Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Fatty" in the Home of "Hot Dogs" -- November 30, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
Roscoe Arbuckle appeared with his nephew Al St John and his friend Buster Keaton in "Fatty at Coney Island," a Comique production released by Paramount.  Roscoe poses in drag with Al.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917

"A Country Hero" is probably lost.  The use of the word "Jazz" in the name of the town is fairly early.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Feeding the World Laughs -- November 29, 2017

Motion Picture World, 03-November-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.

Motion Picture World, 03-November-1917
"West and Bee-Swarm Fly West."  The King-Bee company moved from Florida to California for the winter.

Motion Picture World, 10-November-1917
Motion Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Billy West, comedian of the King Bee Films Corporation and an imitator of Charlie Chaplin..."

Motion Picture World, 17-November-1917
"Funniest Two Reeler Ever Made."

Monday, November 27, 2017

This Twelve Cylinder Joy Wagon -- November 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 10-November-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."  The transition must have been exhausting.

"From Laramie to London" is listed in some sources as a Lonesome Luke, but I would say Harold is wearing glasses in this image.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Love, Laughs and Lather" was a late Lonesome Luke.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"This twelve cylinder joy wagon travels sixty miles a minute, with our hero in the new and comical role of a barber."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"The Flirt" was a glass picture.  I left the note about "Under the Stars and Stripes in France" to show what was popular.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"This is a high powered laugh producer..."  Note that Snub Pollard is listed as Harry.

Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
"We Never Sleep" was the last Lonesome Luke film.

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
The glass pictures were often called Harold Lloyd comedies.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Girls of the Golden West -- November 26, 2017

Friday night we went to the second performance of John Adams' new opera The Girls of the Golden West. It was nice to have an evening out with my wife. I agreed with her that the first act was episodic, but the second act had a good dramatic arc about the gold miners degenerating into savagery on the Fourth of July and driving out all of the miners who weren't considered good Americans or Europeans.

It concluded with the lynching of Josefa Segovia, who stabbed a miner who tried to rape her.

The singing was excellent. Julia Bullock was Dame Shirley.  Most of her songs came directly from the letters.  Her husband, Fayette Clappe, did not sing.  Ned Peters, the former slave, had a large part in both acts.  Davone Tines had a solo based on Frederick Douglass' "What to a slave is the 4th of July?"  Hya Jung Lee as Ah Sing had a beautiful voice.  Her aria came from poems carved at the Angel Island Immigration Station. J'Nai Bridges had me crying as Josefa Segovia. Joe Cannon, who tried to rape Josefa, did not have a well developed character.  Sometimes it was hard to tell him from other characters.  Paul  Appleby had a good voice.  Ryan McKinney was the narrator/observer/occasional participant.

The prostitutes/dancing girls looked as if they were having a great time.

Lorena Feijóo, who did Lola Montez' Spider Dance used to be with the San Francisco Ballet.

I liked John Adams' music, which set many Gold Rush-era songs and poems to music.  The chorus of gold miners was powerful.  Peter Sellars had fun staging it.  I liked the panorama behind Dame Shirley's wagon ride with Ned Peters.  We could see the woman cranking the scene.  The image had a large, obvious seam in it.  I liked the neon beer signs in the Empire.

My wife didn't like the scene where Dame Shirley described her cabin.  The stage hands carried out each piece, stood there while she sang about it, then took it away.  We both liked the use of the huge stump and slice of redwood tree in the second act.

My wife said that there was a vigorous debate going on in the ladies' room during the intermission.  Some people hated the show.  Others defended it.  Some people, including the couple sitting next to my wife, left after the intermission.   We were happy that we went and we stayed.

Film Daily, 17-March-1938
And, of course, the opera is not to be confused with the David Belasco play The Girl of the Golden West, the Giacomo Puccini opera, La fanciulla del West, or the many movie adaptions.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quinn Rialto Theater, Los Angeles -- November 25, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
Quinn's Rialto Theater on Broadway in Los Angeles opened on 21-May-1917.  It served as a movie theater until 1987.  In 2014 it became an Urban Outfitter's store.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 -- November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.

The photograph shows Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as a Pilgrim couple. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

David Cassidy, RIP -- November 22, 2017
I remember both The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family airing on Friday nights on ABC.  I used to play at a friend's house Fridays, but we had to stop when the first show came on.  I don't remember if he was more interested in Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) or Susan Dey (Laurie Partridge).  I liked Susan Dey.

I didn't care much about David Cassidy, but I admired his father Jack, who was a real ham.

I'm sorry that David Cassidy, like his dad, has died too young.

I will sometimes get a Partridge Family song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Films That Made Him Famous -- November 21, 2017

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
Working to squeeze as much as they could out of their investment, Essanay was re-releasing a Chaplin film each month. "In the Park" was a one-reeler.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
"At the time of its original release (two years before - JT), it proved to be one of the most popular of the Chaplin series, and is sure of a warm reception on its return engagement."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Charlie catches Leo White by the neck.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
A Dutch company secured the rights to release Chaplin's Mutuals in Holland, the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch West Indies.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"The Adventurer" was Chaplin's last Mutual release.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
After Chaplin signed a million dollar contract with First National, he began to build a new studio at 1416 North La Brea Avenue.  He used it for all of his films until he left the United States.   It is currently used by the Jim Henson Company.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Six buildings of English architecture will front on the street, and these will be so arranged as to give the effect of a picturesque English village street.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Chaplin was still pursuing legal action against producers of "alleged spurious Chaplin comedies."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
First National sold French distribution rights.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
The Rothacker Film Manufacturing Compny gained the rights to make prints of First National releases, including the Chaplin films.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Details of this big transaction will be announced to the trade at a later date."

Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
Chaplin cut short a vacation in Hawaii to inspect the site that would hold his new studio.

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
Chaplin and  his brother Syd broke ground on North La Brea between Sunset and De Longpre.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Della Reese, RIP -- November 20, 2017
I was sad to learn that actress, singer and ordained minister Della Reese has gone to her reward.  I remember her on television in the 1960s and 1970s.  We watched Touched By an Angel a few times. I think the only movie of hers that I have seen was Harlem Nights.  People speak very highly of her.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Box Office Attraction of the Best Kind -- November 19, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-November-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.  Her second solo feature would be a mystery,  The Mark of Cain, which would co-star Antonio Morena.
Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917

Friday, November 17, 2017

Milk Fund Fight Picture -- November 17, 2017

Film Daily, 24-June-1924
Millicent Hearst, wife of publisher William Randolph Hearst, founded the New York Free Milk Fund for Babies in 1921. In 1923, sportswriters Damon Runyon and Bill Farnsworth promoted a boxing fundraiser at Madison Square Garden.  Disgusted with the small cut of the gate offered by the Garden, Farnsworth worked with baseball parks for future fundraisers.

The second event was held at Yankee Stadium on 26-June-1924.  The movie would be released the next day.  The original Yankee Stadium opened in 1923. This was a great card.

Harry Greb, the Pittsburgh Windmill, was Middleweight champion, despite what the ad says.  He is considered one of the greatest boxers of all time even though he was blind in one eye.  British boxer Ted Moore put a good fight but Greb won a unanimous decision in fifteen rounds.
Young Stribling, the Georgia Schoolboy, was a fantastically talented all-around athlete who fought as a heavyweight.  The ad says he was going to fight Paul Berlenbach, but instead he fought Tommy Loughran, the Phantom of Philly, who is much more famous.  Stribling won on points in six rounds.

Film Daily, 22-August-1926
Gene Tunney was a handsome, educated war hero who had held the light heavyweight title.  In 1926 he won the heavyweight title from Jack Dempsey and appeared in a serial, The Fighting Marine.  Italian Erminio Spalla was also an actor.  Tunney won by a TKO in seven.

Panama Joe Gans was an African-Caribbean middleweight.  He should not be confused with Joe Gans, the Old Master, who died in 1910.  He lost the Colored Middleweight Championship to Larry Estridge in a ten round unanimous decision. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Giant Camera -- November 15, 2017

The Giant Camera sits on a terrace behind San Francisco's Cliff House.  The attraction is also called the Camera Obscura San Francisco.  A camera obscura is a dark room which displays an image of an outside scene projected through a pinhole or a lens.  The Giant Camera, built in 1947, provides a beautiful view of the Land's End area of San Francisco.  On a clear day, it is always worth a visit.

I took the photos in 2012.

Seal Rocks, in the background, used to be home to a large group of sea lions, but they have moved to a warmer home next to Pier 39.

There is a high quality lens in the tower.  It rotates to give a panoramic view.  

More about the camera obscura:

The Giant Camera's webiste: