Tuesday, August 13, 2019

See Tom Mix on Horseback Ride Up a Fire Escape to Rescue the Princess -- August 13, 2019

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was busy making movies. He also found other ways to entertain himself, as described in the 02-August-1919 Moving Picture World:

Mix Has His Waterfall, Banty
His Doughnuts, and May
Allison Her Make-Up
That Wanders
By Giebler

"Tom Mix, Charlie Murray, Bobby Vernon, Fatty Arbuckle, Kathleen Clifford, Fred Niblo, Houdini and Will Rogers helped put over the benefit at the Mason Opera House on Sunday night that brought in seven thousand dollars for the Actors' Fund. And every car owner of the colony is throbbing with expectancy as he looks forward to the coming of the day when all speed feuds will be settled at the Auto Classic race to be held at the Ascot Speedway— also an Actors' Fund benefit."

"Players who heretofore have never been able to show what they could really do with their cars because of an unfeeling attitude on the part of the speed cops, are going to open her up, step on it and otherwise show how fast they can go when that happy day arrives.

"Cecil De Mille and Eddie Hearne are going to stage an auto airplane race. Mr. De Mille will take the course in the air while Hearne covers it on the ground, and Hal Roach, Charles Ray, Donald Crisp, Tom Mix and several others will tear up the track in their efforts to hang up a record.

"I did considerable Rubbernecking this week, called on the Metroites, and spent part of a night on a Tom Mix location, watching Tom ride his horse through a waterfall, and eating Banty Colwell's doughnuts.

"Tom is making 'A Hard Boiled Tenderfoot,' a play that calls for one of the most unusual scenes ever used in the films. Tom wrote the story and is directing himself, and you can always trust him to figure up something different.

"The Tenderfoot is trying to locate the lair of a gang of bandits, and one moonlight night when he is riding Tony, his trusty steed, down a mountain trail, he comes upon a beautiful waterfall.

"While Tom is getting an eyeful of the sylvan beauty of the scene, the curtain of water that falls from the racks high above is disturbed, and a rough and rude looking person wearing a wide hat, a ferocious look and a brace of guns, rides through the waterfall down the bosky dell and away.

"The mystery of the bandits' rendevous is solved; the Tenderfoot rides up the bed of the stream, straight through the falling water, down a long passage into the bandits' cave and and hornet's nest of trouble.

"Oil Paintings 'n Everything.

"The bandits, who have been robbing trains with especial attention to the sleeping cars, have got the cavern fitted up with Pullmanesque luxury, ranging from paper drinking cups to colored porters.

"Of course the bandits all 'pack' guns, and Tom has a terrible time, but he outwits the Pullman pirates, saves and wins the 'gell,' played by Eva Novak, and makes a typical Mix mix-up of mystery, thrills and massive moments.

"Tom hurts himself again — I say again because he manages to get bunged up in nearly every picture he makes. This time he rode too close to the wall in the passageway leading to the bandits' cave and cut a two-inch gash in his left knee when he struck the sharp edge of a property rock. If Tom doesn't stop being so reckless with himself, people will be referring to him as the late Mr. Mix one of these days.

"The waterfall was a remarkable example of the ingenuity of the Fox technical department. It reminded me of the story of the Irishman, who upon seeing a monkey for the first time in his life, scratched his head and said, 'Well, well, what will the Frinch do next?' Looking at the waterfall made me ask myself 'What'll the movies do next?'

"The whole thing was man-made, as of course it had to be. Neither waterfalls nor caves are hard to find; any location man will lead a director to a dozen of each on short notice, but the combination of a nice roomy robbers' cave with a tame waterfall acting as a front door is rare.

"A Fire Engine Waterfall.

"The mountainside was made of real-looking rocks and boulders tastefully decorated with vines, bushes and other vegetable matter used by Mrs. Nature in her best moments.

"The opening that led to the cave, wide and high enough for a man to ride through on horseback, was completely screened by thousands of gallons of water that tumbled over the rocks twenty feet above. Two fire engines were used to keep the waterfall going, and water enough to float a battleship was used.

"We had quite a little party on the location. Sol Wuertzel, manager of the studio, Mrs. Wuertzel, Howard Sheehan, brother to Winnie, of New York, who has just come to the coast as western district manager for Fox films, Mrs. Sheehan, and Mrs. Tom Mix, who used to be Virginia Forde, were all there.

"Along about ten bells we all went over to the chuck wagon and staged an attack on the coffee and doughnuts. The chuck wagon, which belongs exclusively to the Tom Mix outfit, and follows Tom wherever he goes on location, is the real thing, and Tex Graham, the captain and J. D., his brother, as first mate, have covered many miles of the western cattle range with the outfit before it went into the movies.

"Tex surely knows how to make coffee. He does not use percolators or any fancy doings ; the coffee is boiled over a long trench in the ground filled with blazing greasewood and sage brush, and the coffee is as black as ink and as strong as a mule, but ye gods ! how it does warm the cockles of the heart.

"Making S. A. Lassies Jealous.

"The doughnuts were by Banty Colwell. Banty's doughnuts are as popular around the Fox lot as Tom Mix's films are with the fans.

"Banty is a character actor and was working as one of the bandits the night we were presented to his pastry, but that is merely a side line with him — doughnuts are Banty's real mission in life.

"Banty does all the work on his doughnuts personally, story, continuity, direction, hot grease, hole, everything; and when they are done they are as tender as a hero's heart and as seductive as a vampire's glance."

I wish I could try Banty's doughnuts.

A week later, we learn the results of the races. From the 09-August-1919 Moving Picture World:

"The next day was Sunday, and the auto races.

"15,000 people went down to Ascot Park and watched Tom Mix win the Amateur Championship of the Pacific Coast, and Donald Crisp and Hoot Gibson flirt with death and disaster and get away with it.>

"After the skids and turns and flop-overs that Don and Hoot went through, they could have sold every hair on the rabbit's feet they carry for a dollar a hair.

"Mix Staged a De Palma.

"There were seven entries in the Coast Amateur Championship race of twenty-five miles. Tom Mix, in a Stutz special, finished first, in 24 minutes, 3 and 4-5 seconds; Lambert Hillyer, with a Hearne special, came in second; Ray Kirkwood, Maxwell, third; Donald Crisp, Mercer, fourth; Henrv King, Mercer, fifth; E. L. Hayes, with a Stutz, and J. McWright, in a Wenz, did not finish.

"The studio race of ten miles was won by Earl Tiffany in an Elliott special, in nine minutes and twenty seconds. Tiffany also won the Star entry race of 15 miles in the same car in 14 minutes, 3 and 1-5 seconds. The Australian pursuit race was won by Lambert Hillyer.

"The airplane versus auto race of two miles, between Cecil De Mille and Eddie Heme was won by De Mille, who made the course in one minute, one and one-half seconds. De Mille was only one hundred feet above the course at the start of the race, and the event was very fine and spectacular.

"Beauty and the Judge.

"The parade and beauty show was a fine part of the program. Charlie Murray was master of ceremonies, as usual. It took much hair-splitting to make the decision between Juanita Hansen in a gorgeous Packard, and Clara Kimball Young, in a Daniels, but Miss Young was given the cup.

"There were a great many beautifully decorated cars in the Beauty parade. Priscilla Dean, Colleen Moore, Pauline Frederick, Marie McAllister, Lois Wilson, Earle Williams, Henry McRae, Molly Malone and others won much applause.

"Donald Crisp and Hoot Gibson furnished most of the thrills, and if there had been any "good luck" medals awarded, this pair of daredevils would have won them.

Crisp Flirts with Undertaker.

"In the 15-mile race Crisp left the track in what looked like an excursion to certain destruction. His car went into a vicious skid, turned around twice and headed for the safety zone backwards. There was a big shower of dust which everyone feared hid a tragedy, but when the dust settled, there was Donald, unhurt.

In the last event, the Australian pursuit, Crisp again left the track, skidded about thirty feet and 'busted' a big gap in the fence, and after all this, got his car back into the race and won second place at the finish.

Hoot Gibson and his mechanician, Pete Morrison, did a merry-go-round skidding act in the 15-mile race. The car turned twice, dashed into the safety zone, took another turn and stopped, and when the ambulance dashed over to the spot, they found the remains safe and sound under the cowl of the car."

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Tom received a silver cup for averaging better than a mile a minute in the 25 mile race.

Moving Picture World, 02-August-1919
Tom and his pet appeared at a dog show in Santa Barbara.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Louis Reeves Harrison liked Rough Riding Romance.

Moving Picture World, 09-August-1919
Tom and leading lady Juanita Hansen.  "Nobby Bonnet?"

Moving Picture World, 16-August-1919
This reviewer concentrated on Tom's stunts.

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919

Moving Picture World, 30-August-1919

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919
Fox made an adaption of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 1921, but it starred Harry Myer rather than Tom Mix.  It would have been fun with Tom.  The movie is lost.

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