Monday, December 11, 2017

The Halifax Disaster -- December 11, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
On 06-December-1917, two ships, one loaded with ammunition, collided in the harbor Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The French ammunition ship caught fight, then exploded.  2000 people may have died and damage was extensive.  Help poured in from all over Canada and the United States.  Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to Boston every year to acknowledge their help. Read a contemporary newspaper account on my other blog:
http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2017/12/halifax-explosion-kills-2000-december-6.html

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
Newsreels concerning the disaster were released before the end of December.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
This report says that 4000, but that is not correct.

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
American soldiers training in France would soon march into battle.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Director and Comedian -- December 9, 2017

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, 1916

Before Larry Semon became a star, he directed and wrote comedies for others, as we see in his entry for the 1916 Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual.

Larry Semon's father was a magician, Zera the Great.  Larry grew up touring the South with his father's act.  Larry became a newspaper cartoonist and performed on stage.  He joined the Vitagraph Company of America as a writer, director and player of small parts.  Over time, he became a lead comic in movies with the Big V Riot Squad and others.  He was a major slapstick star in the late teens and early 20s, playing a weird-looking character.  He directed his own movies and became more and more extravagant, running up huge costs for elaborate special effects.  He parted with Vitagraph and tried to go into features.  The only one I have seen is The Wizard of Oz, where he played the Scarecrow.  Oliver Hardy played the Tin Man.  Semon's wife Dorothy Dwan played Dorothy.  The movie was not a success and Semon lost a lot of money.  Semon went back to making shorts for Educational release.   He appeared as a character actor in some serious features like Josef Von Sternberg's Underworld.  Semon died in 1928. 

His movies are still popular in Italy, where he is known as Ridolini. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Magical Mystery Tour 50 -- December 8, 2017

www.listal.com
50 years ago today, on 08-December-1967, the Beatles release Magical Mystery Tour as a double EP in the UK.  It had been released as an LP in the US the month before, on 27-November-1967.  The television film premiered on the BBC on 26-December-1967.  I think I first saw the movie around 2012, but my sister had the album and I often borrowed it and her record player.  I particularly liked "I Am the Walrus."




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tora! Tora! Tora! -- December 7, 2017

www.listal.com
76 years ago a sneak attack by forces of the Japanese Empire sank much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The Japanese Empire came to regret doing this.  Tora! Tora! Tora! was a unique Japanese-American co-production that tried to show the point of view of both sides.  There were three directors, Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku.  Akira Kurosawa started to direct the Japanese scenes, but was replaced early on.

I watch it when it turns up on television.  I particularly like the flight scenes.


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Johnny Hallyday, RIP -- December 6, 2017

www.listal.com
French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday died.  He was an early French rock'n'roller, and then he acted in movies.  I enjoyed Man on the Train with Jean Rochefort.  He worked for Godard in Détective. He was a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Graumans Chinese -- Sid Grauman -- December 5, 2017


In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

 Sid Grauman himself left his hand and footprints on 24-January-1946.

National Vaudeville Artists Yearbook, 1927

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bert Lahr, 50 Years -- December 4, 2017

www.listal.com
Bert Lahr, beloved for playing the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 Wizard of Oz and not remembered for much else, died 50 years ago today, on 04-December-1967.  My family watched the Wizard of Oz when it was on CBS every year around Easter time.  My favorite part was when the Lion ran away and dove through a window.  I have seen Bert Lahr in other movies, and haven't liked most of them.