The museum’s new ‘Surrey on Screen’ features films, TV shows filmed here, plus an old Clova projector
The Museum of Surrey’s art gallery is now filled with TV and film memorabilia for a closer look at the town’s filming history.
The “Surrey on Screen” exhibition opens Thursday (August 18) for an eight-month run at the Cloverdale facility, until mid-April.
Costumes, photos, props and other film-related items feature shows filmed by Surrey, including Smallville, Supernatural and chilling adventures of Sabrina, Superman and Lois, IZombie and more.
Curator Colleen Sharpe and museum staff put together the exhibit with the help of an archival team with Warner Bros. Discovery and the City of Surrey Film Office.
“It was so much fun putting this together and learning about everything that was filmed here,” Sharpe said Tuesday (August 16) as a small crew put the finishing touches on the exhibit.
The showcase isn’t a comprehensive look at Surrey’s cinematic history, it’s an overview of industry highlights here.
At the entrance to the gallery, a red carpet leads visitors past a wall of signed photos of famous actors and the ‘credits’ of almost 400 films shot in Surrey over the past decades.
Among the most significant items on display is an old movie projector, nicknamed “Ethel,” once used at the Clova Theater in downtown Cloverdale. On loan from the Surrey Heritage Collection, the Lume-X made by International Projector Corp. was built in 1940 and operated at the Clova until the theater closed in 2014.
“It makes me happy that it was here because there was work to make it happen,” Sharpe explained. “It’s one of the two projects that were at Clova. This is Ethel, and the other was named Bertha.
When the Clova closed, the theater operators donated one projector to the Surrey Heritage Department and sold the other to pay off debts, according to Sharpe.
“This one was disassembled into pieces because storing something big like this isn’t easy, it’s so big,” Sharpe said. “It was taken apart, and months ago I asked the curator of collections to borrow it for this exhibition, and we needed to find someone to help put it back. We found a technician, luckily, and we have some pics of him working on it.
The Clova has been featured in a number of productions filmed in Surrey including Smallville, where it is known as The Talon Theatre. For the “Surrey on Screen” exhibition, the projector is deliberately placed next to the costumes of the characters of Green Arrow, Clark Kent and Lex from Smallville.
Elsewhere in the exhibition space, people can sit in theater seats to watch a clip from Surrey’s filmed highlights.
“Those seats aren’t Clova, unfortunately,” Sharpe noted. “We bought them as props from the Caprice Theater in South Surrey – used from someone else, but that’s where they originated from.”
There is an interactive green screen feature which includes the popular filming location of Surrey Town Hall, a replica ‘Lois’ office which includes copies of the Daily Planet newspaper, costumed models, and more.
“Warner has been very supportive, so most of the content here is loaned to them,” Sharpe explained. “They’ve shot a lot of shows here. They care about community involvement and really wanted to be part of it.
On loan from the Paramount studio, a late addition to the exhibit is a Dr Robotnik costume worn by Jim Carrey in the sonic the hedgehog film shot in Surrey a few years ago.
The museum also currently features Dilber Mann’s “Inspiration X,” a Community Treasures exhibit of nearly two dozen of his movie and game character statues.
Admission is free to the Museum of Surrey, located at 17710 56A Ave. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For details, visit surrey.ca/museum or call 604-592-6956.
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