Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year from Merna Kennedy -- December 31, 2017
I wish everyone a happy and peaceful New Year.

Actress Merna Kennedy played Charlie Chaplin's leading lady in The Circus.  She was married to Busby Berkeley for one year.  She was 36 when she died of a heart attack.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A Country Hero -- December 29, 2017

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
Roscoe Arbuckle appeared with his nephew Al St John and his friend Buster Keaton in "A Country Hero," which is thought to be a lost film. Buster's father, Joe Keaton, made his movie debut in this film.

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
The film is set in Jazzville.  "Jazz" was a fairly new word at the time.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
"It is extremely funny, and remarkable as it may seem to those who have been forced to yawn at the monotony of old tricks, this comedy has actually discovered one or two new ones."

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Roscoe's next movie would be a western.  There was some concern about finding a strong enough horse.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
Roscoe and Al appear with a locomotive which has mashed an automobile.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Rose Marie, RIP -- December 28, 2017

What's on the Air, June, 1930
I first knew about Rose Marie from reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show.  Later I learned that she started out as Baby Rose Marie.  She had a radio show and made her first movie, a Vitaphone short, at the age of five.  She appeared in International House with WC Fields, Burns and Allen, Cab Calloway and Stoopnagle and Bud.  Rose Marie died at age of 94.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

King-Bee Comedies Gobble All the Laughs -- December 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
Billy West closely imitated Charlie Chaplin in a long series of comedies for different studios. While Chaplin was making the excellent Mutual comedies, West was making imitations of Chaplin's Essanay comedies.

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
Billy West was the favorite comedian of the inmates of Sing Sing, a prison in New York state.

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
Adjacent items state that, contrary to previous reports which I could not find, that King Bee did not rent the Christie studios when they came east and that King-Bee (note the hyphen in this item) had commissioned original scores for its Billy West movies.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
King-Bee planned a big Thanksgiving party for everyone at the studio.  This makes sense since they had all come from the East and were probably away from their families.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
The Bee-Hive exchange, which distributed King-Bee comedies, was buzzing with business.  They released a set of waltzes composed by star Billy West.  Another thing he did like Chaplin.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
King-Bee Comedies were seven months old.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
"The Prospector" was shot on location in the Rockies.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas, 2017 -- December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas, everyone.  Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

Actress Anita Page, who passed away in 2008, was a big star in the late silent and early sound period.  She appeared in Our Dancing Daughters and The Broadway Melody.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Scrooge -- December 23, 2017
TCM recently showed Scrooge, the 1935 adaption of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."  Seymour Hicks first played Ebenezer Scrooge on stage in 1901.  He appeared in a short film as Scrooge in 1913.  I enjoy this version because it uses a minimum of special effects.  Many of the ghostly scenes are done with shadows and sounds.  Hicks is horrible before and jolly after, but he had a lot of practice.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

They Simply Go Wild Over Him -- December 21, 2017

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
Harold Lloyd had been successfully appearing in the Lonesome Luke comedies for Hal Roach's Rolin since 1915.  He felt dissatisfied with the unrealistic Luke, who had started as an imitation of Charley Chaplin, and looked for a new character.  Lloyd came up with what he called the "Glass Character."  This ad mentions Lonesome Luke, but by December, he had moved on from producing Lonesome Lukes and was only appearing as the character we know and love.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
"Love, Laughs and Lather" was a Lonesome Luke film, but the photo shows Harold as the Glass Character.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
Meanwhile, Hal Roach was looking for new stars.  He found the famous circus clown Toto, who was a Swiss man named Alfonso Novello. Toto came to the US during the war and was very successful in vaudeville.  He was less successful in the movies.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
"Toto is ... the greatest attraction for children and grown-up children at the New York Hippodrome."

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Eric Campbell Killed in Accident -- December 20, 2017

Moving Picture World, 05-January-1918
100 years ago today, on 20-December-1917, Charlie Chaplin's favorite heavy, Eric Campbell, died in a drunk driving accident.  Campbell had lived through a hellish year where his wife died suddenly of a heart attack, his daughter suffered major injuries when she was hit by an auto, and Campbell married a much younger woman after knowing her for five days, and she filed for divorce within two months.

Campbell had appeared in most of Chaplin's Mutual comedies, some of the best two-reelers ever made, and, had he lived, would have moved to First National with Chaplin.

Moving Picture World, 12-January-1918

Audrey Totter 100 (probably) -- December 20, 2017
Audrey Totter, famous for her appearances in film noir, was born 100 years ago today, on 20-December-1917.  Some sources say she was born on 20-December-1918.  She was in The Lady in the Lake, which was filmed using an unusual first-person method, from the point of view of detective Philip Marlowe.  She died in 2013.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Cline Theater, Santa Rosa, Cal. -- December 19, 2017

Motion Picture Weekly, 01-December-1917
Santa Rosa, the largest town in Sonoma County, was struck by a terrible wildfire in October, 2017.  In honor of the city, here it the Cline Theater, which opened in 1916.  It became the Roxy in 1934.  The building was torn down after being damaged by earthquakes in 1969.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Keely Smith, RIP -- December 18, 2017
I was sad to learn that singer Keely Smith has died.  She worked with and was married to Louis Prima for many years.  She was deadpan, he was manic.  It must have been awful being married to  him, but they made some nice music together.  I remember when she made a comeback in the 1980s.
She appeared in some movies, including Thunder Road with Robert Mitchum.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The World's Greatest Laugh Makers Boil and Bubble in Mirth's Melting Pot -- December 17, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
WH Productions, which had been rereleasing William S Hart (WH) and Douglas Fairbanks Triangle productions began to rerelease Keystone comedies, including a selection of Charlie Chaplin films.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
"$80 per reel."

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
Essanay continued to re-release a Chaplin film every month.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
"Lunch" and "A Depot Romeo" starred a French comedian known as Rastrelli.  "Make Your Eyes Behave," "The General" and "Hard Luck" starred Arthur Higson.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
"Work" was the fifth Essanay Chaplin reissue.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
When "The Adventurer" was released, the censor in Dallas was accused of cutting out a shot where Chaplin stuck a lady with a pin.  The censor denied it.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
Meanwhile, First National, which would release Chaplin's new productions, was busy selling the overseas rights.

Moving Picture World, 15-December-1917
Edna Purviance took advantage of the time off to visit New York "in order to secure a wardrobe for use in her forthcoming pictures with the renowned Charlie in his own company."

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Chaplin donated candy to soldiers and sailors.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Chaplin continued to fight people who made movies that claimed to be his.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Willowy Personification of Grace, Beautiful and With Wonderful Personality -- December 15, 2017

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Irene Castle had become famous, with her husband Vernon, as a ballroom dancer.  He left the act in early 1916 to return to his native Britain, where he joined the Royal Flying Corps.  He was a successful pilot, earning the Croix de Guerre.  He was sent to Canada and then the United States to train new pilots.  He died in a flying accident in 1918.

Moving Picture World, 08-December-1917
The feature Vengeance is Mine was based on a novel by John A Moroso.

Moving Picture World, 22-December-1917
Convict 993 also featured Warner Oland.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
When Irene Castle finished Convict 993 she started on The Mysterious Client.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
"The story furnishes Miss Castle with every opportunity for a display of her artistic talents, and for an exhibition of a gorgeous array of gowns."

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bruce Brown, RIP -- December 14, 2017
As I was driving home, they announced on the radio that Bruce Brown, who made The Endless Summer and other surfing movies has died.  Endless Summer is not a great movie, but it is fun to watch and I always enjoy Brown's narration.  I always had trouble relating to the movie because all of the surfers that I knew surfed at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, wearing wetsuits.  He was born in San Francisco.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Corbett-McGovern Fight -- December 13, 2017

New York Clipper, 18-April-1903

On 31-March-1903, Young Corbett II defended his world featherweight championship against Terrible Terry McGovern at the Mechanic's Pavilion in San Francisco.  Corbett won by a knockout in the eleventh.  This was their second fight of three.  Corbett won the first two and the third was a draw.  I don't know why the ad calls it a lightweight fight.

McGovern had lost the title to Corbett in 1900.  

The next month, the Lubin company released a film of the bout.  I don't know how they could fit eleven rounds on one reel unless it was highly condensed.  

San Francisco Call, 01-April-1903
Motography, 01-August-1914
Founded in Philadelphia, Lubin used the Liberty Bell in its logo.