Keaton and the war


The 17th Annual Buster Keaton Celebration takes place 25-26 September, at Iola, Kansas. Each festival takes an aspect of Keaton’s life or career and explores its contexts, through talks, screenings and special presentations. This year the theme is the First World War, and this is the programme:

Buster Keaton and Company

WWI, Dark Comedy, and Film
The 17th Annual Buster Keaton Celebration

Sept 25-26, 2009, Iola, KS

All activities are held at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center in Iola, Kansas. Free. (donations are very much appreciated– especially this year)

Program subject to change.

Friday, Sept 25, 2009

9:30 am Registration

9:50 am Welcome and Remarks by Susan Raines, Executive Director, Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Emcee Frank Scheide, Prof of Communication, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

10:00 am — The National WWI Museum, a video segment from the series Sunflower Journeys, produced by KTWU Ch 11, Topeka

10:10 am — Dave Murray
World War I: Causes and Effects

11:00 am — Break

11:10 am — Doran Cart, Curator WWI Museum, Kansas City, MO
Lights, Camera, and Real Action: The U.S. Army Signal Corps Motion Picture and Still Photographers’ Work, 1917-1919

12:00 am — Lunch Break

1:30 pm — John Tibbetts, Ph.D., Professor of Film, University of Kansas
The Worm’s Eye View: A Presentation Concerning the 1919 Film, Yankee Doodle in Berlin

2:20 pm — Lisa K. Stein, Ph.D., Ohio University-Zanesville
Tommy’s New Tune: Warner Brothers’ The Better ‘Ole (1926) and Redefining American Patriotism

3:10 pm — Break

3:25 pm — Screening of The Moving Picture Boys in the Great War (1975), produced by David Shepard
War Story (2001)
Introduced by David Shepard

5:30 pm — Dinner Break

7:30 pm — Evening program
It Happened to You
Shoulder Arms (1918) starring Charlie Chaplin
The Bond (1918) starring Charlie Chaplin
All Night Long (1924) starring Harry Langdon
The Bellboy (1918) starring Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
Back Stage (1919) starring Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
with live musical accompaniment by Marvin Faulwell

Saturday, Sept 26, 2009

8:30 am — Registration

9:00 am — Welcome and Remarks by Susan Raines, Executive director, Bowlus Fine Arts Center

Emcee Bill Shaffer, KTWU Ch 11, Topeka

9:20 am — Jim Barkley, Educational Coordinator, WW I Museum, Kansas City, MO
Educational Opportunities at the National WWI Museum

9:40 am — Screening of My Career at the Rear, a documentary by Matha Jett on Buster Keaton’s WWI career

10:00 am — David Macleod, Keaton historian and founder of Blinking Buzzards Society (UK)
Buster and War

10:50 am — Break

11:00 am — Robert Arkus, Film Historian and Archivist
The Liberty Loan Drive, Newsreels and Slapstick
Comics Go to War: Screening of seldom seen footage
plus rare Keaton on video

12:00 — Lunch Break

1:00 pm — Welcome and Introductions

1:10 pm — Leslie Midkiff Debauche, Ph,D., University of Wisconsin — Stevens Point
Buster Keaton Fights the Great War

2:00 pm — Frank Scheide, Ph.D., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Charles and Penny Chilton’s Oh What a Lovely War

2:50 pm — Break

3:00 pm — Screening of Yankee Doodle in Berlin (1919), Mack Sennett, with live musical accompaniment by Marvin Faulwell
Introduced by David Shepard

4:00 pm — Break

4:10 pm — Screening of Doughboys (1933) — Buster Keaton Sound Feature

5:35 pm — Dinner Break

7:30 pm — An Evening of Screenings
General Nuisance (1941), Buster Keaton Columbia sound short.
plus short clips and tributes.
Special Presentation, The Last American Surviving WWI Veteran, a 2008 interview with Mr. Frank Buckles by Martha Jett, Documentary Filmmaker and Keaton Biographer.
The Better ‘Ole (1926), starring Syd Chaplin, with live musical accompaniment by Marvin Fauwell

And for those who want to learn more about what Keaton called ‘My Career in the Rear’, Martha R. Jett has written about his personal war experience in ‘Buster Keaton in World War I‘ for

One response

  1. Luke: This would make it worthwhile to travel to Iola, Kansas. When I was young, people didn’t pay much attention to World War One. World War One plus Keaton would be fascinating.

    Joe Thompson ;0)

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