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Youth movie matinee series to be held at Historical Preservation Society

Posted on July 2, 2019

By Caitlan Butler
Staff Writer

The South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society will host a youth summer movie series starting next Monday with a double feature.

Throughout the summer, the Preservation Society will screen a different family-friendly film on Mondays. Beth Jones, education coordinator for the Preservation Society, said popcorn will also be provided.

The series was originally planned to begin this week; however, Preservation Society staff realized that their initial plan to hold the screenings on Tuesdays interfered with free screenings at Stars Cinema, so they decided to reschedule.

Next Monday, the Preservation Society will hold their first youth screening of the series with a double feature. “My Dog Shep” and its sequel “Shep Comes Home” will be shown.

Next week’s films are notable as they star Flame “the Wonder Dog.” Flame was known for his starring roles in many old Hollywood films, including the “Shep” films, the eight-part “Rusty” film series and the “My Pal” series of shorts.

Films shown as part of the youth series will be from the Preservation Society’s Michael Fitzgerald collection. El Dorado native Fitzgerald built a prolific collection of Old Hollywood memorabilia, including over 600 original 16- and 8-millimeter films and television specials, which has since been donated to the Preservation Society.

“Some of them aren’t even in circulation any more,” Jones said.

The Preservation Society is currently working to restore and digitize as many films from the Fitzgerald collection as possible. Preservation Society researcher Darrin Riley said it is important to preserve these films, as many are not available anywhere else.

“You can’t get a DVD, you can’t watch it on television; they’re not out there,” Riley said in a previous interview. “Our push is that a new generation, or this next generation, can see these films and television shows.”

Jones said she thinks it could be a good opportunity for children to see how movies have changed since they were first produced.

“I think that it’s a great opportunity … because I know the students would never have seen them. They’re not even on the old movie channels,” Jones said. “Because of they’ve never seen them, they don’t know how cool they are, and they can kind of also see how movies have changed.”

Besides the youth film series, the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society is currently hosting a traveling exhibit about the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final civil rights campaign for economic justice and human rights for low-income Americans.

Film screenings for the youth film series will be held each Monday of the summer from 10 a.m. to noon at the Gallery of History until August 5.

To learn more about the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, visit The Gallery of History is located at 412 E. Faulkner St.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or