Monday, May 27, 2024

In Harm's Way -- May 27, 2024

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Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I thought this was a good day to write about Otto Preminger's In Harm's Way, which was the last big World War Two epic shot in black and white. It starred John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal and a host of others. Critics didn't like the movie and Kirk Douglas thought the special effects in the final battle were amateurish, but I enjoyed. It starts in Hawaii before Pearl Harbor and shows how the US Navy adjusted to war. I assume that Saul Bass designed the poster.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Pam Grier 75 -- May 26, 2024

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Beautiful and formidable actress Pam Grier was born 75 years ago today, on 26-May-1949. I wasn't old enough to go see most of her movies in the theaters. 

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Cat and Dogs -- May 25, 2024

Exhibitors Herald, 10-May-1924

Photos of stars and their pets have always been popular. Actress Margaret Livingstone appeared in many movies, most famously in FW Murnau's Sunrise. This item does not mention the name of her "imported English angora." The cat required high tea every after, "according to the Hodkinson Press Agent." 

Photoplay, May, 1924

Neal Burns appeared in Christie Comedies. His dog Blitz von Matershof won "the Photoplay Magazine silver cup, offered at the second show of the Shepherd Dog Club of the West, at Hollywood." 

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

Meanwhile, Strongheart the movie star was touring to promote his movie The Love Master. While in Massachusetts, he met the late President Harding's dog Laddie Boy. 

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

Friday, May 24, 2024

Clara Bow Will Play an Important Part -- May 24, 2024

Photoplay, May 1924

Clara Bow's career was skyrocketing 100 years ago today, in May 1924. Photoplay showed Clara Bow, sitting on the bed in her pajamas, reading Black Oxen, California writer Gertrude Atherton's controversial novel about a woman who recovers her youth through gland therapy. Clara had an important supporting role was in the 1923 Frank Lloyd film adapted from the book. The female star was Corinne Griffith, but Clara as "the flapperish Janet" made a big impression. "Frank Lloyd failed to find his ideal society flapper until he made more than fifty screen tests of well known flapper types." The quotes are from last month's post: Big V Riot Squad: Clara Bow -- The Ideal Society Flapper -- April 26, 2024.

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

Clara played Orchid McGonigle in Grit, a crime drama which is considered to be lost. 

Film Daily, 04-May-1924


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Absolutely New -- the Marvel of the Age! -- May 23, 2024

Montreal Daily Star, 31-May-1924

Lee De Forest, a pioneer in vacuum tubes and radio, introduced his Phonofilm sound-on-film picture process in 1923. By 1924, his movies were showing in major theaters. "Extra Special Added Attraction."

Film Daily, 11-May-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. I wonder what these psychologists found interesting. I need to see if there is a copy of that book available.

Film Daily, 05-May-1924

The World in Color was a magazine-format series of short films "Issued monthly by Kelley Color Laboratory." William Van Doren Kelley, inventor of the Prizma natural color process, opened a laboratory in New Jersey which would be dedicated to making natural color prints.

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

I don't know anything about Reel-Colors, Inc, but I will keep my eyes open.

Film Daily, 05-May-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, 14-May-1924

Film Daily, 28-May-1924

Last month, we saw that the Brock Company, which I still know nothing about, applied hand coloring to sequences in feature films.

Film Daily, 21-May-1924

Experts from ATT announced that transmitting motion pictures (television) would never be practical. Always good to ask the experts. 

Exhibitors Herald, 24-May-1924

Another piece of technology which is not directly related to movies made a huge change in the movie industry. Before air conditioning, many theaters in hot areas had to close during the summer. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Announcing a New Series of 13 Alice Comedies -- May 22, 2024


Film Daily, 19-May-1924

This ad announces "13 One-Reel 'Alice Kid Comedies. A Combination  Cartoon and Live Character Series -- A Distinct Novelty." The Alice Comedies featured a live action little girl interacting with animated animals. They were produced by Walt Disney.

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

Margaret Winkler was a woman who distributed films. This was a rare thing. The movies she handled were most shorts and many were animated. She distributed Pat Sullivan's Felix the Cat cartoons, which were very popular. This ad announces that she will also distribute "a New Series of 13 Alice Comedies. Kid Comedies with Cartoons Co-Ordinated Into the Action. A Distinct Novelty."

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

This item describes how Felix had become a fad in Britain, but it seems to have been cut off at the end. We will never learn the conclusion to "Englishmen have no..."

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Roger Corman, RIP -- May 21, 2024

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Roger Corman has died. I mean no disrespect to him, his family or his fans when I saw that I believe the whole thing was on time and under budget. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

California Theater, San Francisco -- May 20, 2024

Exhibitors Herald, 24-May-1924

San Francisco's California Theater, at Fourth and Market, displayed some fancy lighting effects using flood lighting. I like the big sign on the roof. Readers will notice that it is impossible to identify what movie is running -- unless they have better eyesight than I do. 

Sunday, May 19, 2024

"I'll Say She Is" Is Energetic, Expensive Hodge-Podge -- May 19, 2024

New York Daily News, 19-May-1924

100 years ago tonight, on 19-May-1924, at the Casino Theater on Broadway at West 39th Street, the Marx Brothers opened their "Laughing Revue," I'll Say She Is. This marked the brothers' transition from vaudeville to the legitimate theater.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 16-November-1924

Brooklyn Eagle theater critic Arthur Pollock had some interesting comments. I'm not sure he liked it. 

The New Plays
by Arthur Pollock


"I'll Say She Is."

The Marx Brothers, the customary four, brash funny fellows, are the featured players in a elaborately dressed-up burlesque show that came to the Casino Theater in Manhattan last night. Perhaps it isn't fair to brand "I'll Say She Is" burlesque show, since it has long been difficult to tell the difference between a burlesque show and a revue anyhow. But the moment the curtain rises and a group of chorus ladies dash on and let loose their voices and their legs "I'll Say She Is" defines itself. these girls have the burlesque air and the burlesque manner and, they have had, evidently, burlesque tutoring. They are noisy and lively.

Thereafter the Marx Brothers let it be known that there is a girl in the cast who wants a thrill. The scenes that follow are designed to give it to her. Regular burlesque stuff! The difference is that the scenery and costumes cost a great deal of money and the girls are beautiful. "I'll Say She Is" offers some of the best legs of the season. It is a boisterous show, full of heavily emphasized humor and lots of it. It ought to provide fun for Manhattan audiences all summer.

Of the four Marx Brothers three made hits last night. Julius offered, among other things a loud burlesque of Napolean and his reactions to the philanderings of Josephine, which kept the audience happy for a good half hour. In the same burlesque, Leonard Marx exhibited skill and certain comic gifts at the piano and Arthur Marx did stunts with a harp. Arthur is the funniest of the brothers, a clever pantomimist, deft and economical with his effects, a fine recruit for the variety stage.

There is a variety of color and song in the show, most of it aimless, all of it loud in one way or another but all of it, also vigorous and healthy. There was a Chinatown scene, of course, in which Cecile D'Andrea and Harry Walters dance a "Chinese Apache Dance." This proved striking and it is just possible that it will strike the police as indecent. Miss D'Andrea is a pretty girl, hardly indecent, even when her clothes begin to fall.

It might be mentioned that the book and lyrics are by Will B. Johnstone, though he appears to have written only what the Marx brothers could not think of for themselves, and his writing is dull. Tom Johnstone wrote the music, much of it, that is, as is not borrowed from the works of more famous and meritorious composers. No one of the songs sounded last night as if it was destined to be a hit.

"I'll Say She Is" is energetic, expensive hodge-podge.


Brooklyn Standard-Union, 20-May-1924


Saturday, May 18, 2024

Buster Keaton is Only Half There! -- May 18, 2024

Film Daily, 15-May-1924

"You're darn tootin' it's a warm-weather buster, the funniest long comedy you ever played." Before air conditioning, many movie theaters closed during the summer. 

Why are Buster's head and shoulders sticking out of a suitcase suspended from an old lady's neck? Go see Sherlock, Jr.

Film Daily, 25-May-1924

"Played to over 25,000 people in 3 Days!"


Film Daily, 27-May-1924

"Buster Keaton chalks up another! Sherlock Jr. is his best shot -- your pocket sure will have a silver lining when this one rolls into it!" The Metro advertising department sure did like exclamation points. 

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

When projectionist Buster dreams of being a detective, he is an elegant detective, as we often saw before hard-boiled detective fiction became popular.

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

This exhibitor said the Sherlock Jr "is Buster Keaton's latest, but not his greatest."

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

Exhibitor's Herald didn't like it either. "It hasn't the pep in the early footage..."

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-1924

This exhibitor didn't like Three Ages. "Buster had better (go - JT) back to two-reel stuff or he will be a dead number..." 

I am glad these reviews are wrong. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

No Longer Charlie But Mr Chaplin -- May 17, 2024

Photoplay, May, 1924

The pensive image about and the less pensive image below come from the May, 1924 issue of Photoplay.

Photoplay, May, 1924

In Colorado Springs, probably in 1913, Chaplin poses with other members of the Fred Karno unit which was touring North America. 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

WC Fields -- Banana Oil -- May 16, 2024

Tacoma News Tribune, 09-May-1924

In the 1920s, "banana oil" was a synonym for "BS," "baloney" or "horse feathers." Here we see WC Fields made up as Professor Eustace McGargle in the Broadway musical Poppy. Fields was a widely proclaimed dispenser of banana oil.

Tacoma News Tribune, 09-May-1924

The item at the top is part of a full page ad announcing that Milt Gross' comic Banana Oil was going to start appearing daily in the Tacoma News Tribune. The ad includes endorsements from many popular entertainers. 

New York Daily News, 26-May-1924

Poppy was in its tenth month at the Apollo Theater. It would soon suspend operations for the summer. 

Mr. Battling Buttler was another popular musical. It starred Charlie Ruggles. In 1926, Buster Keaton starred in a silent adaption entitled "Battling Butler." Note that the musical spelled the name "Buttler" and the movie spelled it "Butler."

Shreveport Times, 04-May-1924

William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions signed Fields to play a supporting role as a Rec Coat Sergeant in Janice Meredith, a movie about America's Revolutionary War, which starred Hearst's inamorata, Marion Davies. Despite the statement that "This marks Mr. Fields' debut on the screen," Fields' film career had been paused since he made two short comedies in 1915. Janice Meredith was Fields' first feature film.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Mack Sennett's New Comedy Find -- Harry Langdon -- May 15, 2024

Burlington Daily News, 17-May-1924

"Picking Peaches" was Harry Langdon's first film for Mack Sennett.

Riverside Daily Press, 01-May-1924

In his next film, Harry played a beleaguered photographer. 

Honolulu Advertiser, 27-March-1924

The image in this ad for "Shanghaied Lovers" does not resemble Harry Langdon.

Exhibitors Herald, 10-May-1924

"Harry Langdon whom the Keatons, Lloyds and Semons will do well to watch, is better than before in this sea-going two reeler." What about Chaplin?

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Fred Thomson -- World's Champion Athlete -- May 14, 2023

Exhibitors Herald, 03-May-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.

Exhibitors Herald, 24-May-1924

This Monogram apparently had no relation to the famous B-movie studio of the 1930s and 1940s.

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

Film Daily, 05-May-1924

You might expect that "Buddy Roosevelt" was not this actor's real name. Kenneth Sanderson had a long career as an actor and a stuntman. He starred in a series of silent westerns and played small parts in many talkies.

Film Daily, 11-May-1924

"B R Stands for Buddy Roosevelt Bank Roll." Or is it "B R Stands for Buddy Bank Roosevelt Roll?"

Film Daily, 01-May-1924

And you might question whether this guy's real name was Buffalo Bill, Jr. Jay Wilsey starred in a series of silent and early sound westerns.
Film Daily, 06-May-1924


Film Daily, 04-May-1924


Film Daily, 09-May-1924

"8 Breezy Punchy Startling Dare-Devil Thrilling Lightning Fast Westerns."
\
Photoplay, May, 1924

Jack Hoxie was a real cowboy and rodeo performer who became a star in the early 1920s. "Jack Hoxie plays the part of the sheriff and makes him lovable, though not too bright. He does some spectacular riding, however, which makes up for his lack of mental agility."