Sunday, March 28, 2010
On Friday, I spent the afternoon at the State Library of California in Sacramento going through yet more microfilm of California newspapers. This time, I went through a few years of newspapers from both Yuba City and Marysville, as well as a few reels from Grass Valley and Merced. One advertisement I came across turned out to be unique - and doubly interesting.
So far, in my quixotic quest to document instances of Louise Brooks films being shown in Northern California, I have documented some 750 to 800 screenings. Most took place in the Twenties and Thirties. One screening I came across - from the Atkins Theatre in Yuba City - is unique. I have never come across anything like it. Here is an advertisement for that event.
Many times, as was common in the silent film era, a film was preceded by a short or a stage act with musicians or Vaudeville performers. This was true for Brooks' films. Sometimes, a film played as part of a double bill. Once or twice, two of Brooks' films were even shown together.
What makes this screening unique is that The Street of Forgotten Men (1925) was preceded by a live stage play, The Waifs of New York. Of all of the hundreds of ads I have looked at - I have never come across such a pairing, a film with a stage play. What also makes this doubly interesting is that the film was paired with a thematically similar work. Both stories are set among the down-and-out in New York City.
And if that isn't enough, this unique event took place in February of 1927 - that's nearly a year-and-a-half after The Street of Forgotten Men was released! That's pretty late in the film's history, as most films did not continue to circulate after more than a year or so during the silent film era.
[I haven't been able to find much about The Waifs of New York. It may date from the late 1800's, and may be a one-act. Does anyone know anything about it? Otherwise, I was able to find a little about the Atkins Theatre. I believe it was one of two in Yuba City, and was owned by a fellow named Atkins who lived in nearby Marysville.]
Posted by thomas gladysz / Louise Brooks Society