This is the perfect marriage!!! And no, I’m not speaking of Mr. X and me. I’m talking about a wonderful new film about the Winnie The Pooh gang, shown in my absolute favorite movie theatre, the El Capitan in Hollywood!!! What could be better?!

 Part of the lower lobby display. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Part of the lower lounge display. Photo by Karen Salkin, as is the big one at the top of the page.

I rarely jump out of my skin over a film, but from the very first trailer that I saw of Christopher Robin, (which was actually at the El Capitan!,) I was hooked. It could not get here fast enough for me.

So I was thrilled to be one of the earliest people to see it. Mr. X and I attended the opening night of Christopher Robin at the El Capitan last week, and we had a blast. How’s this for a tribute to that iconic theatre—Mr. X, who’s been in show business for a zillion years now, won’t come to industry screenings at cushy private screening rooms, nor even premieres at any other movie theatres in this town; the only cinema he willingly comes to is the El Capitan! That’s because he knows that it’s more than a cut above every other venue. (And perhaps it also has something to do with their superior popcorn! Just sayin’.)

And, of course, I adore the El Capitan, as well. I love seeing all the Disney flicks there because that theatre always has something extra for us. And each time brings a different surprise.

The Side Street Strutters Jazz Band.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

The Side Street Strutters Jazz Band. Photo by Karen Salkin.

On opening night, the onstage pre-show activities included live jazz from The Side Street Strutters Jazz Band who often perform at the Disneyland Resort. (They will be at the El Capitan again on select dates throughout the run, so check the website for details.)

And the display on the lower level of the building this go-round is of the actual stuffed animals who appeared in the film. [Note: In case you missed my feature on the health benefits of stuffed animals, (which I have in droves, including Winnie, Piglet, and Tigger,) you can still check it out here:]

Karen Salkin with her life-long friend, Winnie the Pooh.  Photo by Mr. X, (who had to re-do the pic the attendant took earlier because she cut the top and bottom of the picture off!)

Karen Salkin with her life-long friend, Winnie the Pooh. Photo by Mr. X, (who had to re-do the pic the attendant took earlier because she had cut off the top and bottom of the picture!)

And, as always, there’s a giant poster of the movie in the lobby, (this time it’s of Pooh and his red balloon, which features prominently in Christopher Robin,) in front of which you can take pix with your group. There’s even a staff member there to snap the photos for you because selfies just won’t cut it—you really want to get the whole tableau in. This is how much I love Winnie the Pooh—I stood on line by myself to get a pic because Mr. X was already in his seat and didn’t want to disturb others to get out of the row! I never do anything like that! I’ve often had my kid friends be my beard so I can indulge in non-adult endeavors such as this one, but at the El Capitan, age definitely does not matter! We young at heart are all in it together.

Now, as to the actual film, Christopher Robin, I say go see this charming tale as soon as possible! It’s even better than I had expected! Mr. X was so enthralled with it that he had to stop eating his popcorn, which is a first!

I don’t want to spoil any of the story for you, so I’m not telling you much more, but I really have to laud Jim Cummings, who voiced both Winnie and Tigger. I’ve always loved both of the original voices in Winnie-the Pooh cartoon features, (Sterling Holloway was Winnie while Paul Winchell was Tigger,) and was prepared to be upset with the new* ones, but Jim is amazing. His Winnie sounds just like Sterling Holloway! I had not thought that possible. As a matter-of-fact, when I first heard him in the trailer, I thought the filmmakers had figured-out a way to manipulate old sound bites from Mr. Holloway to use in this new film! So, major kudos to Mr. Cummings for his amazing work! *[Note: Jim has voiced Winnie since 1988, but I’ve seen only the ’60s and ’70s Winnie cartoons and featurettes.]

Jim Cummings on stage. Phot by Karen Salkin.

Jim Cummings on stage. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Another fun surprise of the Christopher Robin opening night was the introduction of Jim onstage to talk to us a bit. I was glad to see how amiable he is because I wouldn’t want my beloved A.A. Milne characters voiced by anyone who didn’t deserve to be a part of this great legacy.

I have to say only two other bits about the film itself. I already knew that Christopher is a grown-up in it, and seeing characters grow-up is my least favorite thing; the endings of Peter Pan and The OC make me cry like a baby just thinking about them! (And I’m seriously not kidding about that.) But there was none of that here. So, if you’re anything like me, (meaning a bit overly sensitive,) you have nothing to dread with this one.

And speaking of endings, do not be rude and leave during the credits or you will miss out. As they were rolling, I heard a lovely, warm, familiar voice singing a new tune, and then they showed a video of my pal, the prolific Disney composer Richard Sherman, playing a piano on a beach, with the cast of this film around him! It’s charming.

The real "stuffies" used in the film, which are part of the display in the Lower Lounge.   Photo by Karen Salkin.

The real “stuffies” used in the film, which are part of the display in the Lower Lounge. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Okay, time for a little personal Winnie and pals tale. Many Christmases ago, when our precious Clarence, the Singing Dog, was just a pup, I opened a present Mr. X had given to Clarence, and it was…Piglet! An adorable little stuffed Piglet! I know this was crazy, but I was so upset—I had assumed that Mr. X knew that I’ve been a crazed Piglet lover forever, (ever since I had the Winnie The Pooh board game as a very young child,) but apparently he did not because he gave this adorable little guy to Clarence instead of me! (But no worries—Clar gave it to me.)

I carried on so much, (as I just admitted, I’m a tad nutty,) that the very next Christmas, every single present I received from Mr. X was Winnie the Pooh related!!! And I do mean every! All fifty of them! There were stuffed animals, socks, underwear, all kinds of tchotchkes, and even a beautiful cookie jar! I’ve never seen so much Winnie the Pooh stuff in my whole life. And you know what? Outside of my credit card, (which he gave me on our second Xmas, and has turned-out to be truly the gift that keeps on giving,) those were the best holiday gifts I have ever received!

So now that you see what a rabid Winnie-the-Pooh-and-pals fan I am, please trust me on this film experience, and go see Christopher Robin right away. And, of course, only at the El Capitan!

Christopher Robin at the El Capitan running through August 26, 2018                                                                                                                                     


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