Friday, October 28, 2005

Notes from the library

Earlier this summer, I ran across a 1925 clipping regarding The Street of Forgotten Men while looking through Neil Hamilton's scrapbooks at the New York Public Library. (Actor Neil Hamilton - best known as Commissoner Gordon on the 1960's BatmanTV series - was featured in The Street of Forgotten Men, which also happened to be Louise Brooks' first film!) And just now, at the end of October, I got around to borrowing the microfilm of the Wilmington Morning News, the Delaware newspaper in which that clipping appeared. I tracked down a few additional articles and advertisements. REMARKABLY, that film was paired with a (unknown to me) documentary short about the then recent Atlantic City beauty pageant. Of course, as any Brooks' fan knows, that beauty pageant - one of the early Miss America contests - provided the background subject for the next Louise Brooks' film,The American Venus, which was released just a few months later.

This is exciting. Who knows what is on that short film - perhaps some brief footage about the making of the feature film? (I doubt that Brooks was present in Atlantic City. But who knows . . . .) I also ran across a brief article entitled, "Beauty Pageant Showing At Stanley Theatres." The article reads thus: "The thousands of Wilmingtonians who did not get the opportunity to be present in Atlantic City during the Beauty Pageant just completed there on Friday will see the principal scenes of the entire celebration in film at the Queen, Arcadia and Majestic Theaters beginning today. The scenes were especially 'shot' by the Stanley cameraman for the theaters of this organization." I'll pay anyone a dollar if they can provide me with a copy of that short film. I think it is titled Atlantic City Beauty Pageant.

Today, five inter-library loans were waiting for me. I also looked at some Denishawn material from the New Haven Journal-Courier (from New Haven, Connecticut) and the Wisconsin State Journal (from Madison, Wisconsin). Each yielded some long, detail-filled reviews and a few neat advertisements.

And, as well, I went through a number of months of two "other" American newspapers, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (from the Territory of Hawaii) and the Alaska Daily Empire (also then a territory, pre-statehood). My search through the Star-Bulletin was based on my having earlier found film reviews in the Honolulu Advertiser (microfilm of which I stumbled upon in Sacramento, California. The Star-Bulletin microfilm came on loan from the Library of Congress). I checked my Advertiser dates in the Star-Bulletin and came up with a  couple of new reviews.

However, the Alaska Daily Empire (from Juneau) yielded nothing. I skimmed nearly six months of this newspaper, which only ran only eight pages on a daily basis. I found advertisements and short, generic articles about films showing in town - but none featuring Louise Brooks. There were at least two or three movie theaters in Juneau in the late 1920's - and they showed motion pictures starring the likes of Buster Keaton and Erich von Stroheim. Apparently, Juneau didn't show many or any Paramount films. One day, I hope to find or acquire some Alaska citations for the LBS bibliographies. I have citations from almost every other state.

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