Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beggars of Life in Singapore, Overland Stage Raiders on TV

The recent screening of Beggars of Life at the Cinefamily theater in Los Angeles may have got some wondering about its source material, Jim Tully's novelistic memoir of the same name, and the film made from it. Tully's 1925 book is described as a "bestseller" and the 1928 William Wellman directed film one of the more acclaimed films in the year it was released. 

But just how big were they? 

Recently, while digging through some Singapore newspapers from the 1920's I came across these two items, each advertisements. The first is a booksellers advertisement listing some new books for sale. It dates from 1931. And there, among the 35 cent novels being offered - likely reprints or today's equivalent of the paperback, is Jim Tully's Beggars of Life. Some of the other books offered were by H.G. Wells and Nobel Prize winner John Galsworthy.

The other Tully item I came across is this advertisement for some records for sale. It dates from 1929. Among the records listed is a vocal waltz recording of Beggars of Life, which was the theme song for the movie of the same name. It was recorded by a few different artists, so I am not sure who performed on this one.

I show these two items in order to make a small point: Jim Tully and his book got around. Even  around the world, and all the way to Singapore. Was Beggars of Life shown there? I am not sure. Many of Louise Brooks' films showed in Singapore in the 1920's and early 1930's, though I have yet to come across a listing or advertisement or clipping for Beggars of Life. However, I did come across something else a bit unusual - a listing for Overland Stage Raiders (1938), Brooks' last film. This is a 1976 clipping listing programing on Singapore television. Overland Stage Raiders followed coverage of the XXI Olympics held in Montreal, Canada. Brooks is given forth billing after John Wayne, Ray Corrigan, and Max Terhune.

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