ESTMIM presents a special Halloween screening of the silent horror classic "The Cat and The Canary"

The Empire State Theatre & Musical Instrument presents A special Halloween screening of the silent horror classic The Cat and The Canary (1927) about a family spending a night in a frightening mansion while an escaped lunatic known as “The Cat” is on the loose.


A decaying mansion and a stormy night are the archetypal setting for mystery and chaos when a pack of greedy relatives gather for the reading of a twenty-year-old will. But before the West fortune can be handed down, the family must endure a night in the cavernous manor, unnerved by the news that an escaped lunatic is at large. This clever and stylish movie is the wellspring of all "old dark house" mysteries. The Cat and The Canary is a milestone of the American horror film, thanks to the ingenuity of its director, Paul Leni. One of the first film artists imported from Germany by Hollywood, Leni invigorated this stage adaptation with expressionist flair, transforming conventional material into a visual feast. (USA, 1927, 108 min. | Dir. Paul Leni | Cast: Laura La Plante, Tully Marshall, Lucien Littlefield, George Siegmann).


Ben Model is one of the nation’s leading silent film accompanists, performing on both piano and theatre organ. For nearly 40 years, he has created and performed several hundred live scores for silent films on piano and theatre organ.

Ben was the first to take the silent film experience online during the COVID pandemic, launching The Silent Comedy Watch Party in mid-March of 2020. The show is a weekly live-stream which Ben and film historian Steve Massa co-host from their apartments – Steve introduces silent era slapstick shorts and Ben accompanies them on his acoustic piano. The Silent Comedy Watch Party is available on YouTube, for free, on Sundays at 3pm EDT.

Ben is a resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (NY) and at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theatre. His recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD/Blu-Ray releases from Kino Lorber, Milestone and his own label Undercrank Productions, as well as on Turner Classic Movies. Ben’s Undercrank Productions has released many rare undiscovered gems of the silent era, including films starring Marcel Perez, Alice Howell, Baby Peggy and Marion Davies that have been out of circulation since the 1920s, as part of a co-branding arrangement with the Library of Congress.

Ben is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S.A. and internationally, and he performs at universities, museums and historic theaters. Ben is the producer and co-founder of The Silent Clowns Film Series, now in its 21st season in NYC. Ben has co-curated several silent film series for MoMA and co-curates the monthly Anything But Silent series at the Cinema Arts Centre on Long Island.

Ben has composed orchestral scores for several silent comedy shorts which are performed annually by ensembles around the U.S. and Canada. In his capacity as archivist for the Ernie Kovacs collection, he has programmed three recent DVD box sets of Ernie Kovacs television shows. Ben is a Visiting Professor of Film at Wesleyan University, where he teaches a course on silent film history.

The Empire State Theatre & Musical Instrument Museum is located in the Harriet May Mills Art & Home Center on the New York State Fairgrounds. It was established in 1966 as a Nonprofit and Educational Organization, Chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. The Wurlitzer organ was built in 1925 for the former RKO Keith’s Theatre in downtown Syracuse where it was used principally for silent film accompaniment and musical interludes. It was saved and reinstalled permanently in the Empire Theatre at the State Fairgrounds as the centerpiece of the theatre and musical instrument museum. More information about the museum is available at https://www.facebook.com/SyracuseWurlitzer/ or by calling (315) 451-6551 Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-6:00pm and Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm or (315) 687-3580 on Sunday.

Show Hours: Doors open at 2:00pm, concert starts at 2:30pm

Fresh popped theater popcorn and bottled water will be available.

IMPORTANT COVID-19 INFORMATION: New York State Department of Health recommends proof of vaccination be shown and further advises that masks are strongly recommended for all fully vaccinated individuals and mandatory for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals aged 2 and older. ESTMIM will adhere and enforce all COVID-19 safety recommendations and mandates as they are updated.


  • Date and Time
    Sun, October 10, 2021
    2:30pm - 5:30pm
  • Venue
    Empire Theater
  • Admission
    Non-members: Adults $15, Children 16 and under $2.00 - General seating tickets are available at the door prior to the program
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