KU News Release


April 13, 2011
Contact: Tamara Falicov, Department of Film and Media Studies, 785-864-1353

Student’s documentary about Topeka movie palace to be screened twice this month

Juli Pitzer (Photo: E. Drake Photography, Topeka)


LAWRENCE — A documentary on a Topeka movie palace by a University of Kansas doctoral student will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union.

The Department of Film and Media Studies and the Film and Media Graduate Council will present the film screening of Juli Stone Pitzer’s short documentary “Preserving the Past: Topeka’s Jayhawk Theatre.”

The film will also be shown at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library’s Marvin Auditorium.

Both screenings are free and open to the public.

The film was funded by the Kansas Humanities Council and premiered Jan. 29, Kansas Day, on Topeka’s CBS affiliate WIBW.

The film follows the story of Topeka’s Jayhawk Theatre, a 1926 movie palace, through its glory days before World War II until its closing in the 1970s.

Pitzer, of Eau Claire, Wis., focuses both on the history of the theater and the vitality of the downtown shopping district that once helped support the movie palace. She interviewed people who recalled not only their experiences of going downtown as kids to watch movies but also to eat and shop. Downtown districts of cities nationwide have declined, Pitzer notes. Topeka hopes to revitalize and preserve its heritage to rekindle life once held on its main street, Kansas Avenue.

“The future of the Jayhawk Theatre rests in the hope of revitalization and historic preservation,” Pitzer said.


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