Friday, December 14, 2012

Shorts delayed again

So I sat down to watch Illicit with Barbara Stanwyck yesterday afternoon. Parts of it are interesting, but the story as a whole is not the greatest. What I didn't realize is that following the movie, TCM was going to air the two-reeler The Clyde Mystery. This was the first of a series of two-reel mysteries that SS Van Dine wrote for Warners/Vitaphone in the early 1930s. Van Dine created Philo Vance in the mid-1920s, and several of the Vance stories were turned into feature-length movies in the 1930s as well.

As for The Clyde Mystery, I have to say I don't think the two-reeler is that well suited to mysteries, especially the way this one was written. What was really a hoot though, was seeing that Donald Meek was the main character, and the man who solved the mystery that the police couldn't solve. One of these days, I'll have to use his photo in a post. Also in the cast was Lyle Talbot, except that his name was spelled "Lysle" in the credits. Unfortunately, The Clyde Mystery isn't available on DVD as an extra to anything. It's not in the TCM Media Room (unsurprisingly; I doubt rights issues would allow them to put an entire two-reeler in the Media Rooom), and not even at Youtube. (Another of the SS Van Dine two-reelers is, however.)

The main point, though, was that when I went to TCM's schedule page last night, The Clyde Mystery wasn't listed on the schedule for yesterday. There weren't any shorts listed for today either, and only two for Saturday. (One is a featurette about the Spanish-filmed scenes in Doctor Zhivago; I don't remember the other offhand.) However, when I looked at yesterday's schedule page around 1:00 PM, there was The Carey Mystery. Not that I relly need yesterday's schedule, although it might be useful had I not seen the opening of the short to find out what short I had just seen -- something which does happen from time to time. For a while, TCM had only been keeping one day's worth of its "Previous Day" links active, but it seems as if the old daily schedules are now retained for longer. Just now I tried (notice the date in ISO 8601 format), which brought up Deborah Kerr's day in this year's Summer Under the Stars. Clicking the "Previous Day" link brought up Ginger Rogers' day, which includes several shorts.

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