Saturday, July 21, 2018

Edward Herrmann 100 -- July 21, 2018
Actor Edward Herrmann was born 100 years ago today, on 21-July-1918.  He was most famous for playing FDR. He narrated many Ken Burns documentaries. He was good at playing old-fashioned East coast patricians.
Edward Herrmann as Franklin D Roosevelt and Jane Alexander as Eleanor Roosevelt in Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years.
Edward Herrmann played William Randolph Hearst in The Cat's Meow.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Billy West in His Latest Fun-Maker -- July 19, 2018

Motion Picture News, 06-July-1918
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. When Chaplin moved on to First National distribution, Billy West was still making comedies for King-Bee. King-Bee comedies were distributed by the Bee Hive Exchange.  Great name.

Motion Picture News, 13-July-1918
Oliver Hardy supported Billy in "Straight and Narrow."

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Best All-Round Company Making Comedies at Present -- July 17, 2018

Moving Picture World, 27-July-1918
In this Pathé ad, Harold Lloyd poses as a lifeguard, while his leading lady, Bebe Daniels, peers around a corner.

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
"Rolin studios do not expect to take a vacation, but will keep the respective noses of Harold Lloyd, Bebe Daniels and Harry Pollard to the studio grindstone."  The same month, Vitagraph had announced that its Big V comedy unit would work through the summer (

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
"The best all-round company making comedies at present."

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Charlie Chaplin Has His Picture Taken -- July 15, 2018

Cine Mundial, July, 1918
The North American Film Service was releasing movies by both Charlie Chaplin and Chaplin imitator Billy West ( in Spanish-language markets.  I like the figures of Chaplin playing around his name.

Moving Picture World, 06-July-1918
Essanay was rereleasing individual Chaplin movies, along with the Snakeville Comedies, which are not nearly as funny.

Film Daily, 14-July-1918
Essanay was also releasing Chase Me Charlie, a feature compiled in Britain from several of Chaplin's Essanay shorts.

Moving Picture World, 06-July-1918
"...with an hour of continuous fun."

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
"Keep Up The Nation's Morale!"

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
Chaplin's initial release for First National, "A Dog's Life," set a record in New York.

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
Chaplin was working on his next film, "Shoulder Arms," a service comedy, with the help of Corporal OW De Varila, "who fired the first shot in France for the United States artillery..."

Moving Picture World, 13-July-1918
Chaplin had a visit from Polish-American pianist Leopold Godowsky.  He received a lot of visitors.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Bastille Day, 2017 -- July 14, 2017
In honor of Bastille Day, here is Claudette Colbert, who made her career in America but was born in France. She played many great parts, including Cleopatra in Cecil B DeMille's movie.
She did not want to appear in Frank Capra's It Happened One Night because he had directed her first movie, a flop called For the Love of Mike.
I'm a great fan of Preston Sturges' The Palm Beach Story.

Ingmar Bergman 100 -- July 14, 2018
Director Ingmar Bergman was born 100 years ago today, on 14-July-1918. Back in the 1970's, when I went to a lot of foreign films and revivals at the Lumiere, the Bridge, the Surf, the Golden Gateway, the Parkside, and many other houses in and around San Francisco, I didn't see many films by Ingmar Bergman. Perhaps I had bad timing, or perhaps Bergman was considered old fashioned.

Thinking about the Bergman movies that I have seen, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Autumn Sonata, Fanny and Alexander, Smiles of a Summer Night and others, I can't say that I have always enjoyed them, in the sense that they gave me pleasure, but I have always learned things about people and cinema. The happiest moment I can remember was in The Magic Flute, with the throwaway shot of the dragon walking down the hall backstage.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tom Mix, In Photoplays Produced by William Fox -- July 13, 2018

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was very popular "In Photoplays Produced by William Fox."

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
Cowboy's from Mix's company shot up a large portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm, when it was no longer needed by another production.  \

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
Mix and director Lynn Reynolds had trouble getting horses to jump off of a bridge.  I wonder why.

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
Tom Mix was known for doing his own stunts.  Leading lady Kathlyn Connors got to do some of her own, too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Piper's Opera House -- July 11, 2018

Moving Picture Weekly, 20-July-1918
Piper's Opera House is a famous theater in Virginia City, Nevada. The third version of the opera house was built in 1878. The first two versions burned. Many famous performers including Lily Langtry and Al Jolson played Piper's. Daniel Connor started showing movies there in 1910.  It still stands on B Street.  I took the photo below in July, 2011.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Show Your Patrons Pershing in France -- July 9, 2018

Moving Picture World, 14-July-1918
The Universal Animated Weekly offered a special release On 13-June-1917, General John J Pershing arrived in France.  He was Commander of the AEF (American Expeditionary Force), which combined regular Army, National Guard and Marine units.

Moving Picture World, 14-July-1918
"Scenes of General's Greeting at Sea Port and in Paris Arouse Great Enthusiasm at Rialto."

Moving Picture World, 20-July-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 a few features. The first was Pershing's Crusaders. "Pershing's Crusaders was taken by the U.S. Signal Corps and Navy Photographers and the French General Staff."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Only Picture Showing a Championship Title Change Hands -- July 7, 2018

Exhibitors' Herald, 04-February-1922
On 04-July-1919, heavyweight champion Jess Willard, the Pottawatomie Giant, defended his title against Jack Dempsey, the Manassa Mauler. The smaller Dempsey launched a blitzkrieg and knocked Willard down seven times in the first round. Willard kept getting up, but failed to leave his corner for the fourth round. Stories say that Dempsey knocked out Willard's teeth and broke his ribs, but they are not verified. Dempsey held the title for seven years.

Nearly three years after the fight, Clyde E Elliott Amusement Enterprises offered a film of the fight.  I doubt it was "The Only Picture Showing a Championship Title Change Hands."

New York World, 03-July-1919

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Watch This Paper -- July 5, 2018

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
Gilbert M Anderson, Broncho Billy, was the first western star. With George K Spoor, he had founded Essanay (S and A). In 1918, Essanay began rereleasing his one-reel westerns. The reissues were doing well; Essanay was releasing a third block of ten one-reel films.

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1918
At the same time, Anderson was planning to make a series of features.

Film Daily, 21-July-1918

"In a new series of Western five reel superproductions."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day, 2018 -- July 4, 2018
Happy Fourth of July to all.

Actress Leila Hyams had a short movie career, but was a popular model for publicity photos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Big V Comedies Ignore Hot Weather -- July 3, 2018

Motion Picture News, 06-July-1918
Larry directed, wrote and starred in a comedy with the unlikely title of "Hindoos and Hazards."

Motion Picture News, 06-July-1918
"Semon had his company at Catalina all of the past week."

Motion Picture News, 13-July-1918
"One of these companies is headed by Lawrence Semon, the other by Earle Montgomery and Joe Rock, and they alternate on the Vitagraph program, a Semon comedy being presented one week and a Montgomery-Rock product the other... Although both Semon and the Montgomery-Rock combination go in solely for slapstick, there is a difference in the productions of the two. The former combines burlesque with his buffoonery, using legitimate productions oftentimes as the basis of his comedies, while Montgomery and Rock run more to acrobatics and hazardous stunts in putting over their laughs."

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918

"Big V Comedy -- one part -- 'Bathing Beauties and Big Boobs,' featuring Lawrence Semon. Written and directed by Lawrence Semon." An even less-likely title than "Hindoos and Hazards."

Motion Picture News, 27-July-1918
"Larry Semon is creating thrill on house tops and building for his present laugh provoker."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Vitagraph's Daredevil Comedians -- July 1, 2018

Motion Picture News, 20-July-1918
Earle Montgomery and Joe Rock made a lot of short comedies for Vitagraph, but few survive. Joe Rock went on to produce comedies with Stan Laurel, and later the Ton of Fun movies. They