What most fantasy fans know is that Peter Beagle wrote the classic story ‘The Last Unicorn’. What many may not know is that there is a wonderful movie adaptation, and it is playing in SoCal. Here’s a quote from the author.
“The book was a nightmare to write, and I hated it when it was finished. It took me years to realize I hadn’t screwed it up after all, and that the book worked and people liked it. I felt better about the movie — writing it went fairly well, and in the end I thought it came out quite the best thing that Rankin-Bass ever did. But what I didn’t foresee was that it would actually become a bloody classic, that it would move so many people so strongly. I get any number of people who come up to me at my signing table and say, ‘Thank you for my childhood.’ And I often get people who stand there motionless, clearly wanting to come up and talk — but they’re just shaking, and sometimes when they try to talk, they start to cry. When I see that I just have to get up and hold them, telling them, ‘It’s all right; I’ve become a big crier myself in my old age.’”
Two years ago Peter finally settled the eight-year struggle over the fact that he wasn’t getting paid any of his Last Unicorn film royalties, despite millions of copies being sold. The settlement opened up all kinds of new possibilities, one of which was this screening tour. They are putting Peter and a gorgeous new digital print of the film out on the road together for 10-12 days of every month for the next two years, so people can finally see it on the big screen after a lifetime of watching it on home video). At each screening they are holding Q&A sessions with the audience, giving everyone a chance to meet and talk with Peter, handing out raffle prizes, etc. So far it has been incredibly successful. They had 800 people come to the premiere back in April; in June they had 13 sold-out shows in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Kansas City, Denver, and Fort Collins; and last week they had another sold-out show at the American Film Institute theater in Silver Spring, MD, just outside Washington DC.
For details about the tour, see: www.lastunicorntour.com.
To sweeten the deal, they are giving a special prize for attending a screening. All you have to do is come up to Peter’s signing table at the theater and say “Henry Herz sent me,” and they’ll give you a free 35mm film frame from an actual 1982 theatrical print of The Last Unicorn, in a protective glassine envelope signed by Peter himself!
SoCal Show Schedule:
Tuesday 8/20, 7 PM at USC in Los Angeles: [SOLD OUT]
Wednesday 8/21, 7:30 PM at the Regency Lido Theatre in Newport Beach:
Thursday 8/22, 7 PM at the Cal Oaks 17 in Murrieta:
Saturday 8/24, 2 PM at the Town Square Stadium 14 in San Diego:
Sunday 8/25, 2 PM at the Gas Lamp Stadium 15 in San Diego:
This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.