Monday, November 19, 2018

An Argument That Has Weight -- November 19, 2018

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
100 years ago this month, there weren't many Harold Lloyd items in the trade papers. Here is cute photo of his leading lady, Bebe Daniels, that I missed last month.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lauren Hutton 75 -- November 17, 2018
Actress and supermodel Lauren Hutton was born 75 years ago today, on 17-November-1943.  I always liked the gap in her teeth.
I remember the 26-August-1974 issue of Newsweek.
I have not seen many of her movies, but she was very good in Zorro, the Gay Blade.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Charley Chaplin...Exceeds Himself in Originality and Effectiveness -- November 15, 2018

Moving Picture World, 02-November-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.

Moving Picture World, 02-November-1918
"Chaplin has lined the clouds of war with silver festoonings of laughter in creating his second comedy feature for the First National Exhibitors' Circuit."  Note that they spelled his name "Charley."

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
"Shoulder Arms" was "breaking house records for the duration of runs."

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
In order to protect his new movies, Chaplin put his signature on the title cards.

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
Chaplin never sued Billy West, who imitated him pretty closely, but "Charlie in the Trenches" was probably too close to "Shoulder Arms."

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
Chaplin married 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris on 23-October-1918.

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
This item asks if Chaplin's imitators will rush to get married.

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
One of Mildred Harris' Jewel Productions for Universal, Borrowed Clothes, appeared on the same bill as a Chaplin film.

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
An ad for Borrowed Clothes does not mention the name "Chaplin."  That would soon change.

Moving Picture News, 02-November-1918
Peter Brinkerhoff was a popular cartoonist.

Moving Picture News, 02-November-1918
Chaplin took two weeks off after "Shoulder Arms."  "He said he knew what the beginning would be, but he has no idea how the production will end."

Motion Picture News, 16-November-1918
There was a rumor that Chaplin had influenza, but he denied it.  About his next movie: "The subject is yet unnamed, but the scenes will be laid in a rural community."  This would become "Sunnyside."

Motion Picture News, 02-November-1918
WH Productions continued to rerelease Chaplin's Keystone films.  "Hot Dogs" was a rerelease title for "Mable's Busy Day."

Motion Picture News, 16-November-1918
Chaplin's first movie, "Making a Living" was rereleased as "A Busted Johnny."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tom Mix ... Went to the Hospital Last Week -- November 13, 2018

Motion Picture News, 02-November-1918
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was having some health problems. It is always difficult to tell if a story is true, especially coming from Tom Mix. "Tom Mix week before last had reached the middle of his production, “The Coming of the Law.” During the week the picture was delayed because Mix was unable to do a few stunts called for owing to an injured hip, received some time ago when he leaped from a horse at the rodeo given under his direction on California Day. Physicians this week, it was announced, discovered a bullet that had lodged in his hip sixteen years ago from a gun fired by a friend. As soon as his present production is completed Mix will go to a hospital to have the piece of lead removed, it is said."

Motion Picture News, 16-November-1918
"TOM MIX, Fox Western star, went to the hospital last week to undergo an operation for the removal of lead from his hip that is said to have been there for fifteen years. He was under ether for three hours. A story is told n Old Blue, faithful horse belonging to Mix, that the animal refused to eat or to be led or to be entertained in any manner while Mix was absent. Accordingly the horse was taken to the hospital, according to this same story, and when he got a glimpse of his master, he proceeded to act as all good horses are expected to act. "

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
Tom Mix, who has been a patient at the Clara Barton Hospital, Los Angeles, returned to his home, 5841 Carlton Way, on Thursday, November 7. Mix had an operation performed on his left knee. Years ago while in Texas he was hot and the bullet flattened against the bone. The wound healed and for a long time the actor suffered no inconvenience. For several months the knee began to give trouble and early in October he decided to have the cause removed. He went to the hospital where he spent several weeks.

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
"Tom Mix considers that he saved a lot of valuable time by having the flu during the time he was in the hospital convalescing from the operation of having a fifteen-year-old bullet taken from his knee.  He took the flue at the same time that his doctor and several nurses got it and made one big spell of it, and by the time he was well of one trouble, the other had ceased to bother him."

Monday, November 12, 2018

Stan Lee, RIP -- November 12, 2018
I was sad to learn that Stan Lee has died.  He started out at Timely Comics, filling inkwells for artists.  He became a writer.  Stan Lee became a writer with a story in Captain America #3.  Lee became an editor before he served in the Army during World War Two.

When superheroes fizzled after the war, Lee wrote stories in many genres for Atlas, the successor of Timely.

Atlas became Marvel in the early 1960s.  When superheroes came back, Lee worked with artist Steve Ditko to create Spiderman.  I did not appreciate Marvel comics because they seemed to be trying very hard to be current and hip.

Lee eventually became editor-in-chief.  After he retired, he served as a spokesman for the company and made cameos in Marvel-related movies.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Big Parade -- November 11, 2018
100 years ago today, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Armistice went into effect and the fighting stopped. The day was known for many years as Armistice Day.

In 1925, M-G-M release King Vidor's The Big Parade, which turned out to be a big hit.  John Gilbert plays Jim, a boy from a rich family.  He doesn't want to enlist, but friends persuade him to change his mind.  Adorable Renée Adorée is Melisande, a French peasant.

Back in 2014, I wrote about an excellent DVD release:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Marie Dressler 150 -- November 9, 2018
Marie Dressler was born 150 years ago today, on 09-November-1868.  She started in the theater at an early age and wound up on Broadway.  She made her first movie in 1914, in Keystone's Tillie's Punctured Romance with Charlie Chaplin.  She made more movies, but primarily appeared on stage.  Her career slowed down in the early 1920s, but she came back later in the 1920s and the early 1930s, appearing in many popular movies.  She died in 1934.

Moving Picture World, 12-December-1914
Some sources claim that Tillie's Punctured Romance is the first feature-length slapstick comedy, or even the first feature-length comedy. I don't know if that is true, but it is certainly the first one to be a big success, despite being advertised by the ALCO Film Corporation, which released the movie, with taglines like "The First Successful Picturizing of Comedy on a Whole Basis." I wonder what that means in English. Notice that the ad contains a photo of Charlie Chaplin dancing with star Marie Dressler, but does not mention his name. Neither does it mention director Mack Sennett, costar Mabel Normand, nor the Keystone company which produced the film.

Moving Picture World, 26-December-1914
This Alco ad mentions that Marie Dressler is "Supported by Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand."
Marie Dressler has a wonderful scene with Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Queen Theater, Galveston, TX -- November 7, 2018

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918

By Clarke Irvine

IN spite of the pressure of war economy, higher prices for help, pictures and overhead, and the piling on of nearly the last straw, influenza, the exhibitors of Southern Texas are still smiling and right on the job. This is evinced by the way in which these men took the recent epidemic which caused them to close for over two weeks. Not an exhibitor grumbled; not one seemed to kick and snort because the health boards saw it necessary to put the lid on public gatherings. On the other hand they tried to co-operate, and instead of three-sheeting their houses, they bent their best efforts in selling Liberty Bonds and aiding the city and health authorities.

Just prior to the spread of the disease business was quite satisfactory. Galveston, where I spent more time, was teeming with activity, both military and social. Business was not up to the standard, but it was good enough to cause advertising, competition and the usual propaganda of pictures. Galveston is primarily a seaboard city, and when the submarine war started it dropped to below zero, hence business followed commerce, and likewise the theatres found patronage on the wane. Then the military activity came and it stimulated business. No one can complain, in the face of war, and they all do their best and keep smiling.

Hulsey Head of a Big Business.

The largest firm in this vicinity is the Texas Amusement Company, of which Earl H. Hulsey is president and general manager, and S. T. McDonald secretary and treasurer. This firm owns he Queen theatres in Galveston, Houston and Dallas, three of the finest theatres in this section; also the Zoe in Houston, the Kyle in Beaumont, the Hippodrome in Waco, the Old Mill, Hippodrome and Grand in Dallas. They also control the Grand in Galveston, a combination house, now running big time vaudeville. The Dallas Exchange is also run by Mr. Hulsey.

Until recently Jean Finley, an aggressive young advertising man, had charge of the Queen publicity work in Galveston, but he was promoted to the managership of the Hippodrome in Dallas, then the military service grabbed him, as he turned twenty-one, in time to get into the new draft.

At present Mr. McDonald is running the Galveston end of the Texas interests, and is kept quite busy. He is a pleasant man, an able manager, and a fine fellow. You never can judge the business barometer by his face, for he has one of those smiles that knows no retreat. His grin barrage goes over incessantly. He believes in advertising in the papers, maintaining constant publicity, and advertising the picture rather than the star. This firm is a member of the First National, and runs in addition the big features put out by the larger producers. Business changes here with the seasons ; in summer it is light on account of the beach, which is a counter attraction; and winter brings the folks downtown away from the cool beach winds. The Queen is a modern, well-equipped house with heating and cooling plant, large pipe organ, excellent fittings, and uses Power's 6-B projection on a Gold Fibre screen. It seats about 1-.200.

The next house in importance here is the Dixie Number One, a 650 seating capacity theatre, modern and well equipped, and run by one man who has risen from the ranks, A. M. Martini, who came over twenty-nine years ago from Italy. He landed in this city with $4.80, and today his investment is over $80,000. He laughs when he speaks of his rise, telling how he had no friends, no kin, no job — nothing. He worked, entered the grocery business, then the show game, and now the name of his theatre is a household word.

Making a Dollar Bring Full Value.

Mr. Martini's policy is to give the most possible for the money, treating his patrons as a storekeeper would; and "keeping the American dollar worth one dollar," which is a rather wise idea. He aims to suit the more popular purse, as his prices indicate; yet the show is high class and worth every bit of the money. Mr. Martini is a regular man and a regular exhibitor. His friends believe in him, and his standing with competitors shows that his policy to the world is that of the good old golden rule. I enjoyed thoroughly my interview with this man. In addition the Dixie Number Two, a smaller and nearby house is run by him. Lately he has taken over the Crystal Number One — here they seem to name the houses the same and then number them. His object in having three houses is to suit the purse of all, and he is doing it regularly.

Mr. Martini is a true patriot of America; yet a staunch Italian. He has two sons in the service. His Dixie No. 1 is the only house to display the picture of President Wilson in place of a one-sheet in a handsome brass stand. He regrets that he has not a dozen sons to send across to enter Berlin and spread liberty.

The Palace, Strand, and Lincoln houses are run by the Bell Enterprises, of which G. W. Bell, Jr., is manager; assisted by his father. They operate other houses nearby and are engaged also in the exchange business.

Business Good in Dallas and Houston.

I made a trip to Houston and one to Dallas, and in both places business was good. Of course it is not up to standard by any means, but it is getting by. Everywhere the theatre is greatly aiding the sale of liberty bonds, the purposes of the government, and everything patriotic. It would indeed be sad if anything happened to the picture industry to close, stop, or even modify business as it is. The film industry is here permanently and its progress must not be hampered in the least. The recent closing of the theatres has shown beyond a doubt that the pulse of business is regulated by the theatres.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sam Shepard 75 -- November 5, 2018
Playwright and actor Sam Shepard was born 75 years ago today, on 05-November-1943. I remember when his plays premiered at the Magic Theater. I never got to go. He played Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.  San Shepard died in 2017.
Sam Shepard and Chuck Yeager.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Art Carney 100 -- November 4, 2018
Art Carney was born 100 years ago today, on 04-November-1918.  He served in the army in World War Two and was wounded in Normandy.  The Honeymooners was always in syndication when I was growing up, and I think I remember him appearing on Jackie Gleason's variety show.
Carney played Ed Norton, a sewer work who kept a positive attitude.

Late in his life, Carney appeared in several movies.  Some were good.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

War is the Biggest Part of the Daily Life of Every One of Us -- November 3, 2018

Moving Picture World, 23-November-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. 100 years ago, World War One was rushing towards its conclusion. The Allies continued their 100 Days Offensive, which pushed the German army back towards the borders. This ad reminds people "War is the Biggest Part of the Daily Life of Every One of Us."

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
"Great in war, it will still be great in peace times."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

In This Two-Part Rough-and-Tumble Farce -- November 1, 2018

Moving Picture World, 16-November-1918
100 years ago this month, in November, 1918, Larry Semon was starring in two reel Big V Special Comedies like "Frauds and Frenzies." Vitagraph liked alliterative names for comedies.

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
"There are three comedy companies at work."  But they only describe Montgomery and Rock and Larry Semon's companies.