Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Lincoln Motion Picture Company -- August 31, 2021

Omaha Monitor, 04-August-1921

The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, founded in Omaha in 1916 by brothers Noble and George Johnson, is often called the first company to make "race films," independent production with all- or almost-all-African American casts. In 1918, the company moved to Los Angeles, where it remained until it folded in 1922. The Johnsons left the company in about 1920. By Right of Birth, starring Clarence Brooks, was the company's fifth and last production. Actor Clarence Brooks went on to appear in many race films and some mainstream films during his career.

Omaha Monitor, 04-August-1921

Chicago Whip, 27-August-1921

The Lincoln Motion Picture Company produced A Man's Duty in 1919.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Ed Asner, RIP -- August 30, 2021


Actor and activist Ed Asner has died. I remember when I first saw the Mary Tyler Moore show that he played a stereotypical gruff, angry man. Over time, the character grew and showed he had a heart, while still being gruff. I was amazed when the Lou Grant show spun off as a drama. I could not think of another example where a situation comedy had spun off a drama. He was a good enough actor to make the transition. 

 The whole family loved Up

Asner served in the Army during the Korean War. He was always interested in politics, serving twice as the president of the Screen Actors Guild. He later fought the merger with AFTRA. He spoke of clashing with John Wayne during the production of Howard Hawks' El Dorado.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Lloyd Hamilton and Max Linder -- August 29, 2021

Exhibitors Herald, 20-August-1921

At this point, Lloyd Hamilton, who had been the Ham of Ham and Bud, was starring in a series of Mermaid Comedies distributed by Educational Comedies. Please excuse the racism in the ad. Racism seems to have turned up in a number of his movies.

Exhibitors Herald, 27-August-1921

This item claims that Lloyd Hamilton had been in 307 movies in ten years.

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Max Linder was the biggest star in film comedy before Charlie Chaplin. Linder appeared in hundreds of early Pathé slapstick comedies in France. He became a major star before World War One. There is some confusion about what he did in the war, but he was wounded or became seriously ill and newspapers reported that he had died. This was not true, but the French film industry, the most powerful in the world before the war, had mostly shut down. Max took an offer from Essanay and came to America, signing a deal to make six short films. The first two did poorly and the third did only a little better, so that was the end of the series. Max returned to France and opened a cinema. He made a feature in France, and then headed back to the US. He made a feature, Seven Years Bad Luck, which did well at the box office. His next American film, Be My Wife, was going to be distributed by the Goldwyn Company.

Friday, August 27, 2021

In His Merry Blues-Chaser -- August 27, 2021

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Fox Sunshine Comedies frequently featured pretty girls and lions. Clyde Cook was an acrobatic comedian from Australia. Al St John was Roscoe Arbuckle's nephew. Bud Fisher's Mutt and Jeff, heroes of a popular daily comic strip, starred in a series of cartoons animated by the Barré Studio.

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Exhibitors Herald, 27-August-1921

"Al St. John, who has been leading man and featured player in Fox Sunshine comedies, hereafter will star in comedy features which are built along lines of the Cook subjects." Exhibitors' Herald refers to releases as "publications."

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Exhibitors Herald, 20-August-1921

"Brownie the Century Comedies Wonder-Dog." starred in many century comedies. Among Brownie's co-stars were Harry Sweet, Charles Doherty and "Baby Peggy, the talented little 2-year-old comedienne...but the fact remains that Brownie was always the featured star of the picture."

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Exhibitors Herald, 27-August-1921

Charles Doherty and Bert Roach in a scene from a Century thrill comedy.

Exhibitors Herald, 13-August-1921

Harry Sweet had a relatively short career as an actor, but worked as a writer and director until he died in a plane crash in 1933.

Exhibitors Herald, 13-August-1921

Century Comedies also featured pretty girls like Cupie Dolan. 

Exhibitors Herald, 20-August-1921

Ben Turpin was Mack Sennett's biggest star to appear in short comedies during the early 1920s.

Exhibitors Herald, 27-August-1921

Mabel Normand returned to Sennett to make features after her contract with Goldwyn ended. Molly O' was a great success.  

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Moving Picture World, 13-August-1921

Hal Roach was producing one-reel comedies with Snub Pollard, Eddie Boland and Gaylord Lloyd, Harold's brother. Harold Lloyd was still working with Roach, but had become pretty independent.

Moving Picture World, 20-August-1921

Roach's business was booming, he was also producing a Ruth Roland serial, so he had to build "a dark stage, wardrobe and dressing room building, laboratory, café and plunge." A dark stage is fully enclosed, rather than open like a standard silent stage. A plunge is a pool. I might write about Son of Wallingford later.

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

William Campbell -- I almost typed Joseph Campbell -- was preparing to produce a series of comedies starring little kids and animals.

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

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.

Moving Picture World, 13-August-1921

Harry Cohn, his brother Jack and Joe Brandt provided the initials for C.B.C. Film Sales Corp. The Hallroom Boys Comedies were a long running series of short comedies, based on a comic strip by Harold MacGill. At this point, Sid Smith played Percy and Harry McCoy played Ferdy.

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Moving Picture World, 13-August-1921

Marcel Perez was probably born in Spain and began appearing in films for Pathé Frères in France. In 1910, he signed with Ambrosio Films in Turino, Italy. The first set of films includes five films he made for Ambrosio. He played a character called Robinet. The movies are fun and Perez shows a nice goofy quality. "Robinet's White Suit" works a nice series of variations on an old gag. After Italy entered World War One in 1915, Perez went to America and starred in films and directed there. This was unusual because most people who starred in film comedies in Europe did not succeed when they moved to America.

Perez did very well, appearing under a variety of character names including Bungles, Tweedledum, Twee-Dee, Tweedy and Dweedledum.

Mirth is a good name for a company that makes comedies. Tweedy's seventh film for Mirth was going to be a satire of the big Dempsey-Carpentier fight, with Perez as Carpentier. Read a contemporary newspaper article about the fight:

Back in 2016, Undercrank Productions, producers of the Accidentally Preserved and Musty Suffer series, made The Marcel Perez Collection, a tribute which includes movies from all the countries where he worked.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Chaplin -- The Lieber Family Visit Charles Chaplin in the Studio -- August 25, 2021

Great Falls Tribune, 28-August-1921

100 years ago this month, Chaplin's feature, The Kid, was still going strong. It made Jackie Coogan into a movie star.

Moving Picture World, 13-August-1921

Chaplin's movies were being distributed by First National. Here he meets Robert Lieber, the president of the company, his wife and their daughters.

Cine-Mundial, August, 1921

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Ill-Fated ZR-2 -- August 24, 2021

Exhibitors Herald, 10-September-1921

The US Navy arranged to buy British Zeppelin R-38 while it was under construction. The US renamed it ZR-2. While undergoing a test on 24-August-1921, the Zeppelin broke in two, and the forward portion burned and exploded. The whole wreck crashed into the Humber River. 44 members of the 49-man crew died. 17 American sailors were aboard and all but one died. After accepting the ship, the Americans were going to fly ZR-2 across the Atlantic.

Read a contemporary newspaper article on my other blog: https://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2021/08/seventeen-officers-and-men-of-united.html

Monday, August 23, 2021

Harry Langdon -- Repeated His Usual Laughs -- August 23, 2021

Variety, 05-Variey-1921

Harry Langdon would be the last of the great silent comics to go into films. 100 years go this month, he was still appearing in vaudeville. He appeared in his first movie in 1923.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Buster Keaton -- Come and Laugh at the Sombre-Faced Comedian -- August 21, 2021

Pensacola Journal, 29-August-1921

This image does not strongly resemble Buster Keaton. I have never seen the word "gigglelouge" before. I guess it is supposed to suggest "travelogue."

Lakeland Evening Telegram, 25-August-1921

The first feature film that Buster appeared in, The Saphead, was still in release. 

Bisbee Daily Review, 28-August-1921

"Buster Keaton Now One of the Leading Comedians in the U.S." It was common for newspapers to run a small new item, which may have been provided by the distributor, along with an ad for the same movie.

Indiana Daily Times, 03-August-1921

"Here is Buster."

Moscow, Idaho Daily Star-Mirror, 15-August-1921

"Sober Faced Comedian Buster Keaton to Appear."

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Gene Roddenberry 100 -- August 19, 2021


Gene Roddenberry, who created Star Trek and inspired its many descendants, was born 100 years ago today, on 19-August-1921. He flew for the US Army Air Force during World War Two. He started to write television scripts while he served in the Los Angeles Police Department. When he became a successful writer, he left the LAPD.

When Star Trek went on the air in 1965, its cast was far more diverse than any other show's. The show was popular with science fiction devotees, including my sister, but did not do well in the ratings. I watched it with her and enjoyed the special effects and the details. I assumed the creator must have served in the navy, because the Enterprise was run like a navy ship. I was sad when NBC tried to cancel it after two seasons, and was impressed that fans were able to get it back for a third season.

I saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the theater and was not impressed. I liked Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I have seen some of the other movies on television.

I saw a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but did not follow it.

I saw the first revival movie and thought it was ok.

Gene Roddenberry had a strong and ongoing influence on American culture. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Full Color Monster Movies -- August 17, 2021

Vampirella 37, 1974

When I was young, I read Warren Publishing magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and Vampirella. The magazines always carried ads for back issues, posters and movies. I didn't have a film projector, so I read the ads with envy. Eventually, I got a Super-8 projector, but I didn't have enough money to buy any of these films. A friend had Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein and I was fascinated by the way it had been cut down to less than 20 minutes. 

Here they offered a selection of short color films sampled from two Ray Harryhausen movies.


I remember reading Ray Harryhausen's account of making The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad in Famous Monsters of Filmland. The battle with the skeletons was particularly hard to animate. 


Jason and the Argonauts featured more fighting skeletons and a bronze giant.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Lesley Ann Warren 75 -- August 16, 2021


Actress singer and dancer Lesley Ann Warren was born 75 years ago today, on 16-August-1946. I have enjoyed many of her movies.


Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Adventures of Bill and Bob and Breezy and Harry -- August 15, 2021

Moving Picture World, 27-August-1921

Director Robert N Bradbury produced a series of one-reel movies, The Adventures of Bill and Bob, starring his twin sons, Bob, Jr (later Bob Steele) and Bill. The boys hunt and trap in the wilderness.

Moving Picture Weekly, 14-August-1921

Another director's son who starred in movies was Breezy Eason, who was B Reeves Eason Jr, son of director B Reeves Eason Sr. He played in Blue Streak McCoy with cowboy star Harry Carey and Ruth Golden.