Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Louise Brooks

A somewhat serious, though nice portrait of Louise Brooks, by George P. Hommel (circa 1928)


  1. what a face she had. i generally prefer Louise without head gear though, i wanna see that hair!

  2. Somewhat serious is about right.


    On October 17, 1928, while
    Louise Brooks was making
    the feature film Pandora's Box,
    WHEC-Rochester named its week-
    day afternoon Feature program

    After the International League baseball season ended in September, and the Rochester Red Wings had won their first pennant since 1911, WHEC (Hickson Electric Co.) modulated into its fall schedule. Radio fans accustomed to tuning in "Musical masterpieces" and "Ampico musical gems", or ballgames from Baseball Park, now received WHEC's hour-long "Feature" at 2 o'clock, following "Requests"; except Tuesdays, "Feature" was at 1, followed by "Musical novelties".

    "Pandora's Box" suggests to me novelties rather than masterpieces; that it was the Radio Lulu of 1928. Alas, a nine-week stretch of radio pages in the two major dailies, from pennant chase to enactment of "clear channel" legislation, yields no references to the program's format. Yet ...

    Ampico is the American Piano Company, a local manufacturer of "reproducing pianos". Rachmaninoff burns rolls for them.

    An advertisement in the Democrat and Chronicle declares, "96% of the lovely complexions you see on the screen are cared for by Lux Toilet Soap". Among 23 screen stars is Louise Brooks (Paramount) as seen at in p703-46 (but cropped at the shoulders). The ad shares a page with Chapter LI of The Canary Murder Case.

    From "Listening In with The Owl" (Times-Union column):

    --New series on the air: Talks on movie photography, NBC system, Mondays at 3:45 eastern time.

    --Theater Magazine Hour is another feature that returns to the mike this winter. WGBS, New York, is its broadcaster.

    --Listeners of WHAM will hear at 7:45 o'clock the voice of Mme. Thea Marsi of Vienna ... a pioneer in the new field of molding hats directly on the head of the wearer. (See above!)

    - ..- - ..-
    (That's Lulu in Morse code.)

    The King of Kings, trumpeted for arrival at the Eastman Theater on the last Saturday in September, is postponed at midweek when theater execs (including George Eastman, 74) get a demo of the nascent Photophone. The system of synchronized accompaniment and effects had been developed by General Electric and Radio and R.C.A. with the Eastman Theatre Orchestra at their disposal.

    "The Eastman Program will go on the air tonight at 9:25," the Times-Union says on Saturday. They refer to 5000-watt WHAM, whose studio is in the same building as the theater. "Because of the political address scheduled to begin at 10 o'clock" -- Al Smith is out west in Milwaukee -- "the program will come entirely from the stage. ... The program will include an overture ... played by the theater orchestra of seventy pieces, Guy Fraser Harrison conducting. The music incidental to the news weekly will next be heard, followed by the stage act ... Orchestral accompaniment to the feature picture, Clara Bow in 'The Fleet's In,' will complete the program."

    Well I never!

    Hmm. The E.T.O. accompanied three of Brooks's movies and wasn't broadcast during any of them. Sunday matinees featuring Now We're in the Air and A Girl in Every Port did include, after the movies, 30-minute "Popular Concerts" that were broadcast. So was the live entertainment that preceded the Sunday 8 o'clock showing of Port, on WHAM's "Eastman Theatre party". When it was time for Brooks, the party moved to the studio to mike The Symphoneers performing ... "Whims", "Only a Smile", "Because of You" ... WHAM shoulda been WDBL: Don't Bring Lulu!

    Anyhow, The King having been dropped, WHAM was relieved of seguing from Jesus to Al Smith; but did they get in "The Clara Bow Stomp"?


  3. Two days after Clara's premiere, Governor Smith comes to Rochester for the Democratic state convention. He spends the afternoon with party leaders at the Seneca Hotel, where WHEC has its studio. An evening motor parade from the hotel to Convention Hall snakes past the Regent Theater (showing The Mating Call). There hasn't been a crowd this big in 30 years (William Jennings Bryan, 1896). "When the Governor reached the front of the stage there was a blaze of light as five news reels began to click out yards of 'Al Smith.' At the same time, the band crashed into 'My Country 'Tis of Thee'" and then "'East Side West Side,'" reports the Times-Union. Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated for governor by acclamation.

    - ..- - ..-

    Outfielder James "Ripper" Collins is a late-season addition to the Red Wings. In 13 games (7 starts) he earns the honor of joining their ace pitcher in a new Oldsmobile in the team's roundabout victory parade from Central Station (some 2000 fans greet the team at 6:20 a.m.) to ... Baseball Park? Nah; Eastman Theatre. ... Rip still holds franchise (or league!) records for hits, bases, and RBI(!) in a season, from 1929 and '30.

    Collins's teammates call him Ripper, a hell-raiser; but to Ty Cobb he's a "night walker", someone who routinely breaks curfew. (Thanx: Bill James.) Whether Ripper, night walker, or Collins, wouldn't Lulu like him.

    In 1956, the year Brooks was brought up to Rochester, the stinking Cardinals wanted to close the 57-year-old AAA franchise. But a local hero organized a successful public buyout of team and stadium (a rarity). ... The Wings joined the Orioles' organization in '61. Brooks Robinson? Already in Baltimore.

    P.S. Googling "Rochester Radio 1967" leads toward a discussion of what was available to listener Louise Brooks.

    Thanks for reading!


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