On a November night in 1994, the Alex Film Society was about to screen “Gone With the Wind” when the sound system failed. The screen had only been propped up two days before, and there had been no time to test the sound before the society's first event.
“I had to go out and say, ‘We have a problem,'” recalled society founder Brian Ellis, and everyone went home early.
Theater management had already predicted that the new group wouldn't attract much of a crowd, so Ellis and society member Randy Carter personally rounded up soda and candy from a local store. But when Friday and Saturday came around, they sold 1,200 tickets.
That was the beginning of the Alex Film Society — a group of film enthusiasts who came together in 1994 to plead with the Glendale City Council for the ability to show classic 35-millimeter films at the historic Alex Theatre, where the post-renovation focus was on performing arts, not movies. The society wanted to promote the Alex by presenting classic films “as they were meant to be seen,” Ellis said.