Local Film Historian Screens W.C. Field Films, Shorts in NYC

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis-based film historian Eric Grayson screened films and shorts starring W.C. Fields at a special invitation-only event honoring Fields at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City on June 22.
Since 2005, Grayson has been working with two of Fields’ grandchildren, Dr. Harriet Fields and Ronald J. Fields, to preserve their grandfather’s films and shorts. A film tribute to Grayson by the grandchildren was shown at a Vintage Movie Night event at Garfield Park Arts Center earlier this year.
The New York event was held one hundred years and one day after Fields made his Broadway debut. While we may think of him as a film actor, he performed for years on the stage. Often, his stage routines were later incorporated into some of his films.
Fields starred in the famed Ziegfeld Follies at the New Amsterdam Theatre, along with other well-known performers, and in many other productions there and at other theatres in New York.
In addition to viewing excerpts from the films and shorts, all in Grayson’s extensive collection, a panel discussed the career and impact of W.C. Fields. In addition to the two grandchildren, the panel included former TV show host Dick Cavett, Arthur Wertheim (author of two books on Fields), and Dana Amendola (Vice President for Operations at the Disney Theatrical Group, the current owner of the New Amsterdam Theatre).