Saturday, April 29, 2017

See the Pictures You'll See the Reason -- April 29, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917

Rolin was a company founded by Hal Roach and Dan Linthicum. Harold Lloyd was their first comedy star. Bebe Daniels was their cute leading lady and Snub Pollard was Snub Pollard.

Two reel comedies were more prestigious than one reelers.  They also cost more than twice as much and took more than twice as long to produce.  They were a bigger risk. 

Moving Picture World, 07-April-1917
 "Harold Lloyd, the star of Pathe's "Lonesome Luke" Comedies, has, in less than a year and a half, become one of the few great screen comedians in this country."

Moving Picture World, 14-April-1917
"One super-excellent two reel comeday a month." 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jonathan Demme, RIP -- April 28, 2017

Director Jonathan Demme died of cancer.  I liked many of his movies.  I never saw The Silence of the Lambs, which everyone says was good.  I never saw his remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which didn't sound so good.  I loved Melvin and Howard and his concert films like Stop Making Sense

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Max in a Taxi -- April 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 28-April-2017

"Max in a Taxi" was Max's third of an intended six movies for Essanay.  It was the first produced in Hollywood.  It also turned out to be the last of the series. 

Moving Picture World, 07-April-2017
"Max Wants a Divorce" was the second of the series. 

Moving Picture World, 07-April-2017
"...the Essanay company has surrounded him with every aid to a correct screen production." 

Moving Picture World, 07-April-2017
"The comedy is absolutely clean and wholesome." 

Moving Picture World, 14-April-2017
KESE was formed to distribute films made by the survivors of the Motion Picture Patents Trust, Kleine, Edison, Selig and Essanay. 

Moving Picture World, 14-April-2017
"Max Comes Across" and "Max Wants a Divorce" were not such big hits. 

Moving Picture World, 21-April-2017
"Are you in on this melon?" 

Moving Picture World, 21-April-2017
Max and the taxi horse. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ella Fitzgerald 100 -- April 25, 2017

Ella Fitzgerald, the First Lady of Song, was born 100 years ago today, 25-April-1917.  I grew up hearing her sing on the radio and television.  When I had enough money to buy albums, I bought her American Songbooks.

We saw her in person once, at the Marin Civic Center.  I don't remember what songs she sang, but I remember her trading licks with Joe Pass.

She did not appear in many movies.  Her first, in 1942, was Ride 'em Cowboy with Abbott and Costello.  She sang "A Tisket A Tasket" and "Cow Cow Boogie."

She next appeared in a movie, Pete Kelly's Blues, in 1955.  Jack Webb directed and starred.

In 1958, she played a small part in Saint Louis Blues, a biopic about WC Handy. 

I don't know how big a part she played in Let No Man Write My Epitaph from 1960. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Tenth and newest of the Mutual-Chaplin Specials -- April 23, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
"Tenth and newest of the Mutual-Chaplin Specials Depicting Charlie's visit to a health resort."  I remember a local Public Television station, KQED-Channel 9, playing "The Cure" during the 1970s.  I don't remember why they showed it, but I loved it.

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
An ad from Mutual says "The public is eagerly waiting for its screening, as newspapers all over the country have mentioned its coming."

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
"The theater man needs no special 'stunt' to attract the crowds when Charlie is the headliner -- all he needs is to make a big display of the name Charlie Chaplin to let the people know the time and the place they will all be there.  Chaplin's name is sufficient -- the people themselves will do the rest." 

Moving Picture World, 14-April-1917
A capsule biography repeats the rumor that Chaplin was born in France.  He was not. 

Motography, 21-April-1917
 A "pre-view" of "The Cure" shows Charlie Chaplin with nemesis Eric Campbell and love interest Edna Purviance.

Motography, 28-April-1917
"Edna Purviance as the girl scintillates with her usual brightness and the support is good as usual." 

Moving Picture World, 07-April-1917
An ad for Globe Ventilators uses Chaplin's image.  "Even Chas. Chaplin, Esq., cannot fill your Theatre this summer if it is close, hot and stuffy." 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Patria -- Surpasses Anything Yet Produced in Serials -- April 21, 2017

Moving Picture World, 07-April-1917
The Wharton Brothers produced Patria, a fifteen-chapter serial starring Irene Castle, for William Randolph Hearst.  Warner Oland, who made a career out of playing Asian parts, was a Japanese spy.  Baron Huroki and his spy ring wants to destroy American munitions plants, many of which are owned by Patria Channing, who was played by Irene Castle.  Milton Sills is a Secret Service agent who is after the spy ring.  At one point in the serial, the Japanese ally with Mexico to attack the United States.  While the film was being released, President Woodrow Wilson learned about the themes of the film and asked the producers to change the nationalities of many of the characters.

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, 07-April-1917
 Patria gets a Japanese villain out of her airplane by performing a volplane, a steep, downward dive.

Moving Picture World, 14-April-1917
Some of Irene Castle's portraits look very modern.

Moving Picture World, 14-April-1917
"Modern warfare in its every phase with the use of armored 'tanks,' dirigible balloons, aeroplanes, big guns, trenches, gas masks, as (gas? -- JT) attacks, liquid fire, barbed wire entanglements, etc."

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
In this portrait, she looks more of her time.  It must be the silly hat.

Moving Picture World, 28-April-1917
Here she looks contemporary. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Every Woman in the World Will Demand to See It -- April 19, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917

In light of recent Congressional efforts to destroy Planned Parenthood, I thought it would be interesting to mention Birth Control, a feature film starring  the lady who popularized the term, Margaret Sanger.  She made a tour of the US in support of the film.

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
"The remaining portion of the picture tells the story of the persecution of Mrs Margaret Sanger, including scenes at the clinic where she presided, and where mothers of the poor quarters might apply and be helped..." 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hell Morgan's Girl -- April 18, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-February-1917

Hell Morgan's Girl was a 1917 film produced by Bluebird Photoplays, a subsidiary of Universal.  The film is set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast, where a young man from a rich family is hired by to play piano in a saloon.  The owner, Hell Morgan, has a daughter, Lola, played by Dorothy Phillips.  The young man and Hell Morgan's Girl fall in love, but Lon Chaney's character, Sleter Noble, wants the girl.  The 1906 fire and earthquake cleans things up at the end.  The film is probably lost.

Moving Picture World, 10-February-1917
"Lavishly produced; thrilling scenes of the great San Francisco earthquake; life in the resorts in the famous Barbary Coast District of the city by the Golden Date."  The movie was released on a State's Rights basis, selling the rights to each region of the country to local distributors.

Moving Picture World, 17-February-1917
"This is
'Hell Morgan's
You Doubt Her
You Accuse Her
You Pity Her
You Condemn Her
You Hate Her
You Love Her
She's Wonderful

Moving Picture World, 24-February-1917
"After selling valuable state rights territory on this unusual production all negotions were withdrawn owing to the insistent demands of BLUEBIRD exchange managers, who will release it as a BLUEBIRD special release."  Universal withdrew the movie from State's Right distribution and released through the Bluebird distribution channels as a special.

Moving Picture World, 03-March-1917
"'Hell Morgan's Girl' ... Now a Bluebird."

Moving Picture World, 24-March-1917
A late reference to the movie.  I like the Bluebird in the cage.

The movie appears to be lost. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Great Electric Sign on the Ince Studios -- April 17, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
I used to read a lot about Thomas Ince in film history books.  He was known for having a big ego, even by Hollywood standards.  He deserved to be proud of his accomplishments as a writer, a director and a producer.  He was one of the principals of the Triangle Film Corporation.  The electric sign towered over his studio, Inceville. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter, 2017 -- April 16, 2017
Happy Easter, everyone. Lillian Roth acted and sang on Broadway and in movies.  She appeared in The Love Parade with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald and Animal Crackers with the Marx Brothers.  Alcoholism ruined her career.  She wrote a memoir, I'll Cry Tomorrow, which was made into a popular movie. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An All Doll Cast -- April 15, 2017

Moving Picture World, 28-April-1917
I have not been able to find out much about the Peter Pan Film Corporation and its Mo-Toy Comedies, but the movies appear to use object animation.  I was never very good at drawing, so I have always been partial to object animation. 

Moving Picture World, 24-February-1917
Two months earlier, the producer is identified as Toyland Films, Inc. 

Moving Picture World, 24-February-1917
They are certainly the same movies.  "In the Jungle" is listed in the April ad.  A scene in the February ad must be from "Jimmy Gets the Pennant." 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

She Stood in the Path of the Man She Loved -- April 13, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-April-1917
Viola Dana was a popular star who appeared in her first movie in 1910, when she was 13.  "She stood in the path of the man she loved and sought the wrong way out" was the tagline for God's Law and Man's.  She played Amela, an Anglo-Indian girl who gets married to an Englishman. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Grauman's Chinese -- Shirley Temple -- April 11, 2017

In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

Child actress Shirley Temple left her hand and footprints on 14-March-1935.  The next month she would turn  seven.  Immediately above her is fellow child star Freddie Bartholomew and to his left is Jane Withers, who also acted when she was a child.  Shirley Temple went on to serve as a diplomat.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Should Husbands Pay? -- April 9, 2017

Film Daily, 22-August-1926

"Should Husbands Pay?" was a short comedy produced by Hal Roach, directed by F Richard Jones and Stan Laurel, and released by Pathé.  The film starred James Finlayson, who is best-remembered for supporting Laurel and Hardy. 

A note at the bottom of this ad says that it is a cornerblock provided to theaters to use in newspaper advertising.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don Rickles, RIP -- April 7, 2017
I was sad to learn of the passing of Mr Warmth, Don Rickles.  He enlisted in the Navy straight out of high school in 1944 and served on a PT boat tender, USS Cyrene (AGP-13).  After he was discharged in 1946, he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  He couldn't find much work, so he started to perform stand up comedy.  People enjoyed his put-downs of hecklers, so he became an insult comic.

His dramatic training came in handy when he began to get supporting parts in movies.
Appropriately for a Navy man, his first movie was Run Silent, Run Deep with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.  Good movie.
I remember when he starred in the television series CPO Sharkey.  Also appropriate for a Navy man.
 He made new generations of fans as Mr Potato Head in Toy Story and its plethora of sequels.