Thursday, November 11, 2004

Today is Armistice Day

Today is Veteran's Day, a holiday originally known as "Armistice Day." That holiday was originally created to mark the end of World War I - the so-called "war to end all wars." During the silent film era - especially during the 1920's - many films were made based on that tragedy. Perhaps the best of them was The Big Parade (1925), which starred John Gilbert and Renee Adoree.
Recently, I've been reading Dark Star, a highly recommmended biography of Gilbert by his daughter, Leatrice Gilbert Fountain. Yesterday, I came across this remarkable paragraph. "Lois Wilson was working in New York at the time of the premiere there. Jack [ John Gilbert ] travelled East for the opening in the company of her fiance, Richard Dix. They shared a compartment on the train, carrying with them the three steel boxes containing the film. Lois met them at the station and went with them to deliver the film to the Astor Theater, where The Big Parade was to open."
I am sure this was the exception, but isn't it remarkable that an actor was responsible not only for transporting a film across country, but for delivering it to the theater where it was to be shown. "Hi, this is John Gilbert. I have a delivery. . . ." How times have changed.
Another film set during World War I was Now We're in the Air (1927), which starred Wallace Beery, Raymond Hatton, and Louise Brooks (in the role of twins). Yesterday, while doing research at the library, I came across this rather nifty newspaper advertisement for the film.

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