Sunday, July 20, 2014

Behind the Scenes: The HBO Dance

Behind the Scenes is a weekly Sunday series that covers the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival presented by Bank of America. From food to films and traditions to (Airstream) trailers, we'll share secrets behind the Film Fest. Stick with us for all 10 weeks, and by the end you'll be an expert!  

If you have ever attended our HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, you have surely encountered the HBO dance. A half hour after sunset, when the park has grown dark and everyone is on the edge of their seats (or blankets), waiting for the film to begin, the old-school HBO trailer comes on and the audience leaps to their feet.

The trailer itself is a piece of HBO history: it used to play once every night right before the 9pm HBO movie. The version of the trailer that we now see at the Film Festival in Bryant Park is actually its second version. In its first rendition, the trailer included an image of an old-fashioned TV with a channel-tuning knob. Once that technology grew outdated, HBO re-filmed their trailer to appear more relevant to the time. 

The crowd gets ready to dance as the HBO logo zooms in from outer space.
The beginning of the HBO dance tradition is unknown. It seems people spontaneously started to dance as the trailer came on the big screen. We don't blame them, either, as the dance is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs between picnicking and the start of the film. 

The famed dance has even made its way south to Washington D.C., where we’ve been told the dance has caught on during other HBO screenings. Clearly, the HBO dance has gone national.

Next time you visit the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, be sure to join in on this favorite tradition, and get up and dance! This week is your perfect opportunity as we screen National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), in which the Griswold family's cross-country trip to a theme park turns into the road trip from hell.

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival 
Mondays, June 16 through August 18
Lawn opens at 5pm
Films start 30 minutes after sundown

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