Fans of the Classic Film Series at LaSalle Bank (now Bank of America) in Irving Park may remember Scott Marks, who programmed the series from 1995 to 2000. Marks was part of the Chicago film scene for years: back in the 80s he managed the old Parkway revival house at Clark and Diversey, and in the 90s he taught history of film and animation at Columbia College. He was also a crazed memorabilia collector, an expert on the films of Martin Scorsese and Jerry Lewis, and an actual FOJ (Friend of Jerry).
In 2000 he skipped town to take a job programming the film offerings at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. “The first week I was there, I stepped out for a smoke and was suddenly transfixed by the building across the way,” Scott wrote me recently. “It was as familiar as my mother’s laugh; I was in Xanadu! In 1940, Welles sent a second unit crew down and used it as a stand-in for San Simeon.”
Unfortunately, Xanadu turned out to be a pretty good metaphor for Scott’s gig at MoPA: he says the program was never able to build a strong audience and ended in 2005. “What do you do when your biggest enemy is the sun?” The museum was located in Balboa Park, which he describes as “one of the most beautiful places on earth.”
Since then Scott has been busying himself with various film-related activities. He wrote movie reviews for the Gay & Lesbian Times and did on-air reviews for the local Fox affiliate; he taught film at University of California, San Diego and at San Diego State University; he programs a classic film series at San Diego’s North Park Theatre; and his radio program Film Club of the Air can be heard on KPBS. But the big enchilada is his blog Emulsion Compulsion, which includes over 10,000 images from his gigantic memorabilia collection. Enter at your own risk; the next time you look at your watch, it’ll be two hours later and you’ll be late for something or other. This I know.