Sunday, February 28, 2016

Comedies That Are -- February 28, 2016

Motion Picture News, 19-February-1916
"C" for "Clayton."  Harold Lloyd was getting more popular as 1916 went along.  He was still playing his Chaplin-like character Lonesome Luke. 

Motion Picture News, 05-February-1916

"Comedies That Are" what? 

Moving Picture World, 12-February-1916
Moving Picture World, 12-February-1916
Luke looks particularly Chaplin-like in this photo. 

Motion Picture News, 19-February-1916
Motion Picture News, 19-February-1916
I think he is leering at Bebe Daniels in this ad. 

Moving Picture World, 26-February-1916

I also detect a bit of Chaplin here. 

Motion Picture News, 26-February-1916

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Douglas Slocombe, RIP -- February 27, 2016

British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe passed away at the age of 103.  He led a full life.  He started shooting documentaries before the war.  He did many of the Ealing comedies.  He kept working through Spielberg's first three Indiana Jones movies.

Friday, February 26, 2016

News of the Week February 26, 1916 -- February 26, 2016

The 26-February-1916 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels. 

"Part of St. Augustine, Fla., collection of more than 2,000 alligators -- Universal."  Alligator farms have always been popular in Florida.  Perhaps this is the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, which has been open since 1893. 

"Quebec soldiers drilling to go to the battlefields in Europe. -- Hearst-Vitagraph."  I have mentioned before that Canadian soldiers played a critical role on the Western Front.  Some of the men of Quebec who didn't like the British may have been inspired by their French ancestry.

"Finishing famous French '75's' for heavy cannonading. -- Pathe."  The French Canon de 75 modèle 1897 was an important part of the Allies' war effort.  They were not considered heavy guns. 

"Food for cannon.  Horses at Watertown, Mass., ready for Europe. -- Universal.  Horses were important to all the armies in the war.  The Allies imported many horses from the Americas. 

"French torpedo boat destroyer hunting submarines near Lemnos, Greece.  -- Pathe."  "Torpedo boat destroyer" was an early term for what we now call a destroyer.

"Russian artillery in position in Galicia. -- Hearst-Vitagraph."  Greece was neutral during the war, but the Allies occupied Moudros Bay. 

"The arrival of the Appam at Norfolk -- Mutual Weekly."  Merchant ship SS Appam was captured by the Germans and used as a prize vessel to carry prisoners of war.  She was sailing with commerce raider SMS Möwe on 15-January-1916 when they approached SS Clan Mactavish, a British merchant vessel, near Madeira.   Möwe sank Clan Mactavish and took more prisoners.  Appam arrived at Norfolk, Viriginia, flying the German flag, on 01-February-1915. 

Jackie Gleason 100 -- February 26, 2016

Jackie Gleason was born 100 years ago today, on 26-February-1916.  His television career was brilliant.  I remember watching The Jackie Gleason Show at my grandparents' house.  The Honeymooners with Art Carney was constantly in reruns.  Gleason's movie career was mixed.
Gleason played supporting parts in many movies like All Through the Night.

Later he was in bad movies like Gigot.
He was in at least one really good movie, The Hustler, where he was brilliant as Minnesota Fats.
From 1975 to 1986, his movie career blossomed.  He was in a lot of movies.  Some were ok.  The worst was the American remake of The Toy with Richard Pryor.  We loved the Pierre Richard movie.  We went to see the American version in the theater and regretted it. 

He was also a composer.  I remember seeing many of his albums in used record stores.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Iconic City Hall -- Raiders of the Lost Ark -- February 24, 2016

The San Francisco Arts Commission sponsors the Art on Market Street Program, which has local artists put up a series of works on bus shelters on Market Street.  Iconic City Hall is a series by Kelli Inouye which depicts movies that have used San Francisco's beautiful City Hall.

In 1981, director Steven Spielberg released a movie made from a script by his friend, George Lucas.  Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced two-fisted archaeologist Indiana Jones.  It was inspired by  movie serials.  The conclusion has Indy and Marion at the Capitol in Washington, DC.  The Capitol was played by City Hall.

Monday, February 22, 2016

DW Griffith Presents America -- February 22, 2016

In honor of George Washington's birthday, here is a poster for America, DW Griffith's 1924 epic about the American Revolution.  It is a long movie that recreates many of the events of the revolution.  George Washington appears, played by an obscure actor named Arthur Dewey.  Neil Hamilton, later Commissioner Gordon on Batman, was the hero.  Griffith's protege Carol Dempster was the heroine.

I spoke to the DAR about this movie and how it is a good example of why people don't make many movies about the revolution. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Harold Lloyd and Josephine -- February 20, 2016

In honor of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Monkey, here is Harold Lloyd in The Kid Brother.  Josephine the monkey played an important supporting part.  Josephine was a remarkably talented little monkey. 

The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade is tonight. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

News of the Week February 19, 1916 -- February 19, 2016

The 19-February-1916 Motography featured "News of the Week as Shown in Films," with items from current newsreels.  Last week there was no "News of the Week as Shown in Films."  This week it is back, with a change in the way the newsreels are identified. 

President Wilson in New York begins tour to preach preparedness.  Pathe News.  Wilson spoke in Cleveland on 29-January-1916, warning that the world was on fire. 

Members of Washington Riding and Hunting Club preparing for horse show.  Hearst-Vitagraph.  From the 11-March-1916 Moving Picture World: "
Washington, D. C.—Members of the Washington Riding and Hunt Club hold school for horses where steeds are taught to drive tandem in preparation for coming horse show."

Ford peace delegates arrive in Copenhagen, Denkmark.  Universal Weekly.  Henry Ford was opposed to the war and wanted to inspire a peace conference.  Pacifist Rosika Schwimmer persuaded him to finance a Peace Ship to sail to Stockholm.  Oscar II sailed from New York on 04-December-1915.  Vicious fighting among the pacifists and an outbreak of influenza caused many problems.  Discouraged, Ford sailed back to the US.  The remaining delegates went on to Copenhagen.

Hotel Humes, formerly Washington's headquarters, burned.  Paramount.  The hotel in Mercer, Pennsylvania, burned down on 18-January-1916.

Washington school girls organize rifle club.  Hearst-Vitagraph.  Newspapers reported that the girls of Western High School in Washington DC formed a rifle club in the name of preparedness.  From the 11-March-1916 Moving Picture World: "Washington, D. C.—Ralph Coffin, member of the Washington Hunt Club, uses friend's automobile as obstacle and rides his pony. "Rabbit." in a daring leap over the machine."

Boston school children begin campaign to save frigate Constitution.  Pathe News.  Kids all over the nation collected pennies to preserve the USS Constitution. 

Washington society man jumps horse over automobile.  Hearst-Vitagraph.  Here is another example of an additional item.  It doesn't look like a good idea.  The rider is Ralph Coffin, a member of the Washington Riding and Hunting Club.  The pony is named Rabbit.  How appropriate.  From the 11-March-1916 Moving Picture World: "Washington, D. C.—Girls of the Western High School form a riflle club and will compete with hoys for honors on the Target Range."

Thursday, February 18, 2016

So Long Charlie -- February 18, 2016

Motography, 22-January-1916

Last month we saw a story saying that Triangle had signed Charlie Chaplin and his brother Sydney to a contract:

The following week, Motography published a correction. 

Motography, 19-February-1916

"Charlie Chaplin left for New York.  He has many offers with his 'big salaries' attached, to appear in various concerns, it is said.  So long Charlie." 

Motography, 19-February-1916
"Charlie Chaplin arrived in New York City on the evening of February 4."

Moving Picture World, 26-February-1916
"Charlie is surely bidding for real money." 

Moving Picture World, 12-February-1916
Meanwhile Essanay was advertising the forthcoming "Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on Carmen." 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Grauman's Chinese -- Abbott and Costello -- February 16, 2016

Comedy team Bud Abbott and Lou Costello left hand and foot prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 08-December-1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. My daughter and I have done "Who's on First" together since she was very young.

 Bud Abbott and Lou Costello teamed up in burlesque and went on to Broadway and the radio.  In the 1940s, they made a series of popular comedies for Universal.  Buck Privates and Keep 'Em Flying were two of their many service comedies.

DSCN4148. I took this on 18-July-2009.
Moving Picture Daily, 14-November-1941

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Saint Valentine's Day -- February 14, 2016

Happy Saint Valentine's Day, everyone.

 Beautiful dancer Cyd Charisse was originally named Tula Finklea.  I don't know why she changed her name.  She appeared in many of the great MGM musicals. 

Add caption

Saturday, February 13, 2016

News of the Week February 12, 1916 -- February 13, 2016

I dug through the 12-February-1916 Motography and didn't find "News of the Week as Seen in Films."  This was a shock as it had been a regular feature since 14-November-1914.  I didn't spot any missing pages, and I saw that it did appear in the 19-February-1916 issue.

I did notice two individual images from newsreels.  The first one shows "New York Society girls skip rope on roof of hotel in early morning to keep slim -- Mutual Weekly."  Note the warm coats.  I'll bet they would plenty of weight jumping rope while dressed that way.

"President and Mrs. Wilson greeted in New York -- Mutual Weekly."  Wilson and Mrs Edith Galt had married on 18-December-1915. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

DW Griffith's Abraham Lincoln -- February 12, 2016

Happy 207th birthday to Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president.  DW Griffith's first all-talkie movie was DW Griffith's Abraham Lincoln, from a script by Stephen Vincent Benet and starring Walter Huston.  I grew up reading books that said it was terrible.  I finally got to see it when a San Francisco UHF station bought a package of old movies that had not been on the air for a long time.

I thought Walter Huston was very good.  There were other interesting actors like Jason Robards, Sr and Ian Keith, who played the coward Booth with a big mouthful of scenery.  Henry B Walthall, the Little Colonel in Griffith's Birth of a Nation, played a Colonel.  The movie didn't have a story.  It was more like series of tableaux. 

New Movie, November, 1930


Picture of the Week will appear tomorrow.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Vitagraph Plans to Build Big Plant -- February 10, 2016

Motography, 12-February-1916

Vitagraph announced plans to expand its Brooklyn studio.  I believe the smokestack still exists:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ronald Colman 125 -- February 9, 2016

Happy 125th birthday to actor Ronald Colman, who was born on 09-February-1891.  I often tell people that I would be happy to borrow his wonderful voice. 

He served in the London Scottish Regiment in World War One until he was seriously wounded in 1915.  Claude Rains, Herbert Marshall, Cedric Hardwicke and Basil Rathbone also served in the London Scottish. 

He appeared on the stage in Britain and America, and made his first movie in 1923.  He was good in silents, but his voice made him even better in talkies.

I love many of his movies, including Bulldog Drummond, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back, The Prisoner of Zenda and A Tale of Two Cities.