonderful newsletters and they're really terrific people.
And I think the thing that binds them all together is that the
love of the movie brought romance into their lives, that
through the movie they've met people, they've married people,
they've been inspired by the movie in some way, and I think
that's really special."
Jane confessed her
"tremendous pride in being known for such a beautiful
love story, the kind of quality entertainment I would like to
be remembered for".
I could probably
write an entire issue about this over two hour experience with
Chris and Jane, but space does not allow for it here. I
will attest that both Chris and Jane were truly thrilled to be
present and give the film the second chance we all know it
deserves. After all the press commitments were
satisfied, I got my private time with them, to chat and
present them with gifts, and I must say, they really
brightened up and were all smiles when their obligations were
over--not that they weren't before this, but they were very
focused, truly professional, and this was the time for them to
suddenly `let their hair down' and relax. It was
magical to have this treasured private time with them.
Jim taped each star giving a personal message to the fans who
would be at the SIT Weekend at week's end.
Just before we left
the VIP Suite, Universal execs wanted to get a good photo of
Chris and Jane with the giant check. They did so, and we
snapped the same shot. Then Jane saw the amount of the
check, as it was moved away and blurted out, "That was my
salary! There goes my paycheck!"
Then, even though it
was not expected of them, both desired to join in the
celebration of the Reception, already in full swing.
Chris stayed for longer than anyone expected, meeting many of
the fans. Jane entered the throng being followed by a
camera guy, and she turned to him and said, "I am going
to be with these people now", indicating in no uncertain
terms that he would not get any of her attention anymore!
And she remained almost `til the end of the evening, seemingly
wanting to meet EVERYONE present, signing autographs and
taking pictures with fans! I'd had to make it clear in
advance to those attending that they mustn't expect to be able
to meet the stars that night, just be content with being
present, but how marvelous it was that Chris and Jane made
themselves available to all on this momentous Somewhere in
Time occasion! Open bar, classy hors d'oeuvres being
circulated on trays by tuxedoed waiters, and a
Universal-requested display of SIT Gallery Collectibles also
were features of the Reception.
For several members,
this was their first SIT Event, since it was held on the east
coast, in their vicinity. For Debbie and Steven James of
Verona, NY it was particularly fortuitous. Because they had
joined INSITE just the week before, they were called on the
phone and personally invited to attend. Imagine their
thrill to be included, being so fresh to our club!
everyone was given a `goodie bag' which included three items
from the Somewhere In Time Gallery line, as well as an
advance copy of the brand new VHS SIT video.
Universal had also asked for more copies of INSITE first
quarter 2000 issue to be printed for use in promoting the film
for this event, and each bag included a copy as well.
approximately 200 fortunate people who can say they were
present for the New York Premiere of Somewhere In Time.
Universal Home Video declared the event a wonderful success.
Studio Executives expressed absolute amazement that people
would dress up in period attire and come to a theatre to see a
movie--any movie--and they saw firsthand how deeply we love
this exceptional one. Jane Ayer's office heard later
from some press corps members who attended the Charlie's
Angels premiere instead, that it was boring--and they
wished they had chosen differently. We can truly take
pride in our accomplishing the impossible--moving the studio
to do a full-out promotion of Somewhere In Time, for
its 20th Anniversary, as well as acknowledging us (INSITE) in
all of it. Universal certainly did not have to
acknowledge us at all--but rather, present it as if they knew
all along that this was a movie of note. This
extraordinary evening more than made up for what was missed 20
years ago. And it was all the more poignant, because it
happened in 2000.
'The SIT 20th
Anniversary Premiere held in NYC was spectacular! It was
more than I could have ever imagined. The feeling and
chemistry in the room was remarkable! When Chris came
into the theatre it was truly an emotional moment. And
Jane is the epitome of romance. Thank you Universal for
giving us fans a wonderful evening we can hold in our hearts
- Kathy Fallica
'Did you ever want to
do something but thought that it was impossible? That is how I
felt about going to the Premiere in New York. None of my
friends could go with me. I had never gone to the city by
myself, but decided that it was a chance of a lifetime to see
my favorite movie on the big screen. Imagine getting to meet
Chris Reeve and Jane Seymour, and all the other wonderful
people. It was an evening that I will always treasure and I do
believe that there was an Angel on my shoulder making sure
that every moment was enchanting, from seeing the fans in
period dress to meeting a great couple from Long Island who
made me feel like I had special friends to share the
enchanting evening with.'
- Nancy May
'Hi Jo Addie, I
wanted to thank you for putting me on the list to come to
tonight's gala event. It was simply fabulous. I grew up
watching the movie on cable, so I never saw it on the big
screen. I was so moved by how beautiful it looked on the
screen. Seeing Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve in the
flesh and receiving the wonderful gift bag with the 20th
Anniversary edition of the film just topped off the night.
Unfortunately, I did not have any period dress on. I still
felt part of the spirit of the night.
'This was simply a
wonderful evening for me. And the eleven-year-old girl who
fell in love with the film almost twenty years ago and the
thirty-one-year-old woman who still loves the film now, thanks
you from the bottom of her heart.'
Jo Addie and to all of the people who organized the New York
Premiere of Somewhere In Time. It was a wonderful
experience for me and I think for all who attended. The
Universal folks went out of their way to make the INSITE
members feel welcomed and appreciated. The refreshments
and the manner in which they were served were first class and
made us all feel like celebrities. I think all of us
would have been content with simply attending the showing,
listening to the celebrities express their thanks, and just
seeing them all in person. But the extent to which these
very gracious stars went to make themselves available and to
interact with everyone was clear evidence of the kind of
character and genuine generosity that these folks possess.
I can't help but think that it's probably not an easy task for
Mr. Reeve to be in that kind of environment for such a long
time, but he was his usual charming and giving self.
There surely is none like him. Jane Seymour moved about
the room and interacted with everyone with more charm and good
humor than we deserved, what a delightful lady she is.
I for one was very
proud to be part of the occasion and am thankful to Jo Addie
whose tenacity made it possible, and thanks also Jo for that
very generous "goodie bag" we all received.'
'It started with the
Limousine ride into Manhattan from West Hempstead, Long
Island. There we were, 8 of us gals, some dressed in
vintage attire, others in evening wear, sipping champagne as
we toasted the first of exciting events of this very special
night. I guess I played host amongst our little group,
since I basically made all the arrangements, from inviting
extra guests, renting costumes and limo, right down to a
buffet brunch at my home while waiting for the limo to arrive.
I also took pictures and video of us, documenting our
once-in-a-lifetime event. During the limo ride we all
talked about the movie, listened to the soundtrack while
watching the video on the small TV screen...tonight is the
Premiere of Somewhere in Time!!
We even had our
chauffeur interested and curious about SIT, in fact, he
couldn't believe that Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve would
both be at the Premiere. When we arrived in front of the
theatre, we felt so important as we each stepped out of the
limo. It seemed as though all eyes were on us for that
moment until we blended in with the crowd of other SIT fans
and INSITE members. It was so exciting chatting with
members I've been reading about over the past ten years and
actually putting faces to names, while waiting for the
"real" celebrities to arrive. (It felt like we
were all family.)
Hey, we even got
"tagged" with yellow bracelets by Universal Studios
after checking in on their list of names for entry, just like
you see in "IN STYLE" magazine at celebrity parties!
Then, excitement elevated when the red carpet was rolled out
from the theatre doors to the curb and a limo soon pulled up.
The crowds' eyes widened as all watched the car door open,
waiting to see the first celebrity to arrive, while many fans
prepared their cameras to capture the moment on film.
Among the crowd were several reporters and TV cameramen.
The first to arrive was Teresa Wright, looking so lovely.
She politely spoke with the crowd while signing autographs and
posing for pictures. But when Jane and her husband James
Keach arrived, the crowd grew more intense and anxious to meet
the Star! Jane was so gracious and thoughtful as she,
too, posed for pictures and signed autographs. She spoke
to the TV cameramen who were interviewing her, then she slowly
entered the Theatre walking up the red carpet. We all
scurried to the upper level in the building to Theatre #9 to
watch SIT on the large screen. It was the first time
since 1980 that I saw it again on the big screen. Before
the movie, introductions were made and our own Bill Shepard
stood up for acknowledgement. Of course, the highlight
was the arrival of Chris Reeve, as the audience gave him a
warm and loyal standing ovation.
After the movie we
all went to a reception area for a wonderful cocktail party,
getting to meet and talk, one on one, with all the stars,
Chris, Jane, Teresa, Stephen and other INSITE members
including Bill Shepard and Jo Addie. We enjoyed the
continuous flow of hors d'oeuvres and wine. I still
can't get over how congenial everyone was, especially Jane and
Chris, as so many of us asked to pose for pictures with them.
They were so very patient. Chris left after a while, but
Jane stayed almost to the very end of the party. And of
course there were SIT collectibles for sale and upon leaving,
we were all given a gift package which included the new video
of SIT, INSITE journal, keychain, magnet and postcard...what
an evening! It was sad to see it end.
Our limo was waiting
outside the Theatre at 11 pm for me and my group, and while
being driven home, (and back to reality) we reminisced about
the whole affair. Fox TV News Cable aired Jane's
interview and the Premiere that weekend and thanks to my niece
Darlene Flynn, who taped it for me, I was able to watch it.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all the SIT Stars for an
"awesome" evening...an evening I will never, never
forget and it was such a pleasure meeting our "INSITE
Family"....what a successful event . . .BRAVO TO ALL!'
- Eveline Marcello