A special night of classic film and music is being planned to celebrate Presqu’ile’s 100th anniversary.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Presqu’ile Provincial Park will celebrate the milestone with the silent movie “Tillie’s Punctured Romance,” featuring Cobourg’s own Hollywood star, Marie Dressler. Produced in 1914, “Tillie’s Punctured Romance” was the first full silent comedy film, co-starring the legendary Charlie Chaplin and Keystone Cops.
In the days of silent movies, live music, improvised by pianists, complemented the action on the screen. Concert pianist Richard Herriott will be at the keyboard for the screening, for this tribute to Presqu’ile’s 100th anniversary. Organizer Marianne Marusic said the film will be a “an hour of fun for all ages,” as the audience listens to “extraordinary music” accompanying the comedy.
“Richard Herriott’s genius at the keyboard has always astounded me. He has a great sense of humour, which will help set the mood for the movie,” said Marusic, in a prepared release.
Herriott, an internationally acclaimed musician, has a special attachment to the park.
„I am deeply looking forward to playing in Presqu’ile Provincial Park in featuring my skill of improvisation. Presqu’ile remains profoundly important to me as my family used to camp at the park frequently,” commented Herriott.
In September and October, Herriott will have Cobourg and Brighton concerts to premiere a suite that he composed, in honour of Presqu’ile and the surrounding area. That work is entitled “Postcards from Northumberland” and is of a more serious nature. But for the Aug. 27 event, it will all be antics and comedy.
As part of the Presqu’ile anniversary program, the audience will be invited to participate in creating the story of Presqu’ile, acting out highlights of the park’s history, all set to music by Herriott.
“Getting the audience, especially the youngest members, involved will bring the story to life,” said Marusic. “Although Richard is an extremely accomplished musician, I have the feeling a certain amount of silliness will ensue!”
At one time, the area that now comprises the park was slated to be the centre of regional government, but in 1804, the schooner “The Speedy” sank with the loss of several government officials. In 1840, the county seat was moved to the town of Amherst, now known as Cobourg.
Presqu’ile became a park in 1922 and was a popular tourist spot, with a hotel, dance pavilion and golf course. Although those features are no longer part of the park, Presqu’ile continues to attract visitors that enjoy the sandy beach, camping, hiking and wildlife.
“Tillie’s Punctured Romance” will be shown on Saturday Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. at the Presqu’ile amphitheatre and is free with admission to the park.
More information about Marie Dressler can be found by visiting Cobourg’s Marie Dressler Museum at www.mariedressler.ca.