Sierra Madre, Ca (August 24, 2023) – What is now the Sierra Madre Playhouse opened as the Wistaria movie theater 99-years ago in February 1924.

As a complement to the presentation of the World Premiere live stage musical The Right Is Ours  (September 8- October 8) about women gaining the right to vote, Sierra Madre Playhouse will present The Camera Is Ours, a silent film festival featuring films before and after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920).


The films will be accompanied on the piano by the noted accompanist and film historian, Frederick Hodges. The films will be introduced by  a leading expert on women in early Hollywood: Lara Gabrielle, author of the biography of Marion Davies (Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies),  a much better actress than as portrayed in Citizen Kane.

***Here is the program (subject to change).

SATURDAY, August 26, 2023

Noon: Daredevil Women Before the Vote. Lara Gabrielle will introduce hair-raising comedies and The Perils of Pauline. 

Lara Gabrielle

The Perils of Pauline. Action/Adventure. Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and Donald MacKenzie. Written by Charles W. Goddard, Basil Dickey, George B. Seitz, Bertram Millhauser. Based on the novel by Charles W. Goddard. From General Film Company, (Black-and-white, 1914, USA, not rated) Starring Pearl White, Crane Wilbur, Paul Panzer, Edward José, Francis Carlyle, Milton Berle. Young Pauline is left a lot of money when her wealthy uncle dies. However, her uncle’s secretary has been named as her guardian until she marries, at which time she will officially take possession of her inheritance. Meanwhile, her “guardian” and his confederates constantly come up with schemes to get rid of Pauline so that he can get his hands on the money himself.

3pm The Art of Accompaniment.

Frederick Hodges

An illustrated talk by Frederick Hodges. Plus, Lara Gabrielle introduces the classic film It. 

It. Comedy/Romance. Directed by Clarence Badger. Written by Elinor Glyn, Hope Loring, Louis D. Leighton, George Marion Jr. Produced by Badger and Glyn. From Paramount Pictures. (Black-and-white, 1927, USA, 72 minutes, not rated) Starring Clara Bow, Antonio Moreno, William Austin, Priscilla Bonner, Jacqueline Gladsdon, Elinor Glyn. Shopgirl Betty Lou has designs on Cyrus Waltham, the handsome owner of the department store where she works. Waltham, though, doesn’t even know Betty Lou is around. In hopes of attracting Waltham’s attention, she accepts a date with his best friend, Monty, under the condition that they dine at the Ritz, where Waltham also has a dinner date that evening. Her plan works and in no time at all she and Waltham are contemplating marriage. The romance cools when a newspaper reporter (Gary Cooper, in an uncredited role) mistakenly writes a story depicting Betty Lou as an unwed mother.

8 p.m. Why Be Good? Introduced by Lara Gabrielle, plus shorts and a newsreel.

Why Be Good? Comedy/Drama. Directed by William A. Seiter. Written by Carey Wilson, Paul Perez. Produced by John McCormick. From Warner Bros. (Black-and-white, 1929, USA, 84 minutes, not rated) Starring Colleen Moore, Neil Hamilton, Bodil Rosing, John St. Polis, Edward Martindel, Eddie Clayton. A young shopgirl is dance-mad, even winning prize cups in competitions. Circulating with lots of people gives her a dubious reputation, but we see it’s unwarranted. The son of the owner of the department store she works in falls for her without realizing her status. At length, he puts her to a test to see just what kind of girl she is.

SUNDAY, August 27, 2023

2 p.m. Frederick Hodges in concert.

Plus, Sparrows, introduced by Lara Gabrielle, plus shorts and a newsreel.

 Sparrows. Drama. Directed by William Beaudine. Written by Winifred Dunn, C. Gardner Sullivan, George Marion Jr. From United Artists. (Black-and-white, 1926, USA, 109 minutes, not rated) Starring Mary Pickford, Roy Stewart, Mary Louise Miller, Gustav von Seyffertitz, Charlotte Mineau, Spec O’Donnell. Evil Mr.Grimes keeps a ragtag bunch of orphans on his farm deep in a swamp in the American South. He forces them to work in his garden and treats them like slaves. They are watched over by the eldest, Molly. A gang in league with Mr. Grimes kidnaps Doris, the beautiful little daughter of a rich man, and hides her out on Grimes’ farm, awaiting ransom. When the police close in and Mr. Grimes threatens to throw Doris into the bottomless mire, Molly must lead her little flock out through the alligator-infested swamp.

7p.m. Discussion: Women in Hollywood in the Silent Era.

Panelists: Lara Gabrielle,  Frederick Hodges. Moderator: Sierra Madre playhouse’s resident film expert, Rich Procter.

Plus, Show People, introduced by Lara Gabrielle. Plus, shorts and a newsreel.

Show People. Comedy/Romance. Directed by King Vidor. Written by Agnes Christine Johnston, Lawrence Stallings, Ralph Spence. From MGM. (Black-and-white, 1928, USA, 83 minutes, not rated). Starring Marion Davies, William Haines, Dell Henderson, Paul Ralli, Tenen Holtz, Henry Gribbon. Colonel Pepper brings his daughter Peggy from Georgia to Hollywood to be an actress. There she meets Billy who gets her work at Comet Studio doing comedies with him. But Peggy is discovered by High Art Studio and she leaves Billy and Comet to work there. For her new image, she is now Patricia Pepoire and ignores Billy when he sees her on location. When she is not longer wanted by the little people who do not understand “ART”, she plans to marry Andre to get a fake title. Billy will not let her go without a fight.


Covid-19 information: The wearing of face masks is recommended.

At Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. This is just east of Pasadena. Ample free parking is available in lots behind the Playhouse and across the street and on the street. Sierra Madre has many excellent restaurants, bars and stores.

Reservations: (626) 355-4318. Online ticketing:

Five events. Admission for one event is $25. SPECIAL DISCOUNT SAVINGS: Purchase an all-event weekend festival pass for just $75 (a savings of $50) or see three events for $60 (a savings of $15).

The Sierra Madre Playhouse, a non-profit organization, is a performing arts center. It has widened its range from plays and musicals to also include presentations of classical and popular music, films, storytelling, solo shows, and dance.