NEPA Scene Staff

F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre celebrates 80th anniversary with monthly classic movie screenings

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From a press release:

The building now known as the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre first opened its doors in 1938 as the Comerford Theatre, one of the area’s finest movie palaces. Today, the venue announced plans to celebrate the building’s 80th anniversary by paying tribute to its theatrical roots.

“Before the Kirby Was the Kirby” is a 12-part monthly Friday film series focused on honoring the venue’s past by re-screening some of the more iconic films that have already graced its silver screen.

The film series features “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which the Comerford Theatre screened on its opening night, along with “The Molly Maguires,” a film that had its world premiere at the venue in 1970 after it had become the Paramount Theatre.

Other titles include “Casablanca,” “Gone with the Wind,” and “The Godfather,” which was the last movie screened at the theater before the devastating floods of 1972.

The series will feature two showings of each film at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the matinee films are only $3, while all evening films are just $5.

“Before the Kirby Was the Kirby” is sponsored by Flashback Cinema. Each screening will be preceded by an on-screen introduction by Flashback Cinema host John Hersker, who will provide historical background for the films and their place in the theatre’s history.

“Before the Kirby Was the Kirby” film series:

“The Molly Maguires” (1970, PG), 124 minutes – Jan. 26

“Casablanca” (1942, PG), 102 minutes – Feb. 16

“The Ten Commandments” (1956, G), 220 minutes – March 9

“The Godfather” (1972, R), 175 minutes – April 20

“Sunset Boulevard” (1950, NR), 110 minutes – May 25

“True Grit” (1968, G), 128 minutes – June 22

“The Sound of Music” (1965, G), 174 minutes – July 20

“Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1938, NR), 106 minutes – Aug. 24

“Gone with the Wind” (1939, G), 238 minutes – Sept. 21

“Murder by Death” (1976, PG), 94 minutes – Oct. 26

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939, PG), 102 minutes – Nov. 30

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946, PG), 130 minutes – Dec. 21

For more information on the film series or any other Kirby event, or to learn how to become a Member of the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), visit or call 570-826-1100.

Flashback Cinema programs and markets classic movies in theatres across the United States. It is the creation of John Hersker, a fourth-generation theatre operator and former executive vice president of Paramount Pictures. Hersker is a native and current resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania.