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From July 5-7, 1919, the Poli ran Greased Lightning, starring Charles Ray as Andy Fletcher. The film was released on April 20, 1919. A complete five-reel copy exists in a Russian archive.

Plot: Andy Fletcher is the blacksmith for the village of Pipersville. He has invented something called “The Little Giant Potato Slicer.” During a public demonstration, the invention blows up. He forgets the mishap when he is asked to fix the stove-pipe of Alice Flint, with whom he is in love.



Alice tells Andy she wishes she knew someone who had an automobile.Alice tells Andy she wishes she knew someone who had an automobile.


Andy goes to her father’s bank and decides to draw out money for a car. But the banker refuses to let Andy have the money for such foolishness. Andy returns to his work just as a farmer drives up with a badly damaged auto needing repairs. Andy trades his invention for the car.


He then restores the auto, calling it “Greased Lightning.”


Alden J. Armitage, a con man from the big city, arrives in town and gets into the good graces of Alice’s father, also showing an interest in Alice. Andy finishes his machine and heads to a picnic with the banker and Alice. Along the way, the car conks out.



Armitage comes by with his car and takes Alice and her father to the picnic, leaving Andy behind. Armitage proposes a five-mile road race to the townspeople, with the winner to receive $200. On the day of the race, Andy unveils his new version of ”Greased Lightning,” which now has a racing engine. But when the race starts, the car doesn’t budge. Andy begins tinkering with the engine. Meanwhile, with everyone in town at the race, Armitage and his gang arrange to meet Flint at the bank, where they beat him up and rob the vault. Flint comes to just as the gang are making their getaway. He rushes to the race course and tells everyone what has happened. Andy, who has finally succeeded in getting his engine going, volunteers to chase down the villains. His car overtakes Armitage’s car. When a fight ensues, Andy proves to be the better man. Flint gives Andy his daughter’s hand, and a brand new car.


This sounds like another typical and pleasant Ray film; the small-town guy who beats the bad guys and gets the girl. Reviews were positive. One critic even noted that in the past year, Ray had married (onscreen) three bankers’ daughters, two multi-millionaires, one actress, three daughters of prosperous farmers, one clergyman’s daughter, and one waitress.

According to the Paramount and Artcraft Press Book, on the day the big race was filmed, Charles Ray asked the prop man to solder a horseshoe to the water tank cap on his car. “I never would have believed Charlie was superstitious,” said the prop man. Apparently, Ray was not superstitious. Once the scene got underway, Ray, without telling even the director, “executed one of the cleverest pieces of business with the horseshoe that he has ever acted.” Unfortunately, we are left to wonder exactly what that was, unless Putin decides to release the film some day.

The National Juvenile Motion Picture League of New York suggested cutting the titles “darn fools” and “darn works” from the film. Darn them.

Writer Julien Josephson, who wrote the scenario for this and other Ray films, had humble beginnings. A native of Roseburg, Oregon, he and his brother Sam took over the family store their father had started in 1877. But in 1914, they were forced to close the business. Josephson began publishing poems and short stories before landing in Los Angeles, where he was hired by Producer Thomas H. Ince at Paramount. Newspapers reported that Josephson drove “one of the smartest looking automobiles in Los Angeles, cares not a bit if the price of gasoline jumps a few cents and brazenly declares he must have his pair of eggs every morning, no matter what the market quotation may be.”

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On 1/27/2019 at 6:10 AM, scsu1975 said:


From January 27-29, 1919, the feature at the Poli was Little Women. Dorothy Bernard portrayed Jo, with Conrad Nagel making his film debut, as Laurie, and Lynn Hammond as Professor Baer. Future character actor Henry Hull, who had already made a few films, was cast in a romantic role as John Brooke. The film was released in the first week of January, 1919, and was either six or seven reels, depending upon the source. It is presumed lost.

The Little Women (left to right): Meg (Isabel Lamon), Amy (Florence Flinn), Beth (Lillian Hall), Jo (Dorothy Bernard)


Plot: Towards the end of the Civil War, the March family lives in Concord, Massachusetts. Mr. March is a chaplain in the Massachusetts regiment. Mrs. March takes care of their four daughters: Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy. Jo is a writer, and has two admirers: Laurie, and Professor Baer.

The Professor and Jo:


John Brooke loves Meg, but Beth, who is sickly, has no lover.

Jo and Laurie spy on John and Meg.


Mrs. March receives news that her husband is gravely ill in a hospital in Washington D.C.

Jo and Amy pine for their father.


Mrs. March asks her wealthy aunt for help, but Jo, believing the aunt will not come to the rescue, sells her hair for $25 and presents the money to her mother.


But Aunt March has actually given Mrs. March a check for $75 to pay for the trip to Washington. Mrs. March brings her husband home. He thanks Jo for her sacrifice.


Jo submits manuscripts to the editor of “The Spread Eagle.” The Marches and Professor Baer read a story in “The Spread Eagle,” and are astounded when they discover that Jo is the author and has received $50 for it. As time goes by, Brooke and Meg are married, but Beth’s condition deteriorates. When Meg has twins, Beth begs to see and hold them. A few days later, Beth dies. Laurie tells Jo that he loves Amy and is going to propose to her. Professor Baer is about to tell Jo he loves her. But he sees Jo, happy for Laurie and Amy, kissing Laurie. Believing that Jo loves Laurie, Baer tells her he is going to accept a teaching position at a famous university. Jo then realizes that she loves Baer.

The cast (seated left to right): Julia Hurley, Kate Lester, George Kelson, Frank de Vernon, Lillian Hall

Standing (left to right): Florence Flinn, Conrad Nagel, Lynn Hammond, Dorothy Bernard, Nellie Anderson, Henry Hull, Isabel Lamon.  Insert: Lillian Hall and Dorothy Bernard


The movie was filmed in and around Alcott’s home, and the actual interior was used in some scenes. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s home was also shown in some scenes.

The film was produced by William Brady, who had also produced a stage play based on the novel some years earlier. His daughter Alice (the future Academy Award winner) had played the role of Meg.

To drum up business, Famous Players-Lasky sent letters to educators around the country, encouraging them to offer special matinees for their students. The State Superintendent of the Georgia Department of Education responded, writing “It is a pleasure to know that Louisa M. Alcott’s ‘Little Women’ will soon appear as a Paramount-Artcraft Special. As a boy I fell under the charm of the book and have never recovered from the fascination. I feel sure that a motion picture of such high value will receive the encouragement it deserves from the public, the educational public in particular.”

The caps are especially nice. Given the popularity of the story and the number of movies made to date, the photo of the four of them is particularly resonant. In the first paragraph of the plot, the four girls are named but i don't think they coincide with the picture just above. Beth is all the way to the right and she is seen again just below as the sickly one. It's a sadness that so many films are lost, particularly this one (for me).

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50 minutes ago, laffite said:

The caps are especially nice. Given the popularity of the story and the number of movies made to date, the photo of the four of them is particularly resonant. In the first paragraph of the plot, the four girls are named but i don't think they coincide with the picture just above. Beth is all the way to the right and she is seen again just below as the sickly one. It's a sadness that so many films are lost, particularly this one (for me).

I think Beth (Lillian Hall) is seated at the far right. I tried to match up her dress and hairstyle with the other photos. All four women are quite lovely. 

This is a film I would have liked to have seen, primarily for the cast. 

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From June 8-11, 1919, the Poli ran The Woman Thou Gavest Me, starring Katherine MacDonald as Mary MacNeill, Jack Holt as Lord Raa, and Milton Sills as Martin Conrad. The film was released at seven reels on May 25, 1919, and is presumed lost.

Catchline:  Her husband journeyed elsewhere for feminine companionship. She searched elsewhere for real love.

Plot: Mary MacNeill, the daughter of Daniel MacNeill, is forced to marry Lord Raa, as a sacrifice to her father’s desire to pay off an old insult he had received from Raa’s grandfather.  


Lord Raa is rebuffed on his wedding night, and Mary makes it clear she is his wife in name only.




Raa takes his mistress, Alma Lier, to India and introduces her as his wife.


Mary secretly settles down in a quiet French village.


But before Raa had left India, Mary had been reunited with a former sweetheart, Martin Conrad, who is an explorer.



Conrad then went off on a polar expedition.


Mary has become pregnant by Martin, and has the child in France.


When her father learns the baby is not Lord Raa’s, he disowns her.


Meanwhile, Lord Raa has been banished from India when it is discovered that Alma is his mistress and not his wife. Mary returns to her home in London, and believing that Conrad has died in a polar expedition, becomes a streetwalker. She encounters Conrad, who has been searching for her. At first, he does not recognize her. After they realize who each is, they enter a cab and disappear into the night. The film closes with a scene of a happy family on a beautiful estate, the child playing happily with a toy boat.

Exterior sets were created to suggest scenes in India, Egypt, Scotland, and London. Director Hugh Ford stated “I have travelled all over the world, and have made many pictures in their real locales, and I have come to the conclusion that it is much better to build the sets instead of to go to them. With the progress of scenic structure in the past few years, an exact replica of any building or any sort of building or scene can be built. And it can be made exactly as the director wants it.” For the polar scenes, a landscape was built on an exterior stage featuring an igloo (made of plaster), sleds, and salt to represent snow. Technicians created a blizzard by using two wind machines made from airplane motors and propellers. The machines were placed at the opposite sides of the stage. Directly above each machine were stage hands who dropped asbestos power, simulating snow which was blown onto the set.

Contemporaneous reports suggest the film was critical and box office success. Below is a photo of the crowds in front of Loew’s New York Theatre during the run of the film:


One critic, while praising the film, panned the abrupt ending. “The development of the last reel is so surprisingly abrupt that I am inclined to believe that the film cutter had a hand in hastening the climax,” he wrote. “Where most pictures err on the side of prolonging the action after the climax has been reached, this goes to the other extreme by making too sharp a break and leaving an audience with the impression that a happy ending has been tagged on before the tale has been fully told.”

Lead actress Katherine MacDonald was wed several times, but her 1928 marriage to multi-millionaire Christian R. Holmes turned out to be a real humdinger. In the summer of 1931, she filed for separation from Holmes, and also custody of their 18-month-old daughter. She cited extreme cruelty. At the time she was in a hospital reportedly suffering from a fractured shoulder. In the coming days, she asked for police protection at the hospital. Newspapers reported that an attempt had been made to kidnap her. Upon her release, she hired private guards for her home. MacDonald then claimed that Holmes had tried to shoot her on two occasions, had struck her with a cane, and burned her hand with a cigarette. In one of the shooting incidents, MacDonald said that Holmes had asked her to step into the house saying “darling, come here.” He then fired at her at point blank range, missing. She ran into the garden, and he followed, firing again. She stumbled and fell on a cobblestone walk, fracturing her shoulder. On an earlier occasion, she claimed Holmes had fired six shots through her locked bedroom door after the pair had quarreled. She escaped through the bedroom window and hid in her child’s nursery. MacDonald also alleged that Holmes had an “uncontrollable temper, used alcohol to excess and that he had associated improperly with other women.” He also swore at her, and on one occasion, told her to “get out of the house or I will kick you out.” The couple reconciled for a time in 1933. In early 1954, MacDonald had her right leg amputated due to complications from diabetes. In early 1956, she suffered a stroke, and also underwent an appendectomy. She managed to hang on until June 4 of that year, when death claimed the actress Hollywood had dubbed the “American Beauty.”

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

I love the crowd photo in front of the Loew's New York. Every guy is in a suit and hat. What a difference a century makes.

I know what you mean. Back then, the guys even got dressed up to go to a baseball game.

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From June 12-14, 1919, the Poli ran Come Out of the Kitchen, starring Marguerite Clark as Claudia Dangerfield. Released on May 11, 1919, the film was five reels and is presumed lost. Except for one still which can be found at the IMDb site, I could find no other photos.

Plot: The Daingerfields, an aristocratic but impoverished Virginia family, are financially strapped when the father of the family must undergo an operation in New York to save his life. Randolph Weeks, whose love for Claudia Daingerfield is not returned, tells her that a wealthy Northerner, Burton Crane, wants to lease the Daingerfield home for $3000, on the condition that the negro servants be replaced by white servants. So the Daingerfields then take on the role of servants in the house, without revealing their identities. Claudia Dangerfield assumes the position of cook, while her sister takes the job as maid. One brother takes over as butler, while the other brother becomes a “useful boy around the house.” Claudia is secretly helped by Mammy Jackson, her real cook. Crane arrives with his lawyer, Solon Tucker, and Mrs. Faulkner, brother of Tucker, and Faulkner’s daughter Cora. Mrs. Faulkner encourages Cora to land Crane. When Crane meets his new “cook,” Claudia, he instantly falls in love with her. Claudia smuggles Mammy Jackson, her real cook, into the home to do the cooking. But Crane suspects Claudia is actually concealing a sweetheart. The servants, under the watchful eye of Mrs. Faulkner, get into all sorts of trouble. At a dinner given by Crane for his friends, Claudia learns that her parents are coming home, and forgets to serve the meals. Crane finds her in the kitchen and confesses his love for her, whereupon Claudia confesses the truth about her identity. Crane leads Claudia “out of the kitchen” and takes her to his palatial home.

The film was based upon a play of the same name, with Ruth Chatterton in the lead. According to at least one trade journal, Chatterton adopted an Irish brogue when she impersonated the cook.

Today’s audiences would no doubt look with disdain upon the idea of “white servants only,” but apparently that drove some of the comedy. A critic for The Film Daily wrote, “Any audience may be counted upon to laugh at Miss Clark’s perplexity when the dinner hour arrives and nothing is ready, at her hasty summons of Mammy Jackson and at her ingenious method of hiding the stout negress when she is on the verge of being discovered.”

Motion Picture News gave a mixed review, declaring “this piece drags interminably because it has no foundation to start with. The action discloses a series of exists and entrances through which the characters walk. They meander from the kitchen to the library and up to the attic and out to the back porch and back to the kitchen again. The concluding scene shows the hero inviting the proud family masquerading as servants to come out of the room of pots and pans and stay in the library, where they really belong.” But the same critic hastened to add “don’t gather from this that the production is ordinary. On the contrary, the piece is well constructed as regards continuity … the subtitles are quite effervescent with humor; the settings and locations are delightful, and the enactment of the characters is high class. Indeed, Miss Clark is a worth pantomimic successor to Miss Chatterton.”

Clara S. Beranger (shown below), who wrote the scenario, and was averaging about one scenario per month for Famous Players-Lasky, stated “It is not always that a screen adaptation of a stage play can satisfy a public familiar with the stage version, but in ‘Come Out of the Kitchen’ the general verdict seems to be that the screen version goes a step further even than the stage play in getting laughs and in holding the interest of the public. This was proven at every performance during the picture’s run on Broadway.”


I composed a short bio of Beranger which can be read here:



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On 1/9/2019 at 9:42 PM, scsu1975 said:


Closing out the first week in January, 1919, the Poli featured Alla Nazimova in Eye for Eye. Nazimova also produced and co-directed the film, which was released in late December, 1918. The film was based on the play “L’Occident.”

Plot: A Bedouin girl named Hassouna (guess who) is cast aside by her tribe as punishment for helping a captured French officer escape. She is picked up by another tribe and sold to a circus manager, as a dancer. The French officer attends the circus and recognizes the girl, and takes her to his home. There, Nazimova discovers that her relatives were killed by French forces under the command of the officer. Although she wants revenge for what has happened, she eventually falls in love with the officer, whose wife, conveniently, is found to be having an affair with another man.

Now I’m not sure how you can squeeze seven reels out of this. Nazimova performs the “Dance of the Veils.” Maybe this is it, although in the last still, she looks like she has about had it:



Charles Bryant plays the French officer, Captain de Cadiere. Co-director Albert Capellani hired some 250 marines from a French battleship, as he filmed the them landing at a North African port to fight back an incursion by “hostile Arabian tribes.” The marines also engaged in hand-to-hand combat. The circus scenes were replete with actual performers, including a fat woman, two-headed man, and living skeleton. Of course, there were also lions, elephants, camels, and tigers.

Margaret MacDonald, reviewer for Moving Picture World, wrote that Nazimova “has chosen to portray the beautiful Bedouin girl in a writhing, grimacing manner, which, carried through the length of seven reels of film, becomes wearysome.”

A complete 7-reel copy exists in the Library of Congress. A few versions of the story were produced later in France.

The bill at the Poli also featured a musical revue entitled “Mimic World.” As the Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer described it, the revue showcased “twenty fascinating, happy, laughing chorus girls, and five stunning girl principals and stars … to say nothing of the three chaperones who accompany the troupe … never in all the history had this city seen such beauty, or so much of it in one place.” In describing the girls, the reviewer noted “none of them seem over sixteen, some of them have cute curls hanging down their backs, and all of them look as if they had just been fitted out by a Fifth Avenue tailor. It was an eye opener to the men who saw them arrive … these little girlies are destined to become very popular during the week in this city.” Also on the bill was a one-armed pianist. I think he ended up being chased by Dr. Richard Kimble.

Thanks for posting this retrospective.  The reviewer accurately describes Nazimova's dancing; it wasn't technically very good but with her beautiful legs and expressions, she was utterly fascinating. 

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From June 15-18, the Poli ran The Fear Woman, starring Pauline Frederick as Helen Winthrop and Milton Sills as Robert Craig. Released on June 8, 1919, the film was five reels and is presumed lost.

Catch line: Are you a victim of hereditary weakness? Are you moved by constant fear that you will follow the paths of your forefathers?

Plot: Helen Winthrop is the only child of wealthy Harrison Winthrop, a widower and alcoholic. Helen is in love with Robert Craig, an attorney.


At their engagement party, Winthrop gets drunk. After the guests leave, he falls down the stairs and is killed.


He leaves behind a letter for Helen, explaining how the curse of drink has run in the family for generations. He urges her to think about how this might affect her children should she ever marry. So Helen breaks off her engagement.


Robert departs to lose himself in his work. Helen visits an old friend, Stella Scarr. When Stella deceives her husband Sidney, Helen shields her friend from scandal and is disgraced. Helen decides to live the good life, taking up tennis and horseback riding, and even flirting with a rotund boy named Bubbles.


Bubbles’ mother does not take kindly to this, and calls her attorney to nip this relationship in the bud. The attorney turns out to be Robert Craig. During a party at which Helen is awarded a trophy for winning a tennis tournament, Bubbles announces that he and Helen are engaged. Helen appears to be intoxicated. Bubbles’ mother then tries to break things up, by having Sidney Scarr accuse Helen of wrongdoing. Robert defends Helen’s honor. The guests leave, but Robert remains. Then Helen reveals that she really had grape juice, and had faked being drunk to see if Robert really loved her. The pair embrace.


This plot was a difficult one to reconstruct. Some of the synopses I read were confusing, and even some of the character names were inconsistent. One article mentioned that Robert Craig had children, and that Helen was going to “try out” marriage with him to see if it would work. That might explain the still below.


Critics were not kind. A reviewer for Motion Picture News wrote “here, as in other pictures of this character the parties responsible have shown a measure of fear themselves in failing to carry out the absorbing theme of heredity. One looks in vain after the third reel for a semblance of the inherited fear which prompted the introductory chapters, and instead one finds a time-worn pattern of a woman who very nearly sacrifices her good name to permit a friend to emerge from a certain entangling alliance.” Writing for Photoplay, another reviewer offered this assessment:  “Rather sordid narrative on liquor’s baneful hangover from generation to generation, with a stress on sex. Pauline Frederick does as well as she can with the material.” The Film Daily offered these remarks:  “Just “movie” stuff of no great appeal; doesn’t hold to any one line and is inconsistent in many respects; quite draggy in spots … Superficial and exaggerated plot permitting of little forceful characterization; starts out to prove that fear of inheriting fondness for drink is superstition, and gets nowhere.” Finally Variety chimed in: “What threatened to be a good lesson on the curse of liquor turned around and laughed at the idea of heredity – but it was only a half-hearted laugh, no punch whatsoever in the entire story. The fear woman appeared to be afraid of everything.” However, the reviewer did gush over Pauline Frederick’s outfits, noting that the star wore a “black and white checked skirt and black fitted coat sweater” for the tennis tournament, and a “velvet draped skirt attached to a plain broad girdle bodice and an evening toilette mostly of tulle.”

Frederick is pictured below in that outfit, which she described as follows: “It is of turquoise chiffon velvet, with the front and back of the skirt draped up to the bodice – nothing unusual about that, you see; but the striking touch is that the sleeves are made of strings of cut crystals, held with a band a velvet, and the crystals are also used, veiled with tulle, for the bodice.” I don’t understand any of this, but she does look great in it. So apparently this film turned out to be more of a fashion show for the star than serious entertainment.


Frederick had a black Pomeranian named Stocker (shown below), who usually accompanied her to and from the Goldwyn studios. She cast the dog in several of her films, including this one.


Cinematographer Edward Gheller tried out some new photographic effects for the film. He found a way to eliminate the glare which occurred in front of the camera when the lens was focused for a long distance shot. He accomplished this by increasing the light behind the camera and softening the effect directly in front of it.

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Your mention of the cinematographer experimenting with effects is a good reminder that moviemaking itself was still a work in progress, with a long way ahead of it to go.

I'm wondering if "Cooled by tons of ice." is a literal or a figurative boast. Was commercial air conditioning already a reality for movie theaters, I wonder, or was this something more primitive?

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

I'm wondering if "Cooled by tons of ice." is a literal or a figurative boast. Was commercial air conditioning already a reality for movie theaters, I wonder, or was this something more primitive?

According to a 1917 article, the Poli was "cooled by intake fans forcing air over ice chilled pipes."

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From June 19-21, 1919, the Poli ran I’ll Get Him Yet¸ a comedy starring Dorothy Gish as Susy Jones and Richard Barthelmess as “Scoop” McCreedy. Released on May 25, 1919, the film was five reels and is presumed lost.

Catch line: In the olden days it was considered unmaidenly for a girl to pursue a man. But, dear me, dear me, we are very modern in 1919.

Plot: Bradford Warrington Jones, who runs a trolley company and is looking to avoid income taxes, transfers his $250,000 line to his daughter, Susy Faraday Jones.


Susy decides to run the line for real. But her managing is interfered with by Harold Packard, a rich young man, and Craig, her superintendent, both of whom are romantically interested in her. Susy, however, is bored by both of them. To improve the trolley schedule, she removes one of the stops along the way, a town called Rivera. At her party thrown at her home, she meets reporter “Scoop” McCreedy, and takes an interest in him. In short order they become romantically involved, but Scoop chooses a bad time to ask Susy’s father for permission to marry her. Jones has just received his income tax statement and he thinks he has been sent a bill for World War I. He accuses Scoop of being a fortune hunter and orders him out of the house. Susy phones Scoop but he tells her he will never marry a rich girl.


“I’ll get him yet,” she declares, leaving her house, determine to land Scoop. She follows him to a lunch wagon, much to his chagrin.



Eventually Scoop caves in.


Susy tells him that her father has thrown her out. She promises she will never accept any money from her father – but she fails to tell Scoop she has millions of her own. Packard, who owns the paper for which Scoop works, fires the young reporter. Susy and Scoop get married and buy a little cottage in Rivera. There, the citizens are up in arms because their trolley stop has been removed. The townspeople decide to start a newspaper, and hire Scoop as an editor. All he knows is that the owner of the trolley line as initials “S.F.” – so Scoop refers to the owner as “Skinflint.” Now Susy is caught in the middle. To complicate matters, Scoops is exceedingly jealous of Packard, Craig, and Hamilton, who is Susy’s lawyer. When Craig comes to her home with some railroad orders for her signature, she rushes him out of the house, promising to meet him at the grocery store. She tells her husband that she needs to go out for eggs, but right after she leaves, Scoop discovers a basket of eggs in the house. Scoop tails Susy and spots her talking to Craig. He returns home to get his gun. When Susy arrives, he tells her there are two bullets in the gun – one for her, and one for him.


Susy manages to temporarily stave off trouble. The citizens of Rivera are determined to call on the trolley officials and force them to stop cars in the town. They make Susy spokesperson, which puts her in the position of demanding the railroad rescind an order which she put into place. In the finale, Craig, Packard, and Hamilton all arrive at the cottage separately on business, each unaware of the others’ presence.


To keep Scoop from discovering them, she hides one in a closet, another in a cupboard, and another under a couch. Scoop arrives, and smells a rat. He pretends to leave the cottage, but actually just slams the gate. He then returns to the cottage just as the three men are coming out of their hiding places. He draws his gun.


Susy’s father arrives, and Susy confesses to Scoop that she is the owner of the rail line. All ends well, and Scoop becomes manager of the rail line.


This sounds like a good farce (well, maybe not the gun bit), and it did garner good reviews. Motion Picture News wrote “Miss Gish doles out many a laugh by her “little disturber” type of playing and her ebullient spirits. Miss Gish is, by the way, one of the few actresses who can be cute and get away with it.” Variety wrote that the film was “a blimp of a comedy that will blow you out to sea and carry all your troubles with it. …That Dorothy Gish gal is some champ when it comes to putting over mannerisms on the screen and getting all the laughs in the world for the cute little touches and tricks that she possesses.”

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Beginning June 22, 1919, the Poli ran Sunnyside, a two-to-three-reel comedy starring Charlie Chaplin and Edna Purviance. On the 26th, a feature film was added to the bill, but Sunnyside continued running alongside it until the 29th. Sunnyside was released on June 15, 1919. There are several copies on YouTube.

Brief Plot: Charlie works at a hotel in the town of Sunnyside. His boss treats him like crap, and Charlie gets into a few mildly amusing situations. Charlie is also smitten with Edna, but then a stranger arrives in town and gives Edna the eye. Who will win out?

Review: I’m not a fan of Chaplin, although I don’t dislike him. He just doesn’t make me laugh, unless you enjoy seeing him kicked in the a** over and over.


I sat through this fairly short film (it runs around 32 minutes) and didn’t change my expression the whole time. In one scene, Charlie falls off a cow, gets knocked unconscious, then dreams he is dancing with four fairies. I had no idea how this tied in with the plot.


Edna Purviance does a nice job as the romantic interest, and her serious scenes with Charlie are touching. The film could have used more of this, and less of the wacky situations.


This was not a bad film by any means; just not my cup of tea. Along with the copies on YouTube, there is also about an eight-minute sequence, with Charlie shaving someone. At least one contemporaneous reviewer mentioned seeing a version over 40 minutes, so the scene was probably included in 1919 and cut later. Some newspapers reported that Chaplin spent seven months and $1,000,000 making the film, and had actually filmed sixteen reels before whittling down the released product. Chaplin is shown below, directing Tom Wilson, who plays his boss:


For trivia fans, there is a scene showing a man reading a Hebrew newspaper (see photo below). The newspaper is the Jewish Daily Forward, which was published in Chicago. When newspaper officials discovered their paper was highlighted in the film, they were delighted and decided to cash in. They printed thousands of advertising cards, with the movie scene recreated on one side. The other side of the card featured the phrase “In Reel Life as in Real Life, The Forward, a Jewish newspaper, takes part in Charlie Chaplin’s latest hit, ‘Sunnyside.’” Supposedly this sparked some interest in Chicago’s Jewish community, boosting attendance for the film.



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From June 26-29, 1919, the Poli main feature was The Lady of Red Butte, a western starring Dorothy Dalton as Faro Fan. The five-reel film was released on May 18, 1919, and is presumed lost. Charlie Chaplin’s short Sunnyside continued to play on the bill.

Advertising line: The story of a fanatic who went out to redeem the world and who himself was redeemed by the wonderful faith and love for the world of a woman whom he knew only as the keeper of a gambling hall – the Lady of Red Butte.

Plot:  Webster Smith, a young theological student, is working on a thesis on religious intolerance. But he loses his mind under the strain and becomes a religious fanatic, setting out to reform the world. Meanwhile, in the town of Red Butte, Faro Fan runs a saloon and dance hall.



Faro simultaneously takes care of several homeless children, including a cripple named Sugar Plum.




Smith arrives in Red Butte, weak and thirsty from his travels. Faro tends to his health. As he recovers, he cries out to a crowd “All ye who are sick in mind and body, come and be healed.”


Faro, thinking of Sugar Plum, decides she will take the child to Smith. But when Smith learns Faro runs the saloon, he curses her and refuses to help the child. Smith builds a church in Red Butte. A renegade named Spanish Ed, suffering from a contagious disease, arrives in town. Faro tries to take care of him, but the disease spreads to her wards and through the town. Smith, standing in front of his church, declares that God is going to purge the town with fire, and that only his church will be left standing. Delicate Hanson, who owns a saloon, tries to disinfect his saloon with alcohol but accidentally sets the building on fire, and with it, the town.



Faro rushes into the street to denounce Smith; at that moment, the wind turns the flames, destroying Smith’s church and saving the saloon.


Smith declares that “the wicked shall not survive,” and accosts Faro in her home. In the ensuing struggle, Faro strikes Smith on the head, and the man regains his senses. Smith joins with Faro in nursing her sick children. When the supplies are exhausted, he starts on a trip across the desert for more food. Spanish Ed, who is now crazed by the fever, breaks into Faro’s home.


Faro manages to get Spanish Ed’s gun away from him, but he threatens to return, saying “sometime you have to sleep, then I get you.” He does return, and while he is trying to creep in through the back window, Smith is banging on the front door. Faro, thinking Smith is the Spaniard, fires at him, but only inflicts a flesh wound. She collapses, and then, upon awakening, learns that Spanish Ed fell to his death. Faro now realizes that she loves Smith, and her love has replaced the fanaticism that had occupied Smith’s heart.


A village two blocks long was constructed and used for Red Butte. The fire scene cost about fifteen thousand dollars, with wind machines driving the flames. Producer Thomas Ince made sure the actors were trained for days, and the Santa Monica Fire Department was on scene, along with men carrying fire extinguishers to keep the fire contained.

Contemporaneous reviews were favorable, although, as with many of Dalton’s films, critics seemed more interested in what she was wearing. Motion Picture News wrote “there is a striking picture of Miss Dalton in semi-western garb that will get attention to your advertising. There is another of her wearing the sombrero and a smile on her face that is equally fetching.” I do have to admit she looks pretty good in most of these stills.

Before I began this thread, I had never heard of Dalton. I am beginning to appreciate her work more and more with each new film that comes up. It’s a shame so many of her films are lost. But at least some of her work still survives, such as Moran of the Lady Letty, in which she played opposite Valentino.

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From June 30-July 2, the Poli ran Square Deal Sanderson, a western starring William S. Hart as the title character. The film was released on June 8, 1919. A complete, five-reel version is held in the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Plot: Square Deal Sanderson is a cowpuncher at the Lazy R ranch in Arizona. While searching for a man who stole a horse, he discovers the man has been shot in the back. He sees the assailant rifling through the man’s pockets, when the victim revives long enough to shoot his attacker. Both men die by the time Sanderson reaches them. He finds a letter in the possession of the horse thief, written by a woman in New Mexico to her brother. The woman, Mary Bransford, has begged her brother to hurry to her aid, because a man named Alva Dale is trying to steal her ranch from her for water rights. Sanderson reads that the woman has not seen her brother since infancy. He decides to help her, and rides to the Okar Valley where Mary is battling Dale for possession of her land. Sanderson pretends he is Bill Bransford, Mary’s murdered brother. He arrives in town just in time to save a drifter named Barney Owen from a lynch mob. Mary is overjoyed at seeing her supposed brother.


Dale’s partner, Maison, discovers that the man they sent to kill Mary’s brother has disappeared, and suspects that Sanderson is an impostor. The pair set up Sanderson. One of Dale’s killers tries to shoot Sanderson, but the cowpuncher beats him to the draw and shoots the man dead.


Dale learns that Sanderson is going to build a reservoir, so he sends some men to poison the water holes and kill the cattle. Sanderson, who has been imprisoned, is sprung by Owen, who pulls out the iron bars in the cell with the aid of a cable and mule team.


Dale tells Mary that Sanderson is not her brother. He attacks her, but Sanderson comes to her aid. Rather than kill Dale in front of Mary, he tells Dale the two will meet in the open soon. Sanderson confesses to Mary who he really is, but tells Mary her brother died a heroic death. The next day, Sanderson learns that three man have been killed and three thousand head of cattle poisoned by Dale. He sets out for vengeance. First, he finds Maison and forces him to pay $90,000 for the poisoned cattle.


Then he gets Maison to confess his part in the crime in front of a judge. Dale sends more men to kill Sanderson, who kills them all. In a stunning development, Owen reveals that he is Mary’s brother Bill. Dale manages to catch Sanderson and Mary unawares and kidnaps them.


Mary gives the $90,000 to Dale so he will spare Sanderson’s life.


But Dale attacks her. Sanderson, who is tied up in another room, burns the rope holding his hands by holding it over a fire. He then throws a rope over the partition catching Dale’s head in the noose, then draws him up against the side of the wall. Sanderson then takes Dale prisoner. Sanderson confesses his love for Mary.


Future director Lloyd Bacon played Barney Owen.

Hart described his character of Sanderson as follows: “I put into the part of Square Deal all the vim and energy there is in me and, I believe, my friends will endorse my belief that the character fits me like a glove. You see, Square Deal is a Westerner who is brave and daring. I like such characterizations because they appeal to me as a man, and my friends like them as well. When Square Deal, who is a rough cowboy, learns after a tragedy of the plains that a defenseless girl is battling to save her ranch from a powerful and influential scoundrel, he does what any brave man would do in the circumstances – go to her aid.”

Film Fun reported on a rumor that Hart and his leading lady Anne Little were going to collaborate on writing a love song. Supposedly the inspiration came while scouting locations for the film. “The trouble is,” explained Little, “methods of wooing on the desert are so restricted. You can’t bask in the shade of the yucca, because it doesn’t give shade; you can’t sit down and talk it over on the cushion of a cactus, because it’s darn prickly sitting; and if you offered your adored one a banquet or sage brush, she’d probably send you a healthy rattlesnake in return. Anyhow, you can’t find a word that will rhyme with ‘yucca.’” “Oh yes,” replied Hart, “there’s ‘stuck-a.’”

Edwin Wallock, who played the villainous Maison, was born Edwin Wack, and graduated from St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas in 1898. In both 1896 and 1897, he won the College’s Elocution medal. Primarily a stage actor, he married stage actress Allie Spooner. In 1982, Spooner’s grandson Jim Watt (a playwright and English professor at Butler University) gave an interview to The Indianapolis News, discussing Wallock and Spooner. “He was the romantic lead, and she was the ingénue … and they married and went to Hollywood where he appeared in silent films … he was the heavy in some Tom Mix pictures. But he didn’t feel he could have a career in movies. He was getting along, about 40 or so, too late for romantic leads. And he had a lovely speaking voice, useless in silent films. He opened a drama school in Burbank*, and he was successful enough to buy a home and retire.”

*Wallock taught public speaking at the Elisa Ryan School of Drama in Los Angeles.

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From July 3-6, the Poli featured The Busher, starring Charles Ray, Colleen Moore, and John Gilbert. Released on May 18, 1919, the film is five reels long and is available on YouTube. I believe TCM has also shown it.

Brief Plot: Ben Harding pitches for the local Brownsville baseball team.


When a major league team (the Pink Sox) is forced to make a stop in Brownsville, they set up an exhibition with Ben’s team. Ben impresses the Pink Sox’ manager, and, in due time, Ben is signed to a contract to play for them. He says goodbye to his girl, Mazie.


But his time in the limelight turns him into a smug person, and he shows an interest in another woman. Meanwhile, Mazie is being wooed by Jim Blair. Ben is eventually tossed off the Pink Sox.


He returns home, disgraced. Can he salvage his reputation and win back his girl? Of course he can … this is a Charles Ray film.

Review: This is a pleasant film, runs around 55 minutes, and gives a nice glimpse of how baseball was played 100 years ago. It was interesting to see the umpire standing behind the pitcher. As someone who once umpired a little league game from that position, I can tell you that you can’t see a damn thing and it’s murder trying to call balls and strikes. Ray makes an appealing hero, and Colleen Moore is very cute as his girl. John Gilbert, billed as “Jack Gilbert,” is so young as to appear unrecognizable.


Sid Grauman booked the film for his Los Angeles theater. To promote it, he staged a miniature baseball game, using four players and one umpire. The scene opened with players warming up, and then the umpire stepped up to a piano and started playing a ballad entitled “Smile Awhile.” The four players joined in, revealing themselves to be a singing quartet. Of course, they sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” This ended the prologue, and the film was show immediately afterwards. Below is a photo of Grauman (in the foreground facing the stage) directing his players:



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"Richards & Simmons in Songs and Dances" - perhaps sweatin' to the oldies?

"Orben & Dixie - Breezes from the South" - singing? dancing? maybe I don't want to know where these breezes came from...


Soldiers and sailors get in free...I didn't know that type of promotion was going on back then, as well.

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

"Richards & Simmons in Songs and Dances" - perhaps sweatin' to the oldies?

"Orben & Dixie - Breezes from the South" - singing? dancing? maybe I don't want to know where these breezes came from...


Soldiers and sailors get in free...I didn't know that type of promotion was going on back then, as well.

Richards and Simmons were a male and female song-and-dance act, but that's about all I could find on them.

Orben and Dixie were a blackface pair, described as a "man and woman who do black and tan and southern negro acts." They were sometimes billed as "The Jack and Queen of Spades."

No doubt the free admission for service members was a Fourth of July promotion, but none of the other Bridgeport theaters appeared to be offering that. 

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From July 7-9, 1919, the feature at the Poli was Secret Service, starring Robert Warwick. Released on June 15, 1919, the film was seven reels and is presumed lost.

Plot: During the Civil War, the Northern forces devise a plan to capture Richmond. Captain Lewis Dumont of the Union army is going to enter Richmond in disguise. He will take a position as a telegraph operator in the Confederate War Office. His plan is to send orders to the rebels to move their forces, which will weaken their defense and enable the Union troops to overtake the city. Dressed as a Confederate Captain and calling himself Thorne, Dumont sets off for Richmond. Along the way, he saves the life of Howard Varney, a wounded Southern officer. The grateful officer takes Dumont to meet his family.


Varney introduces Dumont to his sister Edith, and the two fall in love.


Benton Arrelsford, who has a romantic interest in Edith, is the head of the Confederate Secret Service. He is both jealous and suspicious of Dumont. Arrelsford sends orders for Dumont to leave Richmond, but Edith intercedes, and Dumont is placed in charge of the War Telegraph Office. Dumont’s brother Henry allows himself to be captured so that he can give the word to his brother when the false orders are to be sent to the Southern troops. Arrelsford allows Henry to escape, and tracks him to the Varney mansion, where Henry and Lewis come face to face. Henry whispers to Lewis brother to shoot him, to throw Arrelsford off track.



When Lewis refuses, Henry shoots himself to make it appear his brother has apprehended him. Henry dies from his gunshot wound, which clears his brother to pass the false orders through the telegraph office.



Arrelsford finally convinces his superiors that Dumont is a spy. Dumont is arrested at the Varney mansion.




He is court martialed, and sentenced to be shot. The Varneys intercede and Dumont’s sentence is commuted to imprisonment. After the war ends, Dumont and Edith are united.

The film was based upon a play of the same name, written by William Gillette. The play premiered at the Garrick Theatre in New York City on October 5, 1898, with Gillette in the leading role.

Robert Warwick’s presence was promoted heavily, with good reason. He had served in World War I as a Captain in the Army, and had achieved the rank of Major in the Army Reserve. “Don’t paint me as a hero,” Warwick said in an interview. “I only did my little bit – and I was just one of more than two million Americans over there.” Warwick had a long career in films and television, primarily in character parts. But here in 1919, he is quite handsome and well-suited for a leading man role. Warwick’s leading lady was played by Wanda Hawley. The cast also included familiar names like Theodore Roberts (as a Confederate officer) and Raymond Hatton (as Howard Varney). Irving Cummings, as Benton Arrelsford, eventually became a director, working well into the sound era.

Casson Ferguson, who portrayed a member of the Varney family, and his wife, actress Catherine Mallon, died two days apart in 1929. In early February of that year, the 38-year-old Ferguson contracted pneumonia. Mallon quit work to nurse her husband. But on February 12, Ferguson died. Two days later, his wife, aged 24, died of the same disease. A double funeral service was held for the pair.

Picture-Play Magazine had some fun with the film, publishing a “family album” with cast members. Below are some of the actors, including some not mentioned in the plot: Robert Warwick (Lewis Dumont), Wanda Hawley (Edith Varney), Shirley Mason (Caroline Mitford), Casson Ferguson (Wilfred Varney) and Irving Cummings (Benton Arrelsford), and Irving Cummings again.






Two actors appeared in blackface as servants in the Varney household. Pictured below are Guy Oliver as Jonas (with Hatton and Warwick), and Lillian Leighton as Martha (with Warwick):




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From July 10-13, the Poli ran When Doctors Disagree, starring Mabel Normand and Walter Hiers. Released on May 25, 1919, the film was five reels and is presumed lost. Some of the stills could not be placed in context.

Plot:  Millie Martin thinks that she, and not the Mayor’s daughter, should be Queen of May. Millie brawls with the mayor’s daughter and the pair end up in a pool of water. Millie gets tangled up with ribbons while dragging the Maypole through the woods. Her antics make her the life of the party.




Millie accompanies her father on her first train ride, and steals some fruit from a peddler. When she develops a toothache, she sees this as a chance to flirt with a doctor, John Turner, on board. But Turner is only posing as a doctor. In reality, he is actually a carpet-layer fleeing from an imaginary crime, and wants nothing to do with Millie. When her ploy fails, her father attempts an ole-fashioned remedy, forcing a wad of chewing tobacco into her mouth. When the train makes a sharp curve, followed by a sudden lunch, Millie swallows the tobacco.


So the “doctor” is called in and orders an operation, but says it cannot be performed on the train, thus hoping his part will be finished. The train stops at the next station, and Millie is sent to a sanitarium, with Turner forced along as well.




Millie escapes from the sanitarium by sliding down a rope made of twisted bed sheets. She escapes in a Ford but gets stuck in the middle of a creek, before she manages to extricate herself.

This was a difficult plot to reconstruct (including the conclusion) since I could find very little information about the film. Clearly there must have been plenty of slapstick involved. Based on newspaper reviews, there were also scenes of Mabel swinging from a tree, and jumping over a picket fence. I could not fit these into the plot. Although the newspapers praised the comedy, most of the trade journals were lukewarm at best.

Ironically, Mabel Normand died in a sanitarium, succumbing in 1930 to tuberculosis, after a long battle with the disease. Her career had its ups and down, and was tarnished by the murder of Director William Desmond Taylor. Normand was the last person to see Taylor alive. About a month before her death, Normand said “I hope to God, that before I die, they find the slayer of William Desmond Taylor. They say that they know I didn’t do it, yet they always want to question me about it. They keep quiet until they see me then they say ‘who killed William Desmond Taylor?’ I hope to God they find the person before I die.” She never got her wish.

Walter Hiers, a rotund comedian who played John Turner, was being groomed as another Fatty Arbuckle … another irony, since Arbuckle and Normand had made many shorts together. Hiers died three years after Normand.

Accompanying the feature was Shoulder Arms, starring Charlie Chaplin. Released in 1918, the film is available on YouTube, and runs about 45 minutes. Despite my blasé attitude towards Chaplin, I did enjoy this film. Charlie plays a soldier in the trenches during World War I and gets involved in some funny situations. He tosses some limburger cheese into the German trenches, scattering the enemy. At one point, disguised as a tree, he takes out several Germans. Edna Purviance, as a French girl, makes an appearance about 15 minutes before the film ends, and she gets in on some of the slapstick. One of my favorite scenes was when Charlie, disguised as a German, hugs his captured buddy, then beats on him every time the Germans look.



Charlie’s buddy is played by his brother, Sydney. Sydney also pulls double duty, playing the Kaiser. For anyone who has never seen a Chaplin film, this would be a nice introduction.

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From July 14-16, 1919, the Poli ran True Heart Susie, starring Lillian Gish and Robert Harron. Directed by D. W. Griffith, the film was released on June 1, 1919, and is available on YouTube, running just under 90 minutes.

Brief Plot:  Susie is in love with William Jenkins, although he doesn’t seem to notice. When William decides he wants to go to college, Susie sells the family cow and sends the money to William, making him believe it is from another benefactor. When William finishes college, he returns and takes up the position of minister. Susie believes she will marry William, but he takes up with a girl named Bettina and eventually marries her. Bettina is no good.


Yet, Susie does nothing to break them up, and even lies to protect Bettina. Will William finally learn the truth about his wife, and will Susie finally land him?

Review: This is a solid film, helped along tremendously by the fine performances turned in by Gish and Harron. The pair had previously teamed together in several Griffith films, and this is another opportunity for the two to shine. Gish is lovely, Harron very handsome as the boy with no clue.


Griffith uses the same trick he used in earlier films, making Harron age later in the movie by giving him a moustache. It is hackneyed, but it works. The close-ups of Gish are remarkable. In one scene, she keeps opening and closing her eyes when she spies William and Bettina together, not wanting to see what happens, but still curious enough to take a slight peek.


Clarine Seymour, as Bettina, is also very good. This movie reunited much of the cast of Griffith’s The Girl Who Stayed at Home, which I reviewed earlier in this thread. For Harron and Seymour, they each had only two films left in their careers before their premature deaths.

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9 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

From July 14-16, 1919, the Poli ran True Heart Susie, starring Lillian Gish and Robert Harron. Directed by D. W. Griffith, the film was released on June 1, 1919, and is available on YouTube, running just under 90 minutes.

I remember loving this film a great, great deal. But I don't remember much right now. It was some years ago from NetF. Thanks for mentioning YouTube.

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From July 17-19, the Poli ran Other Men’s Wives, starring Dorothy Dalton as Cynthia Brock and Holmes Herbert as Fenwick Flint. Released on June 15, 1919, the film was five reels and is presumed lost. I could not find too many stills.

Plot:  Cynthia Brock, a society girl, becomes penniless after her father dies. Fenwick Flint, a wealthy bachelor, offers her $40,000 to break up the marriage between James and Viola Gordon, so that Flint can marry Mrs. Gordon.  


Brock accepts, and eventually has Gordon hooked. But Cynthia ends up falling for Gordon, and backs out of the agreement. When the truth emerges, Gordon allows his wife to divorce him, and Cynthia returns Flint’s money. Ultimately, Cynthia and Gordon get married.


A reviewer for Photoplay wrote “in the end, of course, the hes and the shes get the mates they most deserve, and conveniently without any adulterous or otherwise dangerous complications.”

Variety wrote “too many closeups of Miss Dalton’s dimples and splendid ivories show an evident desire to feature her attractions rather than her serious acting.” The article continued, not surprisingly, by mentioning her attire:  “a long straight bodice of irregular length of iridescent cloth, a skirt of intermittent bands of light and dark sequins – the whole mounted on a metallic foundation, made a handsome evening gown. A lovely gold cloth trimmed with flounces of gold lace seemed familiar and a draped satin costume with corset top outlined with tiny roses, the top of decollet built up with tulle were her most attractive toilettes.” This is a photo of Dalton (with Holmes Herbert) in the former outfit, followed by a photo in the latter outfit (if I understand fashion correctly):



One of the other attractions at the Poli was Frank Mullane (pictured below), billed as “The Irish Senator.”


Mullane was also billed as “The Irish Hebrew” and “The Irish-American-Hebrew.” He was a singer (baritone or tenor, depend upon which reports you read). He also told stories, and used various ethnic accents. His act seemed to go over well, based upon newspapers accounts. In 1913, The San Francisco Examiner published a few of his “jokes.” One went like this (try it with a Yiddish accent):

“I’m a bad guy,” said Cohen to Meyers. “I’m a tough guy.”

“How’s that, Cohen?” asked Meyers. “How bad are you?”

“I’m a murderer,” said Cohen with a scowl.

“Get out; vot do you mean, Cohen?”

“Vell, I will tell you, Meyers,” began Cohen. “Der odder night I come home late from vork, und I find my vife sitting on der front stoop mit another feller. Vot do I do but take oud my pistols und shoot the feller.”

“My goodness; dat is terrible,” said Meyers, in alarm. “But Cohen, bad as it is, it could be worse.”

“How could it be worse, Meyers?”

Meyers looked Cohen over carefully and then said:

“I will tell you how it could be worse, Cohen – I was sitting on der stoop de night before.”

My uncle (who was Italian) once told a version of this story, with the ethnicities changed. Either way, it stinks.

Mullane died at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn on June 25, 1946, after a brief illness. He was 68.

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From July 21-23, 1919, the feature at the Poli was The Third Degree¸ starring Alice Joyce. The film was released on May 19, 1919, at seven reels, and is presumed lost.

Plot:  Howard Jeffries Jr. and Robert Underwood are college roommates. Underwood constantly borrows money from Jeffries but never pays it back. Underwood introduces Jeffries to Annie Sands, a waitress.


Jeffries marries her, and thinks the pair will make a home with his father, Howard Sr. The father has just remarried, and is very stern with his son. He investigates Annie’s background, and, although he finds nothing dishonest about her, his meddling sends his son and Annie out of the home. Jeffries is disinherited.


When he cannot find work, he attempts to collect his money from Underwood, who is now an art dealer. But Jeffries, who is intoxicated, falls asleep at Underwood’s studio. When he awakens, he finds Underwood dead from a gunshot. Jeffries is arrested for the crime, given “the third degree,” and signs a confession under duress.


Annie refuses to believe her husband is guilty, and searches for a woman who had visited Underwood just before his death. She obtains help from Richard Brewster, a lawyer for the senior Jeffries. Annie learns that the woman she’s trying to find is the new Mrs. Jeffries. Mrs. Jeffries shows Annie a threatening letter she had received from Underwood.


The art dealer had demanded money from her, or else he would commit suicide. She explained that she went to his studio that night and rejected his demands; Underwood had then killed himself. At Jeffries trial, Annie takes the stand and claims that she was the one who visited Underwood, covering for Mrs. Jeffries. Jeffries is acquitted, and Mrs. Jeffries confesses the truth to her husband.


The film was based upon a play of the same title, written by Charles Klein. Hedda Hopper, in the role of Mrs. Jeffries, made an early screen appearance. Gladden James, as Howard Jeffries Jr., worked into the sound era, but was reduced to character parts. He spent some time as an advertising manager for The Burbank News, about a year before his death from leukemia in 1948. British-born Herbert Evans, as Underwood, made his last film in the early 1950s, and died in 1952. He also spent several years as an amusement park manager at Coney Island.

Director Tom Terriss had some acting credits to his name. He appeared as Charlie Chaplin’s romantic rival in Sunnyside, a film I discussed earlier in this thread. Terriss is shown below (at left, looking over his shoulder) directing an exterior shot for The Third Degree.



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