Friday, October 31, 2014

The Crimson Kiss of Dracula Will Thrill Them to the Core -- October 31, 2014

Moving Picture News, 06-December-1930

Happy Halloween, everyone.  Note that this ad for Dracula does not mention or show Bela Lugosi.  It does show one of my favorite character actors, Dwight Frye, who played Renfield. 

I think I first saw Dracula on Creature Features, a late night horror show on KTVU Channel 2.  Edward van Sloan's speech before the curtain made an impression on, as did Lugosi's performance.  It made me want to see more Universal horror films. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Remarkable Skill and Ingenuity of the Thanhouser Organization -- October 30, 2014

Moving Picture World, 03-October-1914

The Million Dollar Mystery was a Thanhouser production made in association with the Chicago Tribune, which ran the weekly stories in printed form. The 23-chapter serial starred Florence La Badie, a popular Thanhouser actress who died the next year in a car wreck. Her leading man was James Cruze, who later became a director. His most famous production was The Covered Wagon.

Bisbee Daily Review, 03-October-1914
Notice that The Million Dollar Mystery is billed on top  in this ad for Bisbee, Arizona's Orpheum Theater. 

Motography, 10-October-1914
"In episode No. 16 of The Million Dollar Mystery is a thrilling portrayal of an actual quicksand into which Flo La Badie falls."

Motography, 17-October-1914
"Jones rescues Norton from the basement dungeon." 

Motography, 17-October-1914
"The conspirators set the trap for Norton." 

Motography, 24-October-1914
"It contains new thrills -- new action..."

Motography, 24-October-1914

"Olga forces the princess to do her bidding." 

Motography, 24-October-1914
"Florence tells Olga of the invitation." 


The San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in the seventh game of the World Series.  Madison Bumgarner was the winning pitcher and the MVP.  It was a heck of a season.  The Royals put up a great fight. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Clara Bow -- Halloween 2014 -- October 29, 2014

Red haired Clara Bow was probably the most popular silent actress after Mary Pickford.  With Halloween coming, I thought I would post a photo of Clara as a cute witch. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

John Cleese 75 -- October 28, 2014

Happy belated 75th birthday to Archie Leach, Basil Fawlty, the Black Knight and beloved and gentle member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, also known as John Cleese.  Yesterday was his birthday.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Chronophotography, Part 2 -- October 26, 2014

An excerpt from "Chronophotography" from Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography, edited by Albert Allis Hopkins.  We learned about Eadweard Muybridge in Part One:

In Part Three we will read about the analysis of locomotion in water. 

Be sure to click on the images to see larger versions. 

A very simple method enables us to obtain, with perfect fidelity, the trajectory of a body in movement; it is the photographing of this body in front of a black surface. If the photographic apparatus is directed against a black screen, the objective can be uncovered without effect on a sensitized plate, as it will receive no light; but if a white ball strongly illuminated by the sun is thrown across the plane of this screen, and parallel with it, its image will be reproduced upon the plate, which will show the track of the ball in its trajectory, just as the eye receives a momentary impression of lines of fire when a lighted piece of charcoal is waved through the air at night.

Fig. 3 shows the parabolic trajectory of a brilliant ball thrown across the face of a dark screen; but it is discontinuous, as exposures were only produced each fiftieth of a second on account of the number of the openings and the speed of the rotation of the disk. This is only an example which shows the almost limitless number of varieties of movement which may be analyzed by chronophotography.

With ordinary shutters it would be difficult to obtain this quickness, but the perforated disk which is used in chronophotography gradually acquires a speed of rotation that may be very great. Fig. 4 shows the arrangement of this disk by which a rotary movement is imparted by a powerful gearing controlled by a regulator. As soon as the disk obtains a speed of ten turns a second, the regulator maintains this speed with perfect uniformity. The disk moves in front of the sensitized plate a few millimeters only; then, knowing the angular value of each of the openings, the period of exposure is easily deduced therefrom.

The condition most difficult of fulfillment is the absolute darkness of the screen before which the photographs are taken. Little light as there is, the screen might reflect upon this sensitized plate, during a single exposure, small quantities of light, which would tend to fog the plate. A wall painted with any black pigment, or even covered with black velvet, exposed to the sun, reflects too much light for a plate to withstand. The term "black screen" is used in a metaphorical sense. In reality the work is done before a dark cavity, being in truth what is known as " Chevreul's black." To obtain these favorable conditions, a chamber nearly thirty-three feet deep and of equal breadth was constructed; one face of this chamber was open, and restricted by movable frames to the exact height necessary. The interior of the chamber was completely blackened, the ground was coated with pitch, and the back hung with black velvet.

Before entering into a detail of the experiments, we shall point out the general arrangement of the Physiological Station of Paris. Fig. 5 gives a general view of the grounds and buildings.

On these grounds, which were laid out by the city of Paris as a nursery, there is a circular road, thirteen feet wide, designed for the exercise of horses, and, outside of this, a footpath for men. All around this road there runs a telegraph line whose poles are spaced 164 feet apart. Every time that a person walks in front of a pole a telegraphic signal is given, and this is inscribed in one of the rooms of the principal building. Further you we shall speak of this sort of automatic inscription, by means of which we ascertain at every instant the speed of the walker, the variations therein, and even the frequency of his steps. In the center of the track there is a high post that carries a mechanical drum which regulates the rhythm of the gait, and which is actuated by a special telegraph line running from one of the rooms in the large building, wherein the rhythm is regulated by a mechanical interrupter.

From the center of the circle, likewise, there starts a small railway upon which runs a car that forms a photographic chamber, from the interior of which is taken a series of instantaneous images of the horses or men whose gait we desire to analyze.

Fig. 6 represents the photographic chamber in which the experimenter places himself. This chamber is mounted upon wheels, and runs upon a railway in such a way that it can approach or move away from the screen according to the objectives that are being used and to the size of the images that it is desired to obtain. As a general thing, it is advantageous to place the photographic apparatus quite far from the screen, say about 164 feet. From this distance the angle at which the subject whose image is being taken does not change much during the time it takes to pass before the black screen. From the exterior of this chamber are seen the red windows through which the operator can follow the different motions that he is studying. To have the different acts performed he gives his orders through a speaking trumpet. The front of the chamber is removed in Fig. 6 in order to show a revolving disk provided with a small window through which the light enters the photographic objective intermittently. This disk is of large dimensions (four and three-quarters feet in diameter), and the window in it represents only one hundredth of its circumference. It follows from this that if the disk makes ten revolutions per second, the duration of lighting will be but one thousandth of a second. Motion is communicated to the disk by a train of wheels which is wound up with a winch and which is actuated by a weight of one hundred and fifty kilograms placed behind the chamber. The motion of the disk is arrested by a brake, and a bell maneuvered from the interior serves to give orders to an aid either to set the disk in operation or to stop it.

Fig. 7 shows the inner arrangement of the chamber, a portion of one of the sides being removed to show the photographic apparatus, A, placed upon a bracket before the screen. This apparatus receives long and narrow sensitized plates that exactly hold an entire image of the screen. At B is the revolving disk which produces the intermittent illuminations, and at D is a cut-off which is raised vertically at the beginning of the experiment, and which is allowed to fall at the end so as to allow light to enter only during the time that is strictly necessary. E is a wide slit in front of the objective, for allowing the latter to take in the field in which are occurring the motions that are being studied.

The darkness that reigns in the rolling chamber permits of manipulating the sensitized plates therein at ease, and of changing them at every new experiment.

Against the dark field just described, a man placed in full light, naked, or clothed in white, gives a sharp image on the sensitized plate. The results in running and jumping which are obtained by this means are very satisfactory. For scientific purposes it is found that the results are better if, instead of white clothing, the runner is clothed in black velvet. By this means he becomes nearly invisible before the black area. If white cords are attached to this costume, following the direction of the axes of his limbs, and white buttons used for the principal articulations, the white parts are reproduced and reobtained on the sensitized plate in an almost unlimited number of positions.

Using a disk pierced with five holes, which gives twenty-five images per second, the result shown in Fig. 12, which shows in full detail the movements of the left half of the body, head, arm, and leg, was obtained by this method for the action of running. Every fifth image is a little stronger than the others. This is effected by making one of the apertures in the disk larger than the others. The time of exposure is thus increased, and the intensity of the image is greater. The object of this disposition is to furnish base marks, by means of which it is always easy to recognize traces corresponding to the same image, that is to say, to a given attitude of the runner. For detailed studies a part of the image is screened, as shown in Fig. 13. These diagrams are very well adapted for the comparison of two sorts of movements whose difference cannot be discerned by the eye. Thus, in jumping from an elevation the shock caused by the feet striking the ground is reduced in intensity by bending the legs, while the extensor muscles operate to sustain the weight of the falling body. Our next two engravings show two kinds of jumps: the first, the flexure of the legs and the reduction of the shock; the second, with the leg almost straight, which implies a severe shock by the feet striking the ground.

The practical applications of chronophotography are soon seen. Just as machines are driven so as to obtain a useful effect at the smallest expenditure of power, so a man can govern his movements so as to produce the wished-for effects with the least waste of energy, and, consequently, with the least possible fatigue. Of two gaits which can carry us over a definite space in a given time, the one should be preferred which costs the least possible fatigue. Chronophotography furnishes the missing elements of the problem, giving exactly the velocity of the different parts of the body, by the balancing of which we can determine the masses in movement. From a long series of comparisons, important conclusions can be drawn, as, for example, the following: in walking, the most favorable gait is one where step succeeds step at the rate of about one hundred and twenty a minute; for running, the step should be nearly two hundred and forty a minute. Fewer or more numerous steps will give less effect at a greater expenditure of the work. The applications are therefore obvious; they enable us to fix the rate of steps of soldiers to economize as much as possible their strength in the severe trials to which they are subjected. These studies have been followed out at great length, under varying conditions, using a considerable number of subjects; and the results, while not final, have shown that the true method has been found. Experiments have confirmed that which the laws of mechanics could not foretell when the dynamic conditions of the work of man were incompletely known.

M. Marey's studies of the legs of the horse are particularly interesting. We give one engraving showing the oscillation of the fore leg of a horse in a gallop.

The analysis of the flight of birds presents special difficulty. Owing to the extreme rapidity of the movements of the wings, an extremely short exposure is required. The direction, often capricious, of the flight of the bird, and the length of the path which must be followed, to include on the sensitized plate sufficiently sharp images, add to the difficulty. Several repetitions of the same experiment are generally required before success.

The photographic gun is particularly valuable for taking photographs of birds. Our engravings show the mechanism of the photographic gun and the method of using it.

We present a photograph of a gull taken during its flight and an enlargement of the same.

The photographic gun will be understood by reference to the engraving, and is fully described in the "Scientific American Supplement," No. 386, to which the reader is referred.

We also give photographs of a pigeon rising in flight and the successive attitudes of a gull.

Space forbids us to more than state that the analysis of the flight of birds is a most interesting and important subject, and the results obtained by chronophotography are most gratifying.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Exclusive Fight Pictures -- 25-October-2014

Motion Picture Daily, 23-September-1953

An ad promises "Exclusive Fight Pictures" of the upcoming second match between heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano and challenger Roland LaStarza.  On 24-March-1950, LaStarza lost a controversial decision to Marcinao.  Marciano went on to win the heavyweight championship from Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952.  Marciano faced LaStarza again on 24-September-1953. in the Polo Grounds  LaStarza did well in the early rounds, but then lost steam.  Marciano earned a TKO in the 11th.  It was a thrilling fight. 

Rocky Marciano is the only man so far to retire as heavyweight champion undefeated and untied and stay retired. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Biograph in the Vatican -- October 24, 2014

From Scientific American, 14-January-1899.  I have always been a fan of Pope Leo XIII because of his encyclical Rerum Novarum, on social justice for workers.  The Biograph camera produced negatives which could be used to make prints for projection or for showing on a Mutoscope. 

Upon the announcement of the recent illness of Pope Leo XIII, it was found that with one exception no authentic photograph of the Pope had been taken during the past six years.  Within a few months however no less than 17,000 photographs of the Pope have been taken with his sanction. These photographs were taken in the loggia and gardens of the Vatican with the aid of the "Biograph" camera.

Mr. William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson, representing the Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, Limited, of London, England, the English connection of the American Mutoscope Company, went to Rome for the purpose of obtaining moving photographs of the Pope. He had credentials from Cardinal Gibbons, Monsignor Martinelli, Archbishop Ireland, and other noted prelates in the United States, and by special permission of the Pope he secured nine series for the "Biograph" and "Mutoscope," and these scenes were exhibited on December 14, at Carnegie Music Hall, New York city, in the presence of Archbishop Corrigan and other distinguished clergymen of the Roman Catholic faith.  They had previously been shown to Monsignor Martinelli in Washington and given his approval. 

The moving views show the Holy Father walking and riding in his carriage and sedan chair about the halls and gardens of the Vatican, and in some of these scenes the Pope is seen bestowing his blessing upon the bystanders.  He is also seen walking about the garden and sitting on a rustic bench surrounded by some of the chief members of his official household and the Garde Nobili.  Through the courtesy of the American Mutoscope Company, we are enabled to show a view of the Pope seated upon a rustic bench  bestowing his benediction while he was being photographed by the Bioscope camera.  The views certainly bring us into a more intimate relation with one of the great figures of the closing years of the nineteenth century. When Mr. Dickson was taking the photographs, the Pope asked for an explanation of the apparatus. A copy of the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN containing an article on the American Mutoscope and Biograph, published in our issue of April 17.1897, was shown him. His Holiness became much interested in the paper. The laboratory of the International Mutoscope and Biograph Syndicate, where all of the moving picture apparatus is developed and prepared for the market. is at Canastota, New York. At this laboratory there are employed a large force of inventors and mechanical experts under the direction of Messrs. Marvin and Casler, and constant efforts are being made to develop new and improved forms of moving picture apparatus and to discover new methods of taking and exhibiting moving picture views. 

All the intricate and special machinery involved in the process of reproducing these views with marvelous exactness is designed and built at this laboratory, and this work requires great mechanical skill and the most perfect tools and app1iances known to the mechanical art. The accuracy of this class of apparatus will be better appreciated when one considers the enormous magnification at which these views are projected upon the screen and the rapidity with which successive views must follow each other in perfect registration. Imagine a sequence of two thousand pictures. each two inches by two and a half inches in size. following each other in turn through the projecting lantern of the biograph every minute. each picture being magnified on the screen to a size of twenty by twenty-five feet. and think how perfect must be the registration of each succeeding picture, in order that the result of the image upon the screen may not appear to dance about and vibrate. but may appear as one continuous set picture! Not only is precision in projecting required. but also in the printing of the positives from the original negative. The negative prints taken by the original camera do not always follow each other at equal distances upon the strip of film ; consequently, in printing the positives the printing machine must be able to correct this imperfect spacing and produce a band of positive prints printed perfectly equidistant.  The printing machine must also be able to properly register and print bromide pictures from the same negatives, but these pictures on a bend of bromide for the Mutoscope have to be spaced much wider than when printed on celluloid strips for the Biograph.  The printing machines are arranged to run entirely automatically, and so perfect is their design that if for any reason a print does not register perfectly, the operation of the machine stops and a bell is rung, warning the attendant that his attention is needed.  The apparatus constructed at the laboratory is sent out to the various Mutoscope companies in England, Germany, France and Holland, and any ideas in moving pictures developed by any of these companies are at once forwarded to the American laboratory for perfection and trial and in this respect the position of the laboratory is somewhat peculiar, since it is the workshop for busy brains throughout England and the Continent. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Burning Daylight -- October 23, 2014

Missoula Daily Missoulian, 05-October-1914
Actor Hobart Bosworth admired Jack London's writing and formed a company to produce movies based on London's stories and novels.

Jack London published Burning Daylight in 1910 and it was his biggest seller while he lived. I have not read the book, but I use the phrase a lot. This is another story based on London's time in the Klondike. There was later a second movie, Burning Daylight: The Adventures of "Burning Daylight" in Civilization.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grauman's Chinese -- Mary Pickford -- October 22, 2014

I just finished my series of photos taken at Grauman's Chinese.  I started it on my other blog in 2009-2010, then picked it up again after a visit in 2012 (  I moved it here when I started this blog in 2014, and finished it last month.  This month I thought I would rerun the series, adding photos of the people and animals who left their hand/foot/nose/profile/leg/hoof prints in the concrete. 

Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks were the first people to leave hand and footprints in the forecourt of Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, on 30-April-1927. The day I visited, no one was paying attention to Miss Pickford.  In November of that year, she would release My Best Girl, her last silent. 

I took this on 18-July-2009. DSCN4137.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Scene From "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" -- October 21, 2014

Moving Picture World, 03-October-1914

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, located in Los Angeles, was formed in 1914 to produce movies based on stories by L Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz. The company made some movies, but was not a financial success.  The cover of the 03-October-1914 features an image from their first movie, The Patchwork Girl of Oz

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Real, Old-Fashioned, Shake-the-House Thriller -- October 20, 2014

Moving Picture World, 03-October-1914

The Perils of Pauline was a big hit in 1914. The 20 chapter serial was not the first movie serial, but it was one of the big ones. It starred Pearl White, the first serial queen. The Eclectic Film Company distributed Pathé movies in the United States. The film exists only in a mutilated form, based on a copy exported to France. The subtitles had been translated into French, then translated back into English. Chapter Fourteen got good reviews.

Motography, 03-October-1914

This ad also mentions "Max Has the Boxing Fever," a Max Linder comedy. 

Motography, 03-October-1914
"Pauline's Perils Increase in Number." 

Motography, 17-October-1914
"Pauline Periled in Auto Race." 

Motography, 31-October-1914

"Owen is truly a dauntless villain."