Monday, August 31, 2020

The Mutiny of the Elsinore -- August 31, 2020


Motion Picture News, 21-August-1920

The Mutiny of the Elsinore was based on one of the few Jack London novels that I have not read. The film is probably lost. It was directed by Edward Sloman. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Charlie Parker 100 -- August 29, 2020

Charlie Parker, sax player, composer and music visionary, was born 100 years ago today, on 29-August-1920. Charlie Parker and his friend Dizzy Gillespie were two of the founding fathers of bebop. Bird influenced everyone.

Bird had an addiction to heroin and other opioids, but it didn't rule his life right away. He made many recordings and influenced young musicians like Miles Davis and Jackie McLean. Parker tried to tell young musicians not to copy his drug use, but many wound up addicted to heroin.

Clint Eastwood made a movie called Bird, which starred Forrest Whitacker as Parker. The movie showed him as being screwed up his whole life. That is an exaggeration. 

People often say that Bird With Strings is one of their favorite albums. 

Chadwick Boseman, RIP -- August 29, 2020


Hollywood Reporter

Actor Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer at the age of 43. My prayers for his family to get through this tragic loss. He was great as Jackie Robinson. The Saturday Night Live he hosted after the release of The Black Panther was the best of the season. He had a wonderful smile. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Babe Ruth The Great American Personality -- August 27, 2020


Motion Picture News, 21-August-1920

Baseball superstar Babe Ruth starred in Headin' Home, a feature film which still exists. It was not a great movie, in part because while the Babe could hit and pitch, he could not act. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Locklear -- A Crusader in the Conquest of the Air -- August 25, 2020


Motion Picture News, 21-August-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. While shooting their 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.

Motion Picture News, 21-August-1920

Sunday, August 23, 2020

You Will Have No "Blue" Mondays -- August 23, 2020


Motion Picture News, 07-August-1920

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. Lehrman left Fox to make comedies released by First National. Fox Sunshine still had plenty of pretty girls. 

 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.

Motion Picture News, 07-August-1920

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Ray Bradbury 100 -- August 22, 2020


Ray Bradbury was born 100 years ago today, on 22-August-1920. I'm not usually a science fiction fan, but he wrote science fiction that was very human-centered, and he wrote many stories that were not science fiction. I first read Dandelion Wine while I was in grammar school and it made an impression on me, especially the part about the trolley. I think I heard a series of X Minus One or Dimension X adaptions of The Martian Chronicles before I read it. 

 He wanted to be a magician. I went with my family to hear him speak at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, but I was too young to remember much.

Friday, August 21, 2020

A Tale of Infinite Pep! -- August 21, 2020


Washington Times, 28-August-1920

The Chorus Girl's Romance, starring Viola Dara was based on F Scott Fitzgerlds' short story "Head and Shoulders." 

Elizabeth City, NC Independent, 13-August-1920

Eileen Percy played Myra in The Husband Hunter, based on Fitzgerald's story "Myra Meets His Family."

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

How Henry Lehrman "Kids" Those Dramatic "Fillums" -- August 19, 2020

Bottineau, ND Courant, 12-August-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 young 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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Shelley Winters 100 -- August 18, 2020
Actress Shelley Winters was born 100 years ago today,on 18-August-1920. She had a remarkable career, starting out as a blonde sex object and working hard to become a widely respected actress.  I did have fun pointing out photos of her when she was young to my friends.  They were always shocked. 

She appeared in many great movies, like The Night of the Hunter and A Place in the Sun

Monday, August 17, 2020

Maureen O'Hara 100 -- August 17, 2020

Beautiful colleen Maureen O'Hara was born 100 years ago today, on 17-August-1920.  She was in a lot of good movies, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame and all sorts of John Ford movies.  My father watched The Quiet Man every time it was on television. She lived to be 95, passing on in 2015.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court -- August 15, 2020

Motion Picture News, 07-August-1920

In 1920, the Fox Film Corporation produced an adaption of Mark Twain's novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. It starred Harry Myers, who played an important part in Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. A few reels of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court still survive. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Steve Martin and Wim Wenders 75 -- August 14, 2020

I was surprised to learn that comedian Steve Martin and director Wim Wenders were born on the same day, 14-August-1945, so they both turn 75 today. 

I remember seeing Steve Martin in the 1970s and thinking he was too undisciplined, but I am a Buster Keaton fan, so I have high standards. He is a writer, an actor and a heck of a banjo player.

Wim Wenders grew up in West Germany.  Wings of Desire was a wonderful movie. I remember when he directed Hammett and producer Francis Ford Coppola reshot most of it.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Bert Lahr 125 -- August 13, 2020

Bert Lahr, beloved for playing the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 Wizard of Oz and not remembered for much else, was born 125 years ago today, on 13-August-1895. My family watched the Wizard of Oz when it was on CBS every year around Easter time. My favorite part was when the Lion ran away and dove through a window. I have seen Bert Lahr in other movies, and haven't liked most of them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Go and Get It -- August 11, 2020

Motion Picture News, 24-July-1920

Director Marshall (Mickey) Neilan made Go and Get It, a horror comedy featuring a gorilla with a human brain. The movie may still exist. In 1941, Paramount remade the story as The Monster and the Girl

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tom Mix in The Untamed -- August 9, 2020

Motion Picture News, 07-August-1920

"The story of three strange comrades -- a man, a horse, and dog..." Max Brand wrote countless westerns for the pulp magazines. He later created the character of Doctor Kildaire.  

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Bob March, RIP -- August 8, 2020



Captain Satellite has died. Bob March hosted a children's show that many of us watched after school. He had children do jobs aboard his rocket ship and he showed cartoons. 

Friday, August 7, 2020

The White Moll -- August 7, 2020

Motion Picture News, 07-August-1920

Having appeared in ten serials between 1914 and 1919, Pearl must have gotten tired of the format. Perhaps the format had also grown tired of her. She made ten features for the Fox Film Corporation between 1919 and 1922. Sadly, her popularity waned. The White Moll is probably lost, but it left us this colorful trade ad.  .  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Ella Raines 100 -- August 6, 2020

Actress Ella Raines had a distinctive look.  She was great in Phantom Lady.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Lloyd Praised at Review -- August 5, 2020

Motion Picture News, 24-August-1920

Harold Lloyd's successful comedies helped to build Hal Roach's new studio. Lloyd and Roach were pioneers in sneak previewing movies. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Wilford Brimley, RIP -- August 2, 2020
I was sad to learn that actor Wilford Brimley has died. He served in the Marine Corps. He came to acting late in life. I loved  the way he played the manager in The Natural.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

He Introduces the Shimmying Cat -- August 1, 2020

Nevada County Picayune, 19-August-1920
This item mentions that Larry Semon started out as a newspaper cartoonist.