Billy Whiskers (1922)

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MattBarry

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Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 7:41 pm

Does anyone have any info on this series? I came across these shorts on an old VHS tape with some other early films from Video Yesteryear. The notes indicate that they were produced by Hans A. Spanuth and are dated 1922. The video consists of four very short subjects: "The Life of a Fireman," "The Soda Water Clerk," "In the Taxi Business," and "In Bed With the Police."

They were likely shot in Chicago, where Spanuth was based. Is there any information about the cast and crew available, or how many shorts were produced as part of this series?
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boblipton

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 7:59 pm

I'm sure you've already checked the IMDb and discovered BIlly Whiskers: Butting Into the Movies (1920). To forestall anyone else from duplicating the work, there's a review by someone who usually does research, who notes there is a copy st the Library of Congress.

That isn't you, is it, Matt?

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MattBarry

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 8:07 pm

No, I didn't write that review. I just searched again and that appears to be the only one of these shorts listed on the IMDB. I haven't been able to find any further info on these four shorts on this video.
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BenModel

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostTue Aug 01, 2017 9:40 pm

Paging Steve Massa . . . I know he has info on these.
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Steve Massa

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 8:08 am

Well, like Matt says the BILLY WHISKERS were produced in Chicago by Hans Spanuth for his Commonwealth Pictures Corporation. They were made in 1920, and there seem to be nine made. The titles that I've come across are:

THE LIFE OF A FIREMAN
THE SODA WATER CLERK
IN THE TAXI BUSINESS
IN BAD WITH THE POLICE (instead of "In Bed with the Police" - completely different connotations)
PLAYING CIRCUS
A PECK OF TROUBLE
THE MOVIES
A CHRISTMAS PRESENT
THE NIGHT WATCHMAN

Haven't found info as far as cast and crew. Don't know if Spanuth himself was the director. Right after this he and his company made little films of all kinds of vaudeville acts.

The films circulated around on 16mm through the 1920s - "Sold outright for $8 per reel." I think they were trimmed down a bit after their initial release. There are prints at both LOC and the Academy.
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MattBarry

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 11:56 am

Thanks for the information, Steve. Always interesting to learn more about these obscure comedies, and these four little shorts at the end of that tape had been a bit of a mystery to me over the years as I realized I rarely saw references to them anywhere. Just to clarify, Richard Roberts indicated to me that the videos I posted are cut-downs deriving in part from an initial group of three two-reelers. Are the nine titles listed here cut-downs from those, or are some of them separate, original productions?
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Matt Barry
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Steve Massa

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 3:12 pm

Hi Matt - don't know with any certainty. The available info is pretty vague.
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dalefullerfan2014

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 3:39 pm

I have a children's book from 1915 called Billy Whiskers at the Exposition written by a Francis Trego Montgomery and illustrated by Frank J Murch. It's one of a series of books dealing with a Billy Goat. In this one he travels to San Francisco for the World's Fair.
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boblipton

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Re: Billy Whiskers (1922)

PostWed Aug 02, 2017 6:21 pm

dalefullerfan2014 wrote:I have a children's book from 1915 called Billy Whiskers at the Exposition written by a Francis Trego Montgomery and illustrated by Frank J Murch. It's one of a series of books dealing with a Billy Goat. In this one he travels to San Francisco for the World's Fair.
Randy


The author directed Billy Whiskers: Butting Into the Movie, although the sense of "director" being more fluid in those days,, it may have been more of the wayBud Fisher directed the Mutt & Jeff cartoons.

Bob
The matter is complicated, and I shall proceed to complicate it still more.

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