PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

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Harlowgold

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PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 11:00 am

Does anyone remember the 1970's PBS series which showed silents introduced by Orson Welles in season one and by Lillian Gish in the second set of programs in 1975? I don't remember Welles but I must have seen many of them in 1973-74 as I remember several titles from his run but Lillian was unforgettable and as a kid I loved tuning in as much to see this charming lady I'd never heard of before with her warm introductions as much as the movies. Youtube has a couple of the Welles intros but only one of Lillian's, for a Buster Keaton double feature in which she gently and gracefully comments on the blackface segment in COLLEGE. An old thread on Nitrateville mentions her Broken Blossoms comments for the series are on the movies' Kino release but I don't know of any other Gish intros in circulation. Would love to see somebody release these as a set though with new superior prints of the movies if available.

Lil on Keaton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKUmEfgsMLY" target="_blank
Last edited by Harlowgold on Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Harlowgold

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 11:25 am

Here for the first time online I believe is a complete list of episodes:

Season One (list compiled by lugonian on IMDb:

(1) THE GOLD RUSH (1925), Charlie Chaplin;
(2) THE SON OF THE SHEIK (1926), Rudolph Valentino
(3) D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE (1916)
(4) THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920), Douglas Fairbanks;
(5) THE GENERAL (1926), Buster Keaton;
(6) THE BELOVED ROGUE (1927), John Barrymore
(7) THE EXTRA GIRL (1923), Mabel Normand
(8) THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924), Douglas Fairbanks
(9) ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1921), The Gish Sisters
(10) SALLY OF THE SAWDUST (1925), Carol Dempster and WC Fields
(11) BLOOD AND SAND (1922), Rudolph Valentino
(12) THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923), Lon Chaney.
Take note that DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920), starring John Barrymore, was not included in the New York City broadcasts but presented at various PBS stations in other states .

The Gish years:
(1) WHAT PRICE GLORY
(2) THE EAGLE
(3) THE IRON HORSE
(4) THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
(5) COLLEGE
(6) BROKEN BLOSSOMS
(7) PECK'S BAD BOY
(8) THE TEMPEST
(9) DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS
(10) RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
(11) SEVENTH HEAVEN
(12) THE IRON MASK

I'm fairly certain I saw THE CAT AND THE CANARY during the Gish run; perhaps it was a situation similiar to DR.JEYKLL in season one. Interesting and odd no Pickford vehicles were in the series despite her appearance in the intro. I do remember Lillian warmly if briefly discussing her in one of the segments (I knew Mary's name from the multiple mentions of her on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES).
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Mitch Farish

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 1:12 pm

This series is where it all began for me. Whenever I hear that William Perry intro music from his THE GOLD RUSH score, it gives me a chill.
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 2:29 pm

Lillian was adorable. And I believe her intros and outros were filmed in her New York city apartment.

One sticks in my mind, an outro extolling the work of William Cameron Menzies. Whenever I read his name, i can hear it in Lillian's stately cadences and emphases.
"This bar of likker is now a bar of justice!"
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 4:19 pm

This series was a key part of my introduction to silent film, although it was through later airings of the films on PBS. The William Perry score for "The Mark of Zorro" remains a favorite of mine.

This is one of my favorite introductions, with Orson Welles speaking about Buster Keaton and THE GENERAL. You really get a sense of the sincere awe and admiration he had for Keaton:


The William K. Everson Collection at NYU includes the pressbook for this series, which is viewable online:
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/wke/press/ ... tyears.pdf" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
Last edited by silentfilm on Fri Sep 01, 2017 11:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedd YouTube link
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Aug 31, 2017 4:46 pm

Somehow i never saw the Gish series, maybe it didn't play in my market. I discovered it when i was on vacation in a hotel and was shocked to see her introducing Down to the Sea in Ships and wondered why i hadn't seen the rest of the series. By this time i've seen most of the rest of the films at some time or other but i've never seen her introductions. I loved the Welles series and even have the souvenir booklet for it.

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 1:37 am

Naxos has released two CDs of Bill Perry's music from the Silent Years, which Perry has arranged for symphony orchestra. I have both, and they're wonderful.

Music For the Great Films of the Silent Era is on Amazon here.

Ben
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 4:03 am

The one I seem to remember was The Toy That Grew Up, which I assume would have run on Boston's WGBH in those pre-PBS days. The show was produced by WTTW in Chicago. The theme song was "The Curse of an Aching Heart."

"Beginning in August 1960 a keen cinephile named Robert C. Seipp (1930-2008) acquired the rights to show over a hundred mostly American made silent films; 90% came from private collections. Seipp researched each film he presented with a pipe organ score provided by former cinema organist Hal Pearl (1908-2000)."

Talk about a film buff! Neither Mr. Seipp nor this TV series are even listed on IMDb.

Another series I vaguely remember showed silent films (again probably WGBH) but all I remember is wonderful piano music (I can still play some these the songs) by an elderly lady named Lita Burlingame.

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Harlowgold

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 9:19 am

MattBarry wrote:
The William K. Everson Collection at NYU includes the pressbook for this series, which is viewable online:
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/wke/press/ ... tyears.pdf" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank


Somebody's selling the publicity book for the first season on Etsy, wonder why a copy wasn't in the NYU collection, perhaps they just haven't gotten around to putting it online yet:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/234170438/ ... _gallery_1"

Another person on ebay is selling a poster for the Gish season, which is where I got the titles for the Gish season (also submitted the info on IMDb and now the data is also there) http://www.ebay.com/itm/THE-SILENT-YEAR ... SwEjFXcGbT"
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 10:53 am

Harlowgold wrote:Does anyone remember the 1970's PBS series which showed silents introduced by Orson Welles in season one and by Lillian Gish in the second set of programs in 1975? I don't remember Welles but I must have seen many of them in 1973-74 as I remember several titles from his run but Lillian was unforgettable and as a kid I loved tuning in as much to see this charming lady I'd never heard of before with her warm introductions as much as the movies. Youtube has a couple of the Welles intros but only one of Lillian's, for a Buster Keaton double feature in which she gently and gracefully comments on the blackface segment in COLLEGE. An old thread on Nitrateville mentions her Broken Blossoms comments for the series are on the movies' Kino release but I don't know of any other Gish intros in circulation. Would love to see somebody release these as a set though with new superior prints of the movies if available.

Lil on Keaton http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKUmEfgsMLY" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

The Welles introduction for The Sheik (or The Son of, I forget) is on the new Kino release of the same name. After watching it, I went immediately out to The Google and watched all the ones I could find.
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 2:32 pm

One of my first real entrees to the genre, too.

We're graced with better quality now, but this show really mattered in getting us to where we are now.

-Craig
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Sep 01, 2017 5:24 pm

I loved The Toy That Grew Up. It was not on any of the stations which had good reception for me, so i watched it through the snow, trying my best to make out the figures on screen. Still can't believe the great prints we can see these days.

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostThu Sep 07, 2017 7:57 am

Harlowgold wrote:Here for the first time online I believe is a complete list of episodes:

Season One (list compiled by lugonian on IMDb:

(1) THE GOLD RUSH (1925), Charlie Chaplin;
(2) THE SON OF THE SHEIK (1926), Rudolph Valentino
(3) D.W. Griffith's INTOLERANCE (1916)
(4) THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920), Douglas Fairbanks;
(5) THE GENERAL (1926), Buster Keaton;
(6) THE BELOVED ROGUE (1927), John Barrymore
(7) THE EXTRA GIRL (1923), Mabel Normand
(8) THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924), Douglas Fairbanks
(9) ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1921), The Gish Sisters
(10) SALLY OF THE SAWDUST (1925), Carol Dempster and WC Fields
(11) BLOOD AND SAND (1922), Rudolph Valentino
(12) THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923), Lon Chaney.
Take note that DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1920), starring John Barrymore, was not included in the New York City broadcasts but presented at various PBS stations in other states .

The Gish years:
(1) WHAT PRICE GLORY
(2) THE EAGLE
(3) THE IRON HORSE
(4) THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
(5) COLLEGE
(6) BROKEN BLOSSOMS
(7) PECK'S BAD BOY
(8) THE TEMPEST
(9) DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS
(10) RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE
(11) SEVENTH HEAVEN
(12) THE IRON MASK

I'm fairly certain I saw THE CAT AND THE CANARY during the Gish run; perhaps it was a situation similiar to DR.JEYKLL in season one. Interesting and odd no Pickford vehicles were in the series despite her appearance in the intro. I do remember Lillian warmly if briefly discussing her in one of the segments (I knew Mary's name from the multiple mentions of her on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES).


Mary Pickfords' films weren't really rediscovered until later because she didn't want them airing on television.
"It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around." - MP
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostSun Sep 10, 2017 1:23 pm

BankofAmericasSweetheart wrote:




Mary Pickfords' films weren't really rediscovered until later because she didn't want them airing on television.
That's true of course but I'm still surprised at least one of her public domain titles (all of the films shown in the series were pd) didn't make it on the air. SPARROWS did air on PBS before Mary's death, I believe in 1978. And of course, there were a number of film festivals that screened her movies in the 60's and 70's. She was also wary of being compared to modern actresses and films hence the tv ban on the titles she owned but I wish someone could have persuaded her otherwise like her pal Lillian.
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 10:30 am

10 years ago I was doing a lot of research trying to find any information I could regarding the Killiam prepared films and shorts. I created a list of material that had copyright dates although it is still incomplete. I spoke with numerous people via email that had connection to Killiam and collected everything I could find including the Critics Choice vhs tapes, the Laservision and Voyager laserdiscs, the Silent Years photo albums, and a Killiam Collection rental catalog.

Everytime I thought I had a complete list done, something else would pop up. For example, the rental catalog lists The Vanishing American with a score by Perry but I have never found any other information regarding the film. One person thought it was going to be prepared but although advertised, was never completed. I even spoke with Sandra Birnhak who owned the collection and she said that she had searched for the Vanishing American material in order to release it on vhs but could never find it. Another mystery is Just Tony. I found a Killiam copyright date, but have never found any other mention of it anywhere.

Here is a list of the films I have compiled. The year on the left is the copyright year on the film itself as seen on the opening logo. On a few films, there is another date on the right. That is a copyright date of when it was submitted. Sometimes the two dates do not match up.

1969 – America – Paul Killiam narration
1969 – Sally of the Sawdust – Ward (organ)
1969 – The Son of the Sheik – Ward (organ) – 19 Mar 70
1969 – The Extra Girl – Ward (organ) – 2 Sept 70
1970 – Intolerance – Hoffman (piano)
1970 – The Gold Rush – Perry (piano) – 20 July 70
1970 – The General – Perry (piano) – 4 Oct 70
1970 – The Mark of Zorro – Perry (piano) – 25 Oct 70
1970 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Erwin (organ) – 5 June 71
1971 – The Black Pirate – Perry (piano) – 18 Apr 71
1971 – The Theif of Bagdad – Erwin (organ) – 11 June 71
1971 – Orphans of the Storm – Perry (piano) – 26 June 71
1971 – Blood and Sand – Perry (piano) – 8 Aug 71
1971 – The Beloved Rogue – Perry (piano) – 10 Aug 71
1971 – Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Erwin (organ) – 3 Oct 71
1971 – The Eagle – Erwin (organ) – 31 Oct 71
1971 – The Phantom of the Opera – Carter (organ) – 12 Sept 72
1972 – The Iron Mask – Perry (piano)
1972 – Judith of Bethulia – Perry (piano) – 1 July 72
1972 – College – Perry (piano) – 4 Nov 72
1972 – Abraham Lincoln – sound
1972 – Mr. Robinson Coruso – sound
1972 – Pecks Bad Boy – Perry (piano) – 29 Aug 73
1972 – Down to the Sea in Ships – Perry (piano) – 17 Sept 73
1972 – The Iron Horse – Perry (piano) – 10 Oct 74
1972 – Tillie's Punctured Romance – Perry (piano) – 2 Oct 76
1973 – Birth of a Nation – McDonald (orchestra)
1973 – What Price Glory – Perry (piano) – 3 Mar 73
1973 – The Toll Gate – Perry (piano) – 29 Aug 73
1973 – Hearts of the World – Perry (piano) – 10 Dec 73
1973 – Riders of the Purple Sage – Perry (piano) – 4 Dec 74
1973 – The Tempest – Perry (piano) – 26 Feb 75
1974 – Broken Blossoms – Perry (piano) – 6 Nov 74
1974 – Sparrows – Perry (piano)
1974 – Seventh Heaven – Perry (piano) – 11 Dec 74
1975 – Tumbleweeds – Perry (piano) – 20 June 75
1975 – Way Down East – Perry (piano) – 27 June 75
1976 – Little Annie Rooney – Perry (piano) – 25 May 78
1976 – Steamboat Bill Jr. – Perry (piano)
1977 – The Great K&A Train Robbery – Perry (piano) – 12 Feb 78
1977 – Just Tony – unknown – 25 Nov 77
1977 – The Love of Sunya – Perry (piano)
1978 – Sunrise – (movietone)
1978 – It! – Perry (piano) – 17 Aug 78

There are also a few films that I found mention of in various lists that were supposed to be done by Killiam but I have never found them.
Dick Turpin
Four Sons
The Last Trail
Lazybones

If anyone has any other information, it would be greatly appreciated.

Ron
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 10:40 am

And here are the Shorts. I could never find dates for the last two but they are listed in the rental catalog as well as the WC Fields sound shorts.

Shorts
1970 – Cops – 8 Aug 71
1970 – The Blacksmith – 29 July 71
1970 – One Week – 14 Sept 70
1971 – Behind the Screen – 13 Apr 71
1972 – The Pawnshop – 22 Jan 74
1972 – The Cure – 6 Nov 72
1972 – The Rink – 23 Oct 72
1972 – The Adventurer – 16 Jan 75
1972 – Haunted Spooks – 26 Feb 72
1972 – His Royal Slyness – 6 Nov 72
1972 – Saturday Afternoon – 7 Aug 72
1972 – The Exploits of Elaine – 15 July 80
1973 – The Perils of Pauline – 28 July 72
1973 – Uncensored Movies – 25 Aug 73
1973 – Big Moments in Little Pictures – 13 Mar 72
1974 – The Champion – 25 Feb 73
1977 – The Bond – 19 Sept 77
1978 – Pool Sharks – 29 Jan 80

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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 10:50 am

drednm wrote:The one I seem to remember was The Toy That Grew Up, which I assume would have run on Boston's WGBH in those pre-PBS days. The show was produced by WTTW in Chicago. The theme song was "The Curse of an Aching Heart."

Another series I vaguely remember showed silent films (again probably WGBH) but all I remember is wonderful piano music (I can still play some these the songs) by an elderly lady named Lita Burlingame.
!


The other series could have been Lost & Found which ran in 1978. I put a list of films shown years ago but do not remember where the info was found. I also have that they all had piano scores, (except Charlie Chan which was sound), but I do not know by whom.

The Romance of Happy Valley (1919)
Hail the Woman (1921)
Peg O My Heart (1922)
Anna Christie (1923)
The Loves of Carmen (1927)
Souls for Sale (1923)
Stark Love (1927)
Charlie Chan in Paris (1935)

There was another series called Sprockets that ran, ( I believe), from 82-83. The only films I have confirmed that ran are:
Sparrows
Steamboat Bill Jr
The Vegabond Lover
The Great Gabbo
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostMon Sep 11, 2017 11:38 am

One of those other, non-Killiam series on PBS stations was where I first saw THE TOLL GATE.

It was one of the first Tinted AND Toned films I've seen - and (at least, in memory) looked better than the current homevid print.

Anyone recall this?

-Craig
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Oct 06, 2017 8:22 pm

The Gish series gave me an introduction to a serious interest in silents. And PBS at that time was very generous with freebies too. They sent me a large art poster advertising the series and 8x10 glossies from the films. I sent one from Broken Blossoms to Gish to be autographed. She, of course, graciously did so. Both series were later rebroadcast on PBS stations because, although I do not remember Welles' intro's, I do remember seeing all the film's in that series, and I did note at the time on the poster that the Gish series was also on again.
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Re: PBS' The Silent Years series 1971, 1975

PostFri Oct 06, 2017 10:58 pm

MattBarry wrote:This series was a key part of my introduction to silent film, although it was through later airings of the films on PBS. The William Perry score for "The Mark of Zorro" remains a favorite of mine.

This is one of my favorite introductions, with Orson Welles speaking about Buster Keaton and THE GENERAL. You really get a sense of the sincere awe and admiration he had for Keaton:


The William K. Everson Collection at NYU includes the pressbook for this series, which is viewable online:
https://www.nyu.edu/projects/wke/press/ ... tyears.pdf" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank


Here is what it goes in the middle


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