Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Roaming

Nancy's favorite scene from her favorite movie
Our very own Holiday Inn -- the Warm Springs Lodge --  in Perry County, PA

We've had a tradition of watching the 1942 classic musical "Holiday Inn" for many years.  It (especially when Bing taps the bells on the Christmas tree with his pipe!) never fails to leave us smiling and feeling that way you want to during the holidays.  I think if my funny valentine of a spouse could take only three nonessential things to a desert isle, those would be this movie and our two wacky cats.  Well ... I hope that number could be extended to four, so that list would include me!

We possibly started a new tradition on Friday night by going to the annual Christmas dinner show at the Hershey Lodge.  We're on an e-mail list with the (marketing) powers that be in Chocolate Town and have been getting some irresistible offers over the past year.  Never having heard of this one, we tried it out, joining a packed house in (Hitchcockian face of horror here!) the Red Room.  Ever since the Red Room (redrum: murder spelled backwards) scenes in "Twin Peaks" we've been very wary of red rooms, white lodges, and slowly dancing little people.  And it was the evening of 12/21/2012, the supposed day of apocalypse.

But all was cheer and colored light inside as we took our seats at table #21.  The cast of nine powerful singers tore through original and standard numbers, dancing athletically and making impossibly quick costume changes.  They took a break for dinner to be served, and it was so well timed and stage managed I got the impression they'd been doing this for many years; the painted set pieces really looked vintage. I remarked that it was like "Glee" live, since we watch that while enjoying dinner, too.

A couple about our age next to us mentioned that they've been coming to this event since they moved to Hershey, and had also just enjoyed their annual Thanksgiving visit to the musical dinner show at Warm Springs Lodge in Landisburg, Perry County.  When they described where it is, we were surprised that we'd gone by it many times coming back from Spiral Path Farm and had never noticed it.  Hearing that it's open for special events and holidays only, our jaws must have visibly dropped -- just like Bing Crosby's Holiday Inn, and it's quite near by.  The next day I looked it up, and indeed it is only open for holiday dinner shows, weddings and artist retreats (there is a poet's cabin in the woods).  A long history going back to 1830 includes legendary parties, devastating fire, romantic dances, an outdoor bowling alley at one time and a deadly sword duel in the 1850s over a lady, which prompted the shocked state legislature to ban any more of that sort of thing.  The origin of all this was the nearby cluster of six warm springs which inspired a health resort lodging to be built; the bottled mineral water was sold world-wide.

The circle widens:  the movie was obviously filmed inside a studio (Paramount), but the area around the Village Inn in northern California's Sonoma County stood in for rural Connecticut outdoor scenes.  The hotel was renamed Holiday Inn for a while after the Oscar-winning film was released.  And in 1952, a new type of motor hotel on Summer Avenue in Memphis was named -- guess what.

I'm sure we're going to get an early reservation next Fall for the Thanksgiving show at Warm Springs Lodge, and if an amiable crooner performs "White Christmas" with pipe in hand, well, I know someone who will love it.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent slice of the Rice traditions. It is worth going to a hotel during the holidays due to they must be open and there are so few you get extra special service. I'll send you a tale.