Oz for Silent Saturday and Old Timey Franklin Nostalgia for Mother's Day


Above left, a scene from 1910 Wizard of Oz; at right an image of Franklin children, circa 1910.

Two special programs will enliven the Franklin Historical Museum this weekend, back-to-back silent film versions of the Wizard of Oz, Saturday evening at 6 pm and at 1 pm on Mothers Day, the Second Sunday Speaker Series will feature the century-old images of Franklin created by photographer Nathan Wales.

A Silent Oz Saturday...

The ongoing Silent Saturday film series curated by Chris Leverone in cooperation with the Franklin Senior Center. This week’s films sprang from the fertile mind of author L. Frank Baum and the first of the two Wizard of Oz films from 1910 was produced under his guidance. An image from this film is shown above. It is very short, little more than 12 minutes, but has many familiar story elements. Then, the 1925 Wizard of Oz film is described by Wikipedia as a ‘silent fantasy-adventure comedy film’ directed by Larry Semon, who also performs in the lead role as a Kansas farmhand disguised as the Scarecrow.

The production is the only completed 1920s adaptation of Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and stars Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman, and Curtis McHenry briefly disguised as a less "cowardly" Lion than in the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer version of Baum's work. It is about one and a half hours in length. The program is free.

Second Sunday Speaker Series – Glass Negatives of Nathan Wales

Historical Commission vice chair, Mary Olsson, will showcase an amazing collection of historic images. At the turn of the 20th century, Franklin’s own Nathan S. Wales was an active professional photographer across the region including in Foxboro, Marstons Mills, Medway, Milford, Plainville, Sheldonville, St. Johns, Upton, and Wrentham

The subjects he photographed include group portraits, landscapes, street scenes, and people taking part in various recreational activities. In 2021, this vast collection went on auction and private parties from town secured hundreds of images of Franklin, many of which will be shown on Sunday, along with the handwritten descriptions found on the envelopes that protected the original glass negatives for more than a century. The doors open at 1 and the event starts formally at 1.15. There is no charge for admission.

The museum is handicap accessible. The museum is also open to visitors on Saturday from 10 to 1 and is located at 80 West Central St.

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