Saturday, September 15, 2012

Two more shorts

Coming up tonight at about 9:40 PM, or just after Sunrise, is Between the Acts at the Opera This is a 1926 short from Vitaphone, which of course means that despite the early date, it's not a silent movie. 1926 is the year that Don Juan was released, generally considered the first feature film with a synchronized score and sound effects, although it has no spoken dialogue. Along with the release of Don Juan, Warner Bros. released a number of Vitaphone one-reelers. There's one of Will Hays speaking about sound film, one of classical violinist Efrem Zimbalist Sr., and one of some then-famous opera singer doing a number from I Pagliacci. When I saw the title of tonight's short I figured it might be the Pagliacci short, but that's not the case. Instead, it's a recording of a vaudeville number starring the Howard Brothers (who, as far as I know are no relation to the Three Stooges' Howard). The Howards were apparently famous back in the day, but one of the many many entertainers who have since become forgotten thanks to the advent of sound film. The IMDb reviews claim this isn't any great shakes, but it's still an interesting historical document.

Tomorrow morning around 7:40 AM, after The Last of Mrs. Cheyney, TCM is showing Lest We Forget. This one is a one-reel salute to actor/wit Will Rogers, who had died about a year earlier in a plane crash in Alaska. Several actors who knew Rogers, notably Gary Cooper, speak about him, and there are a couple of clips from Rogers' movies. The short ends with Robert Taylor asking moviegoers to donate to the Will Rogers Memorial Fund, which is still a going concern.

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