AshevilleHendersonvilleNews StoriesPete Zamplas

Classic film series at Epic has Dirty Dancing in coming days



The next three classic films in Flashback Cinema at Epic are “Rear Window,” “Dirty Dancing,” then “Young Frankenstein.”

By Pete Zamplas – People can see friends who danced as extras in the romantic hit “Dirty Dancing” on the large screen next week, as part of Flashback Cinema’s classic film series at Epic Theatres in Hendersonville.

Now, people can suggest “classic” films from 20 years or more ago to book via an online link. Flashback Cinema is John Hersker’s nationwide series. It is in merely six cinemas in the state; the sole one in WNC is Epic Theatres of Hendersonville near I-26. The series debuted there in September of 2015.

The next three classic films at Epic are “Rear Window” (March 8), “Dirty Dancing” (March 12, 15) then “Young Frankenstein” (March 19, 22). Each film is shown on a Sunday, then Wednesday. Times are 2 and 7 p.m. Regular prices apply.

Patrons say they like seeing on a big screen a film they have not seen in a cinema in decades — if ever at all. The large screen accents visuals of much action or spectacular cinematography. The local Epic’s largest screens are 47-by-21 feet, its General Manager Colleen Dickey noted. She reasons “a big-screen TV is not the same.”

Biggest-drawing films in the series so far include “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future,” “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Princess Bride,” “ET,” “Citizen Kane,” and a rare “R” film in “The Godfather.” Most are very family-friendly, and draw different generations, Dickeys said.

Lane Miller enjoyed seeing his “all-time favorite” — musical “Singing in the Rain” on March 1. He has worked at the local Epic since 2006, the year after it opened. Other managers are Sheila Israel, Taylor Houston and Patrick Liddy with Jacob Robinson in training. Epic worker Jacob Bradley, 21, liked classic slasher films “The Excorcist” and “Halloween” on the big screen.

Dickey enjoyed the recent run of five Christmas films in a row from various decades up to “The Polar Express” in 2004. Films from the Eighties spark her childhood memories. “It’s cool to see them again.”

The more tickets sold in advance for a classic film, the better chance it lands on a larger screen, she said adding “Dirty Dancing” pre-sale is progressing well.Many locals were “Dirty Dancing” dance scene extras, such as John and Pat Shepherd; Pat founded Pat’s School of Dance. Choreographer Kenny Ortega trained with legendary Gene Kelly. Ortega crafted provocative grinding and rocking “dirty” dance steps to early R&B music.


Here is the famed dance move of “Dirty Dancing.” Pat and John Shepherd, at left, watch as dance extras.

Many locals were “Dirty Dancing” dance scene extras, such as John and Pat Shepherd; Pat founded Pat’s School of Dance. Choreographer Kenny Ortega trained with legendary Gene Kelly. Ortega crafted provocative grinding and rocking “dirty” dance steps to early R&B music.

The PG-13 romantic drama came out 30 years ago this summer. Filming was mostly in October, 1986. Lake scenes were at Lake Lure, such as at the 40-degree lake so frigid that actors’ lips reportedly got so blue that close-ups were scrapped. Trick photography made a small gym-dance hall look much larger, post-movie tours revealed. A Virginia resort also depicted a Catskills affluent resort in New York, in 1963.

The chart-topping soundtrack had Patrick Swayze’s hit ballad “She’s Like the Wind,” and featured Oscar-winning soulful “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by country star Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley (47 at the time) of The Righteous Brothers.

The star couple was Swayze as perky working class womanizer Johnny Castle, the camp dance instructor, and Jennifer Grey as reserved, innocent teen Frances “Baby” House. She gains self-confidence, evidenced by the boast “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” Jerry Orbach plays her doctor father. This was the film debut of Wayne Knight, later Seinfeld nemesis Newman.

Unheralded Grey (26 then) surpassed Sharon Stone and Sarah Jessica Parker in auditions, while Swayze beat out Val Kilmer. Grey’s father Joel Grey, the noted “Cabaret” dancer soon to turn 85, had a bit role. Texas-born Patrick Swayze (1952-2009) died from pancreatic cancer at age 57. His brother Don, now 58, co-starred in the action movie “Trapper County” shot in Marshall in 1988.

The star couple’s famed dance moment was Swayze lifting Grey above him, as she stretches horizontally. Due to her fears, they shunned practicing it. Swayze did his stunts, and injured a knee from a log roll. Swayze has told the media that many film moments were improvised, such as his genuine annoyance with Grey’s giggling when tickled by his sliding fingers down her arm as they practiced dancing.

He said the coming-of-age drama’s main theme is self-discovery more than sensuality. Screenwriter Eleanor “Baby” Bergstein was a trophy-winning teen dancer, and an instructor. She did imitate “dirty” dancing at house parties.

The film remake is due to air March 24, 8-11 p.m., on ABC. It co-stars Abigail Breslin (who turns 21 on April 14) and Colt Prattes. It was filmed last year in this area, such as at High Hampton Inn in Cashiers and a nightclub scene in Saluda in May with Billy Dee Williams as band leader Tito Suarez. Debra Messing and Bruce Greenwood play Baby’s parents.

First at Epic is “Rear Window.” Mystery thriller filmmaker deluxe Alfred Hitchcock shot the 1954 classic in and from the apartment of Jimmy Stewart’s wheelchair-bound character Jeff. It shows what the snoop sees through the rear window of a high-rise apartment of salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) in Greenwich Village in NYC. Jeff stumbles upon clues to an apparent murder and cover-up, but frets as Thorwald spots him spying. Ironically, villain Burr two decades later acted as wheelchair-bound Det. Robert Ironside. Grace Kelly, who two years later became Princess Grace of Monaco, plays Stewart’s girlfriend.



Epic’s staff includes (L-R) Jacob Bradley, Yanexis Lara, manager Lane Miller, G.M. Colleen Dickey and manager-in-training Jacob Robinson. At right is a poster for new films “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Mel Brooks’ comedy “Young Frankenstein” in 1974 stars Gene Wilder as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, who replicates his famed grandfather’s experiments in the family castle. Maniacal Marty Feldman is eye-popping as sidekick Igor. Leading the way down the hall, the hunchback instructs “walk this way” and demonstrates a shuffling gait. The famed, comical double-entendre phrase reportedly inspired the Aerosmith hit rock song.

Peter Boyle portrays the monster, who tap dances. Madeline Kahn is the doc’s fiancee, Terri Garr the sexy lab assistant and Cloris Leachman is the maid. Tough man Gene Hackman, Wilder’s tennis partner, is a blind man. The gothic spoof is shot in eery black and white, to mimic the 1931 original. Brooks does a wolf howl.

The series concludes in March with “Muppeteer” Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy “Labyrinth.” April has “The Never Ending Story (’84), Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments (’56) with Charlton Heston as Moses, musical “Hello, Dolly!” (’69) starring Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau, then “An Affair to Remember” (’57) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

To suggest a film title, go to Scroll down to Request a Movie. Click on Schedule, to see upcoming films and a synopsis for each movie.

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