Street Food Cinema Welcomes a Friendly Alien

By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter

There are some films that transport us back to our adventure-filled childhood so vividly that they warrant repeated viewings.

Such is true with “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” which is being screened, in its original 1982 form, at Will Rogers State Historic Park at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.

Director (and Palisadian) Steven Spielberg is responsible for jump-starting the career of Texas-born Henry Thomas, who was 9 years old when he auditioned for the project. As the story goes, he saw a PBS special on acting and decided to give it a go.

Elliot and the gang. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

His interpretation of Elliot remains one of the best performances by a child actor in American cinema, up there with Haley Joel Osment in “The Sixth Sense” and Macaulay Culkin in “The Good Son.” (And most recently, Brooklynn Prince in “The Florida Project”—an absolute must-see if you haven’t already.)

Thomas has endured a difficult relationship with “E.T.” After its phenomenal success, he struggled with sudden fame and being typecast at such a young age.

It’s worth noting that screenwriter Melissa Mathison was also typecast, as she was associated with the Atari “E.T.” video games that followed the film’s mass hysteria.
However, she did pen another big hit in 1995, “Indian in the Cupboard” directed by Frank Oz. Most recently, she reunited with Spielberg on “The BFG.”

But back to Thomas. In recent years he has spoken more positively about his role in “E.T.,” acknowledging how meaningful it continues to be for so many viewers. Though Thomas’ success since then has fluctuated, he’s a remarkable actor who moves between television and feature films at a steady pace.

And who could forget teeny-tiny, 7-year-old Drew Barrymore? “E.T.” put her on the map, and she’s been running full-speed ahead for decades.

The character of E.T. was voiced by Pat Welsh, whose raspy speech was attributed to her enjoyment of chain smoking. She also voiced Boushh in “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.” Welsh died of pneumonia in 1995.

Spielberg has made numerous great films in his filmmaking tenure. “E.T.” came during his string of ’70s and ’80s hits: “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

It won four statues at the 1983 Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture and Best Director. For many fans, Spielberg really is the “Best.”

This special evening will include tunes from DJ Splyce and plenty of gourmet food trucks. Doors open at 6 p.m., live music at 6:30.

Tickets can be purchased at streetfoodcinema.com. Nostalgia, ultra, here we come.