Sunday, March 31, 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024

The Most Popular Child in All the World -- March 30, 2024

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Baby Peggy Montgomery had been Century's biggest comedy star. She moved on to starring in features for Universal and Sol Lesser's Principal Pictures. Captain January was based on a book by Laura E Richards. Shirley Temple starred in a later adaption. 

Note the Baby Peggy Doll, offered at Gimbel's in New York. 

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

You could buy Baby Peggy Hosiery, Baby Peggy Dresses, Baby Peggy Underwear, Baby Peggy Jewelry, Baby Peggy Bonnets, Baby Peggy Dolls, Baby Peggy's Own Storybook, Baby Peggy Handkerchiefs, Baby Peggy Coats, Baby Peggy Writing Paper, and Baby Peggy Silverware. I'm exhausted from typing that list.

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

"So great is Baby Peggy's 'Fan' Correspondence that five secretaries work daily answering her letters."

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

"The most intensive fan campaign ever carried on for a star." I'll bet. 

Motion Picture News, 29-March-1924

Meanwhile Century Comedies carried on without Baby Peggy. "The Century Follies Girls, a bubbling, youthful group of girlish beauty in an unusual series of clean, entertaining comedies, are making friends and profits for showmen everywhere."

Motion Picture News, 22-March-1924

Pal the Dog was the star of "That Oriental Game." Charles Lamont and Noel Smith directed. I wonder if the title refers to mah-jongg, which was very popular around that time. 

Motion Picture Magazine, April, 1924

Motion Picture News, 29-March-1924

Buddy Messinger was a kid who starred in a series of Century Comedies. Albert Herman directed "The (or was it A?) Young Tenderfoot."

Motion Picture News, 29-March-1924

Arthur Trimble was another child actor starring in a series of Century Comedies. The caption remarks that he "looks like Buster Brown." He later played Buster Brown in a series. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

Christie advertised Dorothy Devore as "A Clever Queen of Comedy." Christie's short comedies were distributed by Educational.

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Scott Sidney directed "Getting Gertie's Goat." The title was probably a satire of the play (later filmed twice) Getting Gertie's Garter

Film Daily, 04-March-1924

Dorothy Devore's success in short comedies led Christie to put her in feature-length comedies. Hodkinson released Christie's features. 

Film Daily, 06-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 22-March-1924

Christie produced series of short comedies starring Neal Burns and Jimmie Adams. I like the stick figures. 

Film Daily, 28-March-1924

Educational offered free ad mats for their short subjects. These could be run as stand-alone newspaper ads or inserted into larger ads. Al Christie himself directed Neal Burns and Vera Steadman in "Busy Buddies." 

Motion Picture News, 22-March-1924

Bobby Vernon also starred in a series of Christie comedies. Archie Mayo directed "Reno or Bust." 

Motion Picture News, 29-March-1924

Educational released shorts from many different producers. This item has ad mats from a variety of series. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

Cameo Comedies were one-reelers released by Educational. Sid Smith and Cliff Bowes starred in many. "Cave Inn" is a good title for a stone age comedy. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 29-March-1924

Friday, March 29, 2024

For Colored Only -- March 29, 2024

Atlanta Constitution, 11-March-1924

Atlanta's Paramount Theater "(For colored only)" was showing a William S Hart movie. 

Baltimore Sun, 16-March-1924

In January, we saw that Reol Productions, makers of race films, had been taken over by Progress Pictures. Emil Offerman, who had been head of Reol, was suing former employer Robertson-Cole over breach of contract. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

I was interested to see that African-Americans in Topeka, Kansas  protested DW Griffith's hateful epic The Birth of a Nation. I was shocked to see that they boycotted a local African American-owned newspaper which ran an advertisement for the showing. I haven't found the ad yet.

WAGL Means a WOW for Your Box Office -- March 29, 2024

Film Daily, 31-March-1924

WAGL means a WOW for your box office. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Perfect Motion Picture Actor -- March 28, 2024

Photoplay, March, 1924

Strongheart was born in Germany and trained to work for the police and the Red Cross during World War One. After the war, the dog's owner could not afford to keep him, so he placed him with a kennel in the United States. Director Lawrence Trimble saw Strongheart and persuaded screenwriter Jane Murfin to purchase him. Trimble trained Strongheart and directed him in four movies. Strongheart got burned by a studio light in 1929 and died from a tumor caused by the burn. Strongheart was one of the first German Shepherd dogs to star in a movie.

Motion Picture News, 01-March-1924

Motion Picture Magazine, March, 1924

"The Rival of Strongheart." 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.

I wonder if Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin ever met. They might have made a nice buddy movie together.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Gloria Swanson 125 -- March 27, 2024

Cine-Mundial, November, 1921

Beautiful and formidable actress Gloria Swanson was born 125 years ago today, on 27-March-1899. I read her autobiography soon after it was published in 1981. She started at Essanay, making one film with Charlie Chaplin, moved on to work for Mack Sennett at Keystone, went on to Triangle, had a big breakthrough with Cecil B DeMille at Famous Players-Lasky, starred in a series of Paramount features during the 1920s, and wrapped up the silent era making Queen Kelly with Erich von Stroheim. She didn't make many movies during the sound era, but Sunset Boulevard, which reunited her with DeMille and Stroheim, was one of the best of all time. I remember when she appeared on a few television shows.

Motion Picture News, 11-June-1921

When You're Not Thinking Unimportant Things You're Thinking About WAGL -- March 27, 2024

Film Daily, 30-March-1924

When you're not thinking unimportant things you're thinking about WAGL.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Grit With Clara Bow -- March 26, 2024

Film Daily, 02-March-1924

I love Clara Bow, but I am shocked and amazed by her hair in this ad. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

At Last! The Third-Dimension Movie -- March 25, 2024

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

Plastigrams were 3-D movies that used a process invented by Frederic Eugene Ives and Jacob Leventhal. The movies were viewed with red- and blue-lensed glasses. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

Film Daily, 26-March-1924

Claude Friese-Greene was the son of William Friese-Greene, who claimed that he had invented motion pictures in the 1880s. William went on to try to develop color motion pictures and Claude carried on his father's work. 

Film Daily, 25-March-1924

Prizma, Inc, creators of Prizma Color, declared bankruptcy in 1924. This was despite many filmmakers having added a reel of color to their feature films. 

Film Daily, 21-March-1924

A receiver's sale disposed of the company's assets.

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Inventor Lee De Forest formed a company to produce talking films using his Phonofilm sound-on-film process. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Clairidge Theater, Montclair, New Jersey -- March 23, 2024

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

The Clairidge Theater ( still operates in Montclair, New Jersey. It now has six screens and is operated as a non-profit. Note that article spells the theater's name incorrectly. 

Modern Theatre Approaching Perfection

Suburban House, Incorporating Many Features,
Held Up as Example

MODERN theaters in the suburbs of large cities or prosperous small cities and towns have become a predominating factor in the advancement of theater design and the popularity of motion pictures themselves. It has been left to these houses, with their detailed attention to complete appointments for the patron's comforts, to interest that part of our potential clientele that have hitherto ignored motion pictures.

To be sure, regardless of the beauty and comfort incorporated in theaters, their drawing power would be practically nil without proper pictures. But the combination of good pictures and fine theaters results in greater patronage and — of paramount importance — higher admissions.

The Claridge theater, Montclair, N. J., offers an excellent illustration, through its many noteworthy features, of the advance in theater construction technique. On this and succeeding pages are shown views of this house.

As has become an accepted practice for the purpose of neutralizing the degree of risk of an investment in theater property alone, the Claridge is the main feature of a very attractive business building. This building comprises high class retail stores and offices.

Mention of the importance of electric signs and marquees as a medium for advertising a theater and its picture attractions has often been made in these columns. The owner and manager of the Claridge, Ernest Hinck, apparently fully appreciated the value of these features. At night the exterior of this theater can be clearly seen from a great distance, dominating all other store fronts for several blocks.

Advantage of location of the theater block built at the V intersection of the two busiest thoroughfares of the town gives the Claridge an entrance on both of these streets. The lobby, 60 feet in width and 350 feet long, extends from entrance to entrance, opening into the theater auditorium at its center.

This wide and spacious lobby, extending through the center of the business block is utilized after the fashion of an arcade, adding greater value to the store space.

While this feature of display space is excellent in this particular instance, it is well to bear in mind that a small lobby cannot be employed in a similar way. Crowding will result from the audience lingering after each show. Also the space used for store display can be of unlimited value to the theater itself for advertising of coming attractions.

The auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,400, there being no balcony.

A mezzanine floor affords an attractive place for lounging and resting, the picture being conveniently viewed from this floor. This unusual design of the mezzanine is shown in a reproduction of the interior on a succeeding page. The direct view permitted of the picture is worthy of consideration for other houses of this type.

The "interior of the Claridge is treated in Adam style architecture, the ornamental work being beautifully decorated in ivory and gold and the dome on the ceiling is treated in polychrome combination of colors. The side walls of the theater are of genuine caen stone imported from France.

The combination as described, and the views shown of this theater, convey an idea of its beauty in design and decoration.

Yet all these features would likely pass with casual observation by the clientele of the house if it were not for the lighting system and its effective control. In bringing forth the beauty of the theater and in securing a pleasing atmosphere, through modified lighting, the Claridge has taken full advantage of this modern art. The lighting control equipment is of the latest design and adequate of complete flexibility of performance of duty as required of it by a theater of this type and size.

The stage is of the concert type, of ample size to permit the presentation of the more elaborate prologues along with full sets.

Realizing the importance of excellent music as a necessary adjunct to the successful presentation of pictures, especial consideration was given this feature. An orchestra pit of sufficient size to accommodate several pieces is available along with a high-class theater organ. The organ installation was studied and carefully planned before the theater was constructed in order that the sound chambers could be positioned to greatest advantage.

The organ has proven an excellent investment as music, particularly organ solos, are exceedingly popular with the theater's clientele. It is of interest to note that good music finds almost universal popularity among motion picture theatre goers, regardless of class.

The projection department of the Claridge gives conclusive proof of its modernization. In this feature, no expense has been spared, the best of equipment being installed throughout. As a safeguard against emergency and as a relief unit, an auxiliary motor generator is available for use at all times.

It is such theaters as the Claridge, along with the finer pictures, that is gradually gaining friends for motion pictures among the most discriminating of people.

William E. Lehman and N. Harris were the architects.

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Friday, March 22, 2024

Buster Keaton Reports Progress -- March 22, 2024

Motion Picture Magazine, March, 1924

Earlier this month, I participated in the Tenth Annual Buster Keaton Blogathon. I wrote about the first feature that Buster Keaton had control over, The Three Ages:

I like the image above from Buster's next feature, Our Hospitality

Motion Picture News, 01-March-1924

100 years ago this month, in March, 1924, Three Ages was still showing around the country. This display at Milwaukee's Strand Theater feature an "animated dragon." it doesn't resemble Buster's dinosaur in Three Ages. Perhaps they were celebrating the Lunar New Year ;0) 1924 was the year of the rat.

Motion Picture News, 01-March-1924

Buster was busy directing and starring in Sherlock, Jr, which is one of my favorites. 

Motion Picture News, 15-March-1924

The trade magazine Motion Picture News announced that "Buster Keaton has completed his third Metro feature length comedy, 'Sherlock, Jr.'"

Motion Picture News, 22-March-1924