Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Camera Obscura and Hat Camera -- September 19, 2017

From The Young Folk's Cyclopædia of Games and Sports by John Denison Champlin and Arthur Elmore Bostwick, 1890. 

 CAMERA OBSCURA. To make a rough camera, take a little pasteboard box (Fig. 1), like those in which pens are sold, and make a pinhole in the middle of the cover, working the pin about to enlarge the hole a little. Remove one end of the cover, and in the corresponding edge of the box cut a notch just large enough to see through into the box when the cover is on. On a sunny day, hold the box with the pinhole toward any bright object and look down into the end through the notch, holding the eye close, so that no light can get in except through the pinhole. A picture will be seen on the back of the box, inside, in which the bright parts of the landscape can be easily distinguished. The picture will grow clearer as the eye becomes accustomed to the light. By moving the box so that the pinhole turns in a different direction, the picture will change. The smaller the pinhole is, the less blurred the picture will be, but it will be also less bright. With a hole about 1/16 of an inch in diameter the picture will be quite bright, but so blurred that it is hard to tell different objects from each other. The box should not be more than an inch deep, as the farther the back is from the pinhole, the less distinct the picture will be. In the evening, such a camera will give an excellent picture of a lamp or candle, and even of a person's face held very near a bright light. The way the picture is made may be understood by looking at Fig. 2, where the lines represent rays of light from different parts of an object passing through the pinhole and striking the back of the box. When the cover is taken from the box, rays from all parts of the object strike every part of the box at once and are mixed together, hence there is no picture, but only a white blur.


A camera which will make the picture bright without blurring it may be made by using a glass lens (See Lenses, Experiments With). These experiments show how a lens will throw a picture, and the picture can be seen to better advantage if the lens be fixed in a hole in the side of a box. The observer may work at the picture through a hole in the top of the box, or the back of the box may be made of thin white paper, so that the picture will show on the other side. There is a certain distance from the lens for every object, where its image will be plainest, so it is a good plan to make the back of the box so that it can be slid in and out. Find the distance at which the lens makes the plainest picture of near objects before choosing the box, and then select one of the right depth. Remove the back, and saw off the edges so that it can be made to slip in as far as desired. Nail a stick to it to serve as a handle by which it may be pulled in and out.

Hat Camera. A camera can be made also from a stiff felt or silk hat, if it have a ventilating hole in the top of the crown. If there are more than one of these holes, all but the central one may be stopped with paper. A piece of thin paper is then pinned over the bottom of the hat, which is held with the top toward the part of the landscape to be observed. A black shawl is thrown over the hat and the observer's head, but care must be taken that it does not hang over the ventilating hole.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Discard Your Troubles, Book Them Now! -- September 17, 2017

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
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.

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
 "You Can't Lose if you Draw to This Pair of King-Bee Comedies." 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
"Billy is seen as the star boarder in a boarding house, in which most of the other boarders are pretty girls.  But there are janitors, cooks, cows and lots of other things around the house..."

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
After stating that the Billy West company was moving from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles.  "While on the coast the King-Bee will make in conjunction with their two-reel comedies a special five-reel feature entitled 'King Soloman,' with the inimitable Billy West in the title role." 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton, RIP -- September 16, 2017

www.listal.com
Harry Dean Stanton has died.  He was in a lot of good movies and he kept working until just recently. 

www.listal.com
John Huston's Wise Blood is one of my favorite Harry Dean Stanton movies. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

And the New One Reel Rolin Comedies Featuring Harold Lloyd -- September 15, 2017

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
Harold Lloyd had been successfully appearing in the Lonesome Luke comedies for Hal Roach's Rolin since 1915.  He felt dissatisfied with the unrealistic Luke, who had started as an imitation of Charley Chaplin, and looked for a new character.  Lloyd came up with what he called the "Glass Character."  "Over the Fence" was the first film with the glass character.  In what may have been a unique arrangement, Lloyd appeared in two-reelers as Lonesome Luke and one-reelers as the glass character.  Lloyd reasoned that the new character would get more exposure in the shorter films, which could be released more frequently. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
"The two-reel pictures are Lonesome Luke Comedies and the one-reelers will be known as Harold Lloyd Comedies.  These will altername with the Luke two-reelers till further notice..."

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
"On September 9 comes the first of the new one-reel Harold Lloyd comedies." 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"Lonesome Luke Comedies are in two reels -- the Harold Lloyd Comedies in one.  Each produced by Rolin.  Each the best of its kind."  I like the photo of Harold as Lonesome Luke. 

Chaplin -- And How He Does It -- Septermber 15, 2017

Photoplay, September, 1917
100 years ago this month, in the September, 1917 Photoplay, Terry Ramsaye (spelled Ramsay here) published an article about Chaplin.  He was a journalist who worked with Chaplin at Mutual  Ramsaye went on to write two early books about the movies, A Million and One Nights and A History of the Motion Picture (Through 1925).

In September, 1917,. Chaplin had already signed his contract to produce for First National and was finishing his last productions for Mutual.   Essanay was still trying to make a buck from his movies.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
Chaplin is reported to have rescued a child from the sea at Santa Monica.  Two items down, Eric Campbell, whose wife had just died, remarried.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
Some people asked why Chaplin had not enlisted in the British Army or the US Army, but many agreed that his films were an important contribution to morale.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
This article talks about some famous movie fights.  It mentions Eric Campbell and Charlie Chaplin on the escalator in "The Floorwalker."

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917

"The Adventurer" was Chaplin's last film for Mutual.

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
The release date for "The Adventurer" was yet to be determined, probably because it was Mutual's last Chaplin film.

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"The Adventurer" was nearly complete...

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
...but was held up by Edna Purviance's illness. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
Essanay "bows to public demand" and issues new prints of the Essanay-Chaplin films.

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
Essanay would reissue one film a month.

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
The first reissue would be "The Champion." 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
 A boxing match between Charlie Chaplin and Eric Campbell, refereed by Mary Pickford?  To benefit the French Emergency Hospital Fund?  I'd buy a ticket. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Probably More Newspaper Space Has Been Given to Mrs Vernon Castle -- September 13, 2017

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
Irene Castle had become famous, with her husband Vernon, as a ballroom dancer.  He left the act in early 1916 to return to his native Britain, where he joined the Royal Flying Corps.  He was a successful pilot, earning the Croix de Guerre.  He was sent to Canada and then the United States to train new pilots.  He died in a flying accident in 1918.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Paramount-Mack Sennett Comedies -- September 11, 2017

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
Mack Sennett left Triangle and the Keystone brand and started releasing through Paramount.  He ran a series of colorful ads featuring pretty girls in Moving Picture World.  The elongated style reminds me of John Held, Jr, but I am pretty sure he did not create the drawings. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
"Mack Sennett's first Paramount comedies to be released the latter part of September will feature all the famous Sennett comedians and beauties -- they call the bathing suit girls 'Sennetts' out on the Pacific coast." 

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
Purple and orange is an interesting combination.  The comedian looks like Mack Swain. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
No girls in this one, but there is a cop.  Or is it Kop?  I wonder if the comedian is supposed to be Ben Turpin. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
 Meanwhile back at Triangle, Keystone was producing comedies without Mack Sennett, however  "His Precious Life" with Charlie Murray and Louise Fazenda may have been a movie that Mack Sennett produced before he left. 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
"A Bedroom Blunder" starred Charlie Murray. 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
 "Hula-Hula Land" with Billy Armstrong and Maude Wayne may also have been produced by Mack Sennett.  I like the design of the ad.  "The Keystone girls in a bathing spree on the beach of Wakiki." 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
Keystone's productions for October release, done without Mack Sennett, were ready.  I didn't recognize the names of most of the actors and actresses. 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917

The ad for "A Pullman Bride" features a sleeping car.  It starred Gloria Swanson, Mack Swain and Chester Conklin. 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917

"they will be ... the best comedies ever made." 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"The Late Lamented" may also have been produced by Mack Sennett. 



Saturday, September 9, 2017

Proclaimed by Press and Public to be the Greatest of all Film Battles -- September 9, 2017

Moving Picture World, 06-August-1910

James J Jeffries had been heavyweight boxing champion from 1899 to 1905, when he retired undefeated.  He came back in 1910 to answer the pleas of racists who did not like Jack Johnson, an African-American, being heavyweight champ.  They met in Reno, Nevada on 04-July-1910.  Johnson dominated the fight for 15 rounds.  Jeffries' corner threw in the towel so he would not get knocked out. 

Many cities and states, fearing racial unrest, banned films of the fight.  In 1912, Congress banned interstate transportation of fight films. 

Jeffries-Johnson films are available in several versions on YouTube. 

Jim Jeffries settled in Burbank, where he trained boxers and promoted fights in an old barn.  The fights were popular with people in the film industry.  The barn is now at Knott's Berry Farm. 

Ad Wolgast, the Michigan Wildcat, won the lightweight title from Battling Nelson, the Durable Dane, on 22-February-1910, by a TKO in the 40th round.  The movie promises 21 of the rounds in four reels. 

Battling Nelson had won the lightweight title from Joe Gans in 1908 in Colma, south of San Francisco.  This ad may offer that fight or their other fight in 1908.  Nelson lost to Gans in 1906 and beat him in both 1908 fights.  Joe Gans, the Old Master, was African-American. 

We all know the results of "Custer's Last Stand." 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

In the Wake of the Huns -- September 7, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
America had declared war on Germany in April, 1917.  American soldiers began landing in France in August.  The war was a hot topic.

The insulting use of the nickname "Hun" for Germans came from a speech by Kaiser Wilhelm II, who told German troops sailing to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China to mercilessly make a name for themselves in China. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
People like to make fun of the Italian army in the two world wars, but they forget that the Italians put up a desperate struggle against the Austrians and the Germans in terrible conditions in the Alps.  They completely forget the twelve Battles of the Isonzo.  My grandfather's uncle was captured there and could still imitate the way the guards spoke sixty years later. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
"The Summit of Box Office Success."