Honor the Backlot theme by viewing classic films in the Skokie Public Library's Auditorium.
More than a century ago, moving pictures exploded as a new source of American entertainment. From 1907 to 1917, Chicago's Essanay Film Manufacturing Company functioned as one of the country's pre-Hollywood titans of cinema, with stars such as the legendary Charlie Chaplin, "Bronco Billy" Anderson and Gloria Swanson working for the studio.
Because the Village of Skokie (then Niles Center) – with its wood frame buildings – resembled an old prairie town, the studio frequently used Skokie's downtown streets for shooting western movies. The historic 'Niles Center,' now the Skokie Theatre, was built in 1916 and often showed pictures that had been shot just steps from their doors. More than 100 years later, on the same streets that once staged movie gunfights and bank robberies, Skokie's Backlot Bash pays homage to downtown Skokie's heritage as a silent movie backlot set, by featuring free classic films.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the world's first animated full length feature film.
Produced by Walt Disney, the American Film Institute ranked it among the 100 greatest American films, and also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008.
Disney's take on the fairy tale has had a significant cultural impact, resulting in popular theme park attractions, a video game, and a Broadway musical
Highly relevant today, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is an American political drama directed by Frank Capra, starring Jean Arthur and James Stewart. The film follows a newly appointed United States Senator who fights against a corrupt political system.
Controversial when it was first released, but successful at the box office, it made Stewart a major star.
Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1989, deeming it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."