Screened at Cinema Borealis (1550 N. Milwaukee, 4th Floor) Presented by NORTHWEST CHICAGO FILM SOCIETY


October 9th, 2011

A regional independent film? A country western musical? An early Robert Altman script? A roman a clef about real-life popcorn baron Charles Manley? A masterpiece? Corn’s-A-Poppin’ is all these things and more. Produced on the cheap in a Kansas City TV station (economically, it’s also set largely in a TV station) by a band of young talent schooled in the production techniques of The Calvin Corporation, the Midwest’s most innovative industrial film studio, Corn’s-A-Poppin’ is just about the most free-wheeling and sing-able hour of cinema we’ve ever seen. Down-home crooner Jerry Wallace plays Johnny Wilson, the star of the Pinwhistle Popcorn Hour, a half-pint (and half-hour) variety show with acts ranging from pro-hog caller Lillian Gravelguard to Hobie Shepp and His Cow Town Wranglers. Might the cornpone bookings be an act of sabotage by rogue PR man Waldo Crummit in a bid to gut the Pinwhistle Empire? It’s up to Little Cora Rice to save the day. Songs include: “On Our Way to Mars,” “Running After Love,” and “Want a Balloon.” Financed largely by regional showmen and probably not seen anywhere outside of Kansas City until 2007, Chicago’s new cult classic will receive one triumphant last public screening before going on the restoration docket. Panel discussion to follow.

Directed by Robert Woodburn, (1956, 58 min)
Commonwealth Amusements Co., 35mm from Radio Cinema Film Archive

The Northwest Chicago Film Society is an Illinois Not-For-Profit Organization. It exists to promote the preservation of film in context. Films capture the past uniquely. They hold the stories told by feature films, but also the stories of the industries that produced them, the places where they were exhibited, and the people who watched them. We believe that all of this history-not just of film, but of 20th century industry and culture-is more intelligible when it’s grounded in unsimulated experience: seeing a film in a theater, with an audience, and projected from film stock. Films are programmed and projected by Julian Antos, Becca Hall, and Kyle Westphal


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