Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Perfect Flying Machine Motor -- September 30, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917

I assume that this item describes the Liberty Engine, designed by engineers Jesse G Vincent and Elbert J Hall starting in May, 1917.  The Liberty L-12 generated 400 HP.  They were used in airplanes, tanks and boats.  I would like to see the film from the Gaumont-Mutual Weekly No 142. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Russian Revolution -- September 29, 2017

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
The Russian Revolution was a hot topic by September, 1917.  Czar Nicholas II and his family were already dead, but most people didn't know that.  Some years ago I worked with an older man who had grown up in the Soviet Union.  He was surprised that I remembered when Alexander Kerensky had died.  He said they called Kerensky something like "The man of five minutes." 

Herbert Brenon's The Fall of the Romanoffs (sic - JT)  featured a Russian clergyman called Iliodor, who wrote a book about Rasputin.  His real name was Sergei Mikhailovich Trufanov. 

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
 I'll bet the movie required some reshooting because of current events. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
Among the characters in this ad is Kaiser Wilhelm II, a cousin of Czar Nicholas. 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
The review by Edward Weitzel says that the movie reflected "the swift onrush of events" and that Iliodor "was surprisingly excellent before the camera." 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
This two-page spread is flanked by Czar Nicholas and Kaiser Wilhelm. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
"The only official motion pictures of the Great Russian Revolution." 

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
"Presented by the Skobeleff Committee for the relief of Russian Wounded and Disabled Soldiers."  I have not been able to learn anything about the committee. 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"joined the advancing hosts of democracy" -- didn't work out. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hugh Hefner, RIP -- September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner has died.  I always thought he was kind of creepy, but I respect the work he did to promote film studies and to preserve and restore silent movies.  He produced documentaries like Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, Clara Bow: Discovering the It Girl, Olive Thomas: Everybody's Sweetheart and Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Personally Directed by Al E Christie -- September 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917

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.  Christies frequently featured pretty girls in bathing suits. Actress Betty Compson later starred in feature films. 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
 Note that the San Francisco exchange was at 100 Golden Gate Avenue.  Many film businesses were on Golden Gate.  I used to go to a lab there to get my black and white Super 8 film developed. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Original Zera -- September 26, 2017

This ad from the 09-December-1885 Louisiana Democrat features Zera Semon, magician and father of silent movie comedian Larry Semon.This show was in Alexandria, Louisiana.  Two brief items appeared on the same page:

"ZERA Semon, the great ventriloquist, is billed to give four entertainments in our town next week, commencing Monday, Dec. 14th. One hundred presents given away each night."

 "ZERA SEMON AND THE MARIONETTES.-The above combination appears here at Exchange Hall next week for four nights, commencing Monday. As regards Prof. Zera nothing need be said, as he is too well known to need commendation. Besides himself he introduces to Alexandria audiences something entirely new in the way of novelty, Bell's Royal Marionettes. They give a minstrel show and the pantymine (sic) Humpty-Dumpty. They carry all their own scenery, whichl is said to be something grand. Prof. Zera sill gives away night one hundred presents, and no doubt the hall will be tested to its utmost capacity. The admission has been placed at 35 and 50 cents, without extra charge for reserved seats, on sale at Dr. Henry St. John's Drug Store."

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Fatal Ring with Pearl White -- September 25, 2017

Motion Picture News, 08-September-1917
Pearl White starred in her eighth Pathé serial, The Fatal Ring.  Actor Warner Oland played a villain. How about those boots?

Motion Picture News, 01-September-1917
"Every theatre showing this serial reports good business despite the hot weather." 

Motion Picture News, 15-September-1917
"Pearl White has again proven that she brings more money into the box office than any star in the world." 

Motion Picture News, 22-September-1917
 "Pathé has the best serial organization in the world -- it has the best serial stars, the best serial writers, the best serial drectors..."

Motion Picture News, 29-September-1917
"From the very start we have told you that this serial would get the business for the Exhibitor, rain or shine, hot or cold!"

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Oh! Doctor -- September 23, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
Roscoe Arbuckle appeared with his nephew Al St John and his friend Buster Keaton in "Oh! Doctor," sometimes listed as "Oh Doctor!," a Comique production released by Paramount.

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
 Buster Keaton is not mentioned in the review. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Zentralpalast-Kino, Vienna -- September 21, 2017

Vintage Graphic Design and Poster Art, Facebook
A wonderful poster for the grand opening of the Zentralpalast-Kino in Vienna, around 1920.  "Only First-Class Programs," "Outstanding Music."  I wish I could go there. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jake Lamotta, RIP -- September 20, 2017
Former Middleweight champ Jake Lamotta has died. My wife's first comment was "I thought he was already dead." He wasn't a great human being while he was a fighter, but he was a relentless fighter with a concrete jaw and a powerful killer instinct. Today he would probably be forgotten by everyone but fight fans if not for Martin Scorsese's movie Raging Bull, which starred Robert De Niro as Lamotta.

Lamotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times and won only the first fight.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Camera Obscura and Hat Camera -- September 19, 2017

From The Young Folk's Cyclopædia of Games and Sports by John Denison Champlin and Arthur Elmore Bostwick, 1890. 

 CAMERA OBSCURA. To make a rough camera, take a little pasteboard box (Fig. 1), like those in which pens are sold, and make a pinhole in the middle of the cover, working the pin about to enlarge the hole a little. Remove one end of the cover, and in the corresponding edge of the box cut a notch just large enough to see through into the box when the cover is on. On a sunny day, hold the box with the pinhole toward any bright object and look down into the end through the notch, holding the eye close, so that no light can get in except through the pinhole. A picture will be seen on the back of the box, inside, in which the bright parts of the landscape can be easily distinguished. The picture will grow clearer as the eye becomes accustomed to the light. By moving the box so that the pinhole turns in a different direction, the picture will change. The smaller the pinhole is, the less blurred the picture will be, but it will be also less bright. With a hole about 1/16 of an inch in diameter the picture will be quite bright, but so blurred that it is hard to tell different objects from each other. The box should not be more than an inch deep, as the farther the back is from the pinhole, the less distinct the picture will be. In the evening, such a camera will give an excellent picture of a lamp or candle, and even of a person's face held very near a bright light. The way the picture is made may be understood by looking at Fig. 2, where the lines represent rays of light from different parts of an object passing through the pinhole and striking the back of the box. When the cover is taken from the box, rays from all parts of the object strike every part of the box at once and are mixed together, hence there is no picture, but only a white blur.

A camera which will make the picture bright without blurring it may be made by using a glass lens (See Lenses, Experiments With). These experiments show how a lens will throw a picture, and the picture can be seen to better advantage if the lens be fixed in a hole in the side of a box. The observer may work at the picture through a hole in the top of the box, or the back of the box may be made of thin white paper, so that the picture will show on the other side. There is a certain distance from the lens for every object, where its image will be plainest, so it is a good plan to make the back of the box so that it can be slid in and out. Find the distance at which the lens makes the plainest picture of near objects before choosing the box, and then select one of the right depth. Remove the back, and saw off the edges so that it can be made to slip in as far as desired. Nail a stick to it to serve as a handle by which it may be pulled in and out.

Hat Camera. A camera can be made also from a stiff felt or silk hat, if it have a ventilating hole in the top of the crown. If there are more than one of these holes, all but the central one may be stopped with paper. A piece of thin paper is then pinned over the bottom of the hat, which is held with the top toward the part of the landscape to be observed. A black shawl is thrown over the hat and the observer's head, but care must be taken that it does not hang over the ventilating hole.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Discard Your Troubles, Book Them Now! -- September 17, 2017

Moving Picture World, 01-September-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, 22-September-1917
 "You Can't Lose if you Draw to This Pair of King-Bee Comedies." 

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
"Billy is seen as the star boarder in a boarding house, in which most of the other boarders are pretty girls.  But there are janitors, cooks, cows and lots of other things around the house..."

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
After stating that the Billy West company was moving from Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles.  "While on the coast the King-Bee will make in conjunction with their two-reel comedies a special five-reel feature entitled 'King Soloman,' with the inimitable Billy West in the title role." 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Harry Dean Stanton, RIP -- September 16, 2017
Harry Dean Stanton has died.  He was in a lot of good movies and he kept working until just recently.
John Huston's Wise Blood is one of my favorite Harry Dean Stanton movies. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

And the New One Reel Rolin Comedies Featuring Harold Lloyd -- September 15, 2017

Moving Picture World, 22-September-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."  "Over the Fence" was the first film with the glass character.  In what may have been a unique arrangement, Lloyd appeared in two-reelers as Lonesome Luke and one-reelers as the glass character.  Lloyd reasoned that the new character would get more exposure in the shorter films, which could be released more frequently. 

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
"The two-reel pictures are Lonesome Luke Comedies and the one-reelers will be known as Harold Lloyd Comedies.  These will altername with the Luke two-reelers till further notice..."

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917
"On September 9 comes the first of the new one-reel Harold Lloyd comedies." 

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"Lonesome Luke Comedies are in two reels -- the Harold Lloyd Comedies in one.  Each produced by Rolin.  Each the best of its kind."  I like the photo of Harold as Lonesome Luke. 

Chaplin -- And How He Does It -- Septermber 15, 2017

Photoplay, September, 1917
100 years ago this month, in the September, 1917 Photoplay, Terry Ramsaye (spelled Ramsay here) published an article about Chaplin.  He was a journalist who worked with Chaplin at Mutual  Ramsaye went on to write two early books about the movies, A Million and One Nights and A History of the Motion Picture (Through 1925).

In September, 1917,. Chaplin had already signed his contract to produce for First National and was finishing his last productions for Mutual.   Essanay was still trying to make a buck from his movies.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
Chaplin is reported to have rescued a child from the sea at Santa Monica.  Two items down, Eric Campbell, whose wife had just died, remarried.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
Some people asked why Chaplin had not enlisted in the British Army or the US Army, but many agreed that his films were an important contribution to morale.

Moving Picture World, 01-September-1917
This article talks about some famous movie fights.  It mentions Eric Campbell and Charlie Chaplin on the escalator in "The Floorwalker."

Moving Picture World, 08-September-1917

"The Adventurer" was Chaplin's last film for Mutual.

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
The release date for "The Adventurer" was yet to be determined, probably because it was Mutual's last Chaplin film.

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
"The Adventurer" was nearly complete...

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
...but was held up by Edna Purviance's illness. 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
Essanay "bows to public demand" and issues new prints of the Essanay-Chaplin films.

Moving Picture World, 22-September-1917
Essanay would reissue one film a month.

Moving Picture World, 29-September-1917
The first reissue would be "The Champion." 

Moving Picture World, 15-September-1917
 A boxing match between Charlie Chaplin and Eric Campbell, refereed by Mary Pickford?  To benefit the French Emergency Hospital Fund?  I'd buy a ticket.