As you know from my previous post, murder mysteries are kind of my thing. My most recent party was yet again from the How to Host a Murder collection. According to the Wikipedia page, the HTHAM official page is still being updated. I’ve been promised new themes and a fresh website for approximately a year now, but still nothing, so just like before, I purchased my kit on eBay.
This theme, The Hollywood Premiere of Power and Greede, takes place at a 1936 Hollywood premiere for Power Studios’ newest production based loosely on the lives of its stars. Adultery, backstabbing, multiple murders, fake accents, and extortion are only some of the topics touched on as this story plays out.
The cast of characters includes mostly actors and actresses from the studio (with names such as Ivonde B. Alohne and Stu. D. Muphin) but also includes personal assistants, the screenwriter (Phil M. Acher), the film’s director (Sel U. Lloyd) and an actress-turned-tabloid reporter (Tat Eltayle). Some of the characters are meant to speak in accents, so for the group of non-actors playing, it was a night of laughs.
“The Hollywood Premiere of Power and Greede” was my fourth time playing one of the HTHAM game, (the first three being “Saturday Night Cleaver,” “The Great Chicago Caper,” and “An Affair to Dismember”), and it was my favorite theme by far. While it was fun dressing in a white leisure suit for the disco theme, this story line was full of twists that kept me gasping and scratching my head trying to figure out the mystery.
Each kit comes with menu suggestions, and while I normally try to stay pretty close to what it suggests, this time I went my own route. For hor d’oeuvres, we served shrimp cocktail, a cheese platter, and cream cheese and olive sandwiches (all appropriate for the time period for this cast of characters). As our main course, we did a spread of various Chinese dishes since the premiere took place at Power Studios’ Chinese Theater. We went back to a period-appropriate dish for dessert, cheesecake, with assorted wines and champagne as our drink choices for the night.
To set the scene, we had movie trailers from the 1930s playing on silent in the background while music from the era, as well as pop hits from today performed in a 30’s style, played on our speakers. For decor, we stuck with a black and gold theme with a Great Gatsby feel as decorations, using a pop of red to tie my sofa in. My favorite decoration from the party (perhaps from any party ever) was the Sardi’s-esque headshot wall, including a mix of pictures of old Hollywood actors paired with black and white photos of my party guests.
I don’t know if it was the theme or that I’m getting better with experience, or a mix of both, but this was my favorite murder mystery to date. I’m excited to go even bigger for our next. (Themes we haven’t played yet include a 1950’s high school reunion, a culturally insensitive Chinese dynasty theme, and also a train from Paris escaping Nazis, so really, the sky’s the limit. Except I wouldn’t do two of those, so 1950’s high school reunion it is.)