Saturday, February 24, 2024

Mack Sennett Presents Picking Peaches With Harry Langdon -- February 24, 2024

Motion Picture News, 09-February-1924

Vaudeville comic Harry Langdon had started to appear in short comedies for Mack Sennett. "Picking Peaches," directed by Erle C Kenton, was the first. Sennett's Bathing Beauties were prominently featured.

Motion Picture News, 02-February-1924

Motion Picture News, 02-February-1924

Langdon's childlike/childish character did not appear in this film.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Fred Thomson -- The Screen's Newest and Biggest Western Star -- February 23, 2023

Motion Picture News, 02-February-1924

Fred Thomson (no relation) had a diverse career. While attending the Princeton Theological Seminary, he earned the Amateur Athletic Union's All-Around Champion trophy in 1910, 1911 and 1913. After being ordained as a Presbyterian minister, he joined the Army and served as a chaplain during World War One. He went into the movie business after he married director and screenwriter Frances Marion. In time, he became a major western star. Sadly, he died of tetanus in 1928.

The Mask of Lopez was directed by Albert S Rogell. 

Film Daily, 24-February-1924

Art Acord was a cowboy star who appeared in many silent films but did not make the transition to talkies. 

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Happy Birthday, George Washington -- February 22, 2024

New York Daily News, 22-February-1924

Today would have been the 292nd birthday of our first President, George Washinton. 100 years ago this week, director DW Griffith's America, an epic about the Revolutionary War opened at Manhattan's Forty-Fourth Street Theater. George Washington did not play a large part in the movie, but he played an indispensable role in the events. The movie was intended to be the first in a series.  

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Vagabond Trail Next for Buck Jones -- February 21, 2024

Motion Picture News, 09-February-1924

The Fox Film Corporation needed a western star to back up Tom Mix. Buck Jones made a long series of movies for Fox. I imagine they tried to change his name to Charles to allow him to move into other movie genres. Marian Nixon co-starred in Vagabond Trail and Wild Bill Wellman directed. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Tom Mix -- The West of Yesterday -- February 20, 2024

Motion Picture News, 02-February-1924

Tom Mix was the greatest western star in silent films. In 1924 he published The West of Yesterday, "Compiled and Edited By J. B. M. Clark From Interviews With the Author." I haven't read it yet, but I can imagine it will include some tall tales.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Magnificent Doll --February 19, 2024

Magnificent Doll was a 1946 movie about future president James Madison (Burgess Meredith) and Alexander Hamilton's (David Niven) rivalry in courting the widow Dolley Payne Todd (Ginger Rogers), who became Dolley Madison. Frank Borzage directed.

I love Ginger Rogers, but I don't think she looked anything like Dolley Madison.

Lee Marvin 100 -- February 19, 2024

Lee Marvin was born 100 years ago today, on 19-February-2024. I always liked his style. He served in the Marine Corps during World War Two and was severely wounded on Saipan.

He made a big impression as the psychotic Vince in The Big Heat. Be careful around coffee pots.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Saturday, February 17, 2024

William S Hart and his Famous Pinto Pony -- February 17, 2023

Motion Picture News, 23-February-1924

William S Hart's career had been derailed when he was accused of fathering a woman's five-year-old child. Even though he wound up paying child support, he was allowed to return to the screen. Wild Bill Hickock was a success.

Manager WF Brock of the Strand Theater in Knoxville heralded Hart's return with this lobby display.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Harold Lloyd -- Exit Worry! Enter Joy! -- February 16 2024

Brownsville Herald, 17-February-1924

Why Worry? was one of Harold Lloyd's most popular movies. Of course, everyone loved the giant, played by John Aasen. 

Seattle Star, 09-February-1924

Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey defeated challenger Tommy Gibbons in Selby, Montana on 04-July-2023:

Wolf Point Herald, 21-February-1924

"I Do" was a 1921 short comedy starring Harold Lloyd and his soon to be wife Mildred Davis. 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Gale Sondergaard 125 -- February 15, 2024

Gale Sondergaard was born 125 years ago today, on 15-February-1899. She played many unsympathetic characters until her husband was accused of being a Communist by the House Un-American Activities Committee. She stood by him and wound up on the blacklist.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Happy Saint Valentine's Day -- February 14, 2024

Happy Saint Valentine's Day, everyone.

Red haired Clara Bow was probably the most popular silent actress after Mary Pickford.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Black Orpheus -- February 13, 2024

Happy Mardi Gras everyone. 

In Rio de Janiero, they celebrate Carnival from the Friday before Ash Wednesday until mid-day on Ash Wednesday. In 1959 French director Marcel Camus made the beautiful Black Orpheus. The story was inspired by the Orpheus myth and set during Carnival. 

Vince Guaraldi Trio - Samba de Orfeu

Monday, February 12, 2024

The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln --February 12, 2024

Motion Picture News, 01-September-1923

Today would have been Abraham Lincoln's 215th birthday. Brothers Al and Ray Rockett produced The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln in 1922. Frances Marion wrote the script, Phil Rosen directed and George A Billings played Abraham Lincoln. It was an elaborate production. 

Motion Picture News, 01-September-1923

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Abel Gance -- A Napoleonic Cycle -- February 11, 2024

Film Daily, 10-February-1924

French director Abel Gance proposed a series of six feature films about the life of Napoleon. It didn't quite work out. 

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Year of the Dragon -- February 10, 2024

Today is the beginning of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Dragon.

In 1898, Kenneth Grahame published a short story called "The Reluctant Dragon." A young boy meets a dragon who lives nearby. He learns that the dragon is intelligent and kind, but when the people of the town learn about the dragon, they want to kill him. They send for Saint George, who is well known for killing dragons. The boy introduces the dragon to Saint George and the knight, and the knight and the dragon decide to stage a fight and then tell the people of the town that the dragon is defeated and will be well-behaved.

In 1941, Disney released a feature film called The Reluctant Dragon. During this time, they did not make fully animated feature films because of budget constraints, but they made several movies that combined animation and live action. My hero Robert Benchley received a tour of the studio and learned how animation works. One of the animated sections is the story of "The Reluctant Dragon."

Friday, February 9, 2024

Wayne Kramer, Chita Rivera. Hinton Battle, Don Murray and Carl Weathers, RIP -- February 9, 2024

Wayne Kramer, lead guitarist of MC5, has died. MC5 wasn't like anything else in their period. Kick out the jams... 

MC5 - Kick out the jams

Chita Rivera died. She did everything.  

CHITA as Velma "All That Jazz" CHICAGO 10th

Hinton Battle died. Too young.

Take The "A" Train - Phyllis Hyman and Hinton Battle

Actor Don Murrary died.

Carl Weathers, who played professional football before he became an actor, has died.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Brooke Adams 75 -- February 8, 2024

Actress Brooke Adams was born 75 years ago today, on January 8, 1949. 

Actor Tony Shalhoub is her husband. She appeared on his television show Monk several times.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Another Triumph for Colleen Moore -- February 7, 2024

Motion Picture News, 02-January-1924

Many of Colleen Moore's movies are considered lost, including Painted People. Colleen starred with Ben Lyon. Clarence Badger directed.

Motion Picture News, 02-January-1924

Motion Picture Classic, February, 1924

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Ramon Novarro 125 -- February 6, 2024

"Actor Ramon Novarro was born 125 years ago today, on 06-February-1899. He was born in Mexico, but his family emigrated to the United States in 1913 to get away from the Mexican Revolution. By the mid-1920s, he was a popular Latin lover" in Hollywood films. His career as a star was over by the mid-1930s, but he continued to act in smaller parts. He struggled to deal with his devout Catholicism and his homosexuality.

Novarro replaced George Walsh as the title character in the troubled production of Ben Hur. I liked him better than Charlton Heston. 

Motion Picture News, 08-September-1923

I also liked him in Rex Ingram's adaption of Rafael Sabbatini's Scaramouche

In 1968 two cowards robbed and murdered Ramon Novarro. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

Don't Waste Time on Punk Movies -- February 5, 2024

Washington Times, 03-February-1924

I wonder if issues of Pullar's Weekly are available anywhere. $10 a year for 52 issues sounds like a good deal. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Boston Film Exchange -- February 4, 2024

New York Clipper, 28-February-1903

The Boston Film Exchange offered to buy sell or trade "second-hand films, song slides and machines."

Saturday, February 3, 2024

A Film Memorial of Woodrow Wilson -- February 3, 2024

Film Daily, 05-February-1924

100 years ago today, on 03-February-2024, former president Woodrow Wilson died. The newsreel companies were quick to send out special reports:

Film Daily, 07-February-1924

Motography, 02-October-1915

President Wilson appeared in a lot of newsreels. "President Wilson throws out the first ball, at opening of baseball park. Copyright 1915 by Universal Animated Weekly." I'm guessing this is the opening of Braves Field in August. On 09-October-1915, Wilson became the first president throw out the first ball at a World Series game, when the Boston Red Sox played the Philadelphia Phillies at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. Wilson was a big baseball fan.