Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Corbett-McGovern Fight -- December 13, 2017

New York Clipper, 18-April-1903

On 31-March-1903, Young Corbett II defended his world featherweight championship against Terrible Terry McGovern at the Mechanic's Pavilion in San Francisco.  Corbett won by a knockout in the eleventh.  This was their second fight of three.  Corbett won the first two and the third was a draw.  I don't know why the ad calls it a lightweight fight.

McGovern had lost the title to Corbett in 1900.  

The next month, the Lubin company released a film of the bout.  I don't know how they could fit eleven rounds on one reel unless it was highly condensed.  

San Francisco Call, 01-April-1903
Motography, 01-August-1914
Founded in Philadelphia, Lubin used the Liberty Bell in its logo. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Halifax Disaster -- December 11, 2017

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
On 06-December-1917, two ships, one loaded with ammunition, collided in the harbor Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The French ammunition ship caught fight, then exploded.  2000 people may have died and damage was extensive.  Help poured in from all over Canada and the United States.  Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to Boston every year to acknowledge their help. Read a contemporary newspaper account on my other blog:

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
Newsreels concerning the disaster were released before the end of December.

Moving Picture World, 29-December-1917
This report says that 4000, but that is not correct.

Moving Picture World, 01-December-1917
American soldiers training in France would soon march into battle.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Director and Comedian -- December 9, 2017

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, 1916

Before Larry Semon became a star, he directed and wrote comedies for others, as we see in his entry for the 1916 Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual.

Larry Semon's father was a magician, Zera the Great.  Larry grew up touring the South with his father's act.  Larry became a newspaper cartoonist and performed on stage.  He joined the Vitagraph Company of America as a writer, director and player of small parts.  Over time, he became a lead comic in movies with the Big V Riot Squad and others.  He was a major slapstick star in the late teens and early 20s, playing a weird-looking character.  He directed his own movies and became more and more extravagant, running up huge costs for elaborate special effects.  He parted with Vitagraph and tried to go into features.  The only one I have seen is The Wizard of Oz, where he played the Scarecrow.  Oliver Hardy played the Tin Man.  Semon's wife Dorothy Dwan played Dorothy.  The movie was not a success and Semon lost a lot of money.  Semon went back to making shorts for Educational release.   He appeared as a character actor in some serious features like Josef Von Sternberg's Underworld.  Semon died in 1928. 

His movies are still popular in Italy, where he is known as Ridolini. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Magical Mystery Tour 50 -- December 8, 2017
50 years ago today, on 08-December-1967, the Beatles release Magical Mystery Tour as a double EP in the UK.  It had been released as an LP in the US the month before, on 27-November-1967.  The television film premiered on the BBC on 26-December-1967.  I think I first saw the movie around 2012, but my sister had the album and I often borrowed it and her record player.  I particularly liked "I Am the Walrus."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Tora! Tora! Tora! -- December 7, 2017
76 years ago a sneak attack by forces of the Japanese Empire sank much of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in the territory of Hawaii. The Japanese Empire came to regret doing this.  Tora! Tora! Tora! was a unique Japanese-American co-production that tried to show the point of view of both sides.  There were three directors, Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku.  Akira Kurosawa started to direct the Japanese scenes, but was replaced early on.

I watch it when it turns up on television.  I particularly like the flight scenes.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Johnny Hallyday, RIP -- December 6, 2017
French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday died.  He was an early French rock'n'roller, and then he acted in movies.  I enjoyed Man on the Train with Jean Rochefort.  He worked for Godard in Détective. He was a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Graumans Chinese -- Sid Grauman -- December 5, 2017

In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

 Sid Grauman himself left his hand and footprints on 24-January-1946.

National Vaudeville Artists Yearbook, 1927

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bert Lahr, 50 Years -- December 4, 2017
Bert Lahr, beloved for playing the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 Wizard of Oz and not remembered for much else, died 50 years ago today, on 04-December-1967.  My family watched the Wizard of Oz when it was on CBS every year around Easter time.  My favorite part was when the Lion ran away and dove through a window.  I have seen Bert Lahr in other movies, and haven't liked most of them.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Your Husband's Past -- December 3, 2017

Film Daily, 02-February-1926
"Your Husband's Past" is a 1926 short produced by Hal Roach.  It starred James Finlayson and Vivien Oakland.

A note at the bottom of this ad says that it is a cornerblock provided to theaters to use in newspaper advertising.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Chaplin on a Fokker -- December 1, 2017

Flight, 08-July-1920
On 03-July-1920, the Royal Air Force held a pageant at Hendon, to raise funds for the RAF Memorial Fund.  The photos and the excerpt are from the 08-July-1920 Flight Magazine.  Note the outline of Charlie Chaplin on Longton's Fokker D.VII.

Next came a realistic aerial combat between Flight-Lieut. F. T. Williams, M>B>E (3 Huns) on a Martinsyde and Flight-Lieut. W. H. Longton, D.F.C, A.F.C. (16 Huns, 1 balloon), on a Fokker D.VII.  These two executed every possible kind of manoeuvre to obtain a position of advantage over the other, to the accompaniment of frequent papapaps from their machine guns and we must say that the "Hun" certainly put up a magnificent "defence." 

Flight, 08-July-1920

Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Fatty" in the Home of "Hot Dogs" -- November 30, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
Roscoe Arbuckle appeared with his nephew Al St John and his friend Buster Keaton in "Fatty at Coney Island," a Comique production released by Paramount.  Roscoe poses in drag with Al.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917

"A Country Hero" is probably lost.  The use of the word "Jazz" in the name of the town is fairly early.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Feeding the World Laughs -- November 29, 2017

Motion Picture World, 03-November-1917
Billy West closely imitated Charlie Chaplin in a long series of comedies for different studios.While Chaplin was making the excellent Mutual comedies, West was making imitations of Chaplin's Essanay comedies.

Motion Picture World, 03-November-1917
"West and Bee-Swarm Fly West."  The King-Bee company moved from Florida to California for the winter.

Motion Picture World, 10-November-1917
Motion Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Billy West, comedian of the King Bee Films Corporation and an imitator of Charlie Chaplin..."

Motion Picture World, 17-November-1917
"Funniest Two Reeler Ever Made."

Monday, November 27, 2017

This Twelve Cylinder Joy Wagon -- November 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Harold Lloyd had been successfully appearing in the Lonesome Luke comedies for Hal Roach's Rolin since 1915.  He felt dissatisfied with the unrealistic Luke, who had started as an imitation of Charley Chaplin, and looked for a new character.  Lloyd came up with what he called the "Glass Character."  The transition must have been exhausting.

"From Laramie to London" is listed in some sources as a Lonesome Luke, but I would say Harold is wearing glasses in this image.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Love, Laughs and Lather" was a late Lonesome Luke.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"This twelve cylinder joy wagon travels sixty miles a minute, with our hero in the new and comical role of a barber."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"The Flirt" was a glass picture.  I left the note about "Under the Stars and Stripes in France" to show what was popular.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"This is a high powered laugh producer..."  Note that Snub Pollard is listed as Harry.

Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
"We Never Sleep" was the last Lonesome Luke film.

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
The glass pictures were often called Harold Lloyd comedies.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Girls of the Golden West -- November 26, 2017

Friday night we went to the second performance of John Adams' new opera The Girls of the Golden West. It was nice to have an evening out with my wife. I agreed with her that the first act was episodic, but the second act had a good dramatic arc about the gold miners degenerating into savagery on the Fourth of July and driving out all of the miners who weren't considered good Americans or Europeans.

It concluded with the lynching of Josefa Segovia, who stabbed a miner who tried to rape her.

The singing was excellent. Julia Bullock was Dame Shirley.  Most of her songs came directly from the letters.  Her husband, Fayette Clappe, did not sing.  Ned Peters, the former slave, had a large part in both acts.  Davone Tines had a solo based on Frederick Douglass' "What to a slave is the 4th of July?"  Hya Jung Lee as Ah Sing had a beautiful voice.  Her aria came from poems carved at the Angel Island Immigration Station. J'Nai Bridges had me crying as Josefa Segovia. Joe Cannon, who tried to rape Josefa, did not have a well developed character.  Sometimes it was hard to tell him from other characters.  Paul  Appleby had a good voice.  Ryan McKinney was the narrator/observer/occasional participant.

The prostitutes/dancing girls looked as if they were having a great time.

Lorena Feijóo, who did Lola Montez' Spider Dance used to be with the San Francisco Ballet.

I liked John Adams' music, which set many Gold Rush-era songs and poems to music.  The chorus of gold miners was powerful.  Peter Sellars had fun staging it.  I liked the panorama behind Dame Shirley's wagon ride with Ned Peters.  We could see the woman cranking the scene.  The image had a large, obvious seam in it.  I liked the neon beer signs in the Empire.

My wife didn't like the scene where Dame Shirley described her cabin.  The stage hands carried out each piece, stood there while she sang about it, then took it away.  We both liked the use of the huge stump and slice of redwood tree in the second act.

My wife said that there was a vigorous debate going on in the ladies' room during the intermission.  Some people hated the show.  Others defended it.  Some people, including the couple sitting next to my wife, left after the intermission.   We were happy that we went and we stayed.

Film Daily, 17-March-1938
And, of course, the opera is not to be confused with the David Belasco play The Girl of the Golden West, the Giacomo Puccini opera, La fanciulla del West, or the many movie adaptions.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quinn Rialto Theater, Los Angeles -- November 25, 2017

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
Quinn's Rialto Theater on Broadway in Los Angeles opened on 21-May-1917.  It served as a movie theater until 1987.  In 2014 it became an Urban Outfitter's store.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 -- November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  I'm grateful for health and life, my family, and my coworkers.

The photograph shows Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as a Pilgrim couple. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

David Cassidy, RIP -- November 22, 2017
I remember both The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family airing on Friday nights on ABC.  I used to play at a friend's house Fridays, but we had to stop when the first show came on.  I don't remember if he was more interested in Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady) or Susan Dey (Laurie Partridge).  I liked Susan Dey.

I didn't care much about David Cassidy, but I admired his father Jack, who was a real ham.

I'm sorry that David Cassidy, like his dad, has died too young.

I will sometimes get a Partridge Family song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Films That Made Him Famous -- November 21, 2017

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
Working to squeeze as much as they could out of their investment, Essanay was re-releasing a Chaplin film each month. "In the Park" was a one-reeler.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
"At the time of its original release (two years before - JT), it proved to be one of the most popular of the Chaplin series, and is sure of a warm reception on its return engagement."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Charlie catches Leo White by the neck.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
A Dutch company secured the rights to release Chaplin's Mutuals in Holland, the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch West Indies.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"The Adventurer" was Chaplin's last Mutual release.

Moving Picture World, 03-November-1917
After Chaplin signed a million dollar contract with First National, he began to build a new studio at 1416 North La Brea Avenue.  He used it for all of his films until he left the United States.   It is currently used by the Jim Henson Company.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Six buildings of English architecture will front on the street, and these will be so arranged as to give the effect of a picturesque English village street.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
Chaplin was still pursuing legal action against producers of "alleged spurious Chaplin comedies."

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
First National sold French distribution rights.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
The Rothacker Film Manufacturing Compny gained the rights to make prints of First National releases, including the Chaplin films.

Moving Picture World, 10-November-1917
"Details of this big transaction will be announced to the trade at a later date."

Moving Picture World, 17-November-1917
Chaplin cut short a vacation in Hawaii to inspect the site that would hold his new studio.

Moving Picture World, 24-November-1917
Chaplin and  his brother Syd broke ground on North La Brea between Sunset and De Longpre.