scsu1975

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Everything posted by scsu1975

  1. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From April 17-19, 1919, the Poli featured The Sheriff’s Son, starring Charles Ray as Royal Beaudry. Released on March 30, 1919, the film was five reels, and is presumed lost. Plot: Royal Beaudry’s father was a sheriff, killed in New Mexico when Royal was an infant. Royal is sent east by Dave Dingwell, his father’s friend. The young man graduates from college as a lawyer. He gets word that Dingwell has been taken prisoner by the Rutherfords, a gang of cattle rustlers, who also happened to kill his father. Royal has been living in fear because of what happened to his father, but he decides to return to New Mexico to help. While out riding, he comes across a young woman who has been caught in a wolf trap. After he sets her free, he escorts her home and discovers her name is Beulah Rutherford, the daughter of the man who killed his father. The Rutherfords order Royal off their ranch. Royal learns that Dingwell is being kept prisoner at the home of Jesse Tighe. In turn, Tighe orders that Royal be killed. When Beulah hears of the plot, she rides to warn Royal. Dan Meldrum, a member of the Rutherford gang, shoots Royal in the shoulder, but Beulah helps Royal escape. Royal returns to Tighe’s house and frees Dingwell. Meldrum heads for the Mexican border. While Beulah is out riding, she falls into an old prospecting hole. Her family go looking for her. Royal and Dingwell join the search. But Royal becomes lost and wanders away from the search party. Meldrum finds Beulah but decides not to help her. Royal discovers where Beulah is, releases her, and forces Meldrum into the hole. Royal and Beulah camp in the hills that night and Royal confesses his love for her. He takes her back to her ranch, and decides to have it out with the Rutherfords. He then learns that the man he thought was Beulah’s father is really her uncle; Beulah’s father had been killed by Royal’s father. With the misunderstandings and bad blood finally washed away, Royal and Beulah get married. A reviewer for The Motion Picture News wrote “the title should indicate to any one that it is not a society play; it is not a Western either, but a feud, staged in a fascinatingly rough mountainous country. Excitement and suspense are its predominating elements. They are so intense the attention of the spectator is held nailed on the screen.” Of the Charles Ray films I have examined so far in this thread, this one seems the most interesting. The movie follows the typical Ray formula of the timid underachiever who rises above the odds to become the hero; but at least this film seems to have had some action. Future western star Buck Jones appeared in an unbilled part. Director Victor Schertzinger, who worked with Ray on several occasions, was an accomplished musician and composer. His father was a diamond merchant; his mother was court violinist to Queen Victoria. “My mother taught me to play the violin when I was hardly big enough to hold up the instrument,” he explained. “When I was ten I toured the world with Sousa’s band.” He once told silent film pioneers Mack Sennett, Thomas H. Ince, and D. W. Griffith that “the trouble with the movies is that nobody’s put music into them.” In a 1941 interview, shortly before his death, he stated “It was not long before I found a niche in the silent picture business writing orchestrations to accompany the talkless film. The next thing I knew, I was musical director for the old Triangle Film company. A director was a director of everything in those days and I soon was at work turning out pictures as well as music.”
  2. This thread will take a look at what was playing in the theaters 100 years ago. To narrow the scope, I chose one theater, Poli’s, in the city where I was born, Bridgeport, CT. In 1919, the theater was managed by Matt Saunders (more on him later). I will post the theater listings (from publicly available sources), and whenever possible, see what I can discover about the film(s) being shown. I encourage anyone who knows anything about the films to chime in. First up, a brief look at the theater: Poli’s Theater (which no longer exists) was located on Main Street in downtown Bridgeport. The movie house was part of the chain owned by S.Z. Poli, and was considered the finest theater on the circuit, boasting a seating capacity of 3,300. The “first lobby,” or entrance, seen below, featured a great mirror on either side, framed between marble columns. Three sets of double doors led to the “second lobby,” which was the ticket lobby. The ticket lobby, shown below, contained two marble ticket windows, and three more sets of double doors leading to the “third lobby,” or foyer. The foyer, shown below, sported four sets of triple doors on the left, leading to the seats. The doors on the right led to the exits and manager’s office. The columns were all made of marble, as was the staircase in the center. The last photo shows the auditorium, with the stage, and box seats on either side. A beautiful painting adorned the arch. Next up: a look at Matt Saunders.
  3. scsu1975

    Descartes - What Is Known Clearly and Distinctly

    Descartes is more famous for saying "I think, therefore I am ... afraid of Tor Johnson."
  4. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From April 13-16, 1919, the Poli ran The Girl Who Stayed at Home, directed by D. W. Griffith. Released on March 23, 1919, the film is available on You Tube, and runs about 65 minutes. Brief Plot: In the days before World War I, Atoline France (Carol Dempster) is engaged to Count de Brissac. Atoline is visited by an old friend from the United States, who brings Ralph Grey (Richard Barthelmess). Ralph falls for Atoline, but she reminds him she is promised to Brissac. When the United States enters the war, Ralph tells his father he is going to enlist, but his father objects. Ralph’s brother James (Robert Harron) pretends he is also interested in enlisting, but in reality, he is pretty much a wastrel. Ralph goes off to train for the conflict, while James spends his time with a little fireball named Cutie Beautiful (Clarine Seymour). Eventually James is drafted, despite his father trying to use his connections to block it. The brothers meet on the battlefield. Count de Brissac is killed in action, and the Germans attempt to commandeer Atoline’s home. The Grey brothers and the American troops show up in the nick of time. Review: This is an entertaining film, never dull, with some especially poignant scenes from the lesser players. In the beginning, we learn that Atoline’s grandfather (Adolf Lestina) was a Civil War Veteran who refuses to admit the Confederacy has been defeated. He has moved to France, and keeps the Confederate flag on his wall. In the final act, as the Americans march by holding the stars and stripes, we see he has finally let go of the past, wiping his hands on the Confederate flag, now little more than a rag. Director Griffith wired his brother in Kentucky, and had him send the flag that their father, Colonel Jacob Wark Griffith, had rescued on a battlefield during the Civil War. This was the flag used in the initial scenes. Another emotional scene occurs when a German soldier named Kant (David Butler) says goodbye to his mother, and she gives him some keepsakes to take to the front. At the climax, Kant is severely wounded and attended to by Atoline. As he is dying, he saves Atoline from attack by a fellow German, then makes her promise to return the keepsakes to his mother. Harron clearly has the better role over Barthelmess, and runs with it. When first we see Harron, he sports a pencil-thin mustache, slick hair, and slouches. The Army makes a man of him, and when he encounters a German soldier in the trenches, he recognizes him as someone who once bullied him back in the States. So Harron evens the score. Barthelmess is adequate, but his better days were to come. Dempster is attractive, and it’s easy to see why Griffith took a “fancy” to her. Clarine Seymour is cute and spunky; her comedic background probably helped here. She had appeared in several shorts for the Rolin Film Company before getting her break in this film. “The luckiest thing that ever happened to me,” she said, “was in having the Rolin Film Company break a contract with me. If they had not said that I was incapable as an actress, I would still be in slapstick comedy, and I hate slapstick comedy! I sued them, tho, and won my suit, and was given a part by Mr. Griffith immediately afterward.” Griffith stated “when I saw her at the studio, the first impression I got of her was her extreme slightness. Her eyes are very, very large and dark; in fact, she looked almost all eyes. Her hair is black and very heavy. She looks to be an almost two-dimensional girl; that is, you hardly notice any physical thickness. I doubt whether she weighs eighty pounds.” In fact, The Paramount Press Book claimed she was 86 pounds, and only 4 feet 9 inches tall. Of the four major players, only Barthelmess would have a decent career in films. Harron, who was finally escaping from playing “boyish” roles, made just a few more films before dying from a gunshot wound in 1920. Clarine Seymour’s film career was also cut short. She made three more films for Griffith, and then he cast her in Way Down East. But she never finished the film. On April 23, 1920, she was admitted to a New York hospital for intestinal problems. Following an operation, she died on April 25, at only 21 years old. According to the Los Angeles Times, she was engaged to marry William M. Merrick, a wealthy silk manufacturer. Carol Dempster made her last film in the mid-1920s, then quit the business. In 1929, she married Edwin Larsen, who was Vice President of P. W. Chapman & Co., investment bankers in New York City. When Dempster died in 1991, she left $1.6 million to the San Diego Museum of Art, enabling that institution to expand their collections. The Edwin S. and Carol Dempster Larsen Memorial Gallery is named for the couple.
  5. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From April 10-12, 1919, the feature at the Poli was Extravagance, starring Dorothy Dalton. The film was released on March 16, 1919 at five reels, and is presumed lost. Plot: Helen Douglas is married to Alan Douglas, a Wall Street investor. Helen dresses extravagantly in expensive gowns and jewelry, and spends lavishly. Billy Braden, a friend of the couple’s, decides to move to Denver, away from the fast life in the city. He urges his friends to move with him. But Alan is planning to make a big killing in the stock market, and Helen laughs at the idea that the two would move away from New York City. “I would rather be a paving stone in Little Old New York than a boulevard in Denver,” she replies. She advises Alan to stay the course, and also asks him to buy her a costly necklace. “Other husbands buy jewels for their wives,” she states. An argument ensues, and Alan tells Helen to use her own money to buy the necklace. Helen runs to her room, weeping. She falls asleep and she dreams that Alan has failed in his venture; he tells her he is bankrupt. Desperate, he has forged a check to get money. Alan then kills a policeman who tries to arrest him. He is tried for murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Helen begs the court for mercy, but still doesn’t show any remorse. “Some men have the nerve to steal to make their wives happy” she tells the judge. Helen awakens from her sleep, and discovers Alan has gone to his office. She rushes to Wall Street and finds that Alan, who has been double-crossed by one of his millionaire friends, is on the verge of being wiped out in a stock panic. Alan pleads with Helen to lend him her money so he can save himself from financial ruin. She refuses, and Alan gets violent, shaking her by the shoulders. He denounces her as a woman who has taken everything from him and given him nothing in return. He threatens to strike her, but Helen remains firm in her refusal. When she returns home, she has a change of heart. But it is too late. Alan comes home, bankrupt. Helen tells Alan that Braden was right; living in the city has robbed them of their ideals. She offers Alan all her money so that the two can move away, and begin useful lives. The two embrace, ready for a lifetime of happiness. The film garnered some good reviews, probably because of Dalton’s popularity, and the location shooting. The filmmakers used the biggest jewelry store in Los Angeles for scenes, as well as the Superior Criminal Court in Los Angeles. The Moving Picture World featured a (now hilarious) two-page spread on how theater managers could promote the film: On fashion: “Capitalize Miss Dalton’s popularity to the full. Tell that the part calls for the most unusual and magnificent dressing and that her frocks are revelations in the spring styles.” On scenes at the Stock Exchange: “Tell how the progressive scenes show the growing excitement until the brokers are physical wrecks, with torn clothing, collars stripped off and even neckties torn to shreds.” On the domestic angle: “Did you ever call your husband a tightwad?” … There never was a married couple who could plead not guilty. “Stole and murdered to please a selfish wife,” is another line that should gain attention of the reader, as well as “Don’t nag your husband,” “Do you want to kill your husband?” and similar startlers. Don’t be afraid of being sensational in the right sort of way.” On banks: “You may hook up with them by offering a pass book with a dollar deposit and a pair of seats all for one dollar, and let the bank put a man in your lobby to make out the pass books, or have printed certificates redeemable at the bank. … Don’t let the bank argue that it does not have to advertise. Most banks know better these days. Get after them.” On morality: “See if you cannot get a sermon preached on the story. Give the minister an outline of the story and get him interested. … Most ministers are anxious to fill their churches and this will give him as well as you a packed house.”
  6. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    This film definitely looks interesting. I have seen one of Hart's westerns in which he played a dark, vengeful character, but I was also surprised to see him attempt something like this. "Stanley" was a guy who did some kind of athletic act. "Mamie Ling and Tommy Long" entertained the audience with an act called "The Long and Short of It in Funland." The pair performed all over the country and were also billed as "the elongated eccentric and the dainty doll." Long, a juggler, was a tall fellow, with reports listing his height as anywhere from 6'3" to 7'. Ling sang and danced. One critic wrote "Mamie sings too much and Tommy doesn't juggle enough."
  7. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From April 6-9, 1919, the Poli featured The Poppy Girl’s Husband, starring William S. Hart as Hairpin Harry Dutton. Released on March 16, 1919, the film was five reels, and is presumed lost. Plot: Hairpin Harry Dutton sits in solitary confinement, reminiscing about his past life. He envisions his wife Polly, known as the “Poppy Girl,” sitting beside him at a banquet given at an underworld hotel. He tells his crooked friends that he is going to be straight with Polly. Then his thoughts drift to the courtroom, where Polly, their one-year-old baby, and Harry’s friend Boston B l a c k i e await a verdict. Also present in the court is Detective Sergeant Mike McCafferty, who arrested Harry. The judge sentences Harry to fourteen years for burglary. Harry asks Boston B l a c k i e to look after his wife and child. Now Harry is being pardoned after ten years. Boston B l a c k i e meets him at the prison gate, but Polly is nowhere to be found. On a train ride to San Francisco, B l a c k i e informs Harry that Polly married McCafferty one year after Harry went to prison. “The man that sent me up!” exclaims Harry. “Was she getting the divorce that time she wrote and told me that she was hard up and needed a thousand dollars?” Harry checks into a San Francisco hotel inhabited by crooks, and begins to plan his vengeance. He spends most of his time in his room, working on a copper plate. Meanwhile, Harry’s son Donald is ignored by his stepfather, McCafferty. Harry locates the boy at school, and the child, not knowing who Harry is, draws close to him. He invites Harry to an Indian cave in the park, where the two can play together. Harry begins visiting with Donald every day, and the boy looks forward to seeing the “big chief.” Polly knows that Harry has been released, and fears his vengeance. So she persuades McCafferty to frame him. Donald overhears the conversation. The next time he meets Harry, he innocently tells him the bad man from jail is worrying his mama, and that the bad man is going to be sent back to prison that night. Harry learns more details of the plan from the crooks at his hotel, and is able to avoid the trap. He heads for Polly’s house. Polly, who is satisfied that McCafferty is taking care of things, dolls herself up in wait for him. Then she sees Harry standing in her doorway. He takes out the copper plate, and shows it to his wife. It has an engraved picture of a convict being pushed into an open grave by a woman. When Polly struggles, he uses chloroform on her. Then Harry heats up the plate until it glows red. He is about to press the plate against his unconscious ex-wife’s cheek when he suddenly hears someone sobbing. Harry drops the plate and rushes towards the sound. He discovers his son crying. Harry confesses who he really is, and the boy begs to be taken away. The hatred leaves Harry’s heart; he will not harm his ex-wife. Donald kisses his unconscious mother goodbye. Harry and Donald leave for the mountains, where they make their home in a cabin. The prison set was the largest ever used in a movie to that point. It was 100 feet long, with three tiers of cells. The film was based on a Red Book Magazine story by Jack Boyle, author of the Boston B l a c k i e series. This movie marked the second film appearance of the Boston B l a c k i e character, here played by Walter Long as a minor character. Of Long’s performance, one critic wrote that the actor “is not my idea of Boston B l a c k i e, whom I have always credited with slenderness, insouciance, and romantic good looks. However … B l a c k i e really is out of this picture, so what particular matter?” The film marked a departure for western star Hart, and he garnered good reviews. A reviewer for Motion Picture News wrote “William S. Hart should be proud of this picture. … He will undoubtedly win the sympathy, love, and good will of the spectator. He should also make many new friends on the strength of this picture; it is entirely different than any of those in which he has appeared in the past.” Juanita Hansen, who played the Poppy Girl, had a troubled life of drugs and attempted suicide. In 1928, while staying at the Hotel Lincoln in New York City, she was badly burned in the shower. She sued the property for $250,000, claiming that she had put the shower handle halfway between the “cold” and “hot” indicators, and a burst of hot water and steam had scalded her. In court, she showed the jury the burn marks on her body, and claimed her career as an actress was permanently impaired. The jury awarded her $167,000 in damages. In 1930, a judge set aside the settlement, claiming “the amount of the verdict is grossly excessive and undoubtedly reflects the jury’s sympathy for the injured plaintiff, a comely woman, rather than the jury’s unbiased judgment of facts.” The Los Angeles Times opined “do we understand that only homely women are entitled to receive heavy damages from juries?” Another lesson-known publication wrote that Hansen “should sex appeal the case to a higher court. … Why not order retrial, with a stipulation that the plaintiff wear long skirts? What this country needs is free beauty parlors for poor litigants.” In November of 1931, Hansen finally received a settlement of about $110,000.
  8. scsu1975

    Lookalikes?

    Does anyone else ever get these two actors mixed up?
  9. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From April 3-5, 1919, the Poli ran Johnny Get Your Gun, directed by Donald Crisp, and starring Fred Stone as Johnny Wiggins. The film was released on March 8, 1919, at five reels. A complete copy is held in the UCLA film archives. Plot: Johnny Wiggins is a “western” film actor, as is his friend Bill Burnham. Bill’s father has died in Florida, and has left a large fortune. Bert Whitney, who loves Bill’s sister Janet, comes west to tell Bill that Janet has become engaged to a fortune-seeking Count. The Count is being encouraged by Bill’s Aunt Agatha. Bill wants to go east and stop the wedding, but he has just been arrested for a fight, and must serve some jail time. Bill suggests Johnny take his place, posing as Bill, to stop the marriage. Since Bill hasn’t seen his relatives in a long time, no one would suspect that Johnny is not Bill. Johnny agrees to the plan and heads east with Whitney. Johnny arrives at the Florida home, wearing a cowboy outfit, much to the consternation of everyone. Aunt Agatha is mortified, and fears that the Count will call off the wedding, not wanting to marry into such a family. Johnny falls for Ruth, a maid in the house. Aunt Agatha pretends to be nice to Johnny because he needs to sign a marriage settlement for Janet and the Count. Bill and Janet’s inheritance has been invested by Milton C. Milton. But Milton is a crook, getting people to invest in his railroad, while planning to wreck it. When the Burnham’s family lawyer tells Johnny about the scam, the actor devises a plan to make Milton buy back his worthless stock. Johnny tells the Count that he has permission to marry Janet, but refuses to sign the marriage settlement which would give Janet her money. However, Pollitt, who is the Count’s valet, once spent some time out west and recognizes Johnny Wiggins. Pollitt informs the Count, who, with Aunt Agatha’s help, arranges to elope with Janet. Ruth overhears the plans and informs Johnny that the pair plan to run off during a dance at the Burnham home. That night, Johnny puts on a western performance to amuse his guests. The Count and Janet sneak out towards a car. As they are starting to drive off, Johnny jumps into a balcony, seizes a rope, and lassoes the count, yanking him out of the car. He then administers a “real cowboy punishment.” Next, Johnny visits Milton and gains entry into the crook’s house through a series of hair-raising stunts. He kidnaps Milton and forces him at gunpoint to buy back all the worthless stock. By this time, Janet has become disgusted with the Count and turns her affections to Bert Whitney. Johnny proposes to Ruth, who accepts, and he explains who he really is. The supporting cast included James Cruze as the Count, Raymond Hatton as Milton C. Milton, and Noah Beery in a bit. Ruth was played by Mary Anderson, the romantic lead in The False Faces. Hart Hoxie played Bill Burnham. A real-life cowboy, he changed his name to Jack Hoxie and made quite a few westerns, from the silent to the early sound era. As with his previous film Under The Top, this movie was a platform for Fred Stone to demonstrate his athletic prowess. The film received mixed reviews. The Moving Picture World declared that “Fred Stone is the whole show, a genial athlete, who knocks down villains as fast as they get in his way, and the tricks he performs plainly show that he has mastered the art of motion.” However, a reviewer for Motion Picture Magazine skewered the film, writing “never had anything bored me quite so much as “Johnny Get Your Gun,” unless it were the other Fred Stone pictures. Mr. Stone is unfortunately as bad on the screen as he is good on the stage. However, this may not be his crime – but that of his producers. The plot of the present offense is too banal to bear repetition. An all around good cast is hurt by poor photography. Mary Anderson alone showed moments of promise.” Motion Picture Classic piled on with this gem: “We award the Croix de Boredom of the month to “Johnny Get Your Gun.” This is Fred Stone’s third – and most awful – vehicle. Edmund Laurence Burke has tried to fit the comedian with a story, building it around Stone’s acrobatic tricks, but the stunts fit into the plot like a bricklayer at the opera. Stone is an interesting example of a player who can’t get over in the films. Your eyes actually have to hunt all over the screen for him. Poor Mary Anderson stands out a little, but James Cruze deserves all he gets at the end of Stone’s lasso for his French count.” One of the side-acts was “The Nakai Japs,” a group demonstrating jiu jitsu. The newspaper advertised "how attacks with gun and knife and other weapons are repulsed with seeming ease offers one of the pleasing features of this act.” I wonder if Fred Stone could have handled these guys.
  10. In the early 1980s, some stories circulated in a Swedish magazine that Garbo was going to come out of retirement, and play herself in a film in which she reminisces about making this movie. Apparently that never happened. Maybe someone can also verify this; I believe that Selma Lagerlof, upon whose work the film was based, was the first woman ever awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.
  11. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    The Warrens lived one town over from me. I went to one of their "presentations" back in the 1980s, and although I was entertained, I also discovered they were absolutely horrible public speakers, especially Ed.
  12. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From March 30 to April 2, 1919, the feature at the Poli was Alias Mike Moran, starring the popular Wallace Reid as Larry Young. Released in late February 1919, the film was five reels, and is presumed lost. The scenario was adapted from a Saturday Evening Post story entitled “Open Sesame,” by Frederic Orrin Bartlett. Plot: Larry Young works as a department store salesman, but has big dreams. One day, Larry and an ex-convict named Mike Moran are rounded up by police in the park during a “slacker draft raid.” Larry doesn’t want to go to war, much to the chagrin of his father, a civil war veteran. Larry makes the acquaintance of Elaine Debaux, who he mistakenly believes is the daughter of Mr. Vandecar, a wealthy shipbuilder. Elaine goes along with the presumption, and the two meet for dinner. Larry pretends he is rich to impress her. After they leave the restaurant, they are held up by a gang which Moran has joined. Moran fights off the thugs, and Larry and Elaine are able to escape. The national draft lottery is held in Washington, and Larry’s number is the fifth one drawn. Larry dreads the idea of going to war. However, Moran wishes to serve, but can’t because he is an ex-con. Because the two men look similar, they agree on a scheme. Moran will take Larry’s identity and report in his place. Moran assumes the name “Larry Young” and gives Larry his penitentiary discharge papers; thus, Larry becomes “Mike Moran.” Ashamed to face Elaine, who believes he is a hero for going off to war, Larry leaves for a distant seaport and gets a job as Moran. Meanwhile, Moran, serving in France, receives letters from Elaine meant for Larry, so he forwards them to his friend. But Larry is afraid to answer any of the letters, fearing his secret might be revealed. Then, news arrives that “Private Larry Young” has been killed in combat and decorated for bravery. His passion finally stirred, Larry enlists in the Canadian army as Mike Moran. Elaine, hearing of the death of “Larry,” goes to France to help care for French war orphans. After months of training in France, Larry finally finds himself in the middle of the war. He rescues a wounded officer, but is himself wounded, losing his right hand. Elaine, hearing a “Sergeant Michael Moran” has been wounded, recalls that this was the man who had saved her and Larry from the gang. She rushes to the hospital and discovers that “Moran” is really Larry. Larry confesses his deception, and Elaine also confesses; she is not Mr. Vandecar’s daughter, just a companion to Mrs. Vandecar. With the air cleared, the two lovers are united. Some army officers in Washington want to charge Larry with a draft violation, but they are overruled by an old general, who says “How in hell are you going to put a man in jail for having left a right hand in Flanders?” Reid was interested in playing other roles, beyond romantic leads. “I wanted to play character parts” he once said, “sad, gray-haired old men who renounce everything in the last reel, and play the kindly father to erring heroines. But the directors wouldn’t let me. They insisted on casting me for the young man who takes the heroine in his arms in the final clutch.” Had he lived past 31, he might have gotten his wish. Emory Johnson, who played the hero Mike Moran, was himself saved, at least temporarily, by another real-life hero. On March 30, 1960, Johnson was seriously burned in his apartment in San Mateo, California. Another tenant rushed into the flames and dragged Johnson, who was now a semi-invalid, out of the burning room. Johnson suffered second and third degrees to the lower part of his body. Investigators later discovered that Johnson had been smoking in bed. The fire inspector praised the heroic tenant, stating “another few minutes and Johnson would have been dead.” But it was all for naught. Johnson died from his injuries on April 18. Besides his acting, Johnson was credited with directing 42 films, many for Film Booking Offices (FBO) of America, which eventually melded into RKO. Ironically, one of Johnson’s biggest directorial successes was The Third Alarm, which is said to have some of the most spectacular fire scenes ever filmed. That film is available on You Tube, but I have not seen it yet.
  13. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    This was about my take when I saw it. It has a promising beginning, and the bomb-defusing scenes are fairly gripping. You wonder who is going to be around at the end of the film. But things are a bit erratic, probably due to the cuts. Too bad. This could have been a lot better. Oh, and Jeff Chandler still sounds like Cochise.
  14. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    I couldn't find more about those acts, other than what little was mentioned on the newspaper page. "The Four Dancing Demons" were described as "whirlwind exponents of the terpsichorean art, in a remarkable series of dances." "The Royal Uyena Japs" offered a "sensational acrobatic novelty." Sometimes these side acts sound more interesting than the films.
  15. scsu1975

    NOW PLAYING (100 YEARS AGO)

    From March 27-29, 1919, the Poli featured the melodrama Common Clay, starring Fannie Ward as Ellen Neal. Released on March 2, 1919, the film was seven reels, and is presumed lost. The film was based on a popular play of the same name, which opened in Boston in January of 1915. The film was remade in 1930, with Constance Bennett and Lew Ayres in the lead roles. Advertising line: “Ellen Neal was regarded as Common Clay by the elder Fullertons, but she proved herself of as fine a mold as they are – of a finer mold, in fact, when it came to the supreme test.” Plot: Ellen Neal, a department store worker, is dissatisfied with her job. Jennie Peters, who is a singer and Ellen’s former co-worker, convinces Ellen to visit her at a cabaret. Once there, Arthur Coakley, a cad, tries to force himself on Ellen, but she is spared when police raid the place. After spending a night in jail, Ellen obtains a position as a maid in the wealthy Fullerton household. She falls in love with young Hugh Fullerton. She gives himself to her just before he leaves to fight in the war. Ellen is pregnant with Hugh’s child. Hugh’s mother, who dislikes Ellen, intercepts all the letters that Hugh sends to Ellen. Ellen leaves her job to care for her child. Ellen’s father throws her out of the house, and then Mrs. Neal persuades her daughter to go back to the Fullertons and demand her rights. When Mr. Fullerton refuses to believe that his son is the father of Ellen’s child, Ellen hires an attorney. In turn, Fullerton hires retired Judge Filson, an old friend of the family. In the course of the hearings, it is revealed that the Neals are not really Ellen’s parents. Ellen’s real mother, who had become pregnant without having been married, had drowned herself. Mrs. Neal had raised Ellen as her own daughter. Mrs. Neal then reveals the name of Ellen’s real mother, and Judge Filson is stunned. He realizes he is Ellen’s father! Judge Filson takes charge of Ellen. When Hugh returns from the war, he is despondent over the absence of Ellen and vows to find her, over his parents’ protests. Judge Filson arranges a meeting between Ellen and Hugh, and the two are happily reunited. Fannie Ward was the Dick Clark of her time, never seeming to age. She was supposed to be about eighteen in this film, but in reality she was in upper forties, some twenty years older than her leading man, W. E. Lawrence. I had previously seen Ward a few years ago in the 1915 C. B. DeMille flick The Cheat (available on You Tube) and had noted at the time how she appeared much younger on screen than in real life. Among her nicknames were the “fountain of youth girl” and “the eternal flapper.” One newspaper noted that Ward wore bobbed hair and short skirts “when other women her age were ready for the rocking chair.” Ward attributed her looks to a secret facial treatment given to her by French stage star Gaby Deslys. But she also claimed a “Siberian Snow Mask” helped, along with green vegetables. Her personal notepaper had the phrase “Eternal Youth” inscribed on it. When she lapsed into a coma following a cerebral hemorrhage in January of 1952, one newspaper featured the headline “Fannie Ward’s youth fountain is running low” She died on January 27, in Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC. No one was even sure how old she was; somewhere between 79 and 83 was a good estimate. Ward was connected to British royalty. Her only child Dorothy, from her first marriage to South African millionaire Joe Lewis, wed Lord Terance Conyngham Plunket, and became a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary. But the couple were killed in 1938, when their private plane crashed at the William Randolph Hearst ranch in San Simeon, California. In the early 1950s, Ward’s grandson Robin Plunket was married in London; the Queen and Princess Margaret attended the wedding.
  16. Obviously the prosecutors colluded with the defense attorneys. I demand that Bob Mueller run a complete investigation, no matter how long or how much money it takes.
  17. Mrs. Manicotti was the greatest mambo dancer of all time.
  18. Interesting. But what does this have to do with Trump?
  19. scsu1975

    The Real Great Escape - 75th Anniversary

    Quite by accident, I found out a few weeks ago that Leyton cut a few records in the early 60s.
  20. I agree, I don't remember much about it, having seen it on You Tube several years ago. I guess it has some historical significance as being Robert Young's last film appearance before his television career took off. Oddly, the National Legion of Decency gave the film a "B" rating (Morally Objectionable in Part for All) for "low moral tone, suggestive situations." I guess they didn't have a ranking for "overrated."
  21. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    Wait ... now the censor is bleeping "Father G u i d o?"
  22. Try here: http://forums.tcm.com/topic/257026-the-charlton-heston-movie-that-inspired-steven-spielberg-and-george-lucas-to-make-raiders-of-the-lost-ark/?tab=comments#comment-1902627
  23. scsu1975

    I Just Watched...

    You left out Woo Woo Grabowski from the credits. This is must-see trash, especially when cops Coogan and Sid Melton go under cover as broads. Coming this fall: Ray Danton IS Ben Dover, Proctologist:

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