Sam's Picks for the best of the weekend

Some suggestions for this weekend and next couple of weeks around Carson City and elsewhere. Check entries in the daily Nevada Appeal for more details, but this should be enough for planning this weekend and the next couple. Also, see for updates o video games, movie news, musical events. Any errors please let me know at

Sam Bauman, entertainment editor

Local area seniors have a free holiday gift to enjoy some classical Christmas movies, thanks to the Carson Plaza and Galaxy Theatre, part of the Fandango Casino complex. The films go back as far as 1945 and are regularly shown during the holidays. This time it's a bonus for the senior citizens with showtimes at 10 a.m, on Mondays.

First off is "The Bells of Saint Mary's," starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. "The Bells of St. Mary's" tells the story of a priest and a nun at a school who set out, despite their good-natured rivalry, to save the school from being shut down. It also stars Henry Travers, William Gargan, Ruth Donnelly, Joan Carroll, Martha Sleeper, Rhys Williams, Richard Tyler and Una O'Connor.

"Miracle on 34th Street" comes Dec. 10. It was written by Valentine Davies, directed by George Seaton, and starred Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Edmund Gween. The film won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Edmund Gwenn), Best Writing, Original Story (Valentine Davies) and Best Writing, Screenplay. It was also nominated for Best Picture, losing to "Gentleman's Agreement." This is all about the Macy's Christmas parade and Natalie Wood appears as the child asking questions of Santa, Gween.

Next up is everyone's classic holiday film, "White Christmas," released in 1954 on Dec. 17. Starring Bing Crosby again and Danny Kaye it features the songs of Irving Berlin, including the titular "White Christmas." Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen co-starred. It was directed by Michael Curtiz.

The movie was supposed to reunite Crosby and Fred Astaire for their third Irving Berlin extravaganza of song and dance " the first two being "Holiday Inn" (1942) and "Blue Skies" (1946). However, Astaire bowed out after reading the script. Donald O'Connor was selected to replace Astaire, but he, too, had to pass because of an illness. O'Connor was replaced by Danny Kaye. The choreography was done by Bob Fosse, although he was uncredited. Vera-Ellen's singing was dubbed by Trudy Stevens, except in the song "Sisters," where Rosemary Clooney sang both parts.

Then comes "Scrooge," Dec. 24, starring Albert Finney and Edith Evans. Some seniors may recall Lionel Barrymore's version of this story, based on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." This is a great Christmas feelgood movie. Finney (in age make-up) hams it up with a sense of humor as Scrooge " and with a cast including Edith Evans, Kenneth More and Alec Guiness (as Marley's Ghost), you can't go too far wrong.

Last in the lineup is the classic among classics " "It's Wonderful Life," starring that great mumbler Jimmy Stewart with Donna Reed. It was produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story, "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern. It shows Dec. 31, a fitting time for this one.

The film takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls shortly after World War II and stars Stewart as George Bailey, a man whose attempted suicide on Christmas Eve gains the attention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers) who is sent to help him in his hour of need. The film is told through flashbacks spanning George's entire life and narrated by Franklin and Joseph, unseen angels who are preparing Clarence for his mission to save George. Through these flashbacks we see all the people whose lives have been touched by George and the difference he has made to the community in which he lives.

The movie lost money when it was first released in 1946, but since then it has more than made up in warmth and cheer with millions of viewers.

PBS last segment of a six-part series about a woman newly elected prime minister in a sort of fluke election. It's really worth your time if you like reasonably literate TV fare. It plays Sunday night on Channel 5 (or 29 for off-the-air antenna reception). Roz is the PM and she's already faced her latest crisis, including a husband who laundered some money years ago. Now she has to face the music and possibly have to resign. You can bet it will work out OK.

Brewery Arts Center presents "Patsy Cline, Christmas and More" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. $25 preferred seating; $22 balcony; $3 discount for BAC members, seniors and students. Visit or call 883-1976.

Country music star Tracy Lawrence will appear at the MontBleu Casino in Stateline Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 plus tax at 588-3515. Lawrence won the top new male vocalist award in 1993 and has had 17 No. 1 hits and most recently released "Find Out Who Your Friends Are," which was No. 1 on the play lists.

Meet a theater troupe whose Christmas spirit sparkles more than their acting talent as they struggle to put on the annual holiday show. "The Nick of Time Christmas Show" appears Dec. 7 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 2 p.m. at the Brewery Arts Center Donald W. Reynolds Theatre. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for children, students (with a Student Body Card) and seniors. See Directed by Karen Chandler, this comedy of errors begins with the preparation of a Christmas Eve production at the Community Center, where nothing is working right. A joyous ending is assured in this show as the closing scene involves the audience in a Christmas carol sing-along.

The Silver Strings quartet will play free holiday music Friday Nov. 30 from 11:30 to 1 p.m., at Comma Coffee, 312 S. Carson St. Enjoy familiar carols and seasonal favorites with a lunch chosen from the array of imaginative sandwiches, salads, soups, and beverages on the Comma Coffee menu. Admission is free.

Silver Stings players Sue Kitts and Elinor Bugli, violins, Marie Groves, viola, and Lou Groffman, cello, are members of the Carson City Symphony. They perform a wide variety of musical styles, from classics to pops, for receptions, special events, and in concert. Call 883-4154, or visit .

Pioneer Family Dance will be holding its Saturday Dec. 1 event at the Carson Mall From 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Guests pay what they like to benefit the Carson City Homeless Day Shelter. There will be a live band and called in Dickens' era costume. Call 830-7939.

The Capital City Community Band and the Western Nevada College Choir will join talents in a free concert Sunday Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. in the Boldrick Theater in the Carson Community Center. The concert will feature holiday music guaranteed to put the audience in the spirit of the season.

The choir, under the direction of William J. Zabelsky, will perform music of the season and join the band for a medley of seasonal favorites. The choir will also lead an audience sing-a-long.

The band, under the direction of Richard Doede, will perform a variety of music from Latin to Sousa, as well as holiday songs.

Bring the family for this free concert. Call Richard Doede at 883-2219.


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