Saturday, August 19, 2017

Luke's Wild Women -- August 19, 2017

Moving Picture World, 25-August-1917
Rolin was a company founded by Hal Roach and Dan Linthicum. Harold Lloyd was their first comedy star. Bebe Daniels was their cute leading lady and Snub Pollard was Snub Pollard.  By mid-1917, the Lonesome Luke series was a big hit.  It had moved from one-reelers to two-reelers.

"Luke's Wild Women" sounds interesting.  "Besides the fun that is in every scene the cast contains the usual Rolin beauty congress."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Pictureview With Charles Chaplin -- August 17, 2017

Photoplay, March, 1917
This item is not from 100 years ago this month, but it is fun. 

Moving Picture World, 04-August-1917
Big Eric Campbell was Chaplin's villain most of his Essanay and Mutual comedies.  I had not heard this story about his wife and daughter.  Eric Campbell died in an auto accident in September. 

Moving Picture World, 04-August-1917
Chaplin had just signed a million dollar contract with First National.  They expected the first picture in December. 

Moving Picture World, 11-August-1917
Chaplin was still working on his last Mutual film, "The Adventurer." 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mrs Castle and Company at Sarnac Lake -- August 15, 2017

Moving Picture World, 18-August-1917

Irene Castle had become famous, with her husband Vernon, as a ballroom dancer.  He left the act in early 1916 to return to his native Britain, where he joined the Royal Flying Corps.  He was a successful pilot, earning the Croix de Guerre.  He was sent to Canada and then the United States to train new pilots.  He died in a flying accident in 1918.

 Sarnac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains, was a popular location in early movies. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Famous Fights -- August 13, 2017

Movie Makers, April, 1943
Mogulls Film Library offered many silent or sound films for  home viewing.  These included a series of films of famous fights.  Dempsey-Willard would be the 04-July-1919 fight in Toledo, Ohio where Jack Dempsey took the heavyweight title from Jess Willard.  Willard could not come out for the fourth round.  Louis vs Galento would be the 28-June-1939 fight where champ Joe Louis defended his title against Two Ton Tony Galento.  Louis won by a TKO in the fourth.  Nova vs Baer was one of two fights between Lou Nova and former heavyweight champ Max Baer.  Nova won both fights, in 1939 and 1941 by TKO.  Braddock vs Louis was the 22-June-1937 fight where James J Braddock lost the heavyweight title to Joe Louis.  Baer vs Galento could have been the 1940 fight against Max Baer or the 1941 fight against his brother Buddy Baer.  Galento lost both. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Anerican Troops Landing in France -- August 11, 2017

Moving Picture World, 25-August-2017
America had declared war on Germany in April, 1917.  By August, American soldiers were landing in France.  This was a popular topic. 

Moving Picture World, 25-August-2017
The US government's Liberty Loan issued bonds that the public could buy to help pay for the war effort.  Movie theaters did much to promote the program. 

Moving Picture World, 18-August-2017
Moving Picture World, 25-August-2017
War movies like "The Tanks at the Battle of the Ancre," which we read about last month, were hot subjects. 
http://bigvriotsquad.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-tanks-at-battle-of-ancre-july-11.html

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Glen Campbell, RIP -- August 10, 2017

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Glen Campbell died.  I remember his television show when I was a kid.  My dad liked country and western, and Glen Campbell often turned up on the radio.  I have several of his songs that get stuck in my head.  I later learned that he had been a member of the Wrecking Crew, which backed nearly everything recorded in Southern California. 

Some years ago, he announced that he had Alzheimer's disease and would do a final tour.  This helped people to be more aware of the disease.

He was good in True Grit with John Wayne.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Man Who Took a Chance -- August 9, 2017

Moving Picture World, 17-February-1917
I like the design of the ads for Bluebird Photoplays. Note the radiator grille of the racing car.  The Man Who Took a Chance starred Franklyn Farnum. 

Moving Picture World, 17-February-1917
"...the story need not be taken seriously." 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Robert Hardy, RIP -- August 8, 2017

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I was sad to learn of the death of actor Robert Hardy.  Whether he played good guys or bad guys, he always had a twinkle in his eye.  I first saw him as Siegfried in All Creatures Great and Small

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He seemed to have fun playing Sir John Middleton in Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. 

He appeared in several of the Harry Potter movies. 

He was an expert on the English longbow. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Battle of Guadalcanal -- August 7, 2017

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Seventy-five years ago today, on 07-August-1942, American Marines landed on Guadalcanal, an  island in the Solomons.  Japanese naval troops had occupied the island to block communications between the United States and Australia.  The Marines quickly captured an airfield which the Japanese had been building.  The fight for the island lasted six months in miserable conditions.

The movie Guadalcanal Diary was made and released the next year. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Robert Mitchum 100 -- August 6, 2017

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Robert Mitchum, a pioneering joker, smoker and midnight toker, was born 100 years ago today, on 06-August-1917.  Although he always said he hated acting, he managed to give many great performances in many great films. 

After a wild youth and some factory work, he started out playing bad guys in Hopalong Cassidy movies.  After he appeared in Thirty Second Over Tokyo, directed Mervyn LeRoy persuaded RKO to sign Mitchum to a long-term contract.  

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Mitchum's first big hit was William Wellman's The Story of G.I. Joe, made while on load to United Artists.  The movie is the story of Ernie Pyle, a war correspondent who paid attention to the infantrymen.  I cry every time I see the death of Captain Bill Walker, played by Mitchum. 

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 Robert Mitchum as Captain Walker and Burgess Meredith as Ernie Pyle. 

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After The Story of G.I. Joe, RKO starred Mitchum in a series of B Westerns adapted from Zane Grey stories. 

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He appeared in many film noirs.  Out of the Past is one of the best. 

In 1948, Mitchum was busted for for possession of marijuana.  This would have ruined some peoples' careers, but it fit right in with his image.  

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Mitchum played an evil man in The Night of the Hunter with Lillian Gish and Shelley Winters.  It was the only movie that Charles Laughton directed.  I don't know why he never got another chance. 

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Mitchum was even scarier in Cape Fear

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One of my favorites among Mitchum's later movies is Farewell, My Lovely, where he played Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe.  It was a faithful adaption with beautiful period settings.  And it had Charlotte Rampling. 


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Robert Mitchum as Phillip Marlowe and Charlotte Rampling as Helen Grayle. 

A few years later, Mitchum played Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep.  It was horrible.  It was set in modern times in Britain. 

I remember when he died 20 years ago.  A lot of people were surprised that he lived that long. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Straight Shooting -- August 5, 2017

Moving Picture World, 11-August-1917

Director John Ford's first feature film was Straight Shooting, starring Harry Carey.  It was released 100 years ago this month. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Grauman's Chinese -- Humphrey Bogart -- August 3, 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.
Humphrey Bogart left his hand and  foot prints in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese on 21(?)-August-1946. "Sid, may you never die till I kill you."  I love The Maltese Falcon and Dark Passage.

Motion Picture Daily, 09-October-1941

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Get 'em Young -- August 1, 2017

Film Daily, 06-October-1926
Harry Myers starred in "Get 'em Young," a 1926 Hal Roach short with Eugenia Gilbert and Stan Laurel.  Myers is best remembered today as the drunken millionaire in Chaplin's City Lights.  Before this movie, he had starred with his wife Rosemary Theby in a series of comedies. 

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jeanne Moreau and Sam Shepard, RIP -- July 31, 2017

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French cultural icon Jeanne Moreau has died.  She was in a high percentage of the French movies that I have seen.

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Playwright and actor Sam Shepard also died.  I remember when his plays premiered at the Magic Theater.  I never got to go.  He played Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

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Sam Shepard and Chuck Yeager. 

T and D Theater, Oakland -- July 31, 2017

Moving Picture World, 21-July-1917
This ad for Westinghouse Motion Picture Equipment features Oakland, California's T & D Theater.  The theater opened in 1916 and closed in 1976.

Moving Picture World, 03-February-1917
T. & D. Theater, Oakland, Cal. 
Turner & Dahnken's Newest Photoplay House a Magnificent Structure -- Bespeaks Progress in Motion Picture Theater Construction -- Seats 3,450 -- Equipped With $48,500 Wurlitzer Organ-- Many Prominent Persons Attend Dedication. 

CALIFORNIA, within whose borders are produced more than one half of the moving pictures now being made, and which but one short year ago was entertaining the nations of the world on the shores of San Francisco Bay at that wonderful Exposition in which moving pictures played such a prominent part in education and entertainment, has again spoken, and this time her offering to the arts of the silent drama is in the form of a magnificent theater which for size compares favorably with the largest in the country and which in architectural detail, decoration, arrangement and conveniences for patrons probably has no equal anywhere. This new house, located at Oakland, the largest east-bay suburb of San Francisco, is a monument to the builder, James K. Moffitt, and the Turner & Dahnken Circuit, with its chain of houses in nine Pacific Coast cities.

The opening of this new house on the evening of November 22 was the occasion for a demonstration such as had never before been accorded the opening of a moving picture theater in Western America. Society was out in full force, city officials were there, moving picture stars were present in person, musical celebrities gathered to hear the great organ, exhibitors and film exchange men came from all over Northern California, and there was a continual volley of ohs and ahs from the time the doors were opened at seven o'clock until the last scene of "Miss George Washington" faded from the screen just before midnight.

Following the opening of the doors a half an hour was set aside for an inspection of the house, but so great was the demand for seats that the general public chose to settle down in the comfortable opera chairs as quickly as possible. Within a half an hour 4,000 persons were inside the big structure, and as many more were outside seeking admission, the streets in the vicinity of the house being crowded for blocks. A period of music then followed, and at its conclusion E. B. Johnson, secretary of the Turner & Dahnken Circuit appeared upon the stage and briefly traced the growth of moving pictures as a form of entertainment. He paid tribute to James K. Moffitt, whose investment of a half a million dollars had made the theater a reality, and to the people of Oakland for their loyalty in the past. H. C. Capwell, representing the Downtown Association, made a ringing speech expressing confidence in the development of the San Francisco Bay region and of the success of the new T. & D. theater and was followed by Mayor John L. Davie and ex-congressman, Joseph R. Knowland.

The pleasant duty of presenting the film stars fell to the lot of resident manager George E. Thornton who brought upon the stage in quick succession Miss Anita King, "The Paramount Girl," Miss Myrtle Stedman, Sessue Hayakawa and Tsuri Aoki, who appeared through the courtesy of the Paramount Pictures Corporation, and all of whom were given enthusiastic receptions.

The Wurlitzer Hope-Jones organ then came in for attention, the first selection being the "Sextette from Lucia," followed by the overture from "Fantana" and "The Rosary," rendered by Gordon Bretland, organist of the T. & D. Tivoli theater at San Francisco. "Kilarney," sung by a chorus, followed by other Irish melodies, served as an effective introduction to the first picture, "A Son of Erin," featuring Dustin Farnum. This picture, with "Miss George Washington," comprised the photoplay program. But one show was given owing to the length of the dedicatory program.

The new T. & D. theater is located at Eleventh and Broadway, between the shopping center of Oakland and the harbor, occupying a lot 100 by 175 feet in area. It has a seating capacity of 3,450 on the lower floor and single balcony, and this could easily have been made 4000 had the seats been spaced as in the ordinary theater. Instead, room has been left between the rows to allow patrons to pass freely without the necessity of others arising. The chairs are upholstered in Spanish leather, with, spring seats for comfort, and are the best that could be purchased. On both the upper and lower floors there are loges arranged for special parties, and in these even more room has been allowed for the movement of those who occupy them. The lines of vision have been so carefully planned that there is not a bad seat in the house.

One of the distinguishing features of the house is the absence of stairways. From the marble tiled lobby one passes into the main entrance from which either the lower or the upper floor is reached. A broad incline, on which Everlastic tiling has been used to prevent slipping, leads to the mezzanine, through a bower of potted plants and past walls decorated with oil paintings of popular film stars. The balustrades leading to the mezzanine floor are of hand-polished marble in Etruscan design and the foyer, which extends the full width of the house, is also wainscoted in marble.

The original features of the house culminate in the mezzanine floor, where the management has fairly outdone itself in arranging for the comfort and convenience of its patrons. On the left is the Pompeiian lounging room for the use of both men and women who may desire to rest or await the arrival of friends. A stone table with an aquarium illuminated by colored lights forms the central decorative feature, and arranged around the room is other stone furniture and objects of art in pure Pompeiian design, cural chairs, tall vases, statues of the design of Pliny's time, reproductions of tapestries of the time of early Rome, lounging divans, settees and drinking fountains. Here, as in the other rest rooms, are bells to give notice of the beginning of productions on the screen.

At the head of the incline, fronting on Eleventh street, is the women's tea room, a decorative dream, with its woodwork in English oak, its tapestry walls, silk curtained windows, beautiful upholstered chairs and divans and exquisite blue carpet. The lighting comes from concealed sources and illuminates the room with a warm glow that is enchanting. German "roller" canaries sing in vari-colored cages, while maids serve tea, cakes and ices. Adjoining the tea rooms are the women's parlors, with lounges, sofas, writing desks, telephones, triple-mirrored tables and other conveniences, all bespeaking culture and refinement.

At the right of the incline landing is the gentlemen's lounging and smoking room, luxuriously furnished with chairs heavily upholstered in leather, tables and other conveniences, with beautiful Persian rugs on the floor. A retiring room for men is located in the basement, with an entrance from the foyer, and a rest room for women is to be found on the ground floor.

From the mezzanine floor there are two inclines to the balcony, one to each side, these terminating about one-third the way up the balcony. Between these is a third entrance to the upper floor, one that takes the visitor high up in the balcony. The addition of this entrance was an after thought on the part of the designers and it is planned to close the two side inclines when the balcony is fairly well filled, so that the patron will take the middle one and reach the rear rows before coming in sight of the screen.

The decorative features of this house are typical of the Golden State, the side walls on the lower floor being decorated with an orange motif, while those above the balcony show fields of golden poppies fading away into a California sky. At each side of the proscenium arch are openings in which illuminated paintings are shown, these being changed with the change in program. Above the arch is a huge gilded grill illuminated from behind, and here is located the organ. The house lights are controlled from the organ seat and are arranged in five circuits with colors in green, amber, red and white, to produce effects suggested by the pictures.

The organ is the largest on the Pacific Coast and is said to be the sixth largest in the world. The largest pipes weigh as much as half a ton, and are installed in concrete chambers. while the smallest ones are not much larger than a match. This unit organ was installed at a cost of $48,500, and combines the volume and tone of the cathedral pipe organ with the sweetness and spirit of a symphony orchestra ensemble of forty musicians. It was installed under the direction of George H. Leathurby, Pacific Coast manager of the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company.

The projection room is equipped with two Power's Cameragraphs No. 6B and is located on the ground floor, there being a straight throw of 133 feet to the screen, which is of local manufacture. The booth is of concrete construction and its observation ports can scarcely be noticed, so carefully have the lights been arranged. The size of the screen is 19 by 25 feet.

Heavy carpets have been used throughout the theater, except on the incline, where a noiseless tiling has been laid. A feature of the house is the stage sets which will accompany the various productions. The screen hangs in the center of a theater stage and appropriate prologues will be given in advance of the main productions. The ventilating system is probably the largest ever installed in the Far West, handling 60,000 cubic feet of air a minute, much more than will be required. Fresh air is drawn in from the roof and warmed or cooled as the case may be and forced into all parts of the house. Steam for heating purposes is purchased from outside sources and the heat is regulated by automatic thermostats.

The exterior of the building is Roman in design, with a modern art facade executed in mat-glazed terra cotta. At intervals along the Eleventh street side are huge urns from which steam arises in clouds, these being illuminated by red lights concealed within, while above them are a number of flag poles with banners flying, giving the appearance of a gala day at the Coliseum in ancient Rome.

The executive staff of the Oakland T. & D. theater consists of George E. Thornton, manager; Prof. Wetmore, musical director; Albert Hay Malotte, organist; Elmer E. Nichols, chief electrical operator; Irving S. Cohn, assistant operator; F. J. Clazie, chief usher, and W. H. Jobelmann, press agent. The Turner & Dahnken Circuit, whose headquarters is at 942 Market street, San Francisco, has for its officers the following: Fred Dahnken, Jr., president; J. T. Turner, vice-president and general manager; Claude E. Langley, directing manager and treasurer, and E. B. Johnson, secretary. It conducts houses at San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond, San Jose, Berkeley, Watsonville and Reno, Nevada, and is erecting a large theater at Stockton, besides having plans in course of preparations for still others.

Moving Picture World, 03-February-1917

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Filoscope -- July 29, 2017

La Nature, 23-July-1898
Henry William Short improved on the flip book by adding a metal holder.  David Devant, shown in the movie in the video, was a magician associate of John Neville Maskelyne.  The movie was by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company

Please excuse the poor quality of my translation from La Nature, 23-July-1898:

The Filoscope. - Everyone has seen small pocket cinematographs in the form of notebooks. It was enough to flip through them with much practice to obtain curious effects. But flipping certainly presented great difficulties. The new arrangement of the small device called the Filoscope that we are describing today will allow everyone to run the successive blocks of images quickly and well. The device consists of a specially shaped housing with both ends open. The block of the plate connected to the end is controlled by a rod and pivots around the axes in the interior of the casing. It is enough to turn the stem very slowly by pressing to see the flipping to be done clearly and the images are followed with regular intervals, which gives the successive images the real animation of the life. The shape of the case is chosen in such a way that the block of proofs, when finished reforms itself in order to be able to play properly when it is to be used again. - The "Filoscope" is of English manufacture and the concessionaire of this article for France is Mr. Kratz-Boussac, 1-5, rue Saint-Laurent, in Paris.

Friday, July 28, 2017

June Foray, RIP -- July 28, 2017

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I was sad to learn of the passing of voice artist June Foray.  There goes a large chunk of my childhood.  She started out in radio.  She did countless voices on Warner Brothers cartoons, although only Mel Blanc got credit.  She was Rocky and Natasha on Rocky and Bullwinkle

I particularly liked her work on The Stan Freeburg Show

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Funniest Man on the Continent -- July 27, 2017

Moving Picture World, 28-July-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.


Moving Picture World, 07-July-1917
This ad features Billy West out of costume. 

Moving Picture World, 07-July-1917
"In his actions and makeup he is a life-size painting of Charlie Chaplin.  He must surely be commended for his successful imitation of the popular comedy star." 

Moving Picture World, 14-July-1917
I could be wrong, but his face looks pasted in. 

Moving Picture World, 21-July-1917
"Funniest Man on the Continent" seems to be an odd tag-line.