Silent Era Postcards

Talk about the work of collecting, restoring and preserving our film heritage here.
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Silent Era Postcards

Unread post by silentfilm » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:54 am

Postcards were given out free to advertise films. Other times you could buy a postcard with your favorite actor or actress.

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As the postcard states, it was given out free to advertise Keystone players. I bought this for a dollar in an antique store a couple of weeks ago. It was mailed on March 17, 1915 from Los Angeles.

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This undated Renée Adorée postcard is probably from the late 1920s. That certainly is not her signature since the accents are incorrect on her name.

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This postcard was also signed by someone else, since May McAvoy's name is spelled "Mae".

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Here's an unused postcard of Marie Prevost.

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This is an unused postcard of Colleen Moore.

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Here's an advertising postcard from the Washington, Indiana Opera House. It was mailed on January 22nd, 1915. The Opera House was definitely a "licensed" theater only showing short films from the General Film (i.e. patents trust) Company.

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Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:20 pm

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Well this Ford Sterling postcard was a real find! Wendy Warwick White (Sterling's biographer) has just confirmed that this postcard was written by Mary L. Stich, Ford Sterling's mother! :shock:

NOTICE TO PATRONS

Thursday night is Photoplayers' Night at the Garrick, 8th and Broadway, and on this night leading motion picture stars appear on the stage -- and souvenir photos of the srtists that appear are presented to Garrick patrons.

Start your collection now; and add to it every Thursday.

Programme changes Mondays and Thursdays.

447 Lake Place, Los Angeles, Cal.

Mr. Ryan - please forward any mail for us to above address -- We are living out-here now -- We love summer weather, but -- I like a City beat. Go see the boy in pictures at City Square Theatrs (sic) the Keystone picture show there. Twice week. Kind Regards to all.

Mrs. M. L. Stich

Mr. Ryan, Post Master

Southfield, New Jersey


NOTE: This postcard was postmarked at 4 p.m. on March 17, 1915 in Los Angeles, California.

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Unread post by rudyfan » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:08 pm

silentfilm wrote:Well this Ford Sterling postcard was a real find! Wendy Warwick White (Sterling's biographer) has just confirmed that this postcard was written by Mary L. Stich, Ford Sterling's mother! :shock:
Congratulations Bruce! Awesome find! :D
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Unread post by Frederica » Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:10 am

rudyfan wrote:
silentfilm wrote:Well this Ford Sterling postcard was a real find! Wendy Warwick White (Sterling's biographer) has just confirmed that this postcard was written by Mary L. Stich, Ford Sterling's mother! :shock:
Congratulations Bruce! Awesome find! :D
I think it's kinda cute that Sterling's mom sent postcards with his photo on them! She probably sent them to everyone. About everything.

But yes, it is a great find, proof positive that one person's trash is another's treasure.

Fred

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Unread post by silentfilm » Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:57 pm

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Vera Reynolds and Raymond Griffith in "The Night Club" A Paramount Production.

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Raymond Griffith in "Red Lights"

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Marie Prevost in "Red Lights"

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Raymond Griffith in "He's a Prince" (Released as A Regular Fellow)

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Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Oct 31, 2008 1:33 pm

Frederica wrote:
rudyfan wrote:
silentfilm wrote:Well this Ford Sterling postcard was a real find! Wendy Warwick White (Sterling's biographer) has just confirmed that this postcard was written by Mary L. Stich, Ford Sterling's mother! :shock:
Congratulations Bruce! Awesome find! :D
I think it's kinda cute that Sterling's mom sent postcards with his photo on them! She probably sent them to everyone. About everything.

But yes, it is a great find, proof positive that one person's trash is another's treasure.

Fred
Trash? You're calling Ford Sterling trash??? Them's fightin' words!

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Unread post by silent-partner » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:59 pm

Thank you silentfilm (I don't know your 'real' name so I am going to call you Larry from now on) that was so cool of you to post that.
Anyone have more??
Can we add tobacco cards here as well Larry or should we start another thread?

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Unread post by Jim Reid » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:04 pm

silent-partner wrote:Thank you silentfilm (I don't know your 'real' name so I am going to call you Larry from now on)
His real name is at the bottom of all his posts. They are really great postcards.

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Unread post by silent-partner » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:12 pm

Jim Reid wrote:
silent-partner wrote:Thank you silentfilm (I don't know your 'real' name so I am going to call you Larry from now on)
His real name is at the bottom of all his posts. They are really great postcards.
Yeah ok, I see it NOW. But I'm still calling him Larry.

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Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Nov 05, 2008 10:51 am

Essanay issued a whole series of Chaplin postcards that featured scenes from his Essanay shorts.

Here's some from The Bank

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Here's one from In the Park:

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Here's two from By the Sea:

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And one from A Night Out with Ben Turpin:

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--Bruce, my brother Larry, and my other brother Larry

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Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:03 am

silentfilm wrote: And one from A Night Out with Ben Turpin:
Which reminds me, this is one of the nastiest films Chaplin ever made as far as his treatment of co-stars is concerned. His naked contempt and disdain of Turpin is absolutely freezing. I don't say it isn't justified -- Turpin and Chaplin were a totally incompatible comic team, with poor Ben needing to react to a partner in order to be funny and Charlie refusing to give him anything to react against -- but the undisguised contempt from Chaplin was so unprofessional.

Jim

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Unread post by Brent Walker » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:17 pm

Jim Roots wrote:
silentfilm wrote: And one from A Night Out with Ben Turpin:
Which reminds me, this is one of the nastiest films Chaplin ever made as far as his treatment of co-stars is concerned. His naked contempt and disdain of Turpin is absolutely freezing. I don't say it isn't justified -- Turpin and Chaplin were a totally incompatible comic team, with poor Ben needing to react to a partner in order to be funny and Charlie refusing to give him anything to react against -- but the undisguised contempt from Chaplin was so unprofessional.

Jim

Jim, I know you are in a sense sticking up for Turpin. However, regardless of whether or not Chaplin and Turpin were incompatible, and Chaplin's level contempt, I have to interject that I disagree with the assessment that Ben Turpin needed to react to a partner in order to be funny. In most of his best films, Ben worked solo and is very funny.

No, he wasn't in Chaplin's league with regard to solo pantomime (few were) or making something out of nothing in every situation. However, Ben may have exceeded Chaplin in physical acrobatics (particularly impressive in the 1920's at a very advanced age) and more frequently worked without a "partner" than with. Yes, like Chaplin, he benefited from having good supporting players to play off, and also needed good gag situations, but in most situations Ben could fend for himself without having a bonafide partner (in fact, the only time he had a true "partner" was in the years 1918-19 with Heinie Conklin, who was a good comic but in turn was not in Ben's league), and if you've seen his very early (and yes, very primitive, but with laughs if taken in context) Essanay comedies from the "oughts", like AN AWFUL SKATE or THE HAUNTED LOUNGE, they are truly a one-man show and Ben is that man.

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Unread post by Chris Snowden » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:49 pm

Jim Roots wrote: Which reminds me, this is one of the nastiest films Chaplin ever made as far as his treatment of co-stars is concerned. His naked contempt and disdain of Turpin is absolutely freezing. I don't say it isn't justified -- Turpin and Chaplin were a totally incompatible comic team, with poor Ben needing to react to a partner in order to be funny and Charlie refusing to give him anything to react against -- but the undisguised contempt from Chaplin was so unprofessional.
You're seeing the Keystone-era Tramp in A Night Out: churlish and psychopathic, and here he's drunk as well. The Tramp was every bit as aggressive with Mack Swain at the lunch counter in His Trysting Places, and he'd just kicked a guy off a cliff in His Prehistoric Past. Both of those Keystones had been filmed only a month or so before A Night Out.

Chaplin and Turpin got along just fine in real life; Turpin always spoke very highly of Chaplin in interviews, and I believe Chaplin sent a giant floral display to his funeral in 1940. I doubt that Chaplin would've brought Turpin out to California in the first place, if he felt contemptuous of the guy.

But it could be that Chaplin felt the Tramp had been too much of a bully in A Night Out. From his next film onward, the Tramp begins morphing into a downtrodden everyman, and the havoc he creates is either accidental or springs from playfulness rather than slapstick sadism.
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Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:51 am

Chris Snowden wrote:
Jim Roots wrote: Which reminds me, this is one of the nastiest films Chaplin ever made as far as his treatment of co-stars is concerned. His naked contempt and disdain of Turpin is absolutely freezing. I don't say it isn't justified -- Turpin and Chaplin were a totally incompatible comic team, with poor Ben needing to react to a partner in order to be funny and Charlie refusing to give him anything to react against -- but the undisguised contempt from Chaplin was so unprofessional.
You're seeing the Keystone-era Tramp in A Night Out: churlish and psychopathic, and here he's drunk as well. The Tramp was every bit as aggressive with Mack Swain at the lunch counter in His Trysting Places, and he'd just kicked a guy off a cliff in His Prehistoric Past. Both of those Keystones had been filmed only a month or so before A Night Out.

Chaplin and Turpin got along just fine in real life; Turpin always spoke very highly of Chaplin in interviews, and I believe Chaplin sent a giant floral display to his funeral in 1940. I doubt that Chaplin would've brought Turpin out to California in the first place, if he felt contemptuous of the guy.

But it could be that Chaplin felt the Tramp had been too much of a bully in A Night Out. From his next film onward, the Tramp begins morphing into a downtrodden everyman, and the havoc he creates is either accidental or springs from playfulness rather than slapstick sadism.
I don't know, it looks like personal feelings expressing themselves in the guise of slapstick antics. Compare it to Chaplin's interplay with Arbuckle in a very similar film. In fact, compare it to any other film of the era in which Chaplin had to share the screen with a de facto partner. I just don't see the same kind of behind-the-mask disdain in those other films, even when the "partner" is someone he disliked personally, such as Mabel Normand.

To my eyes, Chaplin may have liked Turpin off-screen, but he had small respect for him as a film comedian. He visibly respected Roscoe who could match him on-screen laugh for laugh. Turpin just wasn't in the same league, and with Night Out, Chaplin had had enough of him.

Ben was very likable in his "mature" comedies. In the Essanays, too many times he just doesn't have a clue what to do beyond some amazing flips. I've got a bunch of these films on VHS in which he literally stands in front of the camera, shuffling his feet and trying desperately to think of some comic business to perform. He's usually wearing a stupid buttoned-up plastic raincoat (that's what it looks like, anyway). Anytime I see that coat, I cringe because I know he's not going to be doing anything funny for the next ten minutes.

His Yukon Jake era films are lots of fun. He'd found his niche and his shtick by that time. No argument there.

Jim

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Unread post by Chris Snowden » Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:32 pm

Jim Roots wrote:I don't know, it looks like personal feelings expressing themselves in the guise of slapstick antics. Compare it to Chaplin's interplay with Arbuckle in a very similar film. In fact, compare it to any other film of the era in which Chaplin had to share the screen with a de facto partner. I just don't see the same kind of behind-the-mask disdain in those other films, even when the "partner" is someone he disliked personally, such as Mabel Normand.
Chaplin's interplay with Arbuckle is very different in The Rounders. It's smiliar to A Night Out in that both films are about a couple of guys going out to get drunk, but the characters are pretty different. In The Rounders, the characters are well-to-do men in evening clothes; in A Night Out, the characters are roughneck bums, and they act that way.

A Night Out is definitely not a distinguished piece of work. It had been slapped together in just a couple of weeks, and it shows, in spite of that big cafe set in the first reel. It's simply a lot of improvised knockabout followed by a retread of his Keystone-era bedroom farces (Caught in the Rain, Mabel's Strange Predicament).

Chaplin didn't dislike Mabel Normand at all. In fact, he had a massive crush on her. He just didn't like taking direction from her, but for that matter he didn't like taking direction from anybody.

Ben Turpin definitely gets kicked around in A Night Out (and in His New Job as well), but he gets kicked around in a lot of his 1910s films.

People like Mack Swain, Leo White and Henry Bergman each get the worst of it in multiple Chaplin films, yet there was no personal animosity involved (Bergman was one of his best friends for decades), and I doubt there was any animosity in Turpin's case. But certainly, the Tramp's boorishness in A Night Out is excessive, a mistake Chaplin rarely repeated afterwards.
To my eyes, Chaplin may have liked Turpin off-screen, but he had small respect for him as a film comedian. He visibly respected Roscoe who could match him on-screen laugh for laugh. Turpin just wasn't in the same league, and with Night Out, Chaplin had had enough of him.
Well, again, when Chaplin bailed on Essanay's Chicago studio to work at its Niles studio in California, he made a point of bringing Turpin with him, even though there were already plenty of comic stooges at Niles. Why do that, if he didn't think Turpin would be of value?
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Unread post by Jim Roots » Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:17 pm

Chris Snowden wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:To my eyes, Chaplin may have liked Turpin off-screen, but he had small respect for him as a film comedian. He visibly respected Roscoe who could match him on-screen laugh for laugh. Turpin just wasn't in the same league, and with Night Out, Chaplin had had enough of him.
Well, again, when Chaplin bailed on Essanay's Chicago studio to work at its Niles studio in California, he made a point of bringing Turpin with him, even though there were already plenty of comic stooges at Niles. Why do that, if he didn't think Turpin would be of value?
I'm too lazy to do a week-by-week examination of the timeline, so if you want to debate this any further, you'll have to do the timeline yourself.

Is it possible that at the time of the move, Chaplin and Turpin hadn't worked together long enough for Charlie to get a firm reading of Ben's abilities? That he thought there was enough talent there for him to bring him along to Niles as a second banana? and that once the move was done and more films had been made, Chaplin realized he wasn't going to be able to mold Ben into the kind of supporting player he later molded from Albert Austin, and therefore lost patience with Turpin and began treating him with disdain on-screen?

Jim

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Unread post by Chris Snowden » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:30 pm

Jim Roots wrote: Is it possible that at the time of the move, Chaplin and Turpin hadn't worked together long enough for Charlie to get a firm reading of Ben's abilities? That he thought there was enough talent there for him to bring him along to Niles as a second banana? and that once the move was done and more films had been made, Chaplin realized he wasn't going to be able to mold Ben into the kind of supporting player he later molded from Albert Austin, and therefore lost patience with Turpin and began treating him with disdain on-screen?
For whatever it's worth, Turpin told an interviewer, "Charlie ruined a lot of film trying to look serious at me... and could not act at all. He was told to straighten up and get to business, but he said, 'I can't. That chap's expression has me laughing, and I can't stop. If you want me to work, get him out of here.'"

After A Night Out, Turpin was laid up with an injury and missed most of the filming of The Champion, but he was still part of the Chaplin unit. Afterwards, he was moved over to the Snakeville series, ultimately becoming its star.

But when Chaplin made an extended cameo appearance in a G. M. Anderson drama, His Regeneration (a sequence that Chaplin seems to have directed himself), Turpin popped up once again, and this was the last of Chaplin's work in Niles.

Turpin biographer Steve Rydzewski says "The two comics remained friends throughout the rest of Ben's life, often sharing their favorite sport together, duck hunting, spending many weekends chasing the elusive mallard, often in company with Mack Sennett, Thomas Ince and others." (Quotes are from Slapstick! #2, page 4)
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Unread post by boblipton » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:36 pm

I thought Chaplin's favorite sport was hunting quail, Chris.

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Unread post by Chris Snowden » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:43 pm

boblipton wrote:I thought Chaplin's favorite sport was hunting quail, Chris.

Bob
I've never heard of him hunting quail, but maybe so. I think his favorite sports were actually sailing and tennis.
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Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:27 pm

I thought Chaplin's favorite sport was hunting quail, Chris.


Oh yes, he bagged a lovely grey Lita.
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Unread post by silent-partner » Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:27 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
I thought Chaplin's favorite sport was hunting quail, Chris.


Oh yes, he bagged a lovely grey Lita.
No Mike.
No.
Good Lord.
Someone take his keyboard away.
:lol:

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Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:34 pm

Chris Snowden wrote: For whatever it's worth, Turpin told an interviewer, "Charlie ruined a lot of film trying to look serious at me... and could not act at all. He was told to straighten up and get to business, but he said, 'I can't. That chap's expression has me laughing, and I can't stop. If you want me to work, get him out of here.'"

Turpin biographer Steve Rydzewski says "The two comics remained friends throughout the rest of Ben's life, often sharing their favorite sport together, duck hunting, spending many weekends chasing the elusive mallard, often in company with Mack Sennett, Thomas Ince and others." (Quotes are from Slapstick! #2, page 4)
That quote from Turpin is just publicist's bumpf -- it appeared in Motion Picture -- so as far as I'm concerned, it has little credibility. Always be suspicious of any comedian who claims a better comedian thought he was the funniest man alive!

You've convinced me of Chaplin's off-screen affection for Turpin. But Chaplin on-screen was a different man. He was utterly ruthless and would not tolerate anyone but Arbuckle competing for his laughs. That meant his supporting players had to be people who could provide him with set-ups, with comic foils, and with mannequins against whom he could both act and react without them doing the same.

Albert Austin was ideal for this role. I happen to have always had a particular affection for him (I think it was the moustache), so I've tended to watch him a lot. He never does much of anything himself, but he plays to Chaplin just perfectly -- Charlie can act off him, and then immediately react off him because he's made a moue or a small gesture that is just enough to feed Chaplin another opening, without Albert taking any laughs for himself.

Turpin almost never does this in their films together. Turpin's "act" phase is to show up and get the laughs for the incongruity of his appearance, and after that he reacts to everyone else. Chaplin doesn't want a reactor (at least, not other than Eric Campbell), so he seems often frustrated that Ben isn't feeding him what he needs for his own comedy.

I think it should be noted that after Night Out, they made only (I think) one more film together. I don't count His Regeneration since that was a Hart film rather than a Chaplin-Turpin film. Yes, Ben was injured shortly thereafter, but Charlie didn't exactly hold up production and wait until Ben was better, nor did he go chasing after Ben when he had recovered.

Again, I'm not disputing their off-screen affection. I just think, watching their interplay in Night Out, that Chaplin was at that point realizing he had to get rid of Turpin sooner rather than later and find someone else who was capable of serving his on-screen needs.

And remember, this is simply the impression I get from watching that one film. In other words, it's a personal opinion, and you can't tell me my personal feeling is wrong.

Jim

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Unread post by silentfilm » Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:15 pm

Greta will be interested in this one...

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Unread post by greta de groat » Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:21 pm

Cool, thanks for posting! Too bad the postcard survives but not the film! I was just watching her in Hearts in Exile this morning, which is one of those crazy melodramas with crazy plots. I'm rather fond of it.

Vitagraph got a lot of mileage out of that photo. It also appears in front of a theater where her father spots it in A Vitagraph Romance.

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Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:25 am

I just watched Edward Kimball in "Silk Husbands and Calico Wives" (1920) two nights ago. Seems like the Kimballs and the Kimball-Youngs are getting a workout in watchings! Good thing, eh?!

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Unread post by Derek B. » Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:49 am

Since this topic has been revived I'm adding some more cards:

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- Derek B.

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Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:52 am

Derek B. wrote:
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Do you have any pictures of the Princess Theatre?

That card is from Flint, MI. Saginaw Street is still the main road going through Downtown Flint.

In Saginaw County, one of the main roads since the 1950s has been Genesee Road. Genesee Road in Saginaw County leads to the same Saginaw Street in Downtown Genesee County, Flint.

I live on Genesee. Sadly, both Saginaw and Flint, MI are now "exit towns".

Saginaw and Genesee roads used to be a 1850s plank toll road.
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Unread post by Derek B. » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:57 am

Darren Nemeth wrote:Do you have any pictures of the Princess Theatre? ...
Thanks for the local info. I don't have anything else related to the theatre.

Since I am adding a post, here are a few more postcards and other cards. The last is from a talkie but I thought I'd include it anyway since it has Fairbanks and Daniels.

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Unread post by silentfilm » Sun May 16, 2010 4:30 pm

Here are three postcards from the Grand Theatre in Donora, Pennsylvania, advertising the Vitagraph 1911 film Vanity Fair

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The Marquis of Steyn (William V. Ranous) cuts off Becky Sharp (Helen Gardner)

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Caption: News of the Battle of Waterloo at the Marquis of Steyn's ball.

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Becky Sharp (Helen Gardner) meets Pitt Crawley (Alec B. Francis)

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Lottie Pickford in The Diamond From the Sky (1915)

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Unread post by FrankFay » Sun May 16, 2010 8:44 pm

I have another of those Diamond From The Sky postcards with Irving Kaufman on it- found it and the Pickford one pasted to the inside of an outhouse!

Nice to see Helen Gardener in something besides Cleopatra- definitely an attractive face, would be nice to see how she interpreted the part
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