`Great Train Robbery’ showing to benefit arts center

Gayle Mortell

Please join the Center for the Arts for a movie party to benefit the Glenwood Arts Center’s Building Restoration Project, “HEART.”Western star Tom Mix’s movie, the “Great K & A Train Robbery,” will be shown as part of the celebration of Historic Preservation Month at 8 p.m. Friday, May 23, at the Eagles’ Durrand Opera House, 312 7th St.Parts of this film were actually shot at Glenwood’s Opera House on 7th Street and in Glenwood Canyon. While filming in Glenwood, Tom Mix caused quite a stir in town. He organized boxing matches, rodeos, mock gun fights, and I heard he even put together a flying airplane show. He definitely added a little color to an otherwise quiet town.According to an Internet site devoted to Mix, he was the hero of the silent Western. Mix and his “wonder horse” Tony revolutionized both the style and content of the genre. He introduced a fast-paced and light-hearted version of the West, with a cowboy hero who offered youth and showmanship. The films emphasized his riding and stunt abilities and featured the spectacular natural backdrops of many of America’s national parks.Though he invented a nearly mythic past for himself that supposedly included service with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and military action in the Boxer Rebellion Mix, he was actually born and raised in Pennsylvania and moved west to Oklahoma during the early 1900s. Mix began working in film in 1911, as an advisor and stunt double in a Selig studio documentary about the Wild West. Quickly he moved into larger roles. In 1917, he contracted with the Fox studio, for whom he made over 70 films. Though he occasionally appeared in non-Western features, his signature films were all Westerns, including “Chip of the Flying U” (1914), “Sky High” (1922), “Riders of the Purple Sage “(1925), and “The Rainbow Trail” (1931). When the talkies came to Hollywood, an aging Mix left town and joined a traveling circus. Though he did return to Hollywood to make a few films in the 1930s, his heyday had passed.Wearing his signature 10-gallon hats (black or white), silk shirts, and round-top boots, Mix and his films appealed to a young audience. An expert horseman and crack shot, Mix performed almost all his often-perilous stunts himself. His fancy ropework and riding stunts always saved the day, with the help of his trusty horse, Tony.Jim Nelson, noted Glenwood Springs historian, will introduce the western horse opera and add a few of his priceless tidbits of historical anecdotes as only he can do.In addition to the movie showing, special scrumptious desserts from Ingrid’s will be served. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy the movie while feasting on fabulous desserts.Admission is $12 for adults and $7.50 for children 5 to 18, at the door, with a cash bar. The evening is sponsored by the Historic Preservation Commission of Glenwood Springs and assisted by the Frontier Historic Society.Call 945-2414 for more information.Calendar of Events-Glenwood Springs Art Guild Show through June 1.-The Great Roaring Fork Liquor Wine Tasting Event, 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at the Hotel Colorado. -“Wheels” Art Exhibit and Art Car Show, June 5-29. Artists and opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday, June 20. Art cars will drive in the Strawberry Days Parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 21.-“Phoenix Rising – Remembering the Coal Seam Fire,” July 4-27. Artists reception and coffeehouse at 7 p.m. Friday, July 18.-“Mask,” Aug. 1-31. Opening and artist reception at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8. Call the Center for applications, tickets or information, 945-2414. The Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts is located at 601 E. 6th St. between the Yampah Vapor Caves and Hot Springs Pool. We’re open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Stop by, call, or e-mail us at for information on these and other events, classes and shows.

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