December 25, 2016 will mark the 70th anniversary of the passing from our plane of the great stage and screen comedian W.C. Fields. To mark the occasion we have organized Fields Fest, a festival of talks, screening and other events to celebrate the life and career of the Great Man. Fields Fest is our follow up to the highly successful Marxfest, which took place in May of 2014.
Here’s some of what we have planned. Stay tuned for updates! Two additional events are in the works besides what’s below:
Tuesday, November 1, 7:00pm: Launch event at the Lambs: W.C. Fields for President
Did you know that in addition to being one of the most popular American entertainers of the 20th century, W.C. Fields was also a proud member of The Lambs? The clubhouse will once again be filled with the stories and charm so often on display from Fields during a special night on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. The team behind the upcoming stage show W.C. Fields For President (based on the humor book Fields for President, recently re-released with a new forward by Dick Cavett) will present a night devoted to the showman’s legacy. The event will bring to The Lambs actor-circus performer Glen Heroy, star of the one-man show, and its writer-director, the mountebank Trav S.D. (author of No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous), and Lauren Milberger, as Gracie Allen!. A suggested donation of $10 supports The Lambs Foundation. 3 West 51st Street. www.the-lambs.org. Attendance is limited, RSVP to Kevin Fitzpatrick, kevin [AT ]fitzpatrickauthor.com.
Thursday, November 17, 7:00pm: Hear and Now with Rachel Cleary
Trav S.D. and Glen Heroy (of W.C. Fields for President) will appear on Rachel Cleary’s Radio Free Brooklyn show. Listen to it here: http://radiofreebrooklyn.com/show/hear-and-now-with-rachel-c/
Tuesday, November 22, 7:30pm: The Bank Dick (1940)
The classic Fields film, introduced by Dr. Harriet Fields, W.C.’s only granddaughter and global health activist, at the Cinema Arts Center, Huntington Long Island: www.cinemaartscentre.org
Thursday, December 1, 6:30pm: “W.C. Fields in Vaudeville”
Trav S.D. talks about the great comedian’s early years in show business as a juggler in vaudeville and a revue comedian, and the many ways those experiences influenced his later motion pictures. The talk will be illustrated and will draw from the author’s research on the comedian for his blog Travalanche (travsd.wordpress.com) and his popular book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous. At the Mid-Manhattan Branch of NY Public Library, 455 Fifth Ave, Sixth Floor. FREE
Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm: “W.C. Fields in Astoria: The Paramount Silents”
Many people know that W.C. Fields had one of the most distinctive speaking voices of the classic comedy era. What they may not realize is that prior to the advent of talking pictures, Fields was a SILENT comedy star. From 1924 through 1928 he appeared in ten Paramount features filmed at that studio’s Astoria Queens facility. In this illustrated talk author and lecturer Trav S.D. takes you up close to this lesser known stretch of the Great Man’s career, and shows how much of Fields’ silent work presaged his better known talkies. At Greater Astoria Historical Society, Queens: www.astorialic.org
Monday, December 12, 7pm: “W.C. Fields: From Dime Museums to the Jazz Age” an illustrated talk by Trav S.D., sponsored by Zelda Magazine
A look at screen comedian W.C. Fields’ growth from humble sideshow and dime museum juggler to sketch comedian and one of the biggest stars of sophisticated Broadway revues like the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’ Sandals and Earl Carrol’s Vanities. Along the way meet the glittering stars he shared the limelight with like Louise Brooks, Fanny Brice, Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor. Admission: $8. Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn NY
Sunday, December 25, 4pm: W.C. Fields Memorial Pub Crawl
The culminating event of Fields Fest, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the day in which The Great Man met the Man in the Bright Night Gown. Location TBA
Thursday, December 29, 7:00: The Man on the Flying Trapeze
A screening of Field’s often overlooked 1935 Paramount classic The Man on the Flying Trapeze at Metrograph. Celebrity guest speaker TBA.
All of this sounds fantastic!! Hope I can join in a few of these events!
Once Upon a Screen