FINAL COOK SERIES WILL SCREEN “JAYHAWKERS” A NEW FILM ABOUT WILT CHAMBERLIN’S PLAYING DAYS AT KU
After a two-year restoration and temporary close-down, the Brown Grand Theatre in Concordia will host the final Cook Series event of the season, a screening of “Jayhawkers,” a new feature-length film by Kansas filmmaker, Kevin Willmott, Monday, May 12, 7:00 p.m.
Willmott was a presenter on the Cook Series in 2010 which featured his film, “CSA,” a fictional depiction of what America might have looked like if the South had won the Civil War.
In “Jayhawkers,” Willmott focuses on KU in the l950’s and what Lawrence was like at the time the great Wilt Chamberlin was recruited to play basketball for the Jayhawks.
Although Brown vs. Board of Education was around the corner, Lawrence was a haven for racism and segregation. Playing jazz was not tolerated at the KU school of music.
Legendary coach, Phog Allen, with the encouragement of James Naismith, the “Father of Basketball,” recruited African American Chamberlin to come to Kansas. Both men were mostly oblivious to racial undercurrents in their town and Free State Kansas. Born in Philadelphia, 7-footer Chamberlain, was likewise naïve to the presence of double standards for blacks. However, after his sensational performances on the court along with his growing cadre of screaming fans, Chamberlin is credited – in the film, anyway – for ushering in progressive racial acceptance.
With a steaming jazz musical score and plenty of intense basketball footage, the film takes viewers back to a time when modern sports history was being forged.
All Cook Series events, in partnership with the Cloud County Community College Foundation, are free to the public.