Gotham, L.A. to fete ‘Jungle,’ Comet

Rock music celebrates its golden anniversary

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll — centered on Bill Haley and the Comets’ “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” and the movie “Blackboard Jungle” — will take place in L.A. and New York later this month.

Gotham’s Museum of Modern Art will hold a special screening March 20 of “Blackboard Jungle” followed by a Q&A with “Jungle” thesp Paul Mazursky and Glenn Ford’s son Peter, who suggested using the Haley recording in the film. On March 22, New York’s Museum of Television & Radio will screen “Rock Is Fifty!,” a new compilation by Andrew Solt and Sofa Entertainment of rare performances from the Ed Sullivan Archives. Screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Haley’s bandmates in the Comets. Steven Van Zandt will host.

In Los Angeles, the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theater will screen “Blackboard Jungle” on March 27 with a Q&A hosted by Van Zandt and featuring Mazursky and another of the film’s stars, Jamie Farr, as well as the Comets.

The Comets will perform March 29 at the Viper Room after appearing at L.A.’s Museum of Television & Radio premiere of “Rock Is Fifty!” with Van Zandt. Museum will also unveil rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia collection “Rock Is Fifty!” and “50 Years of Gibson Guitars.”

Warner Home Video will release “Blackboard Jungle” on DVD on May 10.

“Blackboard Jungle” featured Bill Haley and the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” which many historians count as the first rock ‘n’ roll hit. Pic debuted on March 19, 1955 in New York, and “Rock Around the Clock” began an eight-week reign at No. 1 in July.

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