Cream-pie combat screens at ‘Silent Film Medley’: Walt Strony performs live musical accompaniment |

Cream-pie combat screens at ‘Silent Film Medley’: Walt Strony performs live musical accompaniment

Trina Kleist
Special to Prospector

Three silent classics will feature belly-busting comedians against a backdrop of great music performed live, during “A Silent Film Medley” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

Internationally acclaimed theater organist Walt Strony will perform music from the period to evoke the films’ action and emotions – and sometimes, offer a humorous musical counterpoint. Admission is by donation, and a free wine-and-cheese reception follows the concert. This is a production of Arts @ PEACE, the church’s program of high-quality cultural events open to all, at 828 W. Main St., near downtown.

“A Silent Film Medley” presents three classic films that recently have been restored, said Strony, who performs at silent film festivals across the country.

In the 1927 smash “The Battle of the Century,” comic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy forged the visual icon of a cream-pie in the kisser. This performance marks the regional premiere of the restored film. The cream-pie throw-fest was on the film’s second reel, which was lost early in the film’s history, except for a few fragments. But a copy of the second reel surfaced and was first shown at a Library of Congress-sponsored film workshop in 2015, according to Dissolve writer Keith Phipps.

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“A Trip to the Moon” is a sweet adventure directed by Georges Méliès and released in France in 1902 as “Le Voyage Dans la Lun.” This ground-breaking work of science fantasy found inspiration in the fiction of 19th-century novelist Jules Verne.

The 1924 masterpiece “Sherlock Jr.” stars Buster Keaton. The Great Stone Face portrays a movie projectionist in trouble with his girlfriend’s father; he dreams of becoming a detective to solve the mystery of the father’s stolen watch. Look for the montage that marks the beginning of the character’s dream; it’s “one of the most famous sequences in cinema history,” writes culture critic Noel Murray of The Dissolve.

The three films and Strony’s comments on them will run about 1 hour 30 minutes.

All donations to this event benefit the church’s effort to purchase a new organ capable of playing real pipes – a unique cultural asset the whole community can enjoy. Peace Lutheran Church is raising money to replace the aging digital organ in its sanctuary – basically a 30-year-old computer. Donations are tax-deductible.

Trina Kleist is outreach coordinator for Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley. She can be reached at

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