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Fans of the “galaxy far, far away” will have an opportunity to enjoy a bit of the Star Wars universe right here in Lebanon County on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, through a variety of activities at The Allen Theatre (36 East Main Street, Annville) – and raise funds for the Four Diamonds at the same time.
Read More: May the 4th Be With You: Lebanon Valley is closer to the Star Wars Universe than you may have realized
The weekend kicks off with Catherine Hickland’s Comedy Hypnosis show Friday at 7 p.m.
Hickland, an actress known for her roles in Knight Rider and ABC’s One Life to Live, is also a trained hypnotist and author. Hickland is married to Todd Fisher, a director, cinematographer, and producer of TV films and documentaries. He is also the brother of the late Carrie Fisher, known to Star Wars fans for her role as Princess Leia. Todd and Carrie are the children of actress and entertainer Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, both of whom are deceased.
Saturday’s focus is “Star Wars: Celebrating The Princess.” A screening of Star Wars, the 1977 movie that launched the fabled franchise and is officially known today as “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” will be held at 10 a.m.
“It’s more about nostalgia than anything else,” said Ryan Clements, organizer of the event and an English and journalism teacher at Annville-Cleona Secondary School. “If you’re a Star Wars fan you remember where you saw it and the hype surrounding it.”
A post-screening Q&A session with Todd Fisher will be held on the big screen via Zoom, and there will be a silent auction of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds memorabilia. Clements said Todd Fisher will share personal stories and display some of his sister’s wardrobe pieces from the Star Wars movie series, including Princess Leia’s white robe and Carrie Fisher’s acting chair. Todd Fisher said it’s important to continue his mother and sister’s legacy of supporting charities.
“My mother and sister did a lot while they were on this earth—whether it be movies or writing or live shows—that touched a lot of people. When possible I like to try to bring back events and do things to help people remember,” he said.
“They (Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) did a lot of inspiring things while they were here; things they would like to see continued. Some of the things they did were entertainment things, but also they both did a lot of charitable things.”
“In Carrie’s case, she helped a lot of people that had mental illness issues by inspiring them to know that they could carry on and could accomplish great things even in the face of adversity such as mental illness,” Fisher explained.
“My mother worked with literally dozens of charities over the years from the USO and military tours in Korea all the way to the Thalians and City of Hope – great charities for many, many causes. She felt it was her responsibility while on earth to give back to her people. Her people were her fans and people she had touched. She made a point to work to give back to those people even the ones she didn’t know. I think that’s great for all of us—to find an area in which we can help others while we are on this earth. That’s the message—we can all do our little part to help make the planet a better place and not give into the darkness that surrounds us on a daily basis.”
Clements said that this is the second year Todd Fisher has been involved in the fundraiser. Last year, the discussion with Todd Fisher centered on both his mom and his sister, while this year will focus more on his sister. (Carrie Fisher died suddenly of a cardiac arrest on Dec. 27, 2016; Todd and Carrie’s mom, actress Debbie Reynolds, died one day later, Dec. 27, 2016.)
Clements manages a Facebook group The Debbie Reynolds Studio Store, and is also one of the advisors of the Annville-Cleona Secondary School’s Mini-THON, which benefits Four Diamonds, an organization that supports pediatric cancer research and assists children and families with care at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital. He said the weekend fundraiser is one of several fundraisers leading up to the school’s 25th annual Mini-THON, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 22.
“Having the Mini-THON event is very special for us to host,” said Susan Felty, who owns the Allen Theatre with her husband Edward. “Having been an advisor for the Annville-Cleona Middle School Mini-Thon previously has made it near and dear to my heart, but it has also allowed us to share the cause w/ the whole community.”
“Anything we can do to help our community means a lot to us.”
Felty said the theatre is excited to screen Star Wars. “We have a classic theatre for a classic movie – it’s a perfect match,” she said. “We do hope to draw out all the big Star Wars fans from all over, hopefully Harrisburg and Lancaster, especially with the Q&A with Todd and the auction following the showing. It’ll give the fans the opportunity to feel close to Carrie. It’s very exciting.”
For more information about the Four Diamonds fundraisers at the Allen Theatre or to purchase tickets, visit the Allen Theatre’s website.
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