Saturday, July 21, 2018

Edward Herrmann 100 -- July 21, 2018
Actor Edward Herrmann was born 100 years ago today, on 21-July-1918.  He was most famous for playing FDR. He narrated many Ken Burns documentaries. He was good at playing old-fashioned East coast patricians.
Edward Herrmann as Franklin D Roosevelt and Jane Alexander as Eleanor Roosevelt in Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.
Edward Herrmann played William Randolph Hearst in The Cat's Meow.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Billy West in His Latest Fun-Maker -- July 19, 2018

Motion Picture News, 06-July-1918
Billy West closely imitated Charlie Chaplin in a long series of comedies for different studios. While Chaplin was making the excellent Mutual comedies, West was making imitations of Chaplin's Essanay comedies. When Chaplin moved on to First National distribution, Billy West was still making comedies for King-Bee. King-Bee comedies were distributed by the Bee Hive Exchange.  Great name.

Motion Picture News, 13-July-1918
Oliver Hardy supported Billy in "Straight and Narrow."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Best All-Round Company Making Comedies at Present -- July 17, 2018

Moving Picture World, 27-July-1918
In this Pathé ad, Harold Lloyd poses as a lifeguard, while his leading lady, Bebe Daniels, peers around a corner.

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
"Rolin studios do not expect to take a vacation, but will keep the respective noses of Harold Lloyd, Bebe Daniels and Harry Pollard to the studio grindstone."  The same month, Vitagraph had announced that its Big V comedy unit would work through the summer (

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
"The best all-round company making comedies at present."

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Charlie Chaplin Has His Picture Taken -- July 15, 2018

Cine Mundial, July, 1918
The North American Film Service was releasing movies by both Charlie Chaplin and Chaplin imitator Billy West ( in Spanish-language markets.  I like the figures of Chaplin playing around his name.

Moving Picture World, 06-July-1918
Essanay was rereleasing individual Chaplin movies, along with the Snakeville Comedies, which are not nearly as funny.

Film Daily, 14-July-1918
Essanay was also releasing Chase Me Charlie, a feature compiled in Britain from several of Chaplin's Essanay shorts.

Moving Picture World, 06-July-1918
"...with an hour of continuous fun."

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
"Keep Up The Nation's Morale!"

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
Chaplin's initial release for First National, "A Dog's Life," set a record in New York.

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
Chaplin was working on his next film, "Shoulder Arms," a service comedy, with the help of Corporal OW De Varila, "who fired the first shot in France for the United States artillery..."

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
Chaplin had a visit from Polish-American pianist Leopold Godowsky.  He received a lot of visitors.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bastille Day, 2017 -- July 14, 2017
In honor of Bastille Day, here is Claudette Colbert, who made her career in America but was born in France. She played many great parts, including Cleopatra in Cecil B DeMille's movie.
She did not want to appear in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night because he had directed her first movie, a flop called For the Love of Mike.
I'm a great fan of Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story.

Ingmar Bergman 100 -- July 14, 2018
Director Ingmar Bergman was born 100 years ago today, on 14-July-1918. Back in the 1970's, when I went to a lot of foreign films and revivals at the Lumiere, the Bridge, the Surf, the Golden Gateway, the Parkside, and many other houses in and around San Francisco, I didn't see many films by Ingmar Bergman. Perhaps I had bad timing, or perhaps Bergman was considered old fashioned.

Thinking about the Bergman movies that I have seen, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, Smiles of a Summer Night and others, I can't say that I have always enjoyed them, in the sense that they gave me pleasure, but I have always learned things about people and cinema. The happiest moment I can remember was in The Magic Flute, with the throwaway shot of the dragon walking down the hall backstage.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tom Mix, In Photoplays Produced by William Fox -- July 13, 2018

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was very popular "In Photoplays Produced by William Fox."

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
Cowboy's from Mix's company shot up a large portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm, when it was no longer needed by another production.  \

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
Mix and director Lynn Reynolds had trouble getting horses to jump off of a bridge.  I wonder why.

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
Tom Mix was known for doing his own stunts.  Leading lady Kathlyn Connors got to do some of her own, too.