Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dachshund Gets Licked by Three Allied Pups -- October 21, 2018

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
Henry (Pathé) Lehrman started out at Biograph, then went to Keystone with Mack Sennett, then left Sennett to found L-KO (Lehrman Knock-Out) Komedies. He left L-KO to produce Sunshine Comedies for Fox. Sunshine Comedies frequently featured pretty girls and lions.  "Mongrels" had no lions or pretty girls, just dogs.  The story of a German dachshund attacking a French poodle, who gets rescued by a British bulldog and an American terrier, was an allegory of the war.

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
"A dachshund, wearing a Hun helmet, comes along, crosses the line and attacks the poodle."

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff was the most popular comic strip in America for many years. Augustus Mutt and Jeff had many timely adventures. The cartoon in this ad, "Bulling the Bolsheviki," has the boys in Russian during the revolution.  The ad also promotes Fox Sunshine Comedies.

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
I have never seen the term "bomb inhalers" before.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mary Miles Minter in Rosemary Climbs the Heights -- October 19, 2018

Moving Picture World, 19-October-1918
"Dainty Mary Miles Minter has firmly established in the hearts of the fans."

Film Daily, 13-October-1918
"Follow the lead of such exhibitors as Marcus Loew, Turner and Dahnken, Ruben and Finkelstein." 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Rita Hayworth 100 -- October 17, 2018
Beautiful actress, dancer and singer Rita Hayworth was born 100 years ago today, on 17-October-1918. Her name was Margarita Cansino. She began performing in the family's dance act at an early age. At Columbia Pictures, she became a big star and a popular pin-up. She made some very interesting movies including The Lady From Shanghai, with her husband Orson Welles, Gilda and Blood and Sand.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Harry Pollard, Bebe Daniels, Harold Lloyd -- October 15, 2018

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
100 years ago this month, there was a dearth of Harold Lloyd items in the trade papers.  This triptych has Snub Pollard, Bebe Daniels and Harold Lloyd in the center.  On the other two panels, we see comedian Smiling Bill Parsons.  I have never seen any of his movies.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lillian Gish 125 -- October 14, 2018

Photoplay, August, 1917
Actress Lillian Gish was born 125 years ago today, on 13-October-1893. I remember when she was still appearing in movies.
Lillian Gish and her sister Dorothy started making movies directed by DW Griffith at the Biograph company.  They both became famous, and Lillian Gish is considered one of the greatest actresses of all time.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Robert Walker 100 -- October 13, 2018
Actor Robert Walker was born 100 years ago today, on 13-October-1918.  He usually played nice guys, as in The Sailor Takes a Wife with June Allyson.
But he may be best remembered as the evil/crazy Bruno Antony in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.

He died at 32 in strange circumstances.

Friday, October 12, 2018

1492, Conquest of Paradise -- October 12, 2018
Happy Columbus Day, everyone.  In 1992, for the 500th anniversary of the discovery, two major studios released movies about Christopher Columbus.

Alexander and Ilya Salkind produced Christopher Columbus: The Discovery:

Director Ridley Scott made 1492: Conquest of Paradise.  Gérard Depardieu played Columbus.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Charles Chaplin, Second Million Dollar Comedy -- October 11, 2018

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
Chaplin's second release through First National, "Shoulder Arms," turned out to be one of his most popular movies at the time.  World War One was a hot topic. "In his only newly movie since 'A Dog's Life.'"  Take that, Essanay.

Moving Picture World, 12-October-1918
"Pre-Release Date October 20th/Regular Release Date October 27th."

Moving Picture World, 19-October-1918
Charlie and his mates in a soggy dugout.  This was a common image of life in the trenches.

Exhibitors Herald, 12-October-1918
Charlie and the trench.

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance behind German lines.

Film Daily, 20-October-1918
"For Release in Your Locality as Soon as Conditions Permit."

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
",,, to be Published as a Three-Reeler."  You don't usually see the term "published" used for a movie.
Moving Picture World, 19-October-1918
"Here's the Story of Chaplin's 'Shoulder Arms.'"

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918

Explains Reason for Irregular Releases and Proves His Production Plan the Best to Insure Perfect Comedies

"RUMORS and alleged authentic statements that dissension, politics, dissatisfaction and other difficulties have been responsible for the intermittent release of Chaplin comedies are answered in a statement issued this week from the offices of the First National Exhibitors' Circuit, which carries an explanation from Mr. Chaplin of the exact conditions under which he is working and the policy that actuates his production efforts.

"It was made plain by First National officials that the statement was not prompted by any interest in the text of those few of the hundreds of rumors constantly in circulation which relate directly to Chaplin comedies, but that it was issued for the purpose of making known to exhibitors the protection afforded them under their contracts by the very infrequency of Chaplin re- leases. First National officers declare that there is no difficulty attached to making footage for Chaplin releases. The difficulty is in making footage for Chaplin comedies.

"Under the terms of his contract Mr Chaplin is to make a total of eight comedies. No definite dates of delivery for each subject are specified. This contract became operative last year. Figured on the basis of ordinary comedy production for two or three reel subjects the eight productions could have been made and delivered in four months, averaging tw0 weeks of studio work for each.

"When Mr. Chaplin signed his contract he had just started the construction work on his new studio. This structure he had especially designed for comedy work, and in it he had provided for every improvement and facility which would contribute to the quality of his productions. Many of his ideas for mechanical and technical equipment are innovations.

The suggestion was made to Mr. Chaplin that he rent another studio pending the completion of his own, and begin work at once on the initial comedy This he declined to do, with the explanation that he knew the facilities of his studio would contribute to a much higher quality in his first production than he could get by making it elsewhere. As a consequence he did not begin "A Dog's Life" until late in February, and this was despite the fact that the continuity for it was prepared in rough draft early in January.

"This was a forerunner of the policy which has marked his work since then. Quantity and speed have been sacrificed to quality, with an attendant monetary loss to Chaplin which, if made known, would seem unbelievable.

Pride in the quality of his comedies has outweighed every other consideration. Letters from exhibitors, requesting a greater output have each met with the same response: 'Each Chaplin release has got to have in it the very best work of which I am capable. Comedy situations are much more difficult to work up than the action of dramatic scenes. There is no trick in grinding out scenes that might be called amusing, but to get real laughs and actual humor out of situations demands study, the utmost concentration and eternal experimenting.

"'No one knows better than I do how simple it would be to just grind a camera crank and turn out footage which would constitute a release. The problem in producing successful pictures is no longer one of an output made to meet a regular releasing schedule. That system demands that quality be sacrificed to time and speed. The release date must be met. Half the picture is finished. It is full of good material. It has taken time to produce. Now it must be hurried. The last half of the picture is jammed through hastily. The subject is released on schedule. But is that system fair to the exhibitor? Does it benefit the producer or the star?

"'The public pays its money to be entertained. It demands, as a right, the utmost that the star, the cast, the director and the producer can give in ability, intelligence and entertainment value. When a production falls short of this standard, when it docs not represent every ounce of energy' and enthusiasm of which those responsible for it are capable, then it becomes a burden to the exhibitor. His audience is quick to recognize lack of value. They blame him directly, because it reflects both on his judgment and his sincerity. The star is the next to share the blame. Popularity decreases. And the exhibitor pays the penalty in loss of valuable patronage. He suffers the most.

"'I suppose I could take the first 'shots' of all my scenes and assemble them into releases, saving time, money and effort, but theatre-goers would not see the best that I can do. There is hardly a scene made at the studio that is not rehearsed a dozen times. Very often the final rehearsal will develop a suggestion or an idea for a greatly superior situation, and where only a smile would have resulted from the original action, we make a revision that is certain to bring a hearty laugh.

"'This constant effort to improve every bit of action, to be satisfied that it cannot be made stronger or funnier, is the supreme obligation of every star and producer.

"'I want to be absolutely content that Chaplin comedies contain the very best of my ability, and I won't sanction their release under any other condition. Then I know that the public is going to be entertained and satisfied, that the exhibitor will make money, and that I am not going to be accused of trading on a name to the loss of any threatre owner who books my productions.

"'I would release only one picture in a year if the others I attempted did not measure up to my own personal standard, but that one would have to be right, or it would be shelved. I would be better off with no releases, and the good will of the American public and exhibitors than I would with a score of subjects booking, with any one of them meriting criticism.'

"Directors of the First National Exhibitors' Circuit cite Chaplin's last release. 'A Dog's Life,' as an example of his policy of giving the best of which he is capable. More satisfaction has been expressed over its supreme entertainment value, the novelty and originality of the scores of humorous situations than has characterized any previous Chaplin release of which they can find records. "Exhibitor-directors of First National have encouraged Chaplin in his policy of no releases until he is satisfied that they will be good ones. The result has been that 'Shoulder Arms,' the next Chaplin comedy, now completed, has been months, instead of weeks, in the making. Every scene and every situation in it has had Mr. Chaplin's personal attention. Each of them, with the seemingly infinite possibilities that the action of the story suggests for laughable results, has been worked over repeatedly until the famous comedian was satisfied that there was nothing more that he could do to improve it. "'We believe.' said one of the First National officials, 'that Mr. Chaplin's determination to make quality the master principle in his producing is an epoch in the manufacturing branch of the business of an importance equal to some of the recent evolutions in the exhibiting and distributing departments of the industry. "'He has kept his own counsel for months, rather than to commit himself to a statement of what was about to happen. He preferred instead to put his conclusions into practice, leaving to self-styled wiseacres the apparently welcome task of assigning a score or more of erroneous reasons for the completion of only two comedies since he signed his contract with us. Now he has proven, by nine months of activity, that he is really sincere, and that his decision is not a thing for the future, but that it is for the past as well at the present and future.'"

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
Chaplin produced "The Bond" to support the sale of Liberty Bonds to support the war effort.

Moving Picture World, 12-October-1918
Rothacker Film Manufacturing Company, which produced prints for exhibition, boasted of three First National movies it had handled, incluing "Shoulder Arms."

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
Meanwhile back at Essanay, they were touting their cut and paste job "Triple Trouble" with the line "Look at this new Chaplin picture yourself."

Motion Picture News, 12-October-1918
Pat Sullivan's studio made the animated "How Charlie Captured the Kaiser." Otto Messmer did most of the work.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fame and Fortune -- October 9, 2018

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix starred in Fame and Fortune and The Coming of the Law for Victory Pictures, a new brand of the Fox Film Corporation.

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
Three consecutive Tom Mix movies were based on stories by Charles Alden Seltzer, a prolific writer of westerns.
Fame and Fortune was based on Slow Burgess, which first appeared in The Argosy Weekly in March, April and May, 1918.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Sergt. Alvin C. York's Heroic Deeds to Be Put in Movies -- October 8, 2018

Literary Digest, 11-June-1919
One hundred years ago today, on 08-October-1918, Corporal Alvin C York performed a remarkable deed.  

I don't remember what class I was in at San Francisco State, but we were talking about conscientious objectors and someone brought up Alvin C York.  One person said "How can a conscientious objector serve in the military and kill 20 people and capture hundreds?"  I said "He changed his mind."  Or, did I first say "He surrounded them"?  People back home didn't hear much about York's accomplishment until after the war.  

Despite what the article says, he didn't allow a movie to be made about his life until the 1941 biopic Sergeant York, which starred Gary Cooper.  

This article is from the 16-June-1919 Chattanooga News.

Sergt. Alvin C. York's Heroic Deeds to Be Put in Movies
Superman of Argonne Forest Arranges With New York Concern to Make a Picture of His Life and Deeds.

E. A, Kellogg, secretary of the Tennessee society in New York, in a telegram to the Nashville Banner, confirms the story published in The News a few days ago aa to the reproduction of Sergt. Alvin C. York's deeds of heroism on the screen. The Banner says:

"Plans for the filming of an historic picture by Sergt. Alvin York are outlined in a telegram received by the Banner from E. A. Kellogg, secretary of the Tennessee Society of New York and acting secretary for York in his financial matters.

"The name of the picture, according to Mr. Kellogg, is to be "The Divine Call." It will be staged in East Tennessee and France, some of the scenes to be laid in the Argonne forest, where York routed the German machine gun battalion.

"Mr. Kellog's telegram to the Banner follows:

"Alvin York. Monday. May 26, in New York made an agreement with certain Tennessee society members for a $50,000 loan on his personal notes at legal rate of interest, the money to be used exclusively to produce an historic five-reel picture, of which Alvin York would own 100 per cent. The name of the picture will be "The Divine Call," director, Alexander Frank.

"Over a dozen large picture distributors here want the distribution of films. The subject was thoroughly gone over with two large companies.

To Write Books.

"Should he make any profit York hopes to privately acquire an education, and afterward devote his entire life to writing books on military strategy, to be given freely to his country exclusively. York was told by many generals and deeply impressed that he possesses natural talent of military strategy, a gift of the Creator that had never been seen by generals in any other man. He thinks he should cultivate the talent for his country's future protection, so what he writes will be given to the government to be used exclusively at West Point if found worthy. York is not Interested in politics or money and not a religious crank, is pictured, but a square boy, level-headed, possessing a wonderful insight into the future. On account of being so extremely quiet many semi-big men coming in close contact with him overlook the important fact that be just naturally thinks faster than they do. Remember, in thirty little minutes in his great life he out-figured 157 Germans. Therefore, after our conference, May 25, we seasoned New Yorkers listened to his arguments, decided York was capable of traveling anywhere and finding the way home. we requested the governor to keep camera men from York simply because it made it easier for York, but not because we doubted York. Soon York comes here for a short business trip, then returns to East Tennessee with camera men, director and cashier to start his picture. Some French scenes have been promised by Washington. Still he will likely make a hurried trip to the Argonne for special details."

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Splendid Theatre, Buenos Aires -- October 7, 2018

Moving Picture World, 19-October-1918
El Teatro Gran Splendid opened in Buenos Aires in May, 1919. It really was grand and splendid. The building still exists, but it has been a bookstore since 2008.  It must be a wonderful bookstore.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Let Your Patrons See Me in Action -- October 5, 2018

Moving Picture World, 12-October-1918
The United States joined the First World War in April, 1917. Learning from the British, the United States put its propaganda efforts into the hands of one organization, the Committee on Public Information, also called the Creel Committee, after its chairman, George Creel. The Creel Committee produced the "Official War Review," a series of weekly one-reelers about war subjects. This one urges theater owners to "Come on, Now!  Let your patrons see me in action with brothers in arms -- The French, British and Italians, fighting your battles."

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
"The Most Widely Shown Picture That Has Ever Been Screened."

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
"No private concern, however rich, however powerful, could get such war pictures as these Government Pictures!"

Moving Picture World, 05-October-1918
The motion picture industry did much to support the Liberty Loans, which helped to pay for the war.  This ad has a list of people, including Charles Chaplin, who made one-reelers to support the Liberty Loan.

Moving Picture World, 12-October-1918
"The Huns are on the run!
Bulgaria has surrendered!
Nearly two million U.S. soldiers in France..."

Moving Picture World, 12-October-1918
The movie industry produced its own movies to support the war effort, like the newsreel "Universal Animated Weekly and Current Events."  "Huns captured at Chateau Thierry."

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Mr Blue -- October 4, 2018

Today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.

I wish someone would make a movie out of the novel Mr Blue by Myles Connolly.  I first heard about it when I read Frank Capra's The Name Above the Title.  I found a copy and enjoyed it.  I have read it several times.  The protagonist, J Blue, has much in common with Saint Francis.

Connolly went to Hollywood, invited by friend Joseph Kennedy.  Connolly became a screenwriter and producer.  He worked on the scripts for Capra's Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Meet John Doe.  He was associate producer of Half Shot at Sunrise and Hook Line and Sinker with Wheeler and Woolsey.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Tommy Farr v Joe Louis -- October 3, 2018

Truth, Brisbane, Queensland, 03-October-1937

The Tivoli Theater in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia showed a film of Joe Louis defending his heavyweight title against Tommy Farr, who was born in Wales.  They fought in Yankee Stadium on 30-August-1937.  A little over a month later, the film was in Australia.  Farr put up a good fight, but Louis won on a 15-round decision.

Washington Star, 31-August-1937

Monday, October 1, 2018

Two Reel Big V Special Comedies -- October 1, 2018

Motion Picture News, 12-October-1918
100 years ago this month, in October, 1918, Larry Semon was starring in two reel Big V Special Comedies like "Huns and Hyphens." Vitagraph liked alliterative names for comedies.

Motion Picture News, 12-October-1918
Los Angeles was having a heat wave, so Larry and company went to the beach.

Motion Picture News, 19-October-1918
Larry is in the photo on the right.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Yellow Dog -- September 30, 2018

Moving Picture World, 14-September-1918
Some of you may have been wondering why I have been posting about Yellow Dogs.  The Yellow Dog was a Universal Jewel production about German spies and sympathizers in a shipbuilding town.  A True American Patriot founds a vigilante group to put them in their place.  They gave each suspect a card calling him a Yellow Dog.  Sadly, the film is lost.

Moving Picture World, 28-September-1918