Monday, July 13, 2020

Alla Nazimova 75 Years -- July 13, 2020
Actress Alla Nazimova died 75 years ago today, on 13-July-1945. She was born in Russia and came to America early in the 20th Century.  After starring on Broadway, she moved to motion pictures.  She had some huge  hits, but two of her later starring films, which she had produced and financed, were flops and wiped out her fortune. 

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Yul Brynner 100 -- July 11, 2020
Actor Yul Brynner was born 100 years ago today, on 11-July-1920.  I remember him playing the King in King and I in the movie and over and over again on stage.  I thought he seemed a bit stuck-up, but he could be very effective. My wife loves hearing the story of the way Steve McQueen tormented him on the set of The Magnificent Seven

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tennis, Anyone? -- July 9, 2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 09-July-1920
Movie stars Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks toured Great Britain, visiting Wimbledon, where they met tennis stars Suzanne Lenglen and Big Bill Tilden.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sick Abed -- July 7, 2020

Memphis News-Scimitar, 29-July-1920
Patient Wallace Reid feigns illness so he can spend time with pretty nurse Bebe Daniels.  The program at the Strand Theater in Memphis included "Cleaning Up," a short comedy starring Al St John. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ennio Morricone, RIP -- July 6, 2020
Composer Ennio Morricone, who wrote many of the best film soundtracks, has died.   I first learned who he was when I saw Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The New Comedy King -- July 5, 2020

Leavenworth, Washington Echo, 02-Jul-1920

This item touts Larry Semon as "The New Comedy King."  

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day, 2020 -- July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Beautiful actress, dancer and singer Rita Hayworth lights a cannon. Her original 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.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Locklear, the Daredevil of the Skies -- July 3, 2020

St. Landry Clarion, 03-July-1920
After serving in the US Army Air Service during World War I, Ormer Locklear became a barnstormer who specialized in wing walking. He and his partner Skeets Elliot toured the country thrilling audiences. The Great Air Robbery was Locklear's first starring movie role. While shooting his second starring movie, The Skywayman (great title), pilot Elliot was blinded by spotlights during a night dive and both men were killed. The producers left the scene in the movie.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Carl Reiner, RIP -- July 2, 2020
Carl Reiner has died. I grew up watching reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Then radio comedy shows played Reiner and his friend Mel Brooks doing "The 2000-Year-Old Man." Later I learned about Your \Show of Shows. I think I have seen only two of the movies he directed, Oh God and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

In 2000, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. 

He served in the USAAF during World War Two. He was a French translator and then performed in shows for Special Services.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

An Eastern Westerner -- July 1, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-July-1920

100 years ago this month, Harold Lloyd was appearing in "An Eastern Westerner." 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Ray Harryhausen 100 -- June 29, 2020
Animator Ray Harryhausen was born 100 years ago today, on 29-June-1920.  I remember seeing The Mysterious Island on television when I was very young.  I later read in Famous Monsters of Filmland, I think, that Harryhausen and his wife went out to dinner and he brought home the crab shell to use in the movie. 

I loved Mighty Joe Young.  I liked It Came From Beneath the Sea with its 8-legged octopus and scenes shot in San Francisco.  I saw Clash of the Titans and some of the Sinbad movies in the theater.  When I got a Super 8 camera, I tried to do some object animation.  It only showed me how difficult it is to do what Ray Harryhausen did. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Where the Strong Win -- June 27, 2020

Pendleton East Oregonian, 01-June-1920
100 years ago this month, Tom Mix was appearing in Rough Riding Romance at the Arcade Theater in Pendleton, Oregon, along with a Big V Comdey starring Earle Montgomery and Joe Rock, "Throbs and Thrills." 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Joel Schumacher, RIP -- June 25, 2020
I am sorry to learn that director Joel Schumacher has died.  I particularly liked The Lost Boys

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

An Entirely New Style of Art Titles -- June 23, 2020

Washington Star, 13-June-1920

Earlier this year, I wrote about Buster Keaton's first feature film, The Saphead, for the Sixth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon:

I came across the above newspaper item.  Here is an example of an art title from the movie:

William H Crane played Old Nick.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Paul Frees 100 -- June 22, 2020
Growing up, I learned to recognize the voice of Paul Frees in cartoons, feature films, radio and television shows, but I did not know what he looked like until I found this photo on listal.  Frees was born 100 years ago today, on 22-June-1920. I always enjoyed spotting it when he dubbed dialogue for other actors. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sidney Toler -- June 21, 2020

Exhibitors Herald, 26-June-1920
Long before he succeeded Warner Oland as Charlie Chan, Sidney Toler was a playwright. Paramount produced The Bait as an adaption of Toler's play The Tiger Lady

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Offshore Pirate -- June 19, 2020

Exhibitors Herald, 26-June-1920

An article about upcoming Metro productions mentioned that one would be an adaption of "The Offshore Pirate," a short story by F Scott Fitzgerald. The movie starred Viola Dana.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Ian Carmichael 100 -- June 18, 2020
Actor Ian Carmichael was born 100 years ago today, on 18-June-1920. I think I first became aware of Ian Carmichael when Masterpiece Theater ran Clouds of Witness with him as Lord Peter Wimsey. I watched the other stories and then read many of the books during the summers. I liked the way Lord Peter and Bunter had served together during the war and Bunter had helped Lord Peter deal with shell shock.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Louise Fazenda 125 -- June 17, 2020
Comedienne Louise Fazenda was born 125 years ago today, on 17-June-1895.  She started working at Keystone, and kept going into the sound era.  She married producer Hal Wallis.  She was known for doing charitable work.

Moving Picture News, 24-January-1920

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Servant Question -- June 15, 2020

Motion Picture News, 05-June-1920
Actor William Collier (later known as William Collier Sr after his adopted son got into the business) appeared in many silents and talkies.  I know nothing about The Servant Question except that it was directed by Dell Henderson, a Keystone veteran, but I like the cat.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Flag Day, 2020 -- June 14, 2020
Happy Flag Day, everyone. Lovely actress Ava Gardner poses with Old Glory. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Three More Happy Days -- June 13, 2020

El Paso Herald, 24-June-1920
I like the image of Douglas Fairbanks.  I also like the bit at the bottom of the ad: "Don't fail to see Douglas this week!" and "Then see his wife Mary in "Suds" next week!"

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Adrienne Barbeau 75 -- June 11, 2020
Actress Adrienne Barbeau was born 75 years ago today, on 11-June-1945.  She was very popular when I was young.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Charles Dickens 150 Years -- June 9, 2020
Boz (pronounced like "nose") died 150 years ago today, on 09-June-1870. Some years ago I decided to read or reread all of Charles Dickens' novels, even Barnaby Rudge and Martin Chuzzlewit, during my commute. I don't remember how long it took, but it was worthwhile. I still have to read some short stories and Christmas stories. I don't know how many movies have been made from  his novels and short stories. A college professor once said that Dickens' works make good movies because "they can cut out all the dull stuff." Several of the members of the class were offended, but she was probably right.  

Moving Picture World, 20-July-1912

Sunday, June 7, 2020

The Funniest Feature Comedy Ever Filmed -- June 7, 2020

Motion Picture News, 19-June-1920
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. Various companies kept flogging this movie for many years. 

Friday, June 5, 2020

William Boyd 125 -- June 5, 2020
Actor William Boyd was born 125 years ago today, on 05-June-1895.  He played the lead in several Cecil B DeMille movies. People mixed him up with actor William "Stage" Boyd who was arrested for possession of alcohol and drugs. This almost killed his career.

Boyd made a comeback when Paramount cast him as Hopalong Cassidy in a well-made series of westerns. He was the rare cowboy star who wore a black hat.  When television came along, he owned the rights of his movies and also created a television series. 

His fifth and last wife was actress Grace Bradley. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

And Now Stardom -- June 3, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-June-1920
Bebe Daniels, who had been Harold Lloyd's leading lady in a long series of short films for Hal Roach's Rolin studio, left to work as an ingenue in Cecil B DeMille's movies. Realart had her star in a series of features that lasted for the rest of the 1920s. 

Monday, June 1, 2020

Vitagraph-Larry Semon Comedies -- June 1, 2020

Motion Picture News, 26-June-1920
The Vitagraph advertised its successful Vitagraph-Larry Semon series of comedies. 

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Rainer Werner Fassbinder 75 -- May 31, 2020
When I was in my movie-going prime, it was hard to find contemporary West or East German movies, so I read a lot about Rainer Werner Fassbinder's movies before I saw one.  His abundant output reminded me of a filmmaker of the 1910s.  Fassbinder  was born 75 years ago today on 32-May-1945.  He was only 37 when he died of an overdose in 1982, but had made more than 40 feature films.
After reading about his movies in magazines, newspapers and books, I think the first one I saw was probably The Marriage of Maria Braun, probably at the Lumiere on Fillmore.  This was also the first movie I saw with Hanna Schygulla.  

World's Greatest Motor Race -- May 31, 2020

Film Daily, 23-May-1920
The Indianapolis 500 is another casualty of the TrumpVirus.  It has been rescheduled to 23-August-2020.

Friday, May 29, 2020

A Saturday Evening Post Story by F Scott Fitzgerald -- May 29, 2020

Motion Picture News, 01-May-1920
I did not know that Metro had made of movie from F Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Head and Shoulders."  Viola Dana starred.  It was released as The Chorus Girl's Romance.

Motion Picture News, 22-May-1920
Irish-American actress Eileen Percy was going to star in a Fox Film adaption of another story, "Myra Meets His Family." The movie was released as The Husband Hunter.