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Vaska caps 70th with 'The Lawton Story'

A piece of film history tying Lawton and Hollywood together will cap the Vaska Theatre's 70th anniversary this weekend.

"The Lawton Story," also known as "The Prince of Peace," was filmed in 1948 at the Holy City of the Wichitas. It included multiple scenes of the annual Easter pageant interspersed with a story of a young girl who tries to convince her uncle to visit the religious production. Justin Hackney, property manager for the Vaska Theatre, said it was the perfect film to conclude the Vaska's 70th anniversary celebration.

"It made sense because the movie came out in 1949 and the Vaska here opened in 1948," he said.

Thought lost for many years, the Holy City of the Wichitas acquired the only known copy from the Hallmark Channel. The film had been severely damaged, so the board of directors contracted with a company to repair the film and put it back together. It's still missing certain scenes, however, which have been lost. But Hackney said the version screened at the Vaska will be the most complete release available.

"There's some scenes of a child who's asking a relative to tell the story," he said. "Those are not in this piece. But everything else is there for the movie."

The Lawton Constitution

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