AUGUSTA — It is safe to say that everyone has some experience with the Curious George books. The story of the mischievous monkey was created 77 years ago by Hans and Margaret Rey, Holocaust survivors with a dramatic story of their own.

The free screening begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20, with the 2006 animated adventure and comedy “Curious George” and continues at noon with “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators.” Both films will be shown at the Maine State Museum, Library and Archives.

A discussion will follow at 1:30 p.m. and will be led by David Greenham, associate director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine. The Maine State Museum will offer free admission all day, highlighting the museum’s newest exhibition, “Maine and Jewish: Two Centuries.”

The 2006 cartoon film “Curious George,” starring Will Ferrell and Dick Van Dyke in the animated adventure comedy, tells the story of “The Man in the Yellow Hat” and his irrepressible friend George, whose curiosity turns out to be more beneficial than anyone could have imagined. The film is appropriate for families with young children. Seating is limited to 100 people.

Was Curious George almost a Holocaust victim? The surprising answer is yes. Learn about his creators, Hans and Margret Rey, in the documentary film, “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators.” German Jews living in Paris during the rise of Nazism, the couple narrowly escaped Hitler’s troops by fleeing on makeshift bicycles, carrying the yet-to-be-published Curious George manuscript with them. Lovers of the classic will revel in the animation and archival materials from the Rey estate, including wartime journals, photographs, letters and unpublished Curious George sketches and notes.

The event is co-sponsored by Maine Jewish Film Festival, the Maine State Museum, Library and Archives.


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