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Chip Minemyer | Old movies are the new tradition in Johnstown

Humphrey Bogart, Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh are back in style in Johnstown, along with some more recent stars of the big screen.

Kamal Gella thought people would respond to his idea of showing classic movies, but he was blown away when 235 people showed up Aug. 2 to see the 1942 film “Casablanca” at Westwood Plaza Theater.

The turnout prompted Westwood to open a second theater for the overflow.

“That was a great response, and it shows that local people are interested in the classic movies,” Gella said. “Most of them were older, although we had some younger people, too. 

“But many people who came had seen the movie in the theater years ago and had a great experience, and were able to reconnect with that experience.”

Gella, who helped organize the classic movie night, said the beloved 1939 film “Gone with the Wind” will be shown on Sept. 13.

He and his team have some ideas for future screenings – perhaps the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Psycho” for Halloween and the Jimmy Stewart favorite “It’s A Wonderful Life” around the holidays. They would like to pick a great love story for Valentine’s Day.

But he asked folks who attended “Casablanca” what they might suggest be shown. 

And if you email me your ideas, I’ll pass them along to Gella and the Westwood folks.

“We did poll people,” Gella said. “We talked to them and asked them: ‘What do you want to see?’

“I’m very excited that we had such a response the first time.”

The response from movie fans to another new concept has been strong, too.

Discover Downtown Johnstown Partnership invested in an inflatable screen this year and has been showing movies in Central Park.

“Wild Hogs” and “Field Of Dreams” were screened for Thunder in the

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