CLASSIC FILM FALL REPORT: Fly in to ‘Fly Over States’

Fields of sunflowers with their friendly faces reaching up to the sky, as rumbles of enormous dark storm clouds approach rapidly. This scene was played out just a couple of days ago in my town and is pretty typical here in the heartland, as we transition from the long, hot days of late summer into cool Autumn. But what may be less known about this part of the country, is the surprising storm of classic film events swiftly advancing in the next few weeks.


In a fun mix of both silent greats and film noir dark delights, classic film fans can appreciate the multiple offerings in northeastern Kansas and Kansas City metro area.



  • Sunday, 9/20 at 7:30pm
  • Alloy Orchestra live musical accompaniment
  • Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS
  • cost: $19 + tax
  • Tickets and more info: FOOTPRINTS site

Mick Ranney has been the owner of FOOTPRINTS shoe store for over 35 years, operating out of an old limestone storefront, originally built as a grocery store in the 1870s. Now a successful business with a heavy focus on all things Birkenstock (plus a few other lines to boot), Mick has turned his strong ties to the community combined with his passion of classic film to bring spectacular classic film events to this enchanting small town.

For several years now, he has brought silent masterpieces and recently restored gems such as NOSFERATU (1922), BLACK MAIL (1929), BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925) and the restored classic THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (part of his WW2 Film Festival, which at that time was recently restored and only being shown in 2 venues across the country – the Film Forum in NYC and little Lawrence, KS). Always presented with live musical accompaniment (usually the famous Alloy Orchestra or Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra) in the intimate setting of the 300 seat capacity Lawrence Arts Center. You can find tickets online here, but you may want to hurry before it sells out.

*Mick’s creative skills are playfully expressed in his video clips to promote his screenings. I highly recommend not only attending in person, but also ‘liking’ the Footprints FaceBook page to check out his fun video clips.



This year’s theme is Buster Keaton & The Marx Brothers: Celebrating American Laughter.  Andy Marx, Groucho’s grandson was originally scheduled to appear but canceled last month. No worries, a great line-up of guest speakers and artists are firmly on board with a full schedule of silver screen comedy treats.

Hosting this annual event since 1993, Iola is short hop from Piqua (pronounced “PICKway”), Buster Keaton’s birthplace. Recent presenters and speakers have included: members of the Keaton and Talmadge family, Oscar and Emmy winning director/producer/silent film extraordinaire Kevin Brownlow, actor and close friend of Buster’s James Karen, comedy legend Steve Allen, film critic Leonard Maltin, film preservationist David Shepard, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, and many more.

This is a must for Buster aficionados, comedy and silent film fans, and frankly anyone up for great Autumnal weekend in this quant little town.


NOIR CITY Kansas City:

  • Friday, 10/2, Saturday 10/3, Sunday 10/4
  • Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet, Kansas City, MO
  • cost: $75 for a passport to all 10 screenings plus nightclub party
  • all the info: 
"Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller, president and founder of the Film Noir Foundation

“Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller, president and founder of the Film Noir Foundation is a modern-day renaissance man of multi talents

Just over the state line on the Missouri side, this is the 2nd annual installment of the Kansas City Film Noir Festival. Presented in part by the Film Noir Foundation, the “Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller’s ‘baby,’ ushers in 3 days and nights of 10 noir gems. The schedule of films include two 35mm restorations and two 35mm preservations! (Three of these four are fresh from FNF!) A total of ten dark delectables to savor including, of course, The Kansas City Confidential.

Individual screenings are very affordable starting $7 per show. Full beverage and food service is offered at these shows. The Nightclub event gets swinging Friday night, 9pm-2am. With three noir acts to set the retro KC mood with sexy, jazzy and even burlesque tones, Laura Ellis, Evie Lovelle, The Latenight Callers will perform at The Chesterfield.  [NOIR CITY KC TIP: save that Alamo Drafthouse movie tix stub for a $2 drink discount.] Tickets: $10 in advance.

The best Noir City KC tip I can offer is to purchase the passport. It’s a steal for $75 smackers to get into all 10 screenings, the Nightclub and speedier, shorter lines for best seating. For directions and parking options, click HERE.

As you can see, you don’t have to fly out to one of the coasts to experience some amazing classic film events. If you’re not familiar with the Kansas/Missouri/Kansas City area, feel free to contact me for details on logistics and good places to stay and eat. Hope to see you there! Who knows. This might just change your definition of ‘the flyover states.’


KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND! Summer Sizzles in Cool Noir on TCM- plus more!

Boy howdy, is there a fun summer in store for you, film fans! In case you haven’t heard, Turner Classic Movies network has packed your summer with everything you need to keep those hot, sizzling days nice and cool. Whether you’re up for family fun flicks or dark noir, TCM has the ultimate silver screen soiree scheduled for everyone… all summer long.



Eddie Muller~ President of the Noir Film Foundation, film preservationist, celebrated author, friend to TCM and undisputed film noir expert (looks nice in a fedora, to boot!) Photo credit: TCM

Starting June 5th, the home of the classics will become the home of noir with their breakthrough programming event, “Summer Of Darkness.” Hosted by Eddie Muller, over two hundred delectably dark films that shaped an entire genre will air on TCM for a full twenty-four hours every Friday, throughout June and July.



Richard L. Edwards, Ph.D. Executive Director iLearn Research at Ball State University and noir scholar

As if that wasn’t enough, TCM has teamed up with Ball State University for a film noir course offering, “Into The Darkness: Investigating Film Noir.” It’s not too late to sign up for this FREE online multimedia class. Whether you’re a noir aficionado or a noir newbie, this is the event not to be missed! Everyone is welcome and its easily self-paced to accommodate any schedule. You don’t even have to be subscribed to TCM network (they’ll provide links) to complete the class- but following along to Eddie Muller’s Summer Of Darkness is definitely the ideal way to enjoy the experience.

The coursework includes social media components so it’s a great way to connect with fellow film fans. Twitter hashtag for both the course and simply watching along on Fridays… #NoirSummer. You can skip the trench coat and fedora if so inclined (but I’m rather inclined myself), then just click HERE for all the details!

But wait, there’s more. You can enter sweepstakes for a chance at nabbing some cool stuff at the noir shop! (I’ll take the fedora, or the martini shaker, or the $50k 1941 Lincoln Continental, thank you very much.) Just sign up for the class, then enter for your chance to win HERE.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 9.12.52 PM

Ready for something on the lighter side of the dark shadows? How about the TCM Movie Camp! In what used to be the Essentials, Jr. past timeslot on Sunday evenings hosted by the hilarious and talented Bill Hader, the good folks at TCM are bringing us an updated format with new hosts. Movie Camp will look at flicks for all ages but with a fun twist starting this weekend.

William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg get animated this summer

William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg get animated this summer

From Moonbot Studios, Oscar-winning hosts William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg will serve as our camp counselors, introducing classics with an appeal for younger audiences. And no need for bug spray or suncreen! With a new animated intro, they’ll show us the fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits to engage the curious minds of young and old alike.

If you have a summer vacation planned, I’d recommend pushing it off ’til August. And if you can’t budget the beach destination this year, no problem. This is the summer to “staycation” with TCM. Your June and July months are now booked solid in sizzling style. As the ‘Noir Ninja’ himself Eddie Muller says, noir is “suffering with style.” I’m looking forward to earning my certification via this noir course, to animated Sunday evenings, and to spending my summer discovering exactly what he means by that description. After all, if film noir is suffering in style, I’ll willingly – and fashionably – retreat into those shadows.


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