Seeing a Movie at The Historic Artcraft Theatre is a Must-do Experience

Posted by: Alexis Whiteman on July 3, 2018

I’ve seen plenty of movies, but up until recently I never had the privilege of experiencing a film at The Historic Artcraft Theater in Franklin. I’d been told it’s more than a movie, it’s an experience.

When I went recently to see the 1975 classic “Jaws,” I had no idea what to expect. At the concessions area they were selling a signature drink created especially for this event called “shark bait” and it was a hit!

Before the film even began there was a 30-second skit based off of Jaws in a “Short Attention Span Theater” style. The packed house was very engaged with what was going on prior to the film from prize drawings to the “furthest traveler” award presented to the person in the audience that had traveled the furthest distance to Franklin. The winner was from Portland, Oregon and the second-place winner was from California! We stood and sang the national anthem and viewed a Porky the Pig cartoon about the history of freedom in honor of the Fourth of July holiday, and then we settled into our seats and watched what we all came for.

The Artcraft experience, which even includes the serving of the most amazing locally grown popcorn, was something I had never been a part of before and it made me want to do it all of the time. It’s truly is amazing how different a movie-watching experience can be.

Located near the Artcraft is Johnson County Museum of History, which is the perfect place to learn about the history of Franklin and the other communities of Festival Country Indiana. On the evening of the Jaws movie, the museum teamed up with Johnson County Public Library for a pre-movie presentation about the history of Jaws.

The museum’s “Hypstory” events are aimed at sharing history with young. During the 30-minute Jaws discussion in the ballroom of the Museum, library staff discussed how the novel Jaws by Peter Benchly came to be, Benchly’s history and how the movie came to be after the book became a best seller. The library representatives also talked about all of the titles that were thought up for the novel and how the title Jaws was only selected the day before being sent to print. Interestingly enough, Steven Spielberg, the director of the film Jaws, hated the novel and felt that the film wouldn’t amount to much, especially with Richard Dreyfuss as a lead character.

After the novel’s history was shared, a representative from the museum discussed the connections between the 1916 shark attacks along the Jersey Shore, the mindset that people had of sharks not being dangerous at all prior to the attacks, and the history of the USS Indianapolis. As someone who isn’t knowledgeable on military/war history and who had never read the novel or seen Jaws, I had no clue there was a reference the USS Indianapolis in the film or what exactly had happened with the Indianapolis. To have the lesson prior to seeing the film was helpful in understanding what Quint was talking about during his infamous four-minute speech in the film.

Plan a trip to the Artcraft and the museum, and click here for lodging to make it an overnight stay.