Friday, November 27, 2015

News of the Week November 27, 1915 -- November 27, 2015

The 27-November -1915 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"Testing funs at a famous American munition plant.  Copyright 1915 by Mutual Weekly."  Perhaps this is the Watervliet Arsenal, where many naval guns were developed. 

"Great Crowds gather in Chicago to Witness 'wet' parade.  Copyright 1915, Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  There was a large anti-prohibition parade in Chicago on Sunday, 07-November-1915. 

"Governor Elliott N. Major of Missouri takes flight in balloon.  Copyright 1915 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Elliot W (not N) Major was Governor of Missouri from 1913 to 1917.

"Dario Resta and his mechanician win Harkness Trophy.  Copyright 1915 by Mutual Weekly."  On 03-November-1915, Dario Resta, driving a Peugeot, averaged 105.39 mph for 100 miles at Sheepshead Bay to win the Harkness challenge cup.  I can't find the name of his riding mechanic. 

"Governor Whitman of New York attends christening of the Naval U. S. flying boat.  Copyright 1915 by Mutual Weekly."  This may be the christening by Governor Charles Whitman's daughter Olivia of a flying boat presented by Curtiss to the New York Naval Militia. 

"Mrs. Tom Thumb celebrates her 74th birthday.  Copyright 1915 by Pathe News."  Lavinia Warren Stoddard was the widow of PT Barnum's General Tom Thumb, Charles Stratton.  The general died in 1883. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 -- November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.
The photograph shows red-headed actress Peggy Shannon, who had performed in the Ziegfeld Follies and Earl Carroll's Vanities before going to Hollywood.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bring Home the Turkey -- November 24, 2015

Film Daily, 11-January-1927.

With Thanksgiving coming, I thought I would post this ad for an Our Gang comedy, "Bring Home the Turkey."  Note that it says "Hal Roach presents His Rascals."  "Little Rascals" was an alternate name for the group. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Phenakistoscope -- November 22, 2015

From The Story of the Motion Picture: 65 B.C. to 1920 A.D. By Ben Jehudah Lubschez.  Joseph Plateau was a Beligian mathematician. 

In the early thirties of the nineteenth century, following some optical experiments by Dr. Roget, Dr. Faraday and others, there was invented independently and almost simultaneously by Dr. Plateau of Ghent and Dr. Stampfer of Vienna, a disc contrivance showing the illusion of motion in pictures and depending on persistence of vision for effect. Plateau called his instrument the Phenakistoscope, and Stampfer called his, the Stroboscope. As Plateau carried his experiments much further than Stampfer, we shall ignore the Stroboscope. The Phenakistoscope consisted simply of two circular discs revolving on a common shaft. The front disc had several phases of a moving object drawn or painted on it, the different drawings being arranged radially near the outer edge. Behind this disc was a larger one with radial slots in it corresponding in number and position with the drawings on the front disc. The Phenakistoscope was held before a mirror and the discs rotated, the observer watching the reflected images of the front disc thru the slots of the back one, and seeing for the first time the illusion of motion in pictures!  Besides being pioneer in showing this illusion, the Phenakistoscope established in its crude form, the principal of the intermittent shutter, used to this day. As the slots in the disc passed before the eye, the space between the slots shut off the light and pictures while they were changing positions, the persistence of one image connecting it to the next. This is one of the fundamental principles upon which both the presentation and taking of modern photographic moving pictures depend. Plateau who was gradually growing blind kept up his experiments, under his direction when he himself was disabled, and in 1849 when totally blind produced with his Phenakistoscope, the "Diable Soufflant" (Devil Blowing up Fire). This instrument was somewhat larger than the original Phenakistoscope, the pictures of the different phases of motion were painted on a transparent disc, and artificial light was made to shine thru it. This disc revolved in front of a screen with an opening in it so that all the radially arranged pictures except the vertical one to be seen, were shut off. A number of people might sit in front of the slotted wheel and watch the pictures. The apparatus only needed the ordinary condensing and objective lenses of the magic lantern to present the pictures on a screen. But this far Plateau did not seem destined to go. His accomplishments, however, certainly entitle him to be always honored as one of the grandfathers of the moving picture.

Friday, November 20, 2015

News of the Week November 20, 1915 -- November 20, 2015

The 20-November -1915 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.

"War game on famous Common in which 'foes' are repelled.  Boston, Mass.  Copyright 1915 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Are those quarter staffs?

"Ensign Lee H. Harris, U. S. N., instructor of aerial corps.  Copyright 1915, Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  I can't find anything about Ensign Lee H Harris, who poses in front of a flying boat.

"New Junior police force organized in Brooklyn, N. Y.   Copyright 1915 by Mutual Weekly."  I don't know anything about this one.

"Winston Churchill, who inaugurated the fammous Dardenelles expedition.  Copyright 1915 by Pathe News."  Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, civilian chief of the Royal Navy.  The Dardanelles Expedition is most famous for the debacle at Gallipoli.  Churchill lost his job because of it.

"U. S. submarine E-1 skimming over the water at high rate of speed.  Copyright 1915 by Universal Animated Weekly."  Commissioned in 1912, she was the first submarine to test a gyrocompass.  She also tested making underwater radio transmissions. 

"Chicago Newsboys entertained at Lincoln Park Menagerie.  Copyright 1915, Hearst-Selig News Pictorial."  Many big cities had special days for their newsboys.

Robert Amstrong 125 -- November 20, 2015

I have always been a fan of actor Robert Armstrong, ever since I first saw him in King Kong.  He was born 125 years ago, on 20-November-1891.  He often played slightly shifty characters.  I loved him in Kong, Son of Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, and Mighty Joe Young.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Varioscopes to be Operated at the Corbett-Fitzsimmons Contest -- November 18, 2015

Phonoscope, January-February 1897

Enoch J Rector created the 63mm Veriscope (the article calls it the "varioscope"), which recorded and projected 63mm wide-screen views of the 17-March-1897 fight between heavyweight champion James J Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons at Carson City, Nevada.  Fitzsimmons won by a knockout in the 14th round.  Rector captured all 14 rounds, a prologue with former champ John L Sullivan, and an epilogue showing the arena after the fight, when the crowd stormed the ring.  Much of the film is lost, but the surviving pieces have been transferred to 35mm film.