Silent Sunday’s with Swanson
Come enjoy a Sunday afternoon with silent film classics accompanied live by professional pianist Adam Swanson (to learn more about Adam read below)! The next Silent Sunday is going to be a Silent Short Extravaganza! In order present a broad spectrum of silent film for new fans, Swanson will screen and accompany FOUR short two-reel comedies featuring a variety of stars of the silent period. The jovial yet tragic early film star Fatty Arbuckle will be featured alongside Buster Keaton, followed by Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and lastly a special short from the 1920s perfectly suited for audiences from Durango—Chasing Choo Choos starring Monty Banks. The historic Henry Strater Theatre is a perfect venue for silent film—experience vintage cinema the way it was meant to be! A cash bar with popcorn and candy will be open. These events will be family friendly, so bring your kids and enjoy this fun and unique opportunity.
The Bell Boy (Paramount Pictures, 1918)
Starring Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and Buster Keaton
Fatty Arbuckle’s work is a great introduction to short silent comedies for those who have never seen them. He was among the most popular screen actor of the 1910s, who began appearing with the Keystone Cops as early as 1913. Only a few years later he would help give Buster Keaton his start. In this classic short from 1918, The Bell Boy, Fatty and Buster work at a small-town hotel and eventually wreck the place. The Bell Boy includes Arbuckle’s “shaving routine” where he transforms a man in a barber shop into General Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and finally the Kaiser!
One A.M. (Mutual Film Corporation, 1916)
Starring Charlie Chaplin
By far the most famous name today from the silent era is the one and only Charlie Chaplin, born in London in 1889. Though his career lasted decades, for our first Chaplin presentation at Silent Sundays we’re screening an early Chaplin short from 1916 entitled One A.M. Filmed shortly after the invention of his “Tramp” character, in One A.M., Chaplin returns home late at night and manages to solve hilarious situations while drunkenly striving to make it into his bed upstairs. One A.M. was the first film in which Chaplin starred by himself!
Liberty (MGM, 1929)
Starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
Two more of the well-remembered names from the silent era are comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Their popularity today is as strong as ever thanks to the recent blockbuster documentary movie Stan and Ollie. In Liberty, one of the duo’s last silent films, the boys play escaped convicts who are trying to fool the police. In order to do so, they must change pants, but the cops don’t give up until the boys run into an elevator and nearly fall from the top of a skyscraper!!
Chasing Choo Choos (Pathé Exchange, 1927)
Starring Monty Banks
Chasing Choo Choos should be a thrill for Durango railfans! This is a shortened version of a feature-length movie called Play Safe, starring a talented but largely forgotten actor of the 1920s, Monty Banks. The second half of this short includes incredible real-life footage with many stunts filmed on the San Diego and Arizona Railway. Virginia Lee Corbin plays Monty’s “Girl Friday.” Will he rescue her from the runaway train or not?
Adam Swanson is one of the world’s foremost performers of vintage American popular music, including ragtime, early jazz, the Great American Songbook, and more. He holds a bachelor’s in classical piano and a master’s in musicology from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Although he is only twenty-seven years old, Adam has been a featured performer and lecturer at ragtime and jazz festivals across the United States, and he is the only four-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. He made his New York debut in Carnegie Hall at the age of nineteen, where he performed with Michael Feinstein. Adam has performed at the Cinecon Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., as well as in Hungary, Switzerland, and Australia. He has worked with such musicians as Toronto’s John Arpin, former rock star Ian Whitcomb, and legendary 1950s recording artist Johnny Maddox, who was one of Adam’s greatest influences. Adam frequently performs at the historic Strater Hotel where he makes his home in Durango, Colorado. Visit Adam online: www.adamgswanson.com.