Special Guest: Steve Allen
People & events highlighting this year's Buster Keaton Celebration--
Buster's Keaton's granddaughter, Melissa Talmadge Cox.attended the festivities. Melissa was delightful and enthusiastic. She brought family photos of her Keaton and Talmadge relatives, sharing them with individuals one-on-one. Pix included a family picnic with Great-grandma Myra Keaton, Great Aunt Louise, Great Uncle Harry and Grandpa Buster. In one, small Melissa, in a swimsuit, holds hands in a wading pool with Grandpa Buster. Also, there was a rare photo of Grandpa sporting a big smile! Melissa's father, Jimmy and uncle, Bobby, are well and live in southern California. Melissa has two sons and a daughter, all high school-aged.
Steve Allen, also seen recently at the University of Kansas, attended the Celebration. He spoke before lunch on Saturday, and again in a Question and Answer session held after lunch. Keaton had appeared on the Tonight Show in the early 1950's when Allen was host. Mr. Allen was witty and thought provoking. He talked of talent and music and self-censorship and "what's funny." On Saturday afternoon he was presented with the Annual Buster Award. Mr. Allen, in photo right, is seen with authors John Tibbetts and James Welsh. Attendees were shocked and saddened when Mr. Allen died on Oct. 30.
The comedy movie team of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were also a focus of this year's celebration. Attendees had the opportunity to see silent and sound Laurel and Hardy classics. Iola attendees included members of the Sons of the Desert fan club. Left below, is Jim Peters, Exhausted Ruler, Hog Wild tent, Sons of the Desert. Second left is John Marrim, a young, but enthusiastic L&H fan. Also below, at right, are two license plates seen parked near the Bowlus. In years past, there have been Keaton tags observed, as well.
A first-ever Keaton raff le was held, and featured a quilt made by Kathy Metzenbauer of Wisconsin Dells. Kathy, a long-time quilter, attended the event. The quilt was queen-sized and featured five photos of Buster printed onto fabric and positioned in keys spaces within the quilt design. Lucky winner of the quilt was Bill Nix, projectionist for the Bowlus. Bill worked very hard throughout the Celelbration festivities. Other items auctioned included books about film, t-shirts, buttons from past Celebrations, and handcrafted one-sheet displays of movies shown at this event and past Celebrations.
was the showing of a video done by Martha Jett of Bridgeport,
West Virginia. Her documentary, call "My Career at the Rear." was a
discussion of Keaton's tour of duty in the U.S. Army during World War
I. Shipped into France, Keaton served in the 40th Division, also known
as the Sunshine Division, where he became adept in the use of Morse
Code in support of the fighting troops. Later, because of his reputation
in vaudeville, he was assigned to entertain troops as a Sunshine Player.
On Oct. 1, 1918--just three days before his 23rd birthday-- Keaton was
made Corporal and his salary raised to $41./month. The armistice was
signed Nov. 11, 1918 but Keaton was not discharged until Apr. 1919.
was an interesting review written of this event for the New York
Sept. 29, 2000
Beginning 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 30, 2000
Beginning 8:30 a.m.
"Sherlock Jr.," starring
|SATURDAY, 7:30 p.m.:
"The Bell Boy" starring
Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle
Read: In a Little Kansas Town, a Feast for Buster Keaton Fans
Funded by the
Humanities Council, with help from the Iola Tourism Fund
and private donors.
© 2000 by Carol Yoho
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