Give it the old ‘College’ try

Keaton movie night showcases silent films

On Saturday, Oct.15, the Cottage Grove Historical Society will present its annual Buster Keaton Film Night, an evening of nostalgic entertainment presented in 16mm film format at the Cottage Grove Community Center.

This annual fundraiser provides an evening of Buster Keaton comedy films from the silent era with musical accompaniment. Attendees will be treated to vintage projection on reels. Highlights for the program include sound newsreel and cartoon, followed by the Keaton short subject, “The Blacksmith” (1922), and the feature film “College” (1927). This film was made the year after completing the silent film “The General” (1926), which was filmed entirely in Cottage Grove.

Local Keaton historian Lloyd Williams will provide insight into Buster’s life, movies and love of Cottage Grove.

Film critic Roger Ebert stated, "The greatest of the silent clowns is Buster Keaton, not only because of what he did, but because of how he did it. Harold Lloyd made us laugh as much, Charlie Chaplin moved us more deeply, but no one had more courage than Buster."

In an article from May 3, 1926, The Cottage Grove Sentinel reported that Keaton had sent Hollywood location scouts to Cottage Grove to consider the town as background for his Civil War classic. Within two weeks, reports of tracks being built in the Culp Creek area for one of Hollywood's most expensive stunts ever filmed was underway.

The movie is now widely considered one of the greatest films in movie history.

In “The Blacksmith,” Keaton shoes horses and repairs cars. A customer gets into a fight with the smithy while the assistant tries to help several customers with devastating comedic consequences.

In “College,” Keaton plays a character named Ronald, whose high-school valedictory address praises books and condemns sports. His girlfriend Mary condemns his attitude. Fearing to lose her to rival Jeff, he decides to go to college and pay more attention to sports. Despite playing a high school and college student, Buster Keaton was actually 31 during filming.

“College” is included among the American Film Institute's list of 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
Admission to the Buster Keaton Film Nigh is $5 per person, and is a family friendly and wheelchair accessible event.

Concessions and refreshments will be provided at the screening at 700 E Gibbs Ave, Cottage Grove. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the program begins at 7:30.

For more information, visit or follow

Video News