Friday, July 31, 2020

Charles Ray and His Staff -- July 31, 2020

Motion Picture News, 10-July-1920
Charles Ray was a big star at Paramount, in 1920 he began producing his own movies for First National Release. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pretty Soft For Exhibitors Who Play the Rolin Comedies -- July 29, 2020

Motion Picture News, 10-July-1920
After Snub Pollard left the Harold Lloyd series, Hal Roach cast him in his own series of one-reelers. 

Please excuse the racism.  "Pickaninny Sammy" was a young boy, Ernest Morrison, who was often billed as Sunshine Sammy.  In later years, he was one of the Dead End Kids. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Olivia de Havilland, RIP -- July 28, 2020

I was sorry to learn that Olivia de Havilland, one of the few stars surviving from Hollywood's Golden Age, has died at the age of 104. 

She never had an acting lesson, but she was a natural in movies.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Parlor, Bedroom and Bath -- July 27, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-July-1920
In 1917, Charles William Bell and Mark Swan had a Broadway success with the farce Parlor, Bedroom and Bath. In 1920, Eddie Dillion directed a feature film starring Eugene Pallette and Ruth Stonehouse. In 1931, Eddie Sedgwick directed a talkie remake starring Buster Keaton and Charlotte Greenwood. I find it hard to picture Eugene Pallette and Buster Keaton playing the same role. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Gracie Allen, 125 -- July 26, 2020
Gracie Allen, partner in life, in vaudeville, in movies, on radio and on television of George Burns, was born 125 years ago today in San Francisco. Some sources say she was born in other years, but all the records were destroyed by the Earthquake and Fire in 1906.  She lived in the Richmond District, where I grew up, and attended grammar school and high school at Star of the Sea.

Helen Mirren 75 -- July 26, 2020
Dame Helen Mirren was born 75 years ago today, on 26-July-1945.  She has had a long and honored career in theater, movies and television.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Voices -- July 25, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-July-1920
I don't know anything about the 1920 feature Voices, but I like the trade ad.  I don't know anything about writer/director Chester De Vonde, except that he wrote the play Kongo.  Lon Chaney starred in a silent version called West of Zanzibar. Walter Huston starred in the talkie remake, Kongo.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Jiggs and the Social Lion -- July 23, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-July-1920
Cartoonist George McManus created Bringing Up Father, the story of Maggie and Jiggs, in 1913. It was still appearing in the Sunday Examiner-Chronicle when I was a kid. It finally stopped in 2000. 

The Christie Company produced "Jiggs and the Social Lion," starring Johnny Ray as Jiggs, Margaret Cullington as Maggie and Laura La Plante as their daughter Nora.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Ken Maynard 125 -- July 21, 2020
Cowboy star Ken Maynard was born 125 years ago today, on 21-July-1895. When I was young, I read a lot about him in books, but did not get to see many of  his movies. Ken and his white horse Tarzan were a popular team. Ken was known as a great horseman.

Motion Picture Herald, 13-June-1931

Sunday, July 19, 2020

One "Whom Gods Love" -- July 19, 2020

Motion Picture News, 31-July-1920
Metro, which was making a film based on his short story "Head and Shoulders," gave a brief biography of author F Scott Fitzgerald.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Fun, Fast and Furious -- July 17, 2020

Tulsa Daily World, 09-July-1920
Billy West closely imitated Charlie Chaplin in a long series of comedies for different studios. He received larger billing than Douglas Fairbanks in this ad for a Tulsa movie theater. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Twilight Baby -- July 15, 2020

Arizona Republican, 04-April-1920
In his wonderful book The Silent Clowns, Walter Kerr suggested that Lloyd Hamilton was one of the great silent comics whose reputation has diminished. This is because many of the solo movies Hamilton made for Educational during the 1920s are lost. Perhaps this is also because he was not able to succeed as a star in feature films.

In "A Twilight Baby," Ham appeared with Virginia Rappe, the poor woman who is mostly remembered for dying the day after a party with Roscoe Arbuckle in San Francisco's Saint Francis Hotel. People told a lot of ugly stories about her, but I doubt that any of them were true.

Moving Picture World, 03-January-1920

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Bastille Day, 2020 -- July 14, 2020

Moving Picture World, 17-July-1920
In honor of Bastille Day, here is an item about a Burton Holmes Travel Picture, "Parisian Holidays."

Monday, July 13, 2020

Alla Nazimova 75 Years -- July 13, 2020
Actress Alla Nazimova died 75 years ago today, on 13-July-1945. She was born in Russia and came to America early in the 20th Century.  After starring on Broadway, she moved to motion pictures.  She had some huge  hits, but two of her later starring films, which she had produced and financed, were flops and wiped out her fortune. 

Moving Picture World, 23-August-1919

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Yul Brynner 100 -- July 11, 2020
Actor Yul Brynner was born 100 years ago today, on 11-July-1920.  I remember him playing the King in King and I in the movie and over and over again on stage.  I thought he seemed a bit stuck-up, but he could be very effective. My wife loves hearing the story of the way Steve McQueen tormented him on the set of The Magnificent Seven

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tennis, Anyone? -- July 9, 2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, 09-July-1920
Movie stars Mary Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks toured Great Britain, visiting Wimbledon, where they met tennis stars Suzanne Lenglen and Big Bill Tilden.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Sick Abed -- July 7, 2020

Memphis News-Scimitar, 29-July-1920
Patient Wallace Reid feigns illness so he can spend time with pretty nurse Bebe Daniels.  The program at the Strand Theater in Memphis included "Cleaning Up," a short comedy starring Al St John. 

Monday, July 6, 2020

Ennio Morricone, RIP -- July 6, 2020
Composer Ennio Morricone, who wrote many of the best film soundtracks, has died.   I first learned who he was when I saw Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The New Comedy King -- July 5, 2020

Leavenworth, Washington Echo, 02-Jul-1920

This item touts Larry Semon as "The New Comedy King."  

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day, 2020 -- July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Beautiful actress, dancer and singer Rita Hayworth lights a cannon. Her original name was Margarita Cansino. She began performing in the family's dance act at an early age. At Columbia Pictures, she became a big star and a popular pin-up. She made some very interesting movies including The Lady From Shanghai, with her husband Orson Welles, Gilda and Blood and Sand.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Locklear, the Daredevil of the Skies -- July 3, 2020

St. Landry Clarion, 03-July-1920
After serving in the US Army Air Service during World War I, Ormer Locklear became a barnstormer who specialized in wing walking. He and his partner Skeets Elliot toured the country thrilling audiences. The Great Air Robbery was Locklear's first starring movie role. While shooting his second starring movie, The Skywayman (great title), pilot Elliot was blinded by spotlights during a night dive and both men were killed. The producers left the scene in the movie.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Carl Reiner, RIP -- July 2, 2020

Carl Reiner has died. I grew up watching reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Then radio comedy shows played Reiner and his friend Mel Brooks doing "The 2000-Year-Old Man." Later I learned about Your \Show of Shows. I think I have seen only two of the movies he directed, Oh God and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

In 2000, he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. 

He served in the USAAF during World War Two. He was a French translator and then performed in shows for Special Services.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

An Eastern Westerner -- July 1, 2020

Motion Picture News, 03-July-1920

100 years ago this month, Harold Lloyd was appearing in "An Eastern Westerner."