Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Give Comedy a Chance! -- May 24, 2022

Motion Picture Classic, May, 1922

Baby Peggy Montgomery grew to become Century's biggest comedy star, even surpassing her old comrade Brownie the Century Wonder Dog. Universal released Century Comedies.

Moving Picture Weekly, 13-May-1922

The rest of the Century lineup included Brownie the Century Wonder Dog, Lee Moran, Charles Doherty, Harry Sweet and a new kid, Johnny K Fox. Johnny Fox's film career lasted until 1929.

Moving Picture Weekly, 27-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

The Christie Film Company was a major producer of short comedies from 1911 to 1933. Al Christie was the director and Charles Christie ran the business. The Christies featured situation comedy more than the slapstick favored by Mack Sennett and Hal Roach.

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

Snub Pollard and others starred in one reelers for Hal Roach.

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

Australian Billy Bevan was Sennett's busiest star. 

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 27-May-1922

Joe Martin was an every-day average orangutan who was frequently billed as a chimp. With his wife, Mrs Joe Martin, he starred in a series of short comedies for Universal-Jewel. Lee Moran had been a member of Lyons and Moran, with Eddy Lyons.

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

Lloyd Hamilton, who had been the Ham of Ham and Bud, starred in a series of Mermaid Comedies distributed by Educational Comedies. Most of them were destroyed in a vault fire.

Moving Picture World, 13-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 27-May-1922

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

Stan Laurel launched a new series of comedies. I like the image. 

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

"Laurel is not an imitator of Chaplin."

Monday, May 23, 2022

Wonder Theater of the World -- May 23, 2022

Dallas Express, 27-May-1922

I greatly admire John Harris, owner and manager of the Grand Central Theater in Dallas, who had a policy of showing race films. I have never heard of For His Mother's Sake, which starred ex-heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. Oscar Micheaux wrote, directed and produced The Dungeon in 1922. My Baby was produced in Dallas by the Benroy Motion Picture Corporation. So far, I have found nothing about the movie or its stars William Lee and Annie Valley. The co-feature was a mainstream western starring Frank Mayo.

Dallas Express, 06-May-1922

The Benroy Motion Picture Corporation of Dallas was looking for investors.

Dallas Express, 06-May-1922

The Benroy Motion Picture Corporation of Dallas also opened a free dramatic arts school to look for new talent. 

Kansas City Kansan, 14-May-1922

A group of students at Western University in Kansas City, Kansas, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) were watching The Lure of a Woman, produced by the Afro-American Film Exhibitors Company, when the film in the projection booth caught fire. No one was killed or injured. Western University closed its doors in 1942.

Washington Evening Star, 14-May-1922

The Burden of Race was a made by Reol Productions in 1921.

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

On the other hand, I was happy to see that Kansas banned a KKK recruiting film. 

Moving Picture World, 27-May-1922

And then there is this odd situation. Noble Johnson, one of the founders of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, is listed as the producer. He is also credited with writing the movie. But this is a non-race film.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sherlock Holmes in Motion Pictures -- May 22, 2022

Moving Picture World, 06-May-1922

Eille Norwood played Sherlock Holmes and Hubert Willis played Dr John Watson in a series of short films and features made between 1921 and 1923 by Stoll Pictures. Educational, which was releasing the films in the US, did a tie-in with The Saturday Evening Post.

Film Daily, 01-May-1922

Educational ran a series of ads in Film Daily promoted the The Saturday Evening Post connection.

Film Daily, 03-May-1922

Film Daily, 08-May-1922

Film Daily, 10-May-1922

Film Daily, 12-May-1922

"Twelve Millions of Women..." This was a common usage 100 years ago. 

Film Daily, 15-May-1922

Film Daily, 22-May-1922

Film Daily, 24-May-1922

Film Daily, 31-May-1922

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Castle Films -- Rollicking Good Times With Filmdom's Funniest Comedians -- May 21, 2022

Castle Films Catalog, 1970

I recently came across this scan of Castle Films' 1970 catalog. I never had enough money to buy any of these films, but I enjoyed looking at the catalogue entries. As a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Universal, Castle had access to many of the company's comedies starring Abbott and Costello and WC Fields.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Every Show is a Good Show When Buster Heads the Bill -- May 20, 2022

Moving Picture World, 13-May-1922

This First National trade ad says that "Newspapers all review Keaton comedies ahead of the feature. Live exhibitors are featuring Keaton. Why? The public wants it. Take the tip!" The ad is illustrated with an image from "The Boat."

Motion Picture News, 27-May-1922

"Buster Keaton in 2 reel comedies that always play as features."

Moving Picture World, 13-May-1922

Hillsboro, Ohio's Forum Theater used this mish mosh to advertise Jane Novak in The Rosary and Buster in "The Paleface." 

Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

A boyhood photograph of Buster smiling. 

Moving Picture World, 27-May-1922

Buster was injured several times on the set of "The Electric House." The first time they tried to film the story in 1920, Buster broke his ankle on the escalator. He gave up and started over, scrapping the footage from 1920. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pray For Ukraine -- May 19, 2022


The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. In the old days, I might have thought all this talk of Russian atrocities was propaganda, but we see so many photos and videos that I have to believe them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Frank Capra 125 -- May 18, 2022


Director Frank Capra was born 125 years ago today, on 18-May-1897 in Bisacquino, Sicily. I found his autobiography The Name Above the Title at the Anza Branch Library. I read it many times. He directed some of my favorite movies, including It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night, Arsenic and Old Lace, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Mr Deeds Goes to Town. I saw his Why We Fight movies in college and they left an impression on me. I enjoyed his work with Harry Langdon. 

I later learned that many of his stories in his autobiography were not firmly rooted in truth. 



Moving Picture World, 20-May-1922

Over the last couple of months, we have seen the 100th anniversary of the first film that he directed, "The Ballad of Fisher's Boarding House."