box upper left Screwball Comedy, April 26 and 27, 2002 Fifth Annual ZaSu Pitts Film Festival
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For more information contact
: Mike Brotherton,

Screwball Comedy
Duane Byrge, co-author of The Screwball Comedy Films: A History and Filmography, 1934-1942, will be featured at the Fifth Annual ZaSu Pitts Film Festival in Parsons, Kansas, April 26 and 27. He is senior editor for and previously was the longtime senior film critic for The Hollywood Reporter. Byrge will be available to sign copies of his book.

The theme of this year's festival is Screwball Comedies: Laughing Through Troubled Times. The festival will focus on the depression years and will feature a panel discussion of local residents who will speak about their lives during the depression. The festival will also exhibit a collage of 1920-1940's photographs depicting people in everyday life.

Films to be shown include four classics from this era:

  • My Man Godfrey (1936) starring William Powell and Carole Lombard
  • Ball of Fire (1941) with Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper
  • Broadway Limited (1941) starring ZaSu Pitts and Victor McLaglen
  • The Palm Beach Story (1942) featuring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea

Several short films starring ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd will also be shown.

The festival is an annual event held to pay tribute to ZaSu Pitts who was born in Parsons in 1898. Her family moved to Santa Cruz, California in 1903 and she began her film career in 1917. She was discovered among a group of spectators watching Mary Pickford in the filming of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She was cast as an extra in the film and was given a much larger role in Pickford's next film, The Little Princess. Pitts would go on to appear in more than 500 films, doing drama and later comedy. From 1956 to 1960 she costarred with Gale Storm in the television series Oh! Susanna. Pitts died in 1963.

Festival activities include a memorabilia exhibit, movie shorts and more.

All activities will be at Labette Community College
and are free and open to the public.

The festival is sponsored by the Parsons Arts and Humanities Council, Kansas Humanities Council, Labette County Convention
and Visitors Bureau, Labette Community College
and by businesses and individuals.

Festival logo © 2002 by Carol Yoho
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