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Author: Travis Hayward

On Saturday, July 29, 2017, some of the most dedicated Angelenos this side of Beverly Blvd gathered at the New Beverly Cinema to celebrate the 70th Birthday of renowned action star and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With some lining up as early as 9 a.m., fans endured the blistering heat for hours to enter a sold-out 12-hour marathon of six secret films that helped define the actor’s career. As time drew nearer for the event that would “pump us up,” yellow tickets were handed out to about the first 50 attendees in line. Though all the audience members redeem those tickets for a rare pack of Terminator 2 trading cards, special ticket numbers received Blu-rays of some of Schwarzenegger’s most popular pictures, including The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, and Jingle All the Way.

As the doors opened, eager fans took their seats to await the magic about to unfold. The event’s programmer, Phil Blankenship, stepped forward to introduce what would be an unforgettable night. He wouldn’t say what any of the movies would be, only that we would discover them as the main titles appeared. After a few Arnold-centric trailers, the 20th Century Fox logo lit the big screen, causing whispers of speculation throughout the crowd. When the first frame of a black starlit sky emerged, the audience nearly leaped to their feet with excitement, having figured it out before the title card even displayed. The first 35mm glory of the night was Predator.

The Sci/Fi horror epic tells the story of a small group of soldiers sent on a secret mission in the jungle, only to find that they are being hunted by a creature far worse than the enemy. The film played tremendously well, generating various applause and “whoops” from the movie-goers during its most iconic scenes.

Next up was the classic action comedy Kindergarten Cop. In the film, Schwarzenegger plays a police officer forced undercover as a substitute kindergarten teacher to take down a crazed drug lord.

After the cheesy flick ended, midnight had passed, meaning Arnold’s birthday was now upon us. Lighting the candles atop a massive birthday cake, the employees led the audience in singing “Happy Birthday” to Arnold before inviting us all outside for a slice (of which there were several).

The next two features shown, Raw Deal and Red Sonja, were action-packed and delightful campy humor. Of course, the small bits that I caught were. I can’t properly comment on them as I dozed off during each. Hey, it was already the wee hours of the next day! The Arnold extravaganza ended with two of his most famous films, The Terminator and Commando. Trust me when I say I stayed awake for these.

With the morning sun ablaze in the sky, everyone exited the theater, but not before being presented with a small pin commemorating the night, our reward for having made it till dawn. Though Blankenship informed us in the evening that they attempted to contact the Governator with the hopes he would appear in person to speak on his career, he did wish all in attendance fun and thanks. With the success of this event, I can’t help but wonder when the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger will “be back” at the Bev.

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