Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cindy Williams and Lisa Loring, RIP -- January 31, 2023


Actress Cindy Williams has died. I thought she was cute. I remember her in Laverne and Shirley and American Graffiti. She made a good team with Penny Marshall.



Actress Lisa Loring has also died. She played Wednesday on the original Addams Family television show. I liked her deadpan delivery. The show has always been one of my favorites. 


Norman Mailer 100 -- January 31, 2023


Some sources say that author Norman Mailer was born 100 years ago today, on 31-January-1923. I haven't read many of his books. The only thing that stuck in my memory from An American Dream was the description of vomiting.




Monday, January 30, 2023

The Two Big-Little Features -- January 30, 2023

Film Daily Yearbook, 1922

Margaret Winkler was a pioneer producer and distributor of animated cartoons. She distributed the Fleischer Brothers' Out of the Inkwell, Pat Sullivan's Felix the Cat, and Walt Disney's Alice in Cartoonland series. In 1924, she married Charles Mintz and turned the business over to him. He is mostly remembered today for taking Oswald the Lucky Rabbit away from Disney.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Paddy Chayefsky 100 -- January 29, 2023


Paddy Chayefsky was born 100 years ago today, on 29-January-1923. He wrote plays, movies, novels and scripts for radio and television. He had a high batting average. 



Saturday, January 28, 2023

Genuine Edison Films -- January 28, 2023

The Phonoscope, January, 1923

125 years ago this month, the Edison Manufacturing Company offered films in 50, 100 and 150-foot lengths. Potential customers were warned that Edison intended to enforce its patents. "We are protected by broad U. S. patents and all films of other make are infringements."

Friday, January 27, 2023

William Gillette Personally Appearing in His Famous Success -- January 27, 2023

Washington Times, 28-January-1923

William Gillette played Sherlock Holmes more than 1300 times. He wrote the play. He retired several times, after long farewell tours, and then made triumphant returns. His last farewell tour ran from 1929 to 1932.

The following week the National Theater was going to present Lionel Atwill in The Comedian by Sasha Guitry. Atwill went on to become a popular character actor in talking films.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Baby Peggy and Big Peggy -- January 26, 2023

Los Angeles Evening Post-Record, 15-January-1923

Baby Peggy Montgomery was Century's biggest comedy star. She made a personal appearance to sell dolls made by a disabled artist, Peggy Wheeler. "Big Peggy" made and sold dollars so she could be independent. Her "dream is to be able to establish a 'Welcomeland' someday, where helpless young folks can become helpful again."

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Oscar Micheaux -- The Virgin of Seminole -- January 25, 2023

Vicksburg Evening Post, 22-January-1923

Oscar Micheaux was a pioneer in producing what were known as race films. 100 years ago this month, his films The Symbol of the Unconquered and The Virgin of Seminole were showing on different nights at the Princess Theater in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Mistress of the World was a 1919 German film.

Vicksburg Evening Post, 27-January-1923

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Sherlock Holmes -- Supported by Roland Young, Carol Dempster and An All Star Cast -- January 24, 2023

Alexandria Gazette, 18-January-1923

John Barrymore played Sherlock Holmes in a loose adaption of William Gillette's play. I didn't enjoy the movie much, but Barrymore certainly looked like Holmes. I like the illustration.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Randolph Scott 125 -- January 23, 2023


I was taken aback when I realized that I have not yet mentioned Randolph Scott in this blog. They didn't show many of his movies on tv when I was growing up, but I read about him in books and magazines. My daughter always quotes the scene from Blazing Saddles. Randolph Scott was born 125 years ago today, on 23-January-1898. Scott was a veteran of World War One. He was good in westerns and non-westerns.



Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Year of the Rabbit -- January 22, 2023

Moving Picture Weekly, 23-May-1914

In honor of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, here is John Bunny.

John Bunny was a popular performer in early Vitagraph comedies like "A Cure for Pokeritis" (1912), "Hearts and Diamonds" (1914) and "The Pickwick Papers" (1913). He was born (on 21-September-1863) to play Mr Pickwick. Bunny died in 1915 and the world mourned.  Here is a detail from a Vitagraph ad in the 23-May-1914 Moving Picture World.  Be sure to click on the image to see the larger version.  Note his tooth.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Blackhawk Bulletin 258 -- Buster Keaton --January 21, 2023

Blackhawk Bulletin 258, December 1974

I was an avid reader of the Blackhawk Bulletin, even though I rarely had enough money to buy any movies from Blackhawk Films. I would like to have purchased these short comedies with Buster Keaton.

I was excited to learn that scans of many issues were available at the HMH Foundation Moving Image Archives at USC:
USC HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive » Blackhawk Films’ Catalogs (uschefnerarchive.com)

Friday, January 20, 2023

Three Dimension Motion Pictures Produced by Means of the Teleview -- January 20, 2023

Motion Picture News, 18-November-1922

Way back when in October, before I took a break, I said I would post some more information about Harry K Fairall's 3-D movie system, which was the first successful system to show 3-D or stereoscopic movies. His only film, "The Power of Love," is probably lost. This article shows his viewing system, the Teleview. Two synchronized projectors alternated showing frames from each side. The Teleview was attached to viewers' seat. It included a rotating disc synchronized to the projectors, which showed each eye the alternating frames. The system was not all that successful, although the guy in the image looks happy.

Motion Picture News, 04-November-1922

While we are on the subject of technology, The Color Cinema Company announced that it would produce short comedies in color. The first would be called "Making Hubby Like It." I can't find anything about the company or a movie by that title.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Keaton Begins Big Pictures -- January 19, 2023

Ridgewood Herald-News, 11-January-1923

After completing his second season of short films, released through First National, Buster Keaton took a three-month vacation. On his return, he started working on a feature, which came to be released through Metro as The Three Ages.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Wallace Reid Succumbs in Fight Against Drugs -- January 18, 2023

Omaha Bee, 19-January-1923

Popular actor Wallace Reid died 100 years ago today on 18-January-1923. Back in 1919, Wally was riding a Southern Pacific train to Oregon to work on The Valley of the Giants, a feature film based on a Peter B Kyne story about lumberjacks. I have not been able to find any contemporary accounts, but sources say that the train had an accident and Wally injured his head. A doctor had to sew his scalp shut. Paramount wanted the movie to stay on schedule, so Wally received morphine to help him deal with the pain. Wally appeared in eight features in 1919, seven in 1920 and 1921 and eight in 1922. To keep up the grueling pace, studio doctors kept administering larger and larger doses of morphine. Wally appeared in eight features in 1919, seven in 1920 and 1921 and eight in 1922. To keep up the grueling pace, studio doctors kept administering larger and larger doses of morphine. Wallace Reid entered a sanitarium in an attempt to kick his drug habit. He died there on 18-January-1923.

His widow, Dorothy Davenport, became a director, screenwriter and crusader against hard drugs, who was usually billed as "Mrs Wallace Reid." A while back, I wrote an article about her career:
in Fight Against Drugs

Noted Movie Star Dies in
Hollywood Sanitarium --
Unconscious for Two
Days Before End.

Los Angeles. Jan. 18. -- Wallace Held, hero of romantic film plays, lost his life in fighting to overcome the drug habit, the end coming this afternoon at a sanitarium near Hollywood, where he had been under treatment for more than a month. He had been unconscious for nearly two days, during all of which time his wife, Dorothy Davenport, was at his bedside. The direct cause of the death, according to Mr Reid's physician, Dr. G. S. Herbert. was congestion of the lungs and kidneys, which resulted from the actor's collapse when he endeavored to break off the use of narcotics.

Reid, who was six feet tall, and whose normal weight was 185 pounds, lost 60 pounds before the end came. Up to about a week ago relatives said he was improving and would be able to resume work in the studio of the Famous Players Lasky corporation by July at the latest.

"I’m Winning Fight."

"I'm Winning the fight, mamma." was his invariable greeting to his wife when she called on him. Mrs. Reid said her husband contracted the drug habit during an illness nearly two years ago. He was working on a picture early in November when he suddenly collapsed. He was advised to take a long rest and started on a mountain trip with Mrs. Reid, Teddy Hayes, his trainer, and H. H. Muller. On his return to Los Angeles his condition showing no improvement, he went to the sanitarium.

Shortly before Christmas his family made public the cause of his breakdown. Mrs. Reid declaring she believed the information might aid in arousing the American people to the necessity of suppressing the narcotic traffic.

Reid was born in St. Louis in 1892 and educated in New York. His stage career began in vaudeville with his father in "The Girl and the Ranger" and later he entered the motion pictures in the early days of this industry, associating with Selig, Vitagraph and Universal.

Started as Utility Man.

His entrance was as a general utility man and he wrote, acted and directed. He was later employed by D. W. Griffith in the production of "The Birth of a Nation" and entered the Lasky employment in Geraldine Farrar's "Carmen."

His ascendancy in the motion pictures was then rapid and he became one of the best liked actors in Hollywood and New York.

Reid was remarkably versatile. He was a deep student and lover of books. He was deeply interested in chemistry and psychology and was an accomplished musician, the Violin and stringed instruments as well as the saxophone ranking among his favored interpretative instruments.

He was married to Dorothy Davenport. motion picture actress, whom he met years ago when she was starring at Universal City and he was an assistant director and utility man. They had one child and adopted a second.
Motion Picture News, 08-November-1913

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Gina Lollobrigida RIP -- January 17, 2023


Gina Lollobrigida died. I think she was the first actress I became aware of as a sex symbol. It was either her or Sophia Loren. I remember watching Trapeze and being impressed.

My wife's first comment was "I didn't know she was still alive." Neither did I. 



Super Flappers! Running Wild With an Orgy of Gayety -- January 17, 2023

Birmingham Age-Herald, 14-January-1923

The Warner Brothers heavily promoted their adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald's second novel, The Beautiful and Damned. I need to read that again.

Marie Prevost played Gloria Gilbert and Kenneth Harlan played Anthony Patch. Prevost later married Harlan in real life.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Featuring Rin-Tin the Dog Hero -- January 16, 2023

Moscow, Idaho Daily Star-Mirror, 17-January-1923

Rin-Tin-Tin was the biggest dog star of all. During the last days of World War One, Lee Duncan, an American soldier who loved dogs, found Rinty and his sister with their dying mother in a damaged German kennel. Duncan tried to bring the puppies to America, but the female died. Duncan trained Rinty and got him into the movies, where he showed great natural talent.

The Man from Hell's River was Rinty's first movie. Note that he is billed as "Rin-Tin the Dog Hero." Irving Cummings wrote, directed and co-starred. I like the image of the dog.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Lewis Carroll 125 Years -- January 14, 2023


Lewis Carroll, who was born Charles Dodgson, died 125 years ago today, on 14-January-1898. His books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass were great influences on nonsense literature. He was also an avid amateur photographer

One or both of the books has been adapted into countless movies. 



Friday, January 13, 2023

A Few Minutes With Jack Benny -- January 13, 2023

Des Moines Register, 14-January-1923

Jack Benny's film career did not start for a few more years, but in January 1923 audiences could see him performing in vaudeville at the Orpheum Theater in Des Moines. He played the violin and told jokes. At this point in his career, the amount of violin was going down and the number of jokes was going up.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Modern Advertising Display -- January 12, 2023

Motion Picture News, 13-January-1923

Broadway's Criterion Theater used an enormous electric sign to advertise When Knighthood Was in Flower with Marion Davies.

New York Herald, 11-November-1922

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Dare-Devil Speeder Buck Jones -- January 11, 2023

Evening Capital and Maryland Gazette, 21-January-1922

Buck Jones was Fox's second-string cowboy star, after Tom Mix.

Indianapolis Times, 06-January-1923
I like Hoot's suit. 

Motion Picture News, 06-January-1923

Leo Maloney starred in a series of short westerns.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Tom Mix -- The Star of all Western Stars -- January 10, 2023

Marion Star, 01-January-1923

Tom Mix starred in Tom Mix in Arabia, which was directed by Lynn Harding. The Marion, Ohio Star was owned and edited by Warren G Harding before he went into politics.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Harry Carey -- He Gives That Deft Touch of High Comedy -- January 9, 2023

Wilmington Evening Journal, 11-January-1923

Harry Carey was a pioneering cowboy star. Val Paul directed A Few Good Men. I like the title. "He gives that deft touch of high comedy that all theatergoers enjoy. 

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Larry Storch 100 -- January 8, 2023


Actor Larry Storch was born 100 years ago today, on 08-January-1923. He died just last July. F Troop was on when I was very young, but I remember it. Storch turned up in many television programs over the years. He was always funny.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

William S Hart -- Travelin' On -- January 7, 2023

Alaska Daily Empire, 13-January-1923

Juneau's Coliseum Theater featured William S Hart in Ridin' Along, a movie directed by Lambert Hillyer. "He had neither name nor friends. Knew no law but his big black guns. So he always kept travelin' on."

Friday, January 6, 2023

DW Griffith -- Let Katie Do It -- January 6, 2023

Americus Times-Recorder, 05-January-1923

Despite the claims of this ad, DW Griffith did not direct Let Katie Do It. Griffith co-wrote and produced it and brothers Chester and Sidney Franklin directed. This was a revival of a 1916 film

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Marion Davies -- The Most Amazingly Beautiful Picture Ever Screened -- January 5, 2023

Moscow, Idaho Daily Star-Mirror, 10-January-1923

When Knighthood Was in Flower was an 1898 novel written by Edwin Caskoden. His real name was Charles Major. The story was inspired by the life of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's sister. The book sold well. In 1901, Paul Kester adapted the story into a play which was also successful.

In 1922, William Randolph Hearst was looking for a suitably ostentatious project for his inamorata, Marion Davies. His production company, Cosmopolitan, hit upon When Knighthood Was in Flower. Director Robert Vignola used a virtually unlimited budget to create a huge movie. This full-page ad must have cost lots of money.