During the month of May, the Ransom Center hosts the free Vaudeville Film Series in conjunction with its exhibition Vaudeville!, which is on display through July 15. For more than a century, vaudeville was the most popular form of American entertainment and one of the country’s largest cultural exports.
Eric Colleary, the Ransom Center’s Cline Curator of Theatre and Performing Arts, will introduce the films.
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
Thursday, May 3, 7 p.m.
The film features Mae West in her early stage persona of Diamond Lil. Alongside Cary Grant, West’s performance captures the environment of a late nineteenth-century Bowery theater. Runtime: 66 minutes.
Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913) and The Natural Born Gambler (1916)
Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.
Starring vaudeville sensation Bert Williams, these rare silent films are thought to be among the earliest to feature African American actors. Lime Kiln Club Field Day was preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The Lillian Gish Trust for Film Preservation. Combined runtime: 87 minutes.
The Cocoanuts (1929)
Thursday, May 17, 7 p.m.
The Marx Brothers’ early vaudeville acts were pieced together and expanded to create elaborate stage and screen musical comedies such as The Cocoanuts. Runtime: 96 minutes.
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
Thursday, May 24, 7 p.m.
William Powell and Myrna Loy star in the biographical musical of legendary impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. Runtime: 176 minutes.
Screenings at the Ransom Center are free. Our theater seats 125. Line forms upon arrival of the first person, and doors open 30 minutes in advance. Patrons are encouraged to visit the exhibition, which is open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, before attending the screenings.