Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Micheaux Shooting Thrilling 8-Reeler -- April 26, 2023

Pittsburgh Courier, 07-April-1922

Oscar Micheaux was a pioneer in producing what were known as race films. 100 years ago this month, he was working on The Ghost of Tolston's Manor, one of Oscar Micheaux's many silent films that are presumed to be lost.

Pittsburgh Courier, 07-April-1922

Robert Levy, organizer of the Lafayette Players and Reol Productions, worked to try to find enough "Race Attractions" to keep the segregated theaters busy. Levy was born in Britain of Jewish parentage, but he was strongly and positively involved in African-American show business. 

Motion Picture News, 28-April-1923

Al Christie, producer of mainstream short comedies, decided to put his performers in black face. "...a comedy of this type has never been attempted seriously by a high-class producing organization."

Birmingham News, 17-April-1923

Facing a shortage of race film items from April 1923, I jumped ahead to April 1948. The Birmingham theater billed itself as the "Biggest and Best Colored Theater," but it was showing a Gary Cooper movie. 

Memphis Press-Scimitar, 01-April-1923

You could purchase the Tennessee Theater in Memphis for $9500. Unless this was an April Fool's gag. 

Charlotte News, 03-October-1923

Some newspapers printed lists of "Negro Theaters." Notice that most of the movies are mainstream productions. The Return of Mandy's Husband was a race film starring frequent partners Mantan Moreland and Flournoy Miller. If Deadline was a race film, I can't find anything about it. 

Detroit Tribune, 10-April-1948

Mantan Moreland also starred in a 30-minute short subject, "The Dreamer." William Forest Crouch directed. "O'Voutie O'Rooney," starring the inimitable Slim Gaillard, was also a featurette. Jack Rieger directed.

Arizona Daily Star, 29-April-1948

The New Royal Theater in Phoenix was showing That Man of Mine, made in 1946, which was Ruby Dee's first movie. I cannot find a war propaganda film named "Call to Duty." Phoenix's Plaza Theater was showing movies from Mexico. Do those count as race films?

Seattle Northwest Enterprise, 04-April-1948

Reet, Petite, and Gone was a 1947 movie that starred bandleader Louis Jordan, "The Amazing Man of Music!" I didn't know about Louis Jordan until someone played "Saturday Night Fish Fry" on KJAZ. I went looking for him at Tower Records. I still love his music. William Forest Crouch directed.

The bill at Seattle's Metropolitan Theater also included Laurel and Hard in The Flying Deuces and "One World or None," a short film from the National Committee on Atomic Information. I might have visited the concessions when that one was playing.

Arizona Daily Star, 06-April-1948

Beware! was a 1946 movie that starred Louis Jordan with an "All Negro Cast." Bud Pollard directed.

Oklahoma City Black Dispatch, 29-April-1948

Killer Diller was a comedy starring Dusty Fletcher and featuring a skad of musical acts including the King Cole Trio. Josh Binney directed. 

Detroit Tribune, 17-April-1948

The first race I saw may have been Spirit of Youth, a 1937 film starring heavyweight champ Joe Louis. It turned up on a local UHF program called The Worst of Hollywood

Joe Louis starred in a 1948 race film called The Fight Never Ends. The Mills Brothers provided some music and Ruby Dee played an early role. Bud Pollard directed.

Detroit Tribune, 17-April-1948

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