Friday, July 23, 2021

Chaplin -- It Took Charlie a Year to Make It -- July 23, 2021


Moving Picture World, 23-July-1921

100 years ago this month, Chaplin's feature, The Kid, was still going strong. 

Brownsville Herald, 06-July-1921

Moving Picture World, 30-July-1921

Chaplin finished his next film for First National, a short called "The Idle Class." Chaplin played a dual role, a rich drunk and the Tramp.

You can tell Chaplin was having financial success because he received an extortion demand from the Black Hand.

Photoplay, July, 1921

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Danny Glover 75 -- July 22, 2021

Happy 75th birthday to actor, activist and San Francisco native Danny Glover. He was born on 22-July-1946. He went to George Washington High School, up the hill from where I grew up. He went to San Francisco State during the tumultuous period and participated in the strike which led to the creation of the Department of Black Studies. He has worked for peace in many countries. 

He is dyslexic.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

"Juggling Bill" Fields Becomes a Straight Comedian -- July 21, 2021


New York Tribune, 24-July-1921

After a long career in vaudeville, WC Fields made his film debut in 1915, but then returned to the stage and the Ziegfeld Follies. He did not appear in another movie until 1924. This article claims that Fields did not drop the juggling from his act until 1921. Could be.

"Juggling Bill"
Fields Becomes a
Straight Comedian

For years -- at least long before the coming of the Volstead law -- W. C. Fields hiccupped his inebriate way in and out of the scenes of Ziegfeld's annual summer pleasantry, "The Follies," juggling hats, canes, tennis balls, golf balls, hat racks, plates, dishes and cigar boxes. He was a fixture, and every year he had a surprise for Broadway audiences.

This year at the Globe, where "The Follies" is playing, Mr. Fields is revealed as a straight comedian. He does not juggle a single juggle. Fields has always been a comedian, but he didn't know it until Mr. Ziegfeld suggested to him that he was just as good without his juggling as he was with it.

"Anyway, Bill, I'm going to try you at it," Mr. Ziegfeld told Fields six months ago. And Fields was glad to be relieved of the grind of juggling rehearsals, but he approached his new sphere with great misgivings. He didn't think he could do it. But he did.

Just now Fields does not believe he will ever go back to juggling, but of course he will, for juggling, as any juggler will tell you, is a sort of habit-forming industry -- once started, you juggle all your life.

Fields began to juggle at the age of eight. He has juggled around the world, appearing at various times in London, Berlin, Paris, Melbourne, New Zealand, China, Japan and Cuba. He first ran away with a circus, but his parents yanked him back when he was two days out. He had hired out as assistant to a cannon ball juggler when his parents wanted him to study law.

Fields finally did take a job in a drugstore, sweeping out and running errands and waiting on customers when the boss went to dinner.

One day the boss returned, walked behind the prescription case, and then his hair did a splendid imitation of a comedy fright wig. It stood on end. Fields was juggling three bottles of powerful acids. When the druggist crept out and walked around the block expecting to return to find his assistant beyond human help he found him instead, at the cigar counter juggling cigar boxes.

That ended Fields's career as a pharmacist, and after playing a few small-time vaudeville houses he went to Europe. It was in Paris that Ziegfeld first saw him and put him in "The Follies." where he has been for eight years.

In the present edition of that summer revue Fields is showing that he is a real straight comedian. In the scene with Raymond Hitchcock, Ray Dooley and Fannie Brice he holds up his end of the fun-making with them all.

"It is a great relief," says Fields, "to get away from juggling for just one season. I had to keep practicing at least six hours a day. I had to keep the hours of an athlete, and, all in all, it was a tough existence. I feel that I am at last having a real vacation."

Monday, July 19, 2021

Buster Keaton -- The Assassin of Sorrow -- July 19, 2021

Exhibitors Herald, 09-July-1921

Buster Keaton married Natalie Talmadge on 31-May-1921. Her two sisters, Norma and Constance were big stars. People direct a lot of prejudice against Natalie, but I suspect that Buster was a hard person to live with at that time. The groom looks thrilled.

Seattle Star, 08-July-1921

I am pretty sure this is the only place where I have seen Buster called "The Assassin of Sorrow." Harry Carey was a popular Western star. Christmas Eve at Pilot Butte was the book that the movie Desperate Trails was based on. 

Moving Picture World, 30-July-1921

Metro released the first season of Buster's starring two-reelers. First National released the second season.

Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram, 30-July-1921

Saturday, July 17, 2021

New Horror Films With Their Own Soundtracks -- July 17, 2021

Vampirella 51, 1976

When I was young, I read Warren Publishing magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and Vampirella. The magazines always carried ads for back issues, posters and movies. I didn't have a film projector, so I read the ads with envy. Eventually, I got a Super-8 projector, but I didn't have enough money to buy any of these films. A friend had Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and I was fascinated by the way it had been cut down to less than 20 minutes.

They offered a selection of films with sound. A 33rpm record came with each movie. Synchronization would have been iffy. This group includes "Cosmic Monsters," adapted from a 1958 giant bug movie and four movies adapted from a television series: "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea -- The Octopus," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea -- The Atomic Cloud," "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea -- Sea of Mines" and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea -- The Frogmen." I remember that my sister liked to watch Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Adventures of Bill and Bob and Breezy -- July 15, 2021

Moving Picture World, 16-July-1921

Director Robert N Bradbury produced a series of one-reel movies, The Adventures of Bill and Bob, starring his twin sons, Bob, Jr (later Bob Steele) and Bill. The boys hunt and trap in the wilderness.

Motion Picture Magazine, July, 1921

Another director's son who starred in movies was Breezy Eason, who was B Reeves Eason Jr, son of director B Reeves Eason Sr.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

La Doublure -- July 14, 2021

In honor of Bastille Day, here is a movie that I caught once on cable, enjoyed immensely, and have never seen since. The English title is The Valet. The French title is La Doublure, which must be a French slang term for something like a beard. Daniel Autiel, who is good in everything, plays a billionaire factory owner who is cheating on his wife with a supermodel, Alice Taglioni. Gad Elmaleh is a lowly valet parker who gets dumped by his girlfriend because she needs a pile of money to keep her bookstore open. The billionaire pays the supermodel and the valet to pretend to be a couple so he can arrange for a quiet divorce. The reactions of the valet's friends, family and co-workers are hilarious. In the end, the billionaire loses out, but the others learn something and grow into better people.