Movie Picture

The last two weeks of March 2005 mark the 50th anniversary of a key moment in rock 'n' roll history. It was in March of 1955 that the film "Blackboard Jungle" received its world premiere - and unwittingly launched the entire rock 'n' roll revolution. The film's theme song "Rock Around The Clock" - performed by Bill Haley And The Comets - was an immediate sensation and within 3 months had become the first-ever rock 'n' roll #1 hit - eventually selling 45 million copies. (Interestingly - the song had failed on its original release the preceding year - and owed its breakthrough entirely to the film.)

The 50th anniversary of this landmark moment in popular culture is being celebrated with an impressive array of events, premieres, screenings and exhibits; the first-ever DVD release of "Blackboard Jungle" (May 10th) - and the triumphant return of the band that started it all - The Comets - featuring all five surviving members of the original band.

The official celebrations include events presented by some of America's most prestigious cultural organizations - including: The Museum Of Modern Art, The Museum Of Television & Radio, The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and The American Cinematheque.

For full information on all of the events, the website http://www.rockisfifty.com/ will have all the details starting this Thursday.

The ten official celebration events are listed below in chronological sequence:

OFFICIAL ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS AND PREMIERES

1. Sunday March 20th - 8pm - The Museum Of Modern Art in NYC

Special screening of "Blackboard Jungle"

On the exact 50th anniversary of the film's world premiere - New York. March 20, 1955.

Event hosted by musician/actor Steven Van Zandt. Screening followed by Q&A with Peter Ford (son & biographer of the film's star Glenn Ford) - who as a 9-year-old was the instigator of the inclusion of "Rock Around The Clock" on the movie soundtrack. And all five surviving members of the original Comets.

2. Monday March 21st - 8pm-10pm - Official Anniversary Party (Invitation-only VIP)

The Official "Rock Is Fifty!" Anniversary Party hosted in New York by Gibson Guitars and the "Rock Is Fifty!" Honorary Committee. (The guitar featured on the original recording of "Rock Around The Clock" was a Gibson.) Attendees will be A-list celebrities from the worlds of music, acting and comedy. Guests of honor are rock 'n' roll pioneers The Comets who will perform a short set - culminating in a grand finale all-star performance of "Rock Around The Clock."

3. Tuesday March 22nd - 6pm-8pm - Museum Of Television & Radio in NYC

World Premiere of new museum-only video program "Rock Is Fifty!"

"Rock Is Fifty!" is a specially-created collection of ultra-rare, live TV rock 'n' roll performances from "The Ed Sullivan Show" that originally aired in 1955-1960. The 75-minute program contains 30 songs - over half of which have not been seen anywhere since they aired on TV just once - 45-50 years ago.

The program was specially created for the anniversary by noted rock filmmaker Andrew Solt ("Imagine: John Lennon," "This Is Elvis," "The History of Rock 'n' Roll" etc) and producer/rock historian Martin Lewis (Amnesty's "Secret Policeman's Ball" series and the DVD Editions of "A Hard Day's Night" and "The Kids Are Alright" etc.)

The World Premiere is hosted by musician/actor Steven Van Zandt and is followed by a special seminar discussion about the history of rock 'n' roll with The Comets.

4. Wednesday March 23rd - 1.30pm - Museum Of Television & Radio in NYC

First day of month-long season of screenings of "Rock Is Fifty!"

The new museum-only video program "Rock Is Fifty!" will be screened daily (Tuesday-Sunday) at 1.30pm in the New York Museum for one month till Sunday April 24th

Full details of the video program are listed above - in the item Number 3.

In addition to the month-long screening schedule - visitors to the Museum will also be able to go to the Museum's Radio Listening Room and the Museum's Library and listen (on private headphones) to vintage radio shows from the early years of rock 'n' roll - including broadcasts by pioneering DJ Alan Freed.

5. Sunday March 27th - 5pm American Cinematheque at The Egyptian Theatre Special Hollywood screening of "Blackboard Jungle"

On the exact 50th anniversary of the film's general release. Event hosted by producer/rock historian Martin Lewis. Followed by Q&A with cast members Paul Mazursky & Jamie Farr; Assistant Director Joel Freeman; Peter Ford (son & biographer of the film's star Glenn Ford) - who as a 9-year-old was the instigator of the inclusion of "Rock Around The Clock" on the movie soundtrack.

And all five surviving members of the original Comets. The program includes a second film (after the Q&A) - Bill Haley & The Comets' 1956 movie "Rock Around The Clock"

6. Tuesday March 29th - 7:30pm - Museum Of Television & Radio in L.A.

California Premiere of new museum-only video program "Rock Is Fifty!"

The California Premiere is hosted by the program's producer Martin Lewis and is followed by a one-time seminar discussion about the history of rock 'n' roll with The Comets.

Full details of the video program are listed above - in item Number 3.

7. Tuesday March 29th - 11pm - The Viper Room in L.A.

Special Performance by The Comets

The Comets headline at the legendary Viper Room in Los Angeles. This is the band's sole public performance during the entire ten-day anniversary period. The Comets now trump the Rolling Stones to become the oldest band ever to perform at the club!

The show was initiated and is produced by Martin Lewis - who has previously instigated reunions by John Lennon's first band The Quarrymen, John Kerry's high-school rock band The Electras - and The Rutles.

8. Wednesday March 30th - 12 noon - Museum Of Television & Radio in L.A.

Opening Of Brand-New Exhibit Created By The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Official opening of a three-month-long exhibition celebrating 50 years of rock 'n' roll. "Rock Is Fifty!" is an exhibit of rare rock 'n' roll memorabilia - specially created for this anniversary by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. It includes photographs, record covers, sheet music, concert posters and other mementos from the early days of rock.

This exhibit will not be seen anywhere else in the world.

The exhibit will be open FREE-OF-CHARGE 12 noon-5pm daily (Wednesday-Sunday) till July 9th 2005 - the 50th anniversary of the date that Billboard officially certified "Rock Around The Clock" as the first-ever rock 'n' roll record to reach #1.

The Comets will attend the opening of the exhibit.

9. Wednesday March 30th - 12 noon - Museum Of Television & Radio in L.A.

Opening Of Brand-New Exhibit Created By Gibson Guitars

Gibson Guitars presents "Gibson Rocks!" a display of classic guitar models that helped launch rock 'n' roll. Included in the exhibition will be the Gibson guitar that was used on the original recording of "Rock Around The Clock" (courtesy of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.)

This exhibit will not be seen anywhere else in the world.

The exhibit will be open FREE-OF-CHARGE 12 noon-5pm daily (Wednesday-Sunday) till July 9th 2005 - the 50th anniversary of date that Billboard officially certified "Rock Around The Clock" as the first-ever rock 'n' roll record to reach #1.

The Comets will attend the opening of the exhibit.

10. Wednesday March 30th - 12.30pm - Museum Of Television & Radio in L.A.

First day of month-long season of screenings of "Rock Is Fifty!"

The new museum-only video program "Rock Is Fifty!" will air daily (Wednesday-Sunday) at 12.30pm in the Museum for one month till Sunday April 24th

Full details of the video program are listed above - in item Number 3.

In addition to the month-long screening schedule - visitors to the Museum will also be able to go to the Museum's Radio Listening Room and the Museum's Library and listen (on private headphones) to vintage radio shows from the early years of rock 'n' roll - including broadcasts by pioneering DJ Alan Freed.