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Theater to screen Monroe native's silent movie
Photo of W.W. Young courtesy of Charlotte Groth
WATERTOWN - The Towne Cinema in Watertown will be hosting an evening to celebrate the life of Monroe native W.W. Young and his silent film "Alice in Wonderland." The event will be held in honor of the 100th anniversary of the film's 1915 release.

The 42-minute film will be shown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Towne Cinema, 308 E. Main St. The screening is free and open to the public. Free tickets can be picked up in advance at the theater or by calling 920-390-4500; tickets will also be available at the door, space permitting.

This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll's classic book, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" on which the film is based.

Two newspaper review quotes from 1915, the year the film was released read: "The production will please all who have the good fortune to see it" and "The scene effects and costuming are but two of the things which make this a wonderful film."

The silent film will be shown as it would have been when the film was released 100 years ago. David Drazin, a silent film accompanist from Evanston, Illinois will perform during the film. Drazin is internationally recognized for his piano improvisations accompanying silent films and has played at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy. He performs for silent films regularly at the Chicago Art Institute, The Detroit Film Theater and at UW-Madison's Cinematheque.

Young attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he founded the student newspaper The Daily Cardinal in 1892. He went on to be UW's first journalism major through the English Department.

In 1888, Young left Monroe to attend UW-Madison to study journalism because he saw a course in the catalogue titled, "English Literature and Journalism."

When Young founded The Daily Cardinal in 1892, he noted that "Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Ann Arbor, and Cornell have dailies, and we, in point of numbers and excellence in certain departments, have no reason to be behind in this respect." It became the sixth student daily newspaper in the nation.

On April 3, 1892, Young rode his horse down State Street late at night to the pressroom of the Madison Democrat and signed off to print 2,000 copies of the first issue of the Daily Cardinal. They were made available to UW students the next day for 3 cents per copy. University students voted to name their newspaper

The Daily Cardinal because Cardinal represented the red in their school colors.

Young later moved to Chicago to be the Sunday editor of Hearst's Chicago American and then to New York City to be an editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, a staff writer for the New York Sunday World and the head of the "National Editorial Service" of New York.

Early photos of Young will be on display in the theater lobby. Charlotte Groth, local historian and genealogist, will give an introduction before the screening. She is Young's great-great niece, and she also will have a post-film discussion about Young's life as a journalist and filmmaker.