July bloggers ran the gamut from classic comedy to classic blunders, and a happy tip led us to a fountain of wisdom from the film writer who would have owned the internet if he’d lived long enough.

TCM “morlock” David Kalat blogged throughout the month about the geniuses behind silent comedy. Beginning with a look at the many imitators of Charlie Chaplin, he continued with a profile of slapstick pioneer Mack Sennett, an examination of the Harry Langdon vs. Frank Capra controversy, and brought it back home with an appreciation of Chaplin’s detour into drama A Woman of Paris. Kalat wrapped up the series with a step into the talkie era and a tip of the hat to beautiful comedienne Thelma Todd.

The Playlist’s Oliver Littleton offered a survey of cinematic bumps in the road in the career paths of famous directors.

Not July, but just discovered: New York University has created an online treasure trove of the late great film historian William K. Everson’s mimeographed notes to his legendary classic screening series. (Thanks to Leonard Maltin for providing the link.)

John Farr instructs the color-only philistines uninitiated with a list of  10 untoppable classic black-and-white movies.

Michael Price and John Wooley, longtime collaborators on the lovingly researched genre-centric Forgotten Horrors books, have kicked off a chatty and initimably discursive podcast with some thoughts on Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead. (via iTunes).

And closing the circle was the announcement in July of the discovery of Zepped, a virtually lost Charlie Chaplin WWI propaganda film, found in a British junk store.

Dig in and savor these fascinating, tasty links.

July 29, 2011 · Posted in Legends  

Embedded below is a goofy primitive promotional short for the comic strip Buck Rogers which ran at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair, “The Century of Progress International Exposition.” Produced in Chicago by the strip’s syndicator, John H. Dille, it stars Dille’s son as our hero and, it’s said, that young man’s uncredited girlfriend as Buck’s futuristic squeeze Wilma. Stage magician Harlan Tarbell directed and played Dr. Huer under a cheesy bald wig that threatens to disengage and lift off for the stratosphere. (Buck Rogers cartoonist Dick Calkins makes a brief appearance at the beginning. Having no dialogue, he comes off better than anyone else involved.)

Don’t confuse this amateur effort with anything good – the acting is non-existent, and the special effects are more than lame. Even so, the effort itself is kinda charming in an Ed Wood sort of way…and for those who care, it’s one of the very first attempts to translate comic strips to live-action sound film, pre-dating the serials of the later ‘30s.

There’s more background available in a nice 2008 post on the Matinee at the Bijou site. In the meantime, notch up that flying belt and check this out.

July 10, 2011 · Posted in Legends