Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ernie Kovacs 100 -- January 23, 2019
When I was a kid I had heard of Ernie Kovacs' work on television, but I had only seen his movies like North to Alaska and Bell, Book and Candle.  I don't think I saw any of his television work until the 1980s when kinescopes and video tapes became available for viewing. I liked his use of music and sketches with limited talking.

Monday, January 21, 2019

This Rolling Stone Will Gather No Loss -- January 21, 2019

Moving Picture World, 11-January-1919
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. We haven't seen him since August. Production has moved from King-Bee to the Bull's Eye studio.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
"Pay Day at Bull's-Eye Studio."  Director Charles Parrott later became famous as comedian Charley Chase.  I don't know if Nat Spitzer is the same guy who later produced the famous exploitation film Ingagi.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
Sol Lesser worked in Hollywood for many years as an independent producer.  He sold the Billy West comedies on the states rights basis.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Charles Chaplin Received $250 for a Kiss -- January 19, 2019

Battleboro Daily Reformer, January 9, 1919
100 years ago this month, in January, 1919, Chaplin's second release through First National, "Shoulder Arms," was still doing good business. I like this image.

Pensacola Journal, January 11, 1919
The same image appeared in an ad for a bill featuring Chaplin in "Shoulder Arms" and operatic tenor Enrico Caruso in My Cousin.  How is that for two cultural icons of the Twentieth Century?

Moving Picture World, 18-January-1919
Lady Stewart-McKenzie may have been married to James Stewart-Mackenzie, who was made 1st Baron Seaforth in 1921. She paid Charlie $250 for a kiss, which he donated to the Red Cross.

Moving Picture World, 18-January-1919

Newlyweds Charlie Chaplin and Mildred Harris hosted Charlie's half brother Syd and his wife for Christmas.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
"The world having seen Chaplin, he will now see the world."  I think he finally left for Europe in 1921.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919

A large display to promote "Shoulder Arms."  Read the text in the box.

Moving Picture World, 04-January-1919
Pat Sullivan's studio released a second animated Chaplin film, ""Over the Rhine With Charlie." Otto Messmer did most of the work.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Tom Mix, Star -- January 17, 2019

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919

100 years ago this month, star Tom Mix dines with Fox Film Corporation executives.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
Exclusive Features was rereleasing Tom's short films made by the Selig Polyscope Company.

Moving Picture World, 18-January-1919
Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
"Pals in Blue" (1915) and "Shooting Up the Movies" (1916) were Selig productions.  "Chips of the Flying Blue" may be the Selig film "Chip of the Flying U" (1914).  Tom later  appeared in a feature called Pals in Blue (1925) for Fox.

Moving Picture World, 04-January-1919
In competition, Fox was reediting Tom Mix's earliest Fox films and rereleasing them as comedies.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Carol Channing, RIP -- January 16, 2019
I was sad to learn that Carol Channing had died.  She was born in Seattle but came to San Francisco as a baby and grew up here.  She was always the center of attention.  Herb Caen wrote about her frequently.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Moving Picture Hall -- January 15, 2019

Moving Picture World, 18-January-1919
"New Moving Picture Hall Being Built by the American Red Cross Military Hospital No. 5, at Auteuil, France to Give Entertainment to America Soldiers While Awaiting Demobilization."

Monday, January 14, 2019

United Artists Association Formed -- January 14, 2019

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
100 years ago today (or tomorrow), a group of major Hollywood stars and the best-known director, Mary Pickford, William S Hart, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and DW Griffith, met and agreed to form United Artists.  Hollywood production companies had been trying to pay them less money and the artists wanted to eliminate the middlemen.

Washington Herald, 16-January-1919

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Robert Stack 100 -- January 13, 2019
Actor Robert Stack was born 100 years ago today, on 13-January-1919.  He served in the US Navy during World War Two.

I didn't see The Untouchables when it was first on, but my mother says that when I was due to be born, there was two-part episode.  She hoped she wouldn't have to miss the second episode.

Later I enjoyed reruns of the show.

I loved his appearance as Captain Kramer in Airplane!  "Do you know what it's like to fall in the mud and get kicked... in the head... with an iron boot? Of course you don't, no one does. It never happens. Sorry, Ted, that's a dumb question... skip that. "

Friday, January 11, 2019

8 Rounds of Furious Action -- January 11, 2019

Boxoffice, 26-June-1937
On 22-June-1937, at Comiskey Park, Chicago, James J Braddock lost the heavyweight title to Joe Louis.

Boxoffice, 26-June-1937

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Why We Need to Keep Searching for Lost Silent Films -- January 10, 2018

Bisbee, Arizona Daily Review, 24-December-1916
Congratulations to Fritzi, the host of Movies, Silently, who has published an article in Smithsonian Magazine's website about the need to continue to search for films thought to be lost.  Fritzi makes good arguments that should help people who are not movie crazy to understand the issues.

Why We Need to Keep Searching for Lost Silent Films

Sherlock Holmes starring William Gillette was thought to be lost for many years and is now available on Blu-Ray.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Two Million American Soldiers are Still in Europe -- Jamuary 9, 2018

Moving Picture World, 11-January-1919
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 this month, World War One had ended, but many American soldiers remained in Europe until 1919. "Two million American soldiers are still in Europe: The motion picture camera is recording their doings in occupied Germany."

Moving Picture World, 04-January-1919
The committee also produced a series of five two reelers, each "showing a single phase of the war."  I would like to see "Wings of Victory."

Moving Picture World, 11-January-1919
The committee produced a feature, Under Four Flags, which told the story of how four allied nations, Italy, the UK, France and the US fought the war.  The committee left out little Serbia and Russia, which had made a separate peace.

Moving Picture World, 11-January-1919
Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919

Monday, January 7, 2019

The New Vitagraph Big "V" Special Comedies -- January 7, 2019

Motion Picture News, 25-January-1919
100 years ago this month, in January, 1919, Big V comedies with Larry Semon and Montgomery and Rock showed up in a small section of a two page Vitagraph ad.

Motion Picture News, 25-January-1919
In addition to the companies making Larry Semon and Montgomery and Rock, Vitagraph added a company to produce comedies with Jimmy Aubrey.

Moving Picture World, 11-January-1919
Jimmy Aubrey's comedies would be directed by JA Howe, who had directed both Semon and Montgomery and Rock.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
"Footballs and Frauds," another alliterative title, starred former Keystone comedian Slim Summerville.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

The Fighting Roosevelts -- January 6, 2019

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
Former president Theodore Roosevelt died at his family home, Sagamore Hill, near Oyster Bay, New York 100 years ago today, on 06-January-1919. He was only 60 years old. Vice President Thomas R Marshall said "Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there'd have been a fight."

Perhaps it is cynical of me, but I'll bet the producers of The Fighting Roosevelts, a movie about TR and life before the presidency, were not prostrated by the news.  It probably helped business.

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919
"...Colonel Roosevelt was giving his close attention to its production up to the last week of his life..."

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1919

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Heart of Humanity -- January 5, 2019

Moving Picture World, 25-January-1918
The Heart of Humanity was a Universal film starring Dorothy Phillips.  Erich von Stroheim made a big impression as an evil Hun.   The war was over, but there were many war films to be released.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

ZaSu Pitts 125 -- January 3, 2018
Actress ZaSu Pitts was born 125 years ago today, on 13-January-1893.  In the image, she explains the derivation of her name.
ZaSu Pitts began her movie career playing roles in short silent comedies.  Director Erich von Stroheim surprised her and many other people by casting her as Trina, the female lead in Greed, his adaption of Frank Norris' novel McTeague. I thought she was wonderful in the part.
When talkies arrived in Hollywood, ZaSu Pitts mostly played comedy character parts.  She starred in a series of two-reelers with Thelma Todd for Hal Roach.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Carole Landis 100 -- January 1, 2019
Curvaceous actress Carole Landis was a popular pin-up during World War Two. She appeared in some very good movies and toured to entertain soldiers in the South Pacific. With her career in decline and a complicated life, she committed suicide in 1948 when she was 29 years old. Her career took off when DW Griffith selected her to play the lead in Hal Roach's One Million BC.