Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities: Film

Kansas Silent Film Festival poster
Collection of Bill Shaffer

Washburn University is host to many community organizations, including the Sunflower Music Festival, the Topeka Symphony and the Kansas Silent Film Festival. The KSFF was founded in 1997 by silent film enthusiasts Jim Rhodes and James McShane, both of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Film screenings take place at Washburn’s White Concert Hall, which has an organ for musical accompaniment. The current president of the KSFF is Bill Shaffer, producer and director at KTWU television. Their 19th festival will be held on February 27-28, 2015.

 Film festival artifacts

Charlie Chaplin “automata” doll, 1989
Collection of Jane Bartholomew

The best-known actor of the silent film era, Chaplin (1889-1977) began his movie career in 1914 and made his most famous movies, like Modern Times, in the 1920s and 1930s. This Chaplin doll, when wound, dances to the tune of Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer.” It was displayed at the 2014 Kansas Silent Film Festival.

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