First Showing: "Citizen Kane" at Hearst Castle | NBC Bay Area
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First Showing: "Citizen Kane" at Hearst Castle

The fundraising evening is part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

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    "Citizen Kane," directed and starring Orson Welles, gets its first-ever showing at Hearst Castle in San Simeon on Friday, March 13. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    74 YEARS ON: It's not all that unusual for a film to take a few months to reach your local cineplex or movie palace, especially if you're a single-screen theater and the film didn't make it your way during its initial run. It's rather more unusual for that movie to take three-quarters of a century to make it your way, unless, of course, the film is "Citizen Kane" and the screening room is inside Hearst Castle. For while many a real person and grand personality has appeared in fictional form on the silver screen, few portrayals have garnered as much consistent and fascinated press, and public wonderment, as Orson Welles' intense take on William Randolph Hearst in the 1941 drama.

    ROSEBUUUUUD: Meaning that for decades upon decades there have been more rosebuds, as in the flowers, at the San Simeon landmark than "Rosebud," the iconic whispered mystery of "Citizen Kane." And while the media magnate was wild about the movies and the Tinseltown crowd -- he has a ladyfriend in starlet Marion Davies, famously -- the "Citizen Kane" reels never made their way up to the Central Coast spot. That will change on Friday the 13th, March 13th, to be specific, when the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival holds a fundraiser screening at Hearst Castle, with "Citizen Kane" front, center, and unspooling right where its main subject once lived.

    TICKETS ARE A THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH, and only fifty people will be seated in the castle's "original private theater." The fundraiser is a joint deal, for both the film festival and Friends of Hearst Castle, a laudable organization that tends to the heart, soul, and tomorrow of one of America's grandest estates. Film honchos and historians will be in attendance, chatting about the decades-weathering work, and a "short tour" is part of the evening (before the film begins). It's a big day in film fandom, and one that was said, over the years, would never arrive. But movies, and the histories of moguls, do have a way of surprising, even if it takes the better part of a century to deliver the twist. After all, we don't find out what Rosebud is until we've reached the end of the film. (Not saying here, of course. Plus, you know already, surely.)