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Silents at Hart

Posted: March 9, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: March 9, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Margi Bertram places Buster Keaton’s famous pork pie hat in a display case in the William S. Hart mansion

William S. Hart Museum officials have raised the curtain on a free silent-film-era exhibit featuring items that were used in the movies "The Artist" and "Hugo."

"It's an opportunity to see rare or never-before-seen historical objects related to the early days of cinema, which is certainly a key part of Santa Clarita's history," museum administrator Margi Bertram said.

The exhibit, which runs through June 1, features film artifacts and equipment from the 1800s, such as the Cinematographe, the first commercially successful camera and movie projector, as well as props used in the two recent Oscar-winning homages to the days of silent cinema.

"The exhibit has something for everyone," Bertram said. "It's got two elements to it: historical objects and historical props used in ‘The Artist.' Anyone who is interested in old or interesting stuff will find it appealing," she said.

The exhibit will also feature props used in film director Martin Scorsese's "Hugo."

"The main character in ‘Hugo' was based on early filmmaker Georges Melies," Bertram said. "We've got a four-page letter from Georges Melies at the museum where he complains of being ignored as a filmmaker."

Bertram considered the exhibit another chance to increase public awareness about Hart Park and Hart Museum, she said.
"We're looking at ways to expand and broadened our message, and let the public know that the park's history still has relevance today," she said.

Along with the Melies letter, a shirt and shirt cuffs belonging to the museum's namesake, silent film star William S. Hart, will be on display. Visitors will also see a pork pie hat worn by Buster Keaton and numerous other props and equipment.
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