Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A turn of fate

I was lucky.

Or perhaps fate was making up for having dealt me such a poor hand in Sacramento - but today's trip to the San Francisco Public Library was especially productive. I went through four months of the San Francisco Examiner, and found more than a dozen listings for 1937 screenings of When You're in Love.

And that's not all! I also found three listings for Empty Saddles, Louise Brooks' 1936 western with Buck Jones. Such listings - especially from a large metropolitan area - are very rare. Empty Saddles was a B-western, and such films didn't screen in the big cities. (See my bibliography and its dearth of reviews.)

Naturally, I was excited.

One of the listings I found paired Empty Saddles with When You're in Love! Imagine that, a Louise Brooks "double bill" (well almost) in 1937. I wonder if anyone in the Lincoln theater (located at 6th Ave. and Clement) realized as much. And what's more, another of the listings I found was for a screening at the Noe theatre (located at 24th and Noe). That theatre, which no longer exists, was located just 10 minutes from where I now live in San Francisco.

So far, here is what I have found for Empty Saddles.

Empty Saddles Bay Area Screenings: Jose in San Jose (June 20-21, 1937); Lincoln in San Francisco (June 20-22, 1937 with When You’re in Love); Noe in San Francisco (July 4-5, 1937 with King & the Chorus Girl); Verdi in San Francisco (July 25-26, 1937 with History is Made at Night); Senator in Oakland (Dec. 23, 1937).

Gosh, if anyone knows of any other screenings of Empty Saddles in San Francisco, or anywhere, I would love to know.


  1. Hey, I wonder if the Giant Asian Grocery Store that hovers on the corner of 6th and Clement today is the former Lincoln?

  2. Here is a webpage on the theatre and its fate:

  3. I did a Search, "Empty Saddles" 1937, at The website says it has 10.2 million pages from New York newspapers so far.

    Empty Saddles New York State Screenings:

    Palace in Auburn (Jan. 8-9 with Fugitive in the Sky);
    State in Poughkeepsie (Jan. 19-20 with Smart Blonde);
    Temple in Oswego County [Mexico NY?] (Jan. 30 with 15 Maiden Lane);
    Capitol in Oswego (Feb. 6);
    Weedsport in Weedsport (Feb. 13 with Devil Doll);
    Merrick in Jamaica (Feb. 21 [+?] with One in a Million);
    Cataract in Niagra Falls (March 18-20 with Find the Witness) --
    "Through the story runs an appealing romance, with the lovely Louise Brooks making a winsome heroine." (The Niagra Falls Gazette, March 17)
    "Empty Saddles marks the return to the screen of lovely Louise Brooks, the Ziegfeld Follies girl who won fame and then quit pictures at the height of her career. Her brunette beauty and her fine acting make her a splendid leading lady." (The Niagra Falls Gazette, March 18; cf. Monessen Daily Independent, December 30, 1936, LBS Empty Saddles: A Bibliography)
    "Louise Brooks, returning to the [illegible] after a few years' absence, [illegible] Buck's leading lady, a fearless [illegible] heroine." (The Niagra Falls Gazette, March 19);
    American in Canton (March 20 with Let's Make a Million);
    Capitol in Richfield Springs (March 27 with General Spanky) --
    "The pictures at the local theater on Saturday evening, March 27th, are for the benefit of the Senior class of the Richfield Springs Central School." (Richfield Springs Mercury, March 25);
    Community in Millbrook (March 31-April 1 with North of Nome);
    Star in Binghampton (April 14-16 with Penrod and Sam) --
    "'Empty Saddles,' featuring Buck Jones with Louise Brooks" (movie listing);
    Palace in Baldwinsville (May 1 with Crack Up);
    Playhouse in Clyde (May 7 with Wise Girl);
    Lyric in Binghampton (___-June 5 with When You're in Love);
    Rialto in Utica (June 5 with The Longest Night);
    Regus in Binghampton (June 11-12 with The Great O'Malley);
    Avalon in Lowville (June 18-19 with Wanted: Jane Turner);
    Cameo in Binghampton (___-June 19 with Crack-Up);
    Cumberland in Brooklyn (June 25 [+?] with Women Are Trouble);
    Sherburne in Brookfield (July 2-3 with That Man’s Here Again);
    James in Utica (July 3 with Time Out for Romance);
    Lincoln in Manilus (July 15-17 with I Met Him in Paris);
    Star in Dansville (July 17 with Riding On Air);
    American in Canton (Aug. 14 with Born Reckless);
    Rainbo in Niagra Falls (Aug. 20 with Wings Over Honolulu);
    Endicott Lyric in Binghampton (Sept. 10-11 with The Wedding Night).

    Colonial in Utica (March 11 with Heidi)

    ___: Opening date unknown.
    [+?] Other dates, if any, unknown.

    BEST BANNER HEADLINE: "Garden City Park Fears Fight Among Vamps Over Fire Apparatus", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 2-21-37.

    BEST STORY: Fretted Frolics of 1937 -- High school performers imagine the coming development of television. Numbers include "Faust", "Too Marvelous for Words", "Empty Saddles", "Scene in a Persian Market" (feature dance). It was the ninth annual edition of the Frolics at Niagra High, which boasted of having the nation's largest banjo and guitar band--125 strong (up from merely 29 originally). "All arrangements are played by the entire group, in symphonic style," said the Gazette. They should have recorded for Steamship Bill, Jr.

    BEST AD: "EMPTY SADDLES IN THE OLD CORRAL / Yes, the old corral is practically deserted ..". Ford City (automobile dealership in Utica).

  4. Another million pages from New York newspapers have been added at, two of which mention Empty Saddles screenings.

    Mt. Pleasant in Schenectady (April 4, 1937, with One Rainy Afternoon (Francis Lederer))
    Lincoln in Schenectady (Jan. 29, 1938, with Hideaway)

    Also in Schenectady on 4-4-37, on stage at Proctor’s (1926): “Fats” Waller and His C.B.S. Orchestra ... with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy on screen in Maytime--!


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