Mike Getz


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Mike Getz is a curator, theater manager and one of the key architects of the midnight movie phenomenon. Getz was originally from Ohio but eventually moved to the west coast to work in his uncle Louis K. Sher's theater chain. In 1963 he met John Fles, a young, bohemian programmer who screened art films at local coffee houses. The men immediately bonded and began to work on a regular experimental film series to be hosted at the Cinema Theater on Western Avenue. Their series, Movies 'Round Midnight, debuted in 1963 and quickly became Los Angeles' most important source for avant-garde film. The inaugural Columbus Day screening featured DOG STAR MAN, FLAMING CREATURES and TWICE A MAN invited viewers to "Discover the New American Cinema." In 1964 a vice squad raided Cinema Theater's screening of SCORPIO RISING and confiscated the print. Getz was arraigned for 'exhibiting an obscene film' and found guilty. By 1965 Getz was overseeing all of the Cinema Theater's programming and in 1967 he renamed Movies 'Round Midnight as Underground Cinema 12. As programmer Getz shifted the series' emphasis to pulp, exploitation, comedy and cult films. He eventually developed a touring program and brought Underground Cinema 12 to the World Theatre in Columbus, the Valley Art Theatre in Tempe and the Towne Theatre in Sacramento. In the early 1970s he also began to program a series called the Midnight Movies at the World, Unicorn and Heights theaters. In 1968 he moved to Nevada City where he continued programming series of underground cinema with an increased emphasis on feature length films including the highly successful ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. He started the Nevada Theater Film Series in 1979 and currently works as a film programmer in Nevada City.