Kansas Humanities Council - FLIKS (Film Lovers in Kansas) Version
Runtime: 15 mins 30 sec
This film explores the Jayhawk Theatre and the Jayhawk Complex (hotel, arcade, and former Crosby Department Store) as it played a role as a community center: a place where the people of Topeka and surrounding areas gathered. Housed in the Jayhawk Complex, the Jayhawk Theatre was more than an entertainment house. The theatre was where patrons heard the latest local, national, and international news; a place where local talent got their start; a place where the Crosby's showed their latest fashions through style shows on stage between acts; a place where children enjoyed Saturday morning serials and cartoons; and a place where different classes and races came under one roof, though entangled with issues of segregation.
Through on-camera interviews, photographs, newspaper clippings, and videoed tours, this documentary explores the Jayhawk Theatre as a community center for Topeka and greater Kansas people to congregate from 1926 to 1976. The Jayhawk Theatre has outlived every historic theatre that had its start in downtown Topeka since the late 19th century. Downtown Topeka was once a thriving entertainment and commercial place for people to congregate and like most small cities, it hopes to revive its downtown. Being one of the few historical buildings still remaining in downtown Topeka, with the possibility of future restoration, the Jayhawk has a social history to tell: a history that unifies and connects it with the larger social histories in Topeka, greater Kansas, and throughout the United States.
Full version (20 mins) is screening on KTWU in May 2012 and is available on DVD at the Kansas State Historical Society, the Jayhawk Theatre, and by emailing WonderCat Productions. The DVD includes 30 minutes of bonus short films on the history of Topeka, the Crosby Brothers Department Store, and the Jayhawk Hotel.