Friday, November 30, 2018

Nicolas Roeg, RIP -- November 30, 2018
Director and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg has died.  I remember going to the Bridge Theater in San Francisco to see The Man Who Fell to Earth with David Bowie.  It left a big impression on us.  I think we saw Walkabout later.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Houdini -- November 29, 2018

Film Daily, 17-November-1918
Escapologist Harry Houdini wanted to expand his exposure to the public, so he began to appear in movies starting in 1918 with the serial The Master Mystery.

I saw what survives of it on a DVD set from Kino. It doesn't make much sense, but that is typical of serial plots. I liked the robot, Q the Automaton. Its gang was called the Emissaries of the Automaton. Great name.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Plague of Spanish Influenza -- November 27, 2018

Moving Picture World, 16-November-1918
The 1918 influenza pandemic killed 3-5% of the world's population. It was often called the Spanish Flu because Spain's newspapers were not censored as heavily as those in countries involved in the war. Many cities and states ordered movie theaters to close.

Actor Harold Lockwood was 31 when he died on 19-October-1918.

Moving Picture World, 02-November-1918
"EVERYWHERE the spread of the Spanish influenza is hurting business, even where the city or state authorities have not declared an actual quarantine. In many sections this quarantine seems arbitrary and perhaps a bit unjust, but we have yet to hear of a house manager who has attacked the ruling of the authorities, though some must feel sorely tempted to do so. Most of them have accepted the situation gamely."

Film Daily, 12-November-1918
"Everybody quit work Monday and there was so much peace celebration that I couldn't get a review ready." 

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
"WITH few exceptions health authorities in the United States have lifted the ban imposed on motion picture theatres by reason of the inroads of influenza. San Francisco is to remain closed until December 1. Seattle and the northwest generally have extended the embargo on theatres. In North Carolina Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Raleigh were closed at the latest writing, although the remainder of the State is open to picturegoers. Dayton has opened its theatre doors to all but the children. The situation in Illinois shows marked improvement.

"Houses in the Southwest have resumed business to the hearty satisfaction of throngs of picture patrons. Towns situated near cantonments especially have felt the boom. Pennsylvania, where the epidemic was very heavy, has thrown open its doors. The national capital, too, has permitted theatre men to entertain their patrons. The coming of peace, together with the opening of the screen houses, marks a dramatic shift in the business situation facing motion picture men a month ago. There is every indication of a big winter for motion picture theatres."

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
"THE gloom cast over the nation by the plague of Spanish influenza is being penetrated by rays of hope and brightness in many sections. That the epidemic is, generally speaking, within control may be accepted as applying to the greater section of the country.

"Several strange features are developing in the news that comes to us from our correspondents. For the first time gauze masks are mentioned — San Francisco opened November 16 with these protectors exacted as necessary to admission.

"In some places, Richmond, Va., in particular, churches are closed, while theatres are allowed to open. In Boston, as a side issue, the demand for Sunday closing of picture theatres is agitated. Showmen in other sections will have a "Sunday closing" fight upon their hands because of the opening the epidemic made for such discussion.

"St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the whole of Minnesota is under strict ban. In St. Paul most drastic regulations have been adopted, the "closed shop" extending to saloons and soda fountains. Kansas City and vicinity are open under restrictions; Greensboro, N.- C, having once been opened, is again closed."

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
San Francisco theaters were allowed to reopen on November 16.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Bernardo Bertolucci, RIP -- November 26, 2018

Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci has died.  1900 made a big impression on me.  I liked The Last Emperor, but I have no desire to see it again.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Wolves of Kultur -- November 25, 2018

Moving Picture World, 02-November-1918
Those of us who used to receive the Blackhawk Bulletin, a monthly catalogue of movies offered for sale by Blackhawk Films, will remember ads for the serial Wolves of Kultur, starring Leah Baird.

"The Hun, when still at peace with us, sought to dynamite, burn and destroy. He sourht to terrorize, to use some of the methods which have made his name execrated throughout the world."

Moving Picture World, 16-November-1918
"Stunts that seem humanly impossible to do are the rule and not the exception."

Last month, the ads were printed on yellow paper.  This month is off-white.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Wild Women and Tame Lions -- November 23, 2018

Moving Picture World, 25-May-1918
Henry (Pathé) Lehrman started out at Biograph, then went to Keystone with Mack Sennett, then left Sennett to found L-KO (Lehrman Knock-Out) Komedies. He left L-KO to produce Sunshine Comedies for Fox. Sunshine Comedies frequently featured pretty girls and lions.  Case in point: "Wild Women and Tame Lions."

Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff was the most popular comic strip in America for many years. Augustus Mutt and Jeff had many timely adventures.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Coliseum Theater 100 -- November 22, 2018

Moving Picture World, 21-December-1918
In late 1918, the so-called Spanish Flu, which killed between 10 and 20 per cent of the people it infected, caused many states, including California, to force movie theaters to close. This delayed the opening of the new Coliseum Theater on San Francisco's Clement Street was delayed for a couple of weeks by the influenza-inspired theater ban.  It was finally able to open 100 years ago today, on 22-November-1918.

Exhibitors Herald, 30-November-1918
The first movie shown was Johanna Enlists with Mary Pickford.

Moving Picture World, 21-December-1918

Roscoe Arbuckle, who frequently visited San Francisco, made a surprise appearance at the opening of the Coliseum.

Exhibitors Herald, 14-December-1918
Samuel Levin set up an area in the lobby where patrons could park their strollers and even leave their babies under the watchful eye of a nurse.

The Coliseum, damaged by the 17-October-1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, never reopened as a movie theater. Today the Coliseum has a Walgreen's on the ground floor and condominiums upstairs. I saw Jaws there, and a bunch of other movies. I always thought the theater was dark and gloomy.

Thanksgiving 2018 -- November 22, 2018
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.

The photograph shows curvaceous actress Carole Landis carving a turkey by the swimming pool.  She appeared in some very good movies and toured to entertain soldiers in the South Pacific during World War Two.  With her career in decline and a complicated life, she committed suicide in 1948 when she was 29 years old.
Her career took off when DW Griffith selected her to play the lead in Hal Roach's One Million BC.
She posed for a lot of pin-up pictures.  This was one of the pictures that was most popular with soldiers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Little Girl You Will Never Forget -- November 21, 2018

Moving Picture World, 16-March-1918
I haven't been posting enough items about Mabel Normand.  Mabel and Mack Sennett co-produced Mickey, which became an enormous hit when it was released in 1918.

Moving Picture World, 19-January-1918
I love this image of Our Mabel.

Moving Picture World, 26-January-1918
"Mickey Will Hit the Bullseye."

Monday, November 19, 2018

An Argument That Has Weight -- November 19, 2018

Moving Picture World, 26-October-1918
100 years ago this month, there weren't many Harold Lloyd items in the trade papers. Here is cute photo of his leading lady, Bebe Daniels, that I missed last month.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Lauren Hutton 75 -- November 17, 2018
Actress and supermodel Lauren Hutton was born 75 years ago today, on 17-November-1943.  I always liked the gap in her teeth.
I remember the 26-August-1974 issue of Newsweek.
I have not seen many of her movies, but she was very good in Zorro, the Gay Blade.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Charley Chaplin...Exceeds Himself in Originality and Effectiveness -- November 15, 2018

Moving Picture World, 02-November-1918
Chaplin's second release through First National, "Shoulder Arms," turned out to be one of his most popular movies at the time. World War One was a hot topic.

Moving Picture World, 02-November-1918
"Chaplin has lined the clouds of war with silver festoonings of laughter in creating his second comedy feature for the First National Exhibitors' Circuit."  Note that they spelled his name "Charley."

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
"Shoulder Arms" was "breaking house records for the duration of runs."

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
In order to protect his new movies, Chaplin put his signature on the title cards.

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
Chaplin never sued Billy West, who imitated him pretty closely, but "Charlie in the Trenches" was probably too close to "Shoulder Arms."

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
Chaplin married 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris on 23-October-1918.

Motion Picture News, 23-November-1918
This item asks if Chaplin's imitators will rush to get married.

Moving Picture World, 30-November-1918
One of Mildred Harris' Jewel Productions for Universal, Borrowed Clothes, appeared on the same bill as a Chaplin film.

Moving Picture World, 23-November-1918
An ad for Borrowed Clothes does not mention the name "Chaplin."  That would soon change.

Moving Picture News, 02-November-1918
Peter Brinkerhoff was a popular cartoonist.

Moving Picture News, 02-November-1918
Chaplin took two weeks off after "Shoulder Arms."  "He said he knew what the beginning would be, but he has no idea how the production will end."

Motion Picture News, 16-November-1918
There was a rumor that Chaplin had influenza, but he denied it.  About his next movie: "The subject is yet unnamed, but the scenes will be laid in a rural community."  This would become "Sunnyside."

Motion Picture News, 02-November-1918
WH Productions continued to rerelease Chaplin's Keystone films.  "Hot Dogs" was a rerelease title for "Mable's Busy Day."

Motion Picture News, 16-November-1918
Chaplin's first movie, "Making a Living" was rereleased as "A Busted Johnny."