Keaton and the Kansas Filmmakers, 19th Annual Celebration20th Annual

The Timeless Comedy of Buster Keaton
Sept. 28 & 29, 2012
Bowlus Fine Arts Center

205 E. Madison, Iola, KS •

Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Silent motion pictures and shorts throughout the celebration
Featuring live musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
All activities are free and open to the public   

—Choose a thumbnail to see the larger photo—

Prequel, Thurs., Sept. 27
Ordering from the menu, Susan Raines and Keaton cakeLisa Stein Haven and Mr. HavenMaggie Freeman, tucked into a cornerCarol and Max Yoho, down from Topeka
Keith Goering does Steve Allen's Percy impressionAlba, Jimmy, Clyde and Kevin The Nairobi Trio performs liveCloud break up over an Iola full moon

Fri. a.m. visit to Keaton Museum, Piqua
Chris Devork and James KarenHooman Mehran and Kevin BrownlowJohn Tibbetts and Kevin BrownlowTrevor Jost looks inside the museum
Fans mob museumPiqua residence run museum and tweet Piqua's meritsKeaton Museum displaysKeaton Museum displays 2
Buster's granddaughter, Melissa, with Piqua resident Amy SpechtMelissa Talmadge Cox and her mother, Barbara TalmadgeMelissa and Barbara at the Keaton marker, PiquaSteve Friedman gathers dignataries for a group photo
Keaton friends at Piqua's Keaton marker

Fri., Oct. 26, 2012, morning program
Exterior of Bowlus Center for the Arts, Iola, KansasTwenty years of Keaton Celebration buttons, designed and gfited by Carol Yoho
Vergil E. Noble speaks of the Cutler Family Tree, Buster's mother's family and their links to public performanceCutler family performersLisa Stein Haven presentsLisa Stein Haven speaks of vaudeville influence on the life of Buster Keaton

Lunch break
Kevin Brownlow chats with Barbara Talmadge and her daughter, Melissa Talmadge CoxGraceann and David Macleod, in Iola again from LondaBill Shaffer, Keaton Committee member, with Julie Mulvahill, chair of the Kansas Humanities Council, a financial sponsor of the Keaton Celebration
Lunch line at the sandwich buffetA room full of event participantsMartha Jett, Bill Shaffer and Amy SpechtDr. Frank Scheide, Keaton Committee co-chair, and his daughter

Fri. afternoon panel discussion
Frank Scheide speaksFrank introduces a panel of the founders of the Keaton CelebrationSteve Friedstrom of New York City plies his trade as professional event photographer ASteve Friedstrom of New York City plies his trade as professional event photographer B
Founders' panelModerator Frank Scheide begins the conversation with Mary Martin, former director of the Bowlus CenterFounders John Tibbetts, Fred Krebs and Amy Specht
Mary MartinClyde TolandJohn TibbettsFred KrebsAmy Specht
Moderator and Founders' panelthe Media steps inTaking a THANK-YOU bow

Fri. afternoon speakers
Brian Johnston speaks of history fact and Keaton's ficitionalized version of the taking of the Southern steam locamotive The General during the American Civil WarFrank Scheide introduces afternoon speakersMartha Jett speaks of Buster Keaton and the influence of the 1920s on his life and work AMartha Jett speaks of Buster Keaton and the influence of the 1920s on his life and work BMartha Jett speaks of Buster Keaton and the influence of the 1920s on his life and work C

Harry Keaton Jr. talks ancestry
Ted Keaton Jr., Buster's nephew focuses on the Keaton family tree ATed Keaton Jr., Buster's nephew focuses on the Keaton family tree BTed Keaton Jr., Buster's nephew focuses on the Keaton family tree C

First-ever Keaton fundraising dinner
Welcome postersSeat tagsCarol's beverage, salad amd party favorJames Karen and his wife, Alba Francesca
Fran Crawford, from California, joins Meggie and Stever Friedman from New YorkIola Country Club was packed full of Keaton event supportersBarbara Talmadge, Buster's daughter-in-law, with her daughter, Melissa Talmadge CoxGentlemen join Kevin Brownlow in conversation
Film preservationists and guests David Shepard and Kevin BrownlowSusan Raines and John TibbettsAt the dining tablesBill Shaffer is master of ceremonies for the after-dinner program
Jimmy Karen comments on Keaton memoriesBarbara Talmadge did not know that James Talmadge's father was Buster Keaton until after she married Jimmy.Last of daylight, Allen County Country Club

Fri. evening movie-showing
Harry Keaton Jr. and his first cousin, Melissa Talmadge CoxDavid MacleodPreparing for the evening performanceRodney Sauer and Scheide daughter
Bill Shaffer and James Karen tie duel ABill Shaffer and James Karen tie duel BBill Shaffer and James Karen tie duel CHug and make up
Frank chats with Melissa and BarbaraMont Alto cellist David ShortMont Alto clarinetist Tune-up with Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
Mont Alto violinist Brett SwensonMont Alto female musiciansCurtain call, Friday night

Sat. morning programming
Bowlus entrance, Saturday morning, September 27, 2012Bruce Symes speaks with Frank ScheideTrevor Jost is a doorprize winnerBill Shaffer at the podium
Bill Shaffer on stage in his Buster hatKevin Brownlow worked with James Karen on the Keaton documentary So Funny It HurtsJames Karen discusses his work with Kevin BrownlowKevin Brownlow comments on his documentary about Keaton after his silent era work
Academy Award winner Kevin BrownlowHooman Mehran does welcomes and introductionsLobby staff of Iolans greet Keaton fansVolunteers help sell Mont Alto CDs
Maggie Friedman takes an outdoor breakLunch break at Sonic Drive-in...without driving inFrank Scheide, Mary Martin and Bill Shaffer discuss the Keaton Celebration, Part TwoOther panelists include Jane Bartholomew, Amy Specht, Bruce Symes and Keith Goering
Frank Scheide and Mary MartinBill ShafferJane Bartholomew and Amy SpechtBruce SymesKeith Goering

Sat. afternoon celebrating
Setting up for Saturday afternoon panelMelissa Talmadge Cox remembers her grandfather fondlyHarry Keaton remembers Buster, Eleanor and Buster's mother, Myra
Barbara Talmadge and Melissa Talmadge CoxDavid Macleod serves as panel moderatorPanels view projected photo from Buster and Natalie's wedding
Barbara Talmadge remembers playing bridge with Buster and EleanorMelissa was also along for bridge games and the Keaton Ranch
Keith Goering and John Kelso chat during an afternoon breakHooman Mehran moderates a discussion among film preservationistsDavid Shepard
Kevin BrownlowRex Horsin, director of moder silent films, introduces a short subjectBuster slides down from the Pearly Gate in a film short
Gene Bates stans outside the Bowlus at supper hourGene Bates is a long-time Keaton fanSupper at Coranado's Mexican Restaurant, Iola, is recommended

Sat. evening program & after-glow
Preparing for the evening showing of Keaton's The GeneralCarol Yoho and Kevin BrownlowCarol and Max Yoho flank James Karen
Kevin Brownlow commentsLouise Langberg is known as Cookie to her friends -- here with Bill ShafferFinale of The GeneralCurtain call on Saturday night
Carol Yoho, Barbara Talmadge, Melissa Talmadge Cox and Max YohoAfter-glow hosted by generious IolansLights glow in after-glow
Party treatsDavid leaves his cello by the stairs at the partyBest Western motel, Iola, is recommended
Afterward — Photos by Beth Brigham
Bill Shaffer on his motorcycleEasy RidersKevin Brownlow hops a ride behind BillDon Brigham poses to hitch a ride on the bike
Jim Dunaway and Don Brigham
James Karen and his wife, Alba Francesca

Web Archives:

Speakers Lists: 1993-95

blankKeaton was born near Iola, KS at Piqua in 1895
Visit Iola's official Keaton Celebration site.
Visit the Buster Keaton Museum, Piqua, Kansas
Visit International Buster Keaton Society.

This event is funded by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization encouraging the appreciation of history, heritage and values; the Iola Convention & Tourism Committee and private donors.

Sponsored by the Keaton Celebration Committee in cooperation with the Bowlus Fine Arts & Cultural Center.

Also check the Kansas Silent Film Festival web site. KSFF is held each February in Topeka, KS.

Photo collage ©2012 by Carol Yoho

Funding provided by
Kansas Humanities Council. celebrating 40 years
with help from the City of Iola Convention & Tourism Committee, the Sleeper Family Trust and private donors

2012 Schedule:

FRI., Sept. 28, 2012

A.M.: 8:30
Registration opened at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola, KS,
Auditorium Lobby (There are no fees)
Welcome and Remarks by Master of Ceremonies Frank Scheide, Keaton Co-Chair
“His Mom’s Relation: The Cutler Family Tree and Buster Keaton’s Show Business Roots,” by Vergil E. Noble
Q & A
“The Influence of Early 20th Century Popular Culture, American Vaudeville, and the Actors’ Colony of Muskegon, Michigan on the Silent Film Comedy of Buster Keaton,” by Frank Scheide
+ Short Film – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – 15 min. - 2011 Oscar winner
Q & A
"Keaton, Kith and Kin:  A Revision of the Appalachian Feud Stereotype in Buster Keaton’s Our Hospitality,” by Lisa Stein Haven
Q & A
Lunch Break
P.M.: 1:00
Welcome and introductions
Mistress of Ceremonies Lisa Stein Haven
“Twenty Years of Keaton Celebrations: the Founders Panel Discussion,” with Mary Martin, Amy Specht, Clyde Toland, Fred Krebs and John Tibbetts, moderated by Frank Scheide
Q & A
“The Captain and The General (1926): Buster Keaton's Translation of an Historic Event into a Comedic Masterpiece,” by Brian Johnston
Q & A
“Buster Keaton and the 1920s,” by Martha Jett
Q & A
Screening of Then Came the Storm —screening of a video from a live stage presentation tracing Buster's birth in nearby Piqua.
Dinner Break
Special event: Dinner @ Allen Co. Country Club, Advanced ticket were required
Featured speaker was Melissa Talmadge Cox, a granddaughter of Buster Keaton, speaking on Buster's Italian Villa.

  • The number of available places waslimited.
  • $30 donation as checks, cash and credit cards were accepted.
  • Social begans at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6:00, Friday, Sept 28, 2012
Fri. evening screenings:
The High Sign (short) — one of Keaton's earliest solo short films
Our Hospitality (feature)
—with musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

SAT., Sept. 29, 2012

A.M.: 9:00
Registration opened at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola, KS,
Auditorium Lobby (Free admission)
Welcome and introductions
Master of Ceremonies Bill Shaffer
“Practical Jokes and Wacky Inventions” by David Macleod
Q & A
So Funny It Hurts: Keaton at MGM —short documentary by Kevin Brownlow, with introduction by James Karen
Q & A
Lunch Break
P.M.: 1:00
Welcome and introductions
Master of Ceremonies Hooman Mehran
“Twenty Years of Keaton Celebrations: the Founders Panel Discussion Part II,” with Mary Martin, Amy Specht, Bill Shaffer, Jane Bartholomew and Bruce Symes, moderated by Frank Scheide
Q & A
“The Talmadge & Keaton Families,” by Melissa Talmadge Cox, Barbara Talmadge, & Harry Keaton Jr., moderated by David Macleod
Q & A
“Preserving Buster,” by Kevin Brownlow & David Shepard, Historians & Film Preservationists, with Hooman Mehran
Q & A
Short Subject
Dinner Break
Sat. evening screenings:
Paradise for Buster (short) —a rarely-shown John Deere industrial film starring Buster Keaton
The General (Keaton feature)
—with musical accompaniment by Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra

Guests and schedule are subject to change if circumstances warrant. See the Iola Keaton Celebration web site for updates.
Abstracts of talks and speaker bios are linked from the Official web site Program page.

Speakers & Guests:
  • Jane Bartholomew, long-time Keaton Committee member
  • Kevin Brownlow, Historian, Film Preservationist and recepient of an Academy Honorary Award at the Second Annual Governors Awards given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November, 13, 2010
  • Melissa Talmadge Cox, Buster's granddaughter
  • Keith Goering, original/continuing Keaton Committee member
  • Martha Jett, Documentary Filmmaker and Keaton Biographer
  • James Karen, long-time Buster Keaton friend and award winning actor
  • Harry Keaton Jr., Buster's nephew, son of his brother, Harry "Jingles" Keaton
  • David Macleod, Keaton historian and co-founder of the Blinking Buzzards Buster Keaton Appreciation Society (UK)
  • Mary Martin, retired director of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, Iola, co-founder of the the Buster Keaton Celebration, and co-chair of the Keaton Committee
  • Hooman Mehran, co-editor of The Chaplin Review, and all around film comedy aficionado
  • Bill Shaffer, Producer/Director KTWU Channel 11, Topeka, and Keaton Committee member since 1996
  • David Shepard, Historian & Film Preservationist
  • Amy Specht, original/continuing Keaton Committee member
  • Barbara Talmadge, Buster's daughter-in-law
  • John Tibbetts, PhD, University of Kansas and original Keaton Committee member
  • Clyde Toland, co-founder of the Buster Keaton Celebration, Iola, and original Keaton Committee member

Humanities Presenters:

  • Lisa Stein Haven, Ph.D. University of Ohio, Zanesville
  • Brian Johnston, Ph.D. Indiana State University
  • Fred Krebs, retired professor at Johnson Co. Community College, Overland Park, and original/continuing Keaton Committee member
  • Vergil E. Noble, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
  • Frank Scheide, Ph.D., University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Keaton Celebration co-chair

FYI, a link to 6:35 minutes of video:
John Bengston on the locations used for The General —Cottage Grove, Oregon, during filming & today

At 1st Celebration, 1993:
First Celebration Committee
Above: Amy Specht, Mary Martin and John Tibbetts on the left and Fred Krebbs, Clyde Toland and author Wes Gehring on the right.

Carol Yohio, first-ever Keaton buttons
Above: Carol Yoho with first-ever Keaton buttons

David Macloed gives the secret password
Blinking Buzzards password

Page by Carol Yoho
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Bill Shaffer of the Keaton Celebration Committee
models the 20th Annual Keaton Celebration T-Shirt

Bill Shaffer in Keaton t-shirt

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