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Black History in Doylestown

(Photo courtesy Stratton Family Archives: Standing in center: Sid Stratton)

On Wednesday February 26th beginning at 7:30 the County Theater in Doylestown, located at 20 East State Street has scheduled a one-time only showing of the African-American 1927 silent film, “Scar of Shame”. At 7:30, Doylestown descendant Doreen Stratton will introduce the film, along with her sister Judith and brother Howard. Their father Grayson S. Stratton is briefly featured in the film with his band, Sid Stratton and the Four Horsemen.

“Scar of Shame” was shown a few years ago on Turner Classic Movies Silent Film Series. Part of the review published on TMC’s website states–

The essential crisis of The Scar of Shame is the struggle to rise above the downward pull of the “street,” and this conflict is represented quite effectively in the film’s well-orchestrated (at times overwrought) dramatics. Just as Louise was unable to escape the influence of her stepfather, Alvin finds his promising future endangered by the secret romance of his past, suggesting that every level of black society faces obstacles beyond the obvious black/white struggle.

The film—a production of the Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia–featured a cast entirely of African Americans, receiving positive reviews for its portrayal of the Black Experience. Midway in the film there is a pivotal scene where the main characters interact in a night club. The dance floor is filled with couples moving to the music of Stratton’s orchestra seen in the background.

During the 1940s through early 1960 Sid Stratton’s band was a known fixture in Doylestown and Bucks County performing at venues such as the Turk Tavern, VFW, Doylestown Country Club, American Legion, Doylestown Army and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. His band also performed in the Counties of Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.

For ticket information call the theater at 215.345.6789 or visit their website at countytheater.org.