Play it again, Red Oak Victory

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By Zach Chouteau

The ‘Rich Life’ segment couldn’t have picked a more-fitting film for our first visit to a Red Oak Victory movie night than “Casablanca”, the 1942 classic about Nazi resistance in Morocco. We checked it out on Thursday, June 28, and will certainly be returning for future shows.

If you haven’t been yet, there’s definitely something special about clambering aboard a massive WWII munitions carrier to watch a movie. And host Craig Riordan made the occasion even more memorable—dressing up in a three-piece suit and bowtie like the dapper Rick Blaine (of Rick’s Café American) from the film, and even serving complimentary sparkling wine and cider for movie-goers.

Like this reporter, Riordan considers “Casablanca” his favorite flick. The Pt. Richmond resident—a volunteer who started the Red Oak’s movie night 10 years ago—also presented some trivia questions prior to the film. He was assisted by his young son and daughter, who gave candy bars out to audience members for correct answers. By the way, do YOU know which scene from the film involved some of the same movie extras who played the munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz”?  (Answer below)

The movie got started a bit late, by which point the initially thin crowd had grown to around 80 people, all of whom got fully into the spirit of the evening.  Adding to the movie nights is a small concessions stand with freshly popped popcorn, soft drinks and some other treats; it was overseen by the amiable Lorraine Reiger, who seems to be onboard the ship every time we visit, and even gave us a tour a few years back.

If you haven’t been aboard the Red Oak Victory, it really has become a floating bastion of events at the end of Richmond’s Canal Boulevard.  The ship will host a festive July 3rd viewing party for the city’s fireworks display, has some pancake breakfasts coming up and will present another movie night on August 23rd, when it will fittingly show “Action in the North Atlantic,” Bogart’s next film following “Casablanca.”

You can find out more by visiting www.redoak.us. By the way, the trivia answer is: Casablanca’s iconic final scene at the airport, where some of the ‘little people’ who played Oz munchkins were used in the background in an effort to make a fake plane (built at 2/3rds scale) appear to be normal-sized.

The suggested donation for movie night is $10 to help support the operation of the ship, but it is not required.

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