SCOTTS VALLEY -- Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to darkest ... Scotts Valley?
The details are still being hashed out, but the city's Arts Commission plans to celebrate the life and works of Scotts Valley's most famous resident, Alfred Hitchcock, later this year. The Oscar-winning director and his wife, Alma, once owned a 200-acre ranch atop a nearly 1,500-foot mountain north of Vine Hill Elementary.
The family purchased the nine-bedroom, Spanish-style adobe in late 1940 for $40,000, using it as a retreat from the glitter of Hollywood for more than three decades. Santa Cruz County was reportedly the inspiration for three of his films, including the famous 1960 horror film "Psycho." Bates Hotel was reportedly modeled after the old Hotel McCrary -- now known as Sunshine Villa.
Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, visited the ranch, "Heart O' The Mountain," for the last time in 1972. The estate was sold in 1974, six years before Hitchcock died, according to local historian Ross Eric Gibson.
Claire Hodgin, who sits on the Arts Commission, said she came up with the idea for the Hitchcock Festival about a year ago, adding it "just seemed like a fun project to do, and there are a lot of films that nobody has ever seen."
The celebration likely will take place in the fall, she said, and include screenings of such films as "Psycho," "North by Northwest" and "Strangers on a Train." Specifics have yet to be nailed down, but organizers are envisioning an opening night gala complete with champagne and red carpet, with attendees arriving in 1920s-era attire, "just like the Oscars and the opening of a big, great film," Hodgin said.
The event also could include a Hitchcock look-alike contest, maybe even a match of wits over who can design the best shower curtain -- a nod to the memorable shower scene in "Psycho" -- and other activities.
Preliminary discussions just started a couple weeks ago between organizers and Cinelux Theatre in the Kings Village Shopping Center, which has agreed to sponsor the event. Michael Taffe, the theater chain's director of operations, said they first need to decide how long the festival will last, which will determine how many films to show.
In the meantime, another Arts Commission project is on the horizon. Local master blacksmith Kirk McNeil is designing a steel sculpture, "Four Energies," which depicts different tai chi poses. It will be placed on Scotts Valley Drive, between Bean Creek Road and Erba Lane, by late June.
Follow Sentinel reporter Kimberly White on Twitter at Twitter.com/kwhite95066