Blazing Saddles at Dreamland Drive-In Tonight

By Karen Martin

Updated: June 9, 2011, 6:24am

Friends of Dreamland Ballroom invite you to a screening of the 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles at sundown tonight (around 8:30 p.m.), the first of four drive-in movies in the parking lot behind Taborian Hall (Arkansas Flag and Banner building) at 800 W. Ninth St., Little Rock.

The Friends of Dreamland, dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of the Dreamland Ballroom and Taborian Hall, have selected this year’s movies to highlight the history of the building and Ninth Street. Arkansas Baptist College history professor Edmond Davis will give a brief overview of each movie prior to their start.

Blazing Saddles (rated R), deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress, satirizes racism. Count Basie, who performed several times at the Dreamland Ballroom, and his band have a cameo in the film.

The screenings are projected on the back of the historic Arkansas Flag and Banner building, also known as Taborian Hall, with the audio broadcast through your car radio.

Hot dogs, soft drinks, bottled water, ice cream and Diamond Bear Brewery beer will be on sale.

During its heyday, the ballroom at Taborian Hall played host to Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong and his orchestra, B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Arkansas natives Al Hibbler and Louis Jordan, Nat King Cole and his trio, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzie Gillespie.

Admission is free. Donations are accepted for both cars and walkups (bring lawn chairs). Proceeds from the movie series go toward restoration of the ballroom. For more information click here.

Here’s the rest of the screening schedule:

June 16: Goonies (PG-13) A band of children from the “Goon Docks” neighborhood of Astoria, Ore., hoping to save their homes from demolition, go in search of the buried treasure of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary 17th-century pirate.

June 23: The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Force that fought in World War II. Laurence Fishburne stars. Milton Crenchaw, an original Tuskegee Airman from Little Rock, will share his experiences before the movie.

June 30: The Blues Brothers (R) Jake (John Belushi) and his brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) take on “a mission from God” to save from foreclosure the Catholic orphanage in which they grew up. It features musical numbers by R&B and soul singers Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker, who performed at Dreamland.

For more information call (501) 255-5700.

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