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I’m trying to find out the title of a Warners Bros. Vitaphone short shown on Sunday, December 19. I think it was shown right before the Noir Alley selection (Blast of Silence) but, it was shown early. It featured a tall lanky male dancer (very prominent front teeth) but he could dance like lightening. He and a female did one number where they were dancing on large musical notes and another where there was a giant ticker tape machine I believe. I think that might have also been a young Phil Silvers. I came in just after the start both times (central and pacific), so I never saw the title or any names. I would love to find out the name so I can get this for myself as well as getting more info on the male dancer. He was phenomenal.
On the other forum (CMU, now “deceased”), I had been making chronological “lists” of each Hollywood studio’s live-action “shorties” in lengthy blogs and, just in this past year or two, I have been adding some of this material to the Wikipedia site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_short_subjects_by_Hollywood_studio#Warner_Brothers This series of posts (which I am putting online “backwards” so that they will stay in order) can be used as a “checklist” with a bit more information. I also decided to alphabetize for “easy” reference… and I put “easy” in quotes because NOTHING is ever easy. Should Dream Café be listed under “D” or under “J” as Jimmy Clemons In “Dream Café” instead? The way the title cards were seen on screen and the way these titles were listed in periodicals of the period differed. Ah… yes… Warner Brothers! They cranked out a TON of shorties at their Brooklyn Vitaphone facilities, as well as Hollywood and Burbank. Not only was that studio prolific, but they also were pretty good with their batting average, quality-wise. It is surprising just how many of these 6 to 30 minute extravaganzas are still fun to watch today after many decades. We are also VERY fortunate that TCM is owned by the Warner conglomerate and many lost treasures from their vaults have made it to TV and on DVD (and I have tried my best to indicate which titles made it there). So many other entertainment corporations are absolutely clueless of what they may have rotting away in their vaults. Of course, I need to acknowledge my references for these lists and you folks can let me know of my many boo-boos that need corrected… hopefully on a different thread I am creating. BoxOffice Magazine (scans available online for a while, but a bit harder to access in recent years), Film Daily and Motion Picture Herald Magazine back issues (both found on the Internet Archive), with the IMDb.com site have all been a great help. (I had added many Warner shorties to that latter site.) Equally important are the Library of Congress copyright listings Motion Pictures 1912-1939 (1951), Motion Pictures 1940-1949 (1953), Motion Pictures 1950-1959 (1960) and Motion Pictures 1960-1969 (1971). I have a few of these, but they are also scanned online on the Internet Archive and probably feature the ONLY online information of ssssssooooo many forgotten shorties. Then… there is Roy Liebman’s Vitaphone Films – A Catalogue of the Features and Shorts. (McFarland & Company, 2003), sort of a “bible” for this material. It is not totally complete with release dates, plot summaries and technical details; I still had to rustle 60% of my material elsewhere. Yet it is probably one of the very few books apart from Leonard Maltin’s 1972 Selected Shorts that even bothers covering our beloved shorties. Also it features all of the Vitaphone numbers listed here (and I will allow “eagle eye” observers to catch my boo-boos here), as well as “approximate” production times by month (although quite a bit is covered in the above mentioned magazine back issues as well). This list is strictly “live-action”, but we ALL know that Warner Brothers ALSO cranked out the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (Bugs Bunny included) between 1930 and 1969, in addition to TV specials from the mid seventies onward. Of course, they need their own list… and there is quite a bit online already. Yet… did you know that Warner also distributed some independent cartoons as well? None of these are listed below, but I will mention them here: Dolly Daisy was a puppetoon character created by Howard Moss and Charles Bennes, appearing in two “Vitaphone Variety” shorts: Dizzy Doings (previewed in August 1930) and Hearts And Flowers (December release and one that can be found online if you search). Another independent picked up for January 1931 distribution was John McCrory's Buster Bear; a follow-up featuring the same Mickey Mouse-ish teddy character was released on April 14, 1931 as Spring Carnival. The future Dr. Seuss (Ted Geisel), who would also contribute to Leon Schlesinger's Private Snafu series, had his popular “Flint” ads brought to the screen via Audio Cinema’s unit with future Looney Tune animators Tom and Robert McKimson supposedly contributing. Unfortunately ‘Neath The Bababa Tree and Put On The Spout (both released June 1, 1931) may be lost films today. Another vintage cartoon “commercial” was Graduation Day In Bugland, reviewed by Film Daily on March 1, 1931. This one promoted Listerine with a little girl dreaming of cartoon “germs”. In July 1934, another “Vitaphone Variety” was a stop-motion puppetoon released in France a year earlier as Fétiche Mascotte (The Mascot) with Vladislav Starewicz. The Americanized version was titled Stuffy's Errand Of Mercy. A puppetoon pooch seeks an orange for a sick child, but winds up at the Devil’s Ball with all kinds of weirdos that somebody like Tim Burton would, no doubt, love to meet in person. But… enough with my babbling. Starting with Abe Lyman Band and ending with Zero Girl… This is the basic set up for each film listed: Title of film producer and/or director listed in (), also an indication if the film was either shot or edited (if a travelogue) at Brooklyn’s Vitaphone studio instead of California. If you see (---), it means I don’t have director information… yet. black & white (bw) or color “approximate” running time in minutes (m) or running time in reels (1 reel is under 11 minutes, 2 reels under 25 minutes) since I couldn’t find an exact time frame here Series Title with key star listed in () and a top billed star in  release date or copyright © date and sometimes a filming date in () (any awards) or *DVD* availability brief description… and I do keep it brief. Additional cast members are also listed here. I know… I have a strange way of doing these. Trying to save space. ****************** Abe Lyman Band (Abe Lyman And His Band) (Vitaphone Studio [NYC]) bw-10m-(Melody Master)-January 20, 1933 (Film Daily review; filmed October '32) Set in an auditorium with the holiday "Auld Lang Syne" included // Vitaphone #1485 Abe Lyman Orchestra "Maestro Of Syncopated Symphony" (---) bw- (Vitaphone Variety)-© February 18, 1928 (filmed November '27) Vitaphone Varieties Vol. 2 (Warner Archive) *DVD* Highlight is a boppy rendition of "Varsity Rag". This is Vitaphone #2338. A very similiar jazz reel titled "Syncopated Symphony" is listed Vitaphone #2474. // Vitaphone #2338 Abe Lyman Orchestra "Syncopated Symphony" (---) bw- (Vitaphone Variety)-© February 18, 1928 (filmed November '27) With Jimmy Ray and such '20s standards as "12th Street Rag", "Varsity Drag" and "Among My Souvenirs" // Vitaphone #2274 Absent Minded (Vitaphone Studio [NYC]: Arthur Hurley) bw-10m-(Vitaphone Variety: Wallace Ford)-April 30, 1930 He's so forgetful that he tries a memory course to no avail. // Vitaphone #973 Absent Minded Abner (Vitaphone Studio [NYC]: Alfred J. Goulding) bw-18m-(Broadway Brevity: Jack Haley, Olive Shea & Hugh Cameron)-May 15, 1932 (Film Daily review; filmed February) One very serious… and hilarious… case of amnesia. // Vitaphone #1372-1373 Absorbing Junior (Vitaphone Studio [NYC]: Lloyd French) bw-21m-(Big V Comedy: Shemp Howard & Johnny Berkes)-April 25, 1936 Vitaphone Comedy Collection Vo. 2 *DVD* The need to gamble at a horse race prompts a burgalry of Junior's piggy bank. (With Gertrude Madge, Gerie Worthing, Arthur & Morton Havel & Kenneth Lundy) // Vitaphone #1978-1979 The Accordion Man And Girl Imitator (Bryan Foy) bw- (Vitaphone Variety: Dorothy Murray & Earl La Vere)-June 1927 Accompanied by De Sues, Furney & Johnson // Vitaphone #2108 Ace Of Clubs (George Marshall; music: William Lava) bw-20m-(Classics of the Screen)-January 27, 1951 (Completed September '50) Comprised of Bobby Jones reels from 1931 and '33. // Vitaphone #1980A Across The Border (---) bw-20m-(Vitaphone Variety: Sarah Padden, Frank Campeau & Roy Stewart)-© August 27, 1928 (filmed June) A rancher leaves his Texas wife but the neighbors come to her aid and she wants her son’s name protected from his infidelity. // Vitaphone #2664-2665 Action In Sports (Gordon Hollingshead, producer; Charles Tedford; music: Howard Jackson; narrator: Truman Bradley) Technicolor-9m-(Sports Parade)-December 13, 1947 (edited April) Filmed in Peru. // Vitaphone #1672A
I was just looking at the Traveltalks thread that was started by Musicalnovelty a while back, and it got me thinking: With all the various sets recently released by Warner Archives featuring specific actors like Shemp Howard and Fatty Arbuckle, or series like FitzPatrick Traveltalks, wouldn't it be great if they released similar collections for other artists and/or specific themes/series? I for one would love to see comprehensive Warner/Vitaphone collections for the following: Hal Le Roy Bob Hope Edgar Bergen Ruth Etting Vaudeville (including all the titles from the Big Time Vaudeville series) Van Dine Mysteries Perhaps an early shorts collection with stars when they were young and starting out like: James Stewart Pat O’Brien Spencer Tracy Red Skelton June Allyson The possibilities are endless. And I'm sure I'm forgetting many other worthy stars/series. These collections could be done in various combinations, like maybe putting Hal Le Roy's and June Allyson's shorts in one collection, since they were in a few shorts together, and the collections could be any number of disks each, depending on what WAC would find most appropriate. Now I realize that a number of shorts for those listed above have been released on dvd as part of larger collections or as dvd extras, but not in star-specific collections, and in many cases (for example, Hal Le Roy, Edgar Bergen and Ruth Etting) there are quite a few titles that have never seen the light of day on TCM, much less dvd, and to put all of an artist or series together in one place seems like a natural (as we've seen with Shemp and Fatty). And given the fact that shorts collections have proven to be excellent sellers, I should hope WAC would see the value in assembling more. I'd be curious to know what others think of this idea, and if anyone could come up with other stars/series for consideration.