Saturday, September 14, 2013

Movie Night at Columbus' Historic Mausoleum

Last night I found myself sitting in the darkness amid flickering shadows, in front of a half lit marble clad tomb, just down the street from the sprawling necropolis that is Greenlawn Cemetary. The occasion was the last in this year's summer outdoor movie series at Greenlawn Abbey, a beautiful if somewhat run down mausoleum that is home to such famous deceased persons as Thurston the Magician, the Sells brothers (of the Sells Brothers Circus), and the Swisher brothers (of Swisher Sweets cigars) built in 1927. A nonprofit group, the Greenlawn Abbey Preservation Association has taken up the challenge of repairing the building and its fantastic stained glass windows. They raise funds by hosting events at the Abbey, such as this film screening.
The film itself matched the cool, early autumn night and the jazz-age, macabre setting: Lon Chaney as The Phantom of the Opera from 1925. A silent movie, the soundtrack was provided live by an organist who sat at a vintage electric organ plugged into an extension cord. Before the main feature started, the organizers screened some old Alice cartoon shorts-- some of Walt Disney's earliest work.

 The Abbey itself was open for curious visitors to look around beyond iron gates that are rarely unbarred for the public. If you're interested in events at the Abbey (there are two more this year), check out their website at or their facebook page.