Monday, October 31, 2005

On this day in 1923

On this day in 1923, in it's review of the previous evening's Denishawn performance, the Baltimore News wrote " . . . for all the amazing nudity not once has a salacious note sounded."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thank you James Dilworth

A big thank you to James Dilworth, who took some time and dug a bunch of reviews and articles out of the Reno, Nevada newspapers. The articles James found all date from the the 1920's. Here is one rather delightful item.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Further notes

This week, I put in an ILL request for two reels of microfilm of the Hannibal Courier-Post and Hannibal Journal. The Denishawn Dance Company, with Louise Brooks, performed in Hannibal, Missouri on January 2, 1924. The lending institution, the State Historical Society of Missouri, just raised their rates for out-of-state requests from $7.00 to $10.00. So, until I can deliver a new check, my search for this material will be briefly delayed.

On a related note, my ILL request for the Beaumont Enterprise was rejected, as there are no lending institutions. Anyone live in Beaumont, Texas willing to look up a couple of articles? Denishawn performed in Beaumont on 
Friday, February 2, 1923 at the Kyle Theatre and on  Thursday, January 10, 1924 at the Kyle Theatre.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Notes from the library

Earlier this summer, I ran across a 1925 clipping regarding The Street of Forgotten Men while looking through Neil Hamilton's scrapbooks at the New York Public Library. (Actor Neil Hamilton - best known as Commissoner Gordon on the 1960's BatmanTV series - was featured in The Street of Forgotten Men, which also happened to be Louise Brooks' first film!) And just now, at the end of October, I got around to borrowing the microfilm of the Wilmington Morning News, the Delaware newspaper in which that clipping appeared. I tracked down a few additional articles and advertisements. REMARKABLY, that film was paired with a (unknown to me) documentary short about the then recent Atlantic City beauty pageant. Of course, as any Brooks' fan knows, that beauty pageant - one of the early Miss America contests - provided the background subject for the next Louise Brooks' film,The American Venus, which was released just a few months later.

This is exciting. Who knows what is on that short film - perhaps some brief footage about the making of the feature film? (I doubt that Brooks was present in Atlantic City. But who knows . . . .) I also ran across a brief article entitled, "Beauty Pageant Showing At Stanley Theatres." The article reads thus: "The thousands of Wilmingtonians who did not get the opportunity to be present in Atlantic City during the Beauty Pageant just completed there on Friday will see the principal scenes of the entire celebration in film at the Queen, Arcadia and Majestic Theaters beginning today. The scenes were especially 'shot' by the Stanley cameraman for the theaters of this organization." I'll pay anyone a dollar if they can provide me with a copy of that short film. I think it is titled Atlantic City Beauty Pageant.

Today, five inter-library loans were waiting for me. I also looked at some Denishawn material from the New Haven Journal-Courier (from New Haven, Connecticut) and the Wisconsin State Journal (from Madison, Wisconsin). Each yielded some long, detail-filled reviews and a few neat advertisements.

And, as well, I went through a number of months of two "other" American newspapers, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (from the Territory of Hawaii) and the Alaska Daily Empire (also then a territory, pre-statehood). My search through the Star-Bulletin was based on my having earlier found film reviews in the Honolulu Advertiser (microfilm of which I stumbled upon in Sacramento, California. The Star-Bulletin microfilm came on loan from the Library of Congress). I checked my Advertiser dates in the Star-Bulletin and came up with a  couple of new reviews.

However, the Alaska Daily Empire (from Juneau) yielded nothing. I skimmed nearly six months of this newspaper, which only ran only eight pages on a daily basis. I found advertisements and short, generic articles about films showing in town - but none featuring Louise Brooks. There were at least two or three movie theaters in Juneau in the late 1920's - and they showed motion pictures starring the likes of Buster Keaton and Erich von Stroheim. Apparently, Juneau didn't show many or any Paramount films. One day, I hope to find or acquire some Alaska citations for the LBS bibliographies. I have citations from almost every other state.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The LBS hopes to fully document

The LBS hopes to fully document the life and career of Louise Brooks. One ongoing project is the collection of magazine and newspaper articles about the actress, especially vintage reviews of Brooks' films. Hundreds of articles have already been found. But more await discovery. The LBS is especially interested in obtaining photocopies of newspaper articles and films reviews.

The LBS is interested in any and all clippings (film reviews, articles, advertisements, etc....) from Colorado, Utah, Montana (excluding those from the Helena Independent - those have already been excavated), Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Alaska. As well, any clippings from Hawaii (excluding the Honolulu papers) and western Canada (excluding the Manitoba Free Press) would be useful. Clippings from Vancouver are of particular interest!

The LBS has many clippings from various Berlin newspapers, as well as from various German film magazines. The LBS would be interested in obtaining copies of vintage articles (especially about the two Pabst films) from any newspapers from Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuggart, Dresden, etc. . . . Your consideration and help is appreciated!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More books on-line

The Open Content Alliance is scanning in hundreds of thousands of public-domain books. According to the Internet Archive, "At an Internet Archive event in San Francisco tonight 14 libraries and MSN joined the Open Content Alliance. MSN kicked off their association by committing to scan 150,000 books in 2006." That's good news for those engaged in Louise Brooks studies - who knows what Frank Wedekind, Ruth St. Denis, film related or Kansas history books may show-up. Or even other books of interest . . . .

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My blog is worth

My blog is worth $564.54.
How much is your blog worth?

Monday, October 24, 2005

On this day in 1929

On this day in 1929, Das Tagebuch Einer Verlorenen (or The Diary of a Lost Girl), starring Louise Brooks, Fritz Rasp and Valeska Gert (an actress and avant garde dancer), premiered at the UFA Kurfurstendamn Theater in Berlin. The LBS would appreciate hearing from any readers who were there on opening night  . . . .

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I got some good Denishawn material

Some inter-library loans arrived. I got some good Denishawn material from the curiously named Evening Day (from New London, Connecticut) as well as the Lewiston Sentinel (from Lewistown, Pennsylvania). What is notable about the Lewiston performance is that it was the first of the 1922-1923 season, and the first in which Louise Brooks was a member. Brooks, in fact, was referenced in the front page review which appeared the day following their appearance. I looked through some later months of each paper, and in each I found some material on The American Venus (1926). I also found some clipping on Beggars of Life (1928) in the Lewiston Sentinel dating from March, 1929. The William Wellman directed story of hoboes, tramping, and railroads would be one of the last silent films shown at the Rialto Theater in Lewiston. A week or so later, newly arrived sound equipment would be installed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Some smart new pics of Chantal

Earlier, I had blogged about Chantal Kury, a gifted make-up artist and Louise Brooks' fan from Switzerland. Yesterday, I received a letter and some pictures of Chantal which I wanted to share. I like them, and think you will too.


For those who read German, here is a link to an illustrated article (pdf format) about Chantal and "Retro Styling."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tagebuch einer Verlorenen

For sale through eBay, the program for Das Tagebuch einer Verlorenen, or The Diary of a Lost Girl (1929). So sad.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On this day in 1927

On this day in 1927, the Kansas City Star ran an article on Now We're in the Air and stated 'This film is said to have an increased love interest. It will at least have our interest since Louise Brooks is the heroine. We gather from the pictures we have seen of the production that Miss Brooks is some sort of circus performer, as she is shown succumbing to the temptation of abbreviated skirts. That is Miss Brooks's old weakness." Newspaper reporters certainly had a way with words back then.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Live365 stations that I like and listen to

Along with RadioLulu, here are some other stations that I like and listen to:

Radio Dismuke - 1920s & 1930s Pop & JazzAbsinthe Radio - The Greatest Hits of the 1920s and 1930sSweet & Lovely - Sweet & Lovely, Hot & Sassy ! Songs from the 20's & 30's (Jazz Age 20s, Songbird 30s)Weimar Rundfunk - Jazz-Swing / European Hot Dance Bands, European Dance Orchestras

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Denishawn articles and reviews

Another on-going project is the gathering of reviews of each of the performances given by Denishawn during the two seasons Louise Brooks was a member of the dance company. Many reviews have already been gathered, but some have proven difficult to track down. The LBS would like to obtain local newspaper coverage (articles, advertisements, or reviews) of the following engagements:
November 25, 1922 - Marlowe Theatre - Jackson, Tennessee
(need Jacksonian clippings)

January 10, 1923 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, Massachusetts
(need Lowell SunLowell Evening Leader; and Courier-Citizen clippings)

January 11, 1923 - Worcester Theatre - Worcester, Massachusetts
(need Worcester Evening PostWorcester Telegram; and Evening Gazette clippings)

January 26, 1923 - Grand Theatre - Macon, Georgia
(need Macon News clippings)

January 27, 1923 - Lucerne Theatre - Orlando, Florida
(need Orlando Morning Sentinel clippings)

February 10, 1923 - Brenan Auditorium - Gainesville, Georgia
(need Gainesville EagleGainesville News; and Gainesville Daily Times clippings)

February 13, 1923 - Academy of Music - Charleston, South Carolina
(need Charleston American clippings)

February 14, 1923 - Garden Theatre - Bennettsville, South Carolina
(need Pee Dee Advocate clippings)

March 9, 1923 - Marvin Theatre - Findlay, Ohio
(need Findlay Daily Courier clippings)

October 15-20, 1923 - Apollo Theatre - Atlantic City, New Jersey
(need Atlantic City Evening UnionAtlantic City Press; and Atlantic City Gazette-Review clippings)

October 23, 1923 - Memorial Auditorium - Lowell, Massachusetts
(need Lowell SunLowell Evening Leader; and Courier-Citizen clippings)

November 6, 1923 - Academy Theatre - Hagerstown, Maryland
(need Daily Mail clippings)

December 10, 1923 - Moore’s Opera House - Clarksburg, West Virginia
(need Daily Telegram clippings)

December 11, 1923 - Camden Theatre - Parkersburg, West Virginia
(need Parkersburg News clippings)

December 15, 1923 - Auditorium - Hopkinsville, Kentucky
(need Daily Kentuckian; and Daily Kentucky New Era clippings)

January 11, 1924 - Grand Theatre - Galveston, Texas
(need Galveston Daily News clippings)

April 8, 1924 - Worcester Theatre - Worcester, Massachusett
(need Worcester Evening PostWorcester Telegram; and Evening Gazette clippings)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Alfred Cheney Johnston portrait of Louise Brooks

A rather nice Alfred Cheney Johnston portrait of Louise Brooks has shown up on eBay. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque

From today's Newsday: "Blockbuster probably won't stock it, but the subject of Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinemathequeis the reason Blockbuster and its ilk exist at all. When the bearish Langlois founded the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris in 1936, cinema was considered by its founders and creators to be a disposable diversion. Langlois called it art and saved everything he could. Langlois is the reason why certain masters and masterpieces of early cinema can still be seen at all today. (He rescued the 1919 German Expressionist classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and liberated 1920s screen star Louise Brooks from oblivion). . . . "  Here is a link to the online version of this article. Has anyone seen this film?

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Louise Brooks Society needs your help

The Louise Brooks Society needs your help in finding articles and other hard-to-get printed material. Here's your chance to become a contributor to the LBS bibliographies.

The LBS hopes to fully document the life and career of Louise Brooks. One ongoing project is the collection of magazine and newspaper articles about the actress, especially vintage reviews of Brooks' films. Hundreds of articles have already been found. But more await discovery. The LBS is especially interested in obtaining photocopies of newspaper articles and films reviews from the following American cities. Photocopies should be legible and complete. Please note the name and date of publication, and title and author of the article (if not already included in the copy).

Springfield, MA
Worcester, MA
Lowell, MA
Cambridge, MA
Fall River, MA

Hartford, CT
New Haven, CT
Bridgeport, CT
Waterbury, CT

Utica, NY
Troy, NY
Schenectady, NY
Binghamton, NY

Atlantic City, NJ
Patterson, NJ
Trenton, NJ
Jersey City, NJ
Scranton, PA
Erie, PA
Allentown, PA
Harrisburg, PA

South Bend, IN
Evansville, IN
Gary, IN
Ft. Wayne, IN

Peoria, IL
Rockford, IL
Springfield, IL
Decatur, IL
Quincy, IL

Kansas City, KS
Lawrence, KS
Independence, KS
Miami, FL
Tampa, FL
Orlando, FL
Jacksonville, FL

Mobile, AL
Selma, AL
Tuscaloosa, AL
Birmingham, AL

Knoxville, TN
Chattanooga, TN
Memphis, TN

Savannah, GA
Little Rock, AR
Charlotte, NC
Norfolk, VA
Richmond, VA
Shreveport, LA
San Antonio, TX
Fort Worth, TX
El Paso, TX
Austin, TX
Corpus Christi, TX
Galveston, TX

Albuquerque, NM
Santa Fe, NM

Anchorage, AK
Juneau, AK
Fairbanks, AK

Denver, CO
Pueblo, CO
Phoenix, AZ
Boise, ID
Fargo, ND
Salt Lake City, UT

How to get started. Visit you local city or university library, and make your way to an information, periodicals, or newspaper & magazine desk. Next, ask if there is an index for your local paper covering the 1920's and 1930's. Hopefully, your newspaper is indexed. Some are - some are not. If you local paper is not indexed, the search for articles will take more time but is not impossible. Please read on . . . .

If your newspaper is indexed, searching it may be a bit tricky. First, try looking up "Brooks, Louise" and see what you find. You may be lucky enough to come across photos or articles about the actress. Film reviews, however, are not likely to be indexed under the Brooks' name. Thus, try searching under "Motion Pictures" or "Moving Pictures." Individual reviews may be listed under one of these headings. If nothing turns up, as a last resort, try searching the general index for a few film titles such asAmerican VenusBeggars of Life, or Canary Murder Case. [ A complete list of movies in which Brooks' appeared can be found in the filmography at the back of the Barry Paris biography, or on the LBS website. A checklist of films is always worth bringing along on any research trip. ]

If you were lucky enough to find listings in an index, you will next need to locate the articles themselves. Chances are past issues of a local newspaper are stored on microfilm. (Most libraries no longer keep bound issues of old papers.) Thus, you will need to locate the appropriate microfilm rolls which include the dates you may have come across. Machines called microfilm readers will enable you to quickly scroll through the microfilm in search of an article. And what's more, many microfilm readers have a photocopy function - so you can make a copy of whatever you might find.

Keep in mind that not all of Brooks' films played in every city or town - and if they did, not every one would have been reviewed. During the silent film era, movies usually ran one week - and so, critics wrote about a film within the first few days of its opening. Typically, films opened on Saturdays or Sundays - and reviews ran on Mondays or Tuesdays. (Films which opened mid-week for brief two or three day runs were rarely reviewed.) Also, keep in mind that while you are looking for reviews, you may come across related articles, advertisements, and pictures. Some of this material is worth copying as well.

If your newspaper is not indexed - and you are dedicated to finding film reviews - you may end up needing to scroll through months of microfilm. It is a time consuming process, but fun and worth the effort should you find vintage material. Once you've selected a film, find out when it was released. [ Release dates of  Brooks' films can be foundin the filmography at the back of the Barry Paris biography, or on the LBS website. ] Then, start looking through microfilm around that time. Generally speaking, Brooks' American films opened within two months of their official release date. (In the 1920's, films did not open on the same date across the country, as is common practice today.) It should also be noted that none of Brooks' European films were shown in the United States at the time of their European release - except Pandora's Box, which was screened in New York City ten months after it's Berlin debut.

Without citations or the help of an index, one short-cut is skipping from weekend to weekend. Newspapers of the time usually ran articles or advertisements on Saturday or Sunday - and one need only check the entertainment pages to see what was showing during a given week. It is also worth pointing out that many cities had two or three daily newspapers. And usually, but not always, competing papers would run reviews on the same day - usually on a page devoted to the arts, amusements, or the movies (then sometimes called "photoplays"). Scroll through a some weeks of any given newspaper, and you'll soon figure out how the paper "works."

The Louise Brooks Society would be happy to answer any questions about research. Please email the LBS with your query.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Two inter-library loans arrived

Two inter-library loans arrived this week. I went through a number of rolls of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (from St. Paul, Minnesota), from which I dug out some material on the two Denishawn performances there (one of them a four day run), as well as later reviews of The American Venus and Now We're in the Air. I plan to request and look through additional microfilm of this excellent newspaper. I also went through two months of the Hollywood Citizen News dating from 1940. I uncovered three articles about the Louise Brooks - Barrett O'Shea dance studio, including one announcing its opening. There followed in a month long series of daily newspaper advertisements for the studio, each containing a small images of Brooks and O'Shea as well as a daily dance lesson. Remarkable! I plan to obtain copies of more of these ads, as only part of my ILL was filled. (The other roll I requested was out on loan.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

A chat with Salman Rushdie

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to chat with novelist Salman Rushdie. He dropped by the store where I work to sign copies of his new book, Shalimar the Clown. In the course of our conversation, I asked him about the name of one of the characters in the new novel, Maximilian Ophuls. Rushie said it was based on the once famous director, Max Ophuls. At first, Rushdie recounted, he adopted the name because of its  blending of the German and the French. Later in the writing process, he said he intended to change the character's name - but, as Rushdie put it, "the character wouldn't let me."

Rushdie is obviously a film buff. In the course of our conversation, the author spoke of Ophuls' work, and mentioned the titles of a number of the director's films dating from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. Rushdie has also written a long essay on The Wizard of Oz, which was published in a book on the film. And in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, his 1999 novel, Rushdie wrote, " . . . by the emerging gay icon lil dagover, who insists on lower-case initials, wears men's suits and a monocle and a Louise Brooks haircut, and plays like an expressionist dream."

Monday, October 3, 2005

Brooksie: The Jazz Age Musical

For those who haven't already checked it out, well worth visiting is the Swiss website for Brooksie: The Jazz Age Musical. You can even order CD's.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

SFPL book sale

This morning, I went to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library annual book sale. Some 8000 boxes of books (nearly 200,000 titles) are put on tables in a big exhibition hall, where they are loosely arranged by subject. Today, the last day of the sale, everything is one dollar or less . . . . I picked up a bunch of swell books, including a vintage copy of Vagabond Dreams Come True by crooner Rudy Vallee - I like his singing; a first edition of Love, Laughter and Tears by Adela Rogers St. Johns - this memoir has lots of early Hollywood stuff including a rather nifty pic of Colleen Moore (be still by beating heart); a nice copy of Kid, a 1981 novel about Charlie Chaplin by John Baxter; the film script of Grand Illusion, with Erich von Stroheim on the cover - haven't seen that before; three books on Will Rogers; and three pictorial booklets from Hearst Castle; a biography of Fred Astaire; the autobiography of Edward G. Robinson; and a book on Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. In actuality, I spent $51.00 - which means I came home with 51 books. Where will I put them ? At least 45 of them were film related.

I also found a mass market paperback of The Other Side of Ethel Mertz: The Life Story of Vivian Vance. I can't believe I have never looked at this title before, as Vance (famous for her role in I Love Lucy) and Louise Brooks knew each other as kids in Kansas. Barry Paris covers their friendship in his biography, and the authors of this book devote three paragraphs to the "local girl whose warm smile and expressive eyes exuded that special something."

I also found a few titles for my friend Amanda, who I know enjoys film books. For Amanda, I found The Talmadge Girls by Anita Loos, a biography of Marion Davies by Fred Laurence Guiles (that's the book I am reading now), and The Paramount Pretties, by James Robert Parish (profiles of various stars associated with the studio). Each are uncommon, worthwhile titles. Each orphaned, I knew they needed a home.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

On this day in 1927

On this day in 1927: The critic of the Manchester Guardian writes "What a curious, one-sided, one-sexed, treacherous thing is this charm, or personal magnetism, that Elinor Glyn adulates as 'It' and all spectacular entertainments cry out for in their stars! How much men love it in women! How much women hate it in men! When Louise Brooks, or Estelle Brody, or Mady Christians spends an evening demonstrating it on the screen, we are all of us, sane and silly, young and old, men and women, delighted."
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