The Automat

USA, Feature Documentary, 2021, 79 min

Mel Brooks drinking coffee. The photo was taken by Carl Reiner while the two were writers for Your Show of Shows. 1950-54.

Mel Brooks drinking coffee. The photo was taken by Carl Reiner while the two were writers for Your Show of Shows. 1950-54.

Featuring Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Colin Powell, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Mel Brooks’ original song "(There Was Nothing Like the Coffee) at the Automat," which he composed and sang for this documentary

Horn & Hardart’s Automats served 800,000 people a day for nearly a century in New York and Philadelphia, from the middle and upper echelons of society to people who may not have been welcome in other restaurants: immigrants, the working-class, blacks and single women. With gleaming white marble floors, walls and polished brass, the Automats welcomed anybody with at least a nickel in their pocket to put in a slot, and the little glass door would open to release the customer’s pick, be it a slice of pie, macaroni & cheese, or a Salisbury steak. This film is an endearing first-time look into one of the most successful business ventures of its time through the eyes of those touched by their experiences.

Directed by Lisa Hurwitz

Boulder Premiere

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Venues: The Boulder Theater; Grace Commons Church, 1820 15th Street; Boulder High; Cinemark Century Boulder, 1700 29th St.; eTown Hall; Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium