Monday, August 19, 2019

The Fatal Dirigible -- August 19, 2019

Moving Picture World, August 9, 1919
On 22-July-1919, Goodyear Blimp "Wingfoot Air Express" was flying over Chicago. It crashed through the roof of a bank. Many were killed on the dirigible and in the bank. A Hearst-Universal newsreel was in the theater by the 24th.  A newspaper item about the crash:
http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2019/07/twelve-die-in-balloon-holocaust-july-21.html

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bulls-Eye Denies West Has Won Suit -- August 17, 2019

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
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. Last month we saw him try to move from Bulls-Eye to Emerald. Bulls-Eye said not so fast and got a temporary injunction.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Chaplin Classics -- August 15, 2019

Moving Picture World, 16-August-1919
Chaplin's twelve productions for Mutual are one the two greatest series of silent short comedies, along with Buster Keaton's short movies.  Mutual made a big deal out of rereleasing them, labelling them "Chaplin Classics."  I like the image of Chaplin at the top.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
The twelve Mutuals were to be released one every six weeks.  "The new edition will be in de-luxe form, with artistic new main titles and subtitles. The titles under which the productions were originally released will be retained (so) that the exhibitor may capitalize upon the popularity of the titles themselves."

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
On the other hand, WH Productions used this six page ad to promote one of Chaplin's Keystone productions, which had been re-edited and retitled from "Gentlemen of Nerve" to "Some Nerve."  "Own Outright" means they were not leasing the movie, but selling prints so that the exhibitors could do almost anything they wanted.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919

"TO SELL CHAPLIN PRINT OUTRIGHT

"W. H. Productions Returns to the Early Practice and
"Will Vend a One-Reel Reissue to Exhibitors Instead
"of Exchanges— Right of Duplication Only Is Reserved

"By Epes W. Sargent

"HAVE you a little Chaplin in your theatre?" is the newest version of a well-known trade phrase that the W. H. Productions is presently to propound, for W. H. is going back of 1905 and is going to offer to sell film— one film — outright to any exhibitor who is willing to pay $150 to have a real Chaplin film always on hand.

"It is nearly fifteen years since the exchange system supplanted the old order. Back of 1905 all exhibitors had to purchase their films. They bought a program and took it over the country or used up their territory, exchanged the film with some other exhibitor and worked the territory all over again. Then the store show came in and there was need for a more frequent exchange of material, and the film rental business came into being. Since then scarcely any film has been offered for sale to exhibitors, and many companies have never sold outright a single foot of their product for use in the United States.

"About all the film the exhibitor now owns outright is either locally produced stuff made especially for him or some old junk carefully held to guard against the non-receipt of the current program.

"But W. H. now offers to sell film direct to the exhibitor without reservation of any sort, and it is a Chaplin film, at that.

"Film Is Practically New.

It will be recalled that W. H. has recently retitled and re-edited the best of the old Keystones. One of the best of these selected films, known originally as 'Gentlemen of Nerve,' was not sent to the exchanges along with the rest but was held for an experimental disposal. It has been given new titles written with unusual care, and anyone who has the price can become the owner of a one-reel print of practically a new subject.

"The experiment has not been as widely heralded as the 'fewer and better pictures' movement, but it may prove to be even more important, for it is a more radical departure from the present methods.

"There is no restriction whatever in the sale of these prints. It is not licensed for certain territory, nor limited to a term of days or months. It becomes the property of the purchaser and he can show it in any part of the world. He can show it every day, or whenever he pleases. He can rent it to other exhibitors, sell it again or do anything except dupe it.

"Four Stars In One Film.

"The purchaser does not even have to be an exhibitor. He can purchase a copy for his own pleasure, if his inclination runs that way, and can brag that he has a story in which four of the leading stars of the old Keystones disport themselves, for while Chaplin is the featured player, he is supported by Chester Conklin, Mack Swain and Mabel Normand, all of whom now enjoy stellar honors.

"'Gentlemen of Nerve,' or 'Some Nerve' as it is now called, was made at a time when Chaplin had already gained fame and yet before fame bore so heavily upon him that he sought to prove himself an actor rather than a clown. It is more characteristically Chaplin than his later work and shows him at his best in the style of comedy in which he gained his fame.

"The experiment will be watched with interest, for it offers many fascinating angles. With such a picture on his shelf a manager is always ready to meet Chaplin opposition with the comedian's name in front of his own house, but it is unlikely that he will advertise 'Charlie Chaplin today' each time his opposition offers a fresh Chaplin print. On the other hand, he can make a feature of this from two to four times a year.

"It will also enable him to lend 'his' Chaplin to schools and church or society entertainments where a projection machine is provided, and the use of projection machines is growing more and more common.

"He can, to a limited extent, farm out the picture to exhibitors in nearby towns who have not purchased copies, and in so doing he can materially reduce the first cost of the film to himself.

"And he can take a personal pride in the fact that he is the owner of the only Chaplin film not tied up to exchange use, and one of the best examples of the films which changed the entire school of comedy production.

"Is a Typical Keystone.

"'Some Nerve' represents the old style Keystone at its best. It is dependent upon the comedy business for its laughs, for it was produced before the mechanical sensations were resorted to, and it is a decided advance upon the old school comedies it displaced. It shows the Chaplin walk at its best and offers the many mannerisms which advanced the comedian so rapidly from the ranks of the Keystone cops.

"It is anticipated that there will be a heavy sale of prints and the success of this reissue may result in the release of other subjects along the same lines; a return to old ideas with modern trimmings, for there has now been provided a full set of lithographs and other advertising adjuncts.

"It is the first time in fifteen years that film has been offered for sale in this manner, and it will be interesting to note the difference in sales between today and in 1900. Then manufacturers looked to the sale of prints for their profits. The more prints they sold the more money they made. Today the"

The article ends at the bottom of a page, but it seems there should have been more.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Meanwhile, Essanay continued to try to squeeze everything it could out of Chaplin's earlier movies.

Moving Picture World, 16-August-1919
World Pictures, "The Fastest Growing Motion Picture Company in the World," was involved in the Essanay re-releases.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
"They stand the test of summer heat or the blighting days of rain."

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
In announcing its 1919-1920 season, First National promised five Chaplin productions.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Chaplin's third production for First National, "Sunnyside," was not a big hit in Dallas.  Newspapers called it "an imposition and a joke."

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
The Jewish Daily Forward, a Yiddish-language newspaper, created an ad based on the appearance of their front page in "Sunnyside."

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
It later turned out that it was not Jack Coogan who took "part in a coming Charles Chaplin film."

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Recently demobilized "soldiers, sailors and marines" in Minneapolis were treated to a showing of "Shoulder Arms," Chaplin's second First National release.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
"Chaplin the Greatest Artist the Screen has Produced."  Yes.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Chaplin's wife, Mildred Harris "has entirely recovered from her serious illness following the birth and death of her first born."  I doubt that.

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919
Louis B Mayer prepared to produced films with Mildred Harris Chaplin by acquiring the former Zoo and studio of the Selig Polyscope Company.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Charlie and Douglas posed with recently crowned heavyweight champion, Jack Dempsey.

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919
Chuck Reisner worked with Chaplin on "A Dog's Life" and The Kid.  Later he directed Steamboat Bill, Jr with Buster Keaton and The Big Store with the Marx Brothers.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Charlie's half-brother Sydney was preparing to go to Europe to make movies.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Syd hoped to produce comedies in France.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Here are Syd's remarks in Greek.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
This ad purports to show a censor's report on a cablegram about Syd's new venture.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

See Tom Mix on Horseback Ride Up a Fire Escape to Rescue the Princess -- August 13, 2019

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was busy making movies. He also found other ways to entertain himself, as described in the 02-August-1919 Moving Picture World:

from RUBBERNECKING IN FILMLAND
Mix Has His Waterfall, Banty
His Doughnuts, and May
Allison Her Make-Up
That Wanders
By Giebler

"Tom Mix, Charlie Murray, Bobby Vernon, Fatty Arbuckle, Kathleen Clifford, Fred Niblo, Houdini and Will Rogers helped put over the benefit at the Mason Opera House on Sunday night that brought in seven thousand dollars for the Actors' Fund. And every car owner of the colony is throbbing with expectancy as he looks forward to the coming of the day when all speed feuds will be settled at the Auto Classic race to be held at the Ascot Speedway— also an Actors' Fund benefit."

"Players who heretofore have never been able to show what they could really do with their cars because of an unfeeling attitude on the part of the speed cops, are going to open her up, step on it and otherwise show how fast they can go when that happy day arrives.

"Cecil De Mille and Eddie Hearne are going to stage an auto airplane race. Mr. De Mille will take the course in the air while Hearne covers it on the ground, and Hal Roach, Charles Ray, Donald Crisp, Tom Mix and several others will tear up the track in their efforts to hang up a record.

"I did considerable Rubbernecking this week, called on the Metroites, and spent part of a night on a Tom Mix location, watching Tom ride his horse through a waterfall, and eating Banty Colwell's doughnuts.

"Tom is making 'A Hard Boiled Tenderfoot,' a play that calls for one of the most unusual scenes ever used in the films. Tom wrote the story and is directing himself, and you can always trust him to figure up something different.

"The Tenderfoot is trying to locate the lair of a gang of bandits, and one moonlight night when he is riding Tony, his trusty steed, down a mountain trail, he comes upon a beautiful waterfall.

"While Tom is getting an eyeful of the sylvan beauty of the scene, the curtain of water that falls from the racks high above is disturbed, and a rough and rude looking person wearing a wide hat, a ferocious look and a brace of guns, rides through the waterfall down the bosky dell and away.

"The mystery of the bandits' rendevous is solved; the Tenderfoot rides up the bed of the stream, straight through the falling water, down a long passage into the bandits' cave and and hornet's nest of trouble.

"Oil Paintings 'n Everything.

"The bandits, who have been robbing trains with especial attention to the sleeping cars, have got the cavern fitted up with Pullmanesque luxury, ranging from paper drinking cups to colored porters.

"Of course the bandits all 'pack' guns, and Tom has a terrible time, but he outwits the Pullman pirates, saves and wins the 'gell,' played by Eva Novak, and makes a typical Mix mix-up of mystery, thrills and massive moments.

"Tom hurts himself again — I say again because he manages to get bunged up in nearly every picture he makes. This time he rode too close to the wall in the passageway leading to the bandits' cave and cut a two-inch gash in his left knee when he struck the sharp edge of a property rock. If Tom doesn't stop being so reckless with himself, people will be referring to him as the late Mr. Mix one of these days.

"The waterfall was a remarkable example of the ingenuity of the Fox technical department. It reminded me of the story of the Irishman, who upon seeing a monkey for the first time in his life, scratched his head and said, 'Well, well, what will the Frinch do next?' Looking at the waterfall made me ask myself 'What'll the movies do next?'

"The whole thing was man-made, as of course it had to be. Neither waterfalls nor caves are hard to find; any location man will lead a director to a dozen of each on short notice, but the combination of a nice roomy robbers' cave with a tame waterfall acting as a front door is rare.

"A Fire Engine Waterfall.

"The mountainside was made of real-looking rocks and boulders tastefully decorated with vines, bushes and other vegetable matter used by Mrs. Nature in her best moments.

"The opening that led to the cave, wide and high enough for a man to ride through on horseback, was completely screened by thousands of gallons of water that tumbled over the rocks twenty feet above. Two fire engines were used to keep the waterfall going, and water enough to float a battleship was used.

"We had quite a little party on the location. Sol Wuertzel, manager of the studio, Mrs. Wuertzel, Howard Sheehan, brother to Winnie, of New York, who has just come to the coast as western district manager for Fox films, Mrs. Sheehan, and Mrs. Tom Mix, who used to be Virginia Forde, were all there.

"Along about ten bells we all went over to the chuck wagon and staged an attack on the coffee and doughnuts. The chuck wagon, which belongs exclusively to the Tom Mix outfit, and follows Tom wherever he goes on location, is the real thing, and Tex Graham, the captain and J. D., his brother, as first mate, have covered many miles of the western cattle range with the outfit before it went into the movies.

"Tex surely knows how to make coffee. He does not use percolators or any fancy doings ; the coffee is boiled over a long trench in the ground filled with blazing greasewood and sage brush, and the coffee is as black as ink and as strong as a mule, but ye gods ! how it does warm the cockles of the heart.

"Making S. A. Lassies Jealous.

"The doughnuts were by Banty Colwell. Banty's doughnuts are as popular around the Fox lot as Tom Mix's films are with the fans.

"Banty is a character actor and was working as one of the bandits the night we were presented to his pastry, but that is merely a side line with him — doughnuts are Banty's real mission in life.

"Banty does all the work on his doughnuts personally, story, continuity, direction, hot grease, hole, everything; and when they are done they are as tender as a hero's heart and as seductive as a vampire's glance."

I wish I could try Banty's doughnuts.

A week later, we learn the results of the races. From the 09-August-1919 Moving Picture World:

"The next day was Sunday, and the auto races.

"15,000 people went down to Ascot Park and watched Tom Mix win the Amateur Championship of the Pacific Coast, and Donald Crisp and Hoot Gibson flirt with death and disaster and get away with it.>

"After the skids and turns and flop-overs that Don and Hoot went through, they could have sold every hair on the rabbit's feet they carry for a dollar a hair.

"Mix Staged a De Palma.

"There were seven entries in the Coast Amateur Championship race of twenty-five miles. Tom Mix, in a Stutz special, finished first, in 24 minutes, 3 and 4-5 seconds; Lambert Hillyer, with a Hearne special, came in second; Ray Kirkwood, Maxwell, third; Donald Crisp, Mercer, fourth; Henrv King, Mercer, fifth; E. L. Hayes, with a Stutz, and J. McWright, in a Wenz, did not finish.

"The studio race of ten miles was won by Earl Tiffany in an Elliott special, in nine minutes and twenty seconds. Tiffany also won the Star entry race of 15 miles in the same car in 14 minutes, 3 and 1-5 seconds. The Australian pursuit race was won by Lambert Hillyer.

"The airplane versus auto race of two miles, between Cecil De Mille and Eddie Heme was won by De Mille, who made the course in one minute, one and one-half seconds. De Mille was only one hundred feet above the course at the start of the race, and the event was very fine and spectacular.

"Beauty and the Judge.

"The parade and beauty show was a fine part of the program. Charlie Murray was master of ceremonies, as usual. It took much hair-splitting to make the decision between Juanita Hansen in a gorgeous Packard, and Clara Kimball Young, in a Daniels, but Miss Young was given the cup.

"There were a great many beautifully decorated cars in the Beauty parade. Priscilla Dean, Colleen Moore, Pauline Frederick, Marie McAllister, Lois Wilson, Earle Williams, Henry McRae, Molly Malone and others won much applause.

"Donald Crisp and Hoot Gibson furnished most of the thrills, and if there had been any "good luck" medals awarded, this pair of daredevils would have won them.

Crisp Flirts with Undertaker.

"In the 15-mile race Crisp left the track in what looked like an excursion to certain destruction. His car went into a vicious skid, turned around twice and headed for the safety zone backwards. There was a big shower of dust which everyone feared hid a tragedy, but when the dust settled, there was Donald, unhurt.

In the last event, the Australian pursuit, Crisp again left the track, skidded about thirty feet and 'busted' a big gap in the fence, and after all this, got his car back into the race and won second place at the finish.

Hoot Gibson and his mechanician, Pete Morrison, did a merry-go-round skidding act in the 15-mile race. The car turned twice, dashed into the safety zone, took another turn and stopped, and when the ambulance dashed over to the spot, they found the remains safe and sound under the cowl of the car."

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Tom received a silver cup for averaging better than a mile a minute in the 25 mile race.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Tom and his pet appeared at a dog show in Santa Barbara.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Louis Reeves Harrison liked Rough Riding Romance.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Tom and leading lady Juanita Hansen.  "Nobby Bonnet?"

Moving Picture World, 16-August-1919
This reviewer concentrated on Tom's stunts.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919


Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Fox made an adaption of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 1921, but it starred Harry Myer rather than Tom Mix.  It would have been fun with Tom.  The movie is lost.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

DA Pennebaker, RIP -- August 11, 2019

www.listal.com
Documentary filmmaker DA Pennebaker has died.  He made Dont Look Back about Bob Dylan.  Before I saw the movie, I saw "Subterranean Homesick Blues" with Dylan and Allen Ginsberg. It made a big impression on me.



I think I first saw Monterey Pop on television, but I had seen individual performances before.




Friday, August 9, 2019

Methodists Use World's Big Screen -- August 9, 2019

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
The Methodist Centenary Celebration in Columbus, Ohio apparently recognized the 100th anniversary of Methodist missions. If I am wrong, I hope my Methodist friends will let me know. It is interesting that many people attending the celebration saw their first motion pictures at the celebration.

METHODISTS USE WORLD'S BIG SCREEN
Churchmen at Columbus Centenary Entertained
by Pictures 75 Feet High and 100 Feet Wide

THE Methodist Centenary Celebration, which was held at Columbus, Ohio, from June 20 to July 13, saw the moving picture for the first time in its history occupy a prominent place on the entertainment program of the convention. It is estimated that over one million members of the Methodist society attended the celebration, which was held at the Ohio State Fair Grounds. A surprisingly large number of the members saw a moving picture for the first time in their lives at these meetings, including four bishops. They all expressed unbounded delight at their experience. On the evening of July 4 the largest movie crowd ever assembled watched a moving picture thrown on the largest screen ever erected.

This screen was 115 feet square, the picture measured 100 feet wide by 75 feet high and the crowd in front of the screen was over 40,000 in number. The pictures are reported to have been "remarkably clear and sharp. The blinking of a man's eyes shown in a close up was plainly discernible two blocks away. The pictures as a whole were easily seen from a distance of six blocks."

Success Due to Three Men.

The three men responsible for the success of these picture showings are Dr. Christian F. Reisner, Dr. Chester C. Marshall and Samuel P. Vinton. They were members of a committee having the selection of the pictures in charge and also directed the showing of the pictures in Columbus. Dr. Reisner, who has long been an enthusiastic advocate of the use of the screen in the church, is familiar with the proper projection of pictures. He and Dr. Marshall went about the task of choosing the subjects far in advance of the celebration. To supplement their own knowledge of the matter representatives from the different trade papers were invited to add their familiarity with the most suitable pictures for such an occasion to the list.

The response to this invitation was immediate and the reviewers who met the committee were able to suggest the best pictures for the purpose. The cooperation of the National Association already had been secured and its members kept the celebration supplied with the pictures asked for throughout the entire meetings.

John Flinn Makes Address.

On July 8, John S. Flinn, director of publicity and advertising for Famous Players-Lasky, attended the centenary as the representative of the National Association, and addressed a meeting in the main auditorium on "Motion Pictures and the Church." During his remarks he pointed out the large part the screen will have in supplying a substitute for the saloon now that national prohibition has been established, dwelt upon the duty of the church to help the moving picture in every way possible.

At the same meeting Orrin G. Cocks, of the National Board of Review, delivered an address on "The Motion Picture in the Church." Among the things he said was : "The screen is now being recognized in splendid fashion as a handmaiden to the social work of the church." Mr. Cocks also called attention to the fact "that a vast number of splendid motion pictures now exist which are available for the church. The National Board of Review has just selected some 650 educational films for the educators of the United States, and most of these, with slight modifications, might be used for sermons, missionary classes and so forth in churches and church houses.

Half of Product Available for Churches.

"Some three years ago, in its list of the finest kind of selected pictures for the family, the National Board included 26 per cent, of the entire output for the year. This percentage of fine films has increased until during the past year 48 per cent, were adjudged to be of fine enough quality to be included in such a list."

Mr. Cocks closed his address with the following :

"While it is most important that the church should be served with the very finest films adapted as completely as possible to the needs of parishioners, it is also necessary that the rank and file of the American people should be permitted to enjoy those forms of entertainment which they crave. There are some things which the entire American people recognize to be indecent, immoral and improper. With the exclusion of these there still remains a number of subjects with which the church is not primarily concerned.

"A vast number of dramatic and comic subjects have been made entirely for entertainment. These do no harm, while they furnish rest and relaxation to many people with many tastes. Inevitably the more artistic, the more subtle and sincere, as well as the more powerful, dramatic pictures will continue. Out from among these the church should develop the means of making constant selections which shall be used to drive home the truth as it is in Christ."

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Thank Goodness Mrs Drew is Going to Keep on Writing and Producing These Comedies -- August 7, 2019

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Sidney Drew starred in the Mr and Mrs Sidney Drew comedies with his first wife, Gladys Rankin Drew and his second wife, Lucille McVey. Sidney's sister, Georgiana Drew, was the mother of Ethel, Lionel and John Barrymore. Sidney and his first wife were the parents of S Rankin Drew. The Mr and Mrs Sidney Drew series was a success for Vitagraph, then Metro and then Paramount. Sidney Drew died on 19-April-1919.

Lucille went on to write, direct and star in movies on her own. Her first solo starring effort was "Bunkered."

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Lucille adapted the script for the first two-reeler of a series with Ernest Truex.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
The author of the original story, Albert Payson Terhune, wrote many books about dogs. Producer Amedee Van Beuren made many features, shorts and cartoons.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
The author compared one of Sidney's last movies, the short "Squared" with the feature on the same program and liked the short better.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Lucille was working on her next movie on location at Lake George in New  York state.