If this summer's movie schedule of flying super-heroes and shrunken kids seems too big and too slick, then head for Paramount Ranch on Sunday night for a peek at movie-making at its simple best.
"Silents Under the Stars" begins its second season Sunday night with a screening of the silent film "The Cruise of the Jasper B," starring Rod LaRocque (now there's a name).
Families are encouraged to come early and picnic in the rolling hills of Paramount Ranch, which has been a popular location for Western films and television productions since the silent-film era.
The screening will be in the open-sides pavilion, originally built by Paramount Studios to house large props during the 1920s and '30s. In the film, Jerry Cleggett (LaRocque) must marry on the rotting deck of the cruise ship in order to inherit the family fortune. He rejects a sea of hopefuls for an impoverished heiress, and together they make their way through comic obstacles to the altar.
The film begins at dusk, about 8:15 p.m. To reach Paramount Ranch, take the Kanan Road exit south from U.S. 101. Drive three-quarters of a mile south to the left-hand turn lane. Turn left, then immediately right onto Cornell Road. Continue 2 1/2 miles to ranch entrance. Flashlights are recommended. Reservations are suggested: (213) 874-2276 or (818) 888-3770. Tickets are $6.
The series continues on Aug. 20 at 7:45 p.m. with "Hotel Imperial," starring Pola Negri, and ends with "The Mark of Zorro" with Douglas Fairbanks at 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 17. The programs are sponsored by the National Park Service, Hollywood Heritage and the Silent Society.