Mary Anderson as Perdita
Henry Van Der Weyde was a son of Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde. After service in the American Civil War, Henry emigrated to England, where he became a pioneer in taking photographs using artificial light. In this 1887 photo, taken in London, he shows American actress Mary Anderson as Perdita, daughter of Leontes, King of Sicily in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. It is from the collection of the Library of Congress.
Grito de Dolores, 200 Years
A portrait of Don Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the Mexican priest whose Grito de Dolores led to the birth of the Mexican indepence movement, 200 years ago today. It doesn't seem that long since the US bicentennial. The image is from the 16-September-1901 San Francisco Call. The President of Mexico raises a version of the cry every year
DVD: Lost Keaton
After Buster Keaton left MGM, where he had been stifled in a series of movies that started out pretty good (The Cameraman, Spite Marriage) and wound up pretty bad (The Passionate Plumber, What! No Beer?), he signed up with Earle W Hammons' Educational Pictures, which had produced hundreds of short comedies over the years.
Educational gave Buster minuscule budgets but plenty of room to breathe. from 1934 to 1937, he made 16 two-reel comedies which I have been reading about for years, but had never seen till now. Most of the references were disparaging, but I still wanted to see the movies. They turned out to be enjoyable, far better than his Columbia shorts. These movies reminded me of Roscoe Arbuckle's Comique shorts, which featured Buster.
Two of the films, "Palooka from Paducah" and "Love Nest on Wheels," were hillbilly stories which featured members of the Keaton family. "Palooka" had his mother Myra, his sister Louise, and his dad, Joe. Joe had trouble with the dialogue. Myra and Louise had deadpans as firm as Buster. Myra was smoking a pipe, as she did in real life. "Love Nest" had Myra, Louise, and Buster's little brother, Harry, who had once been known as "Jingles."
Charles Lamont directed most of the movies, and he seemed to know how to stay out of Buster's way and let him work. Mack Sennett directed "The Timid Young Man," but I didn't see anything of his style except for a shot of Lona Andre posing in a bathing suit.
"One Run Elmer" had a baseball game that included many of the tricks he used in charity games. "Tars and Stripes" was shot on location on a naval base in San Diego. "Grand Slam Opera" was my favorite, including lots of dancing and a broom fight straight from the Three Keatons in vaudeville.
The Aeroplane and the Motion Picture Camera
This article appeared in the January, 1912 issue of Aeronautics. The comments of the film producers reflect the shift from actualities to dramatic films that was taking place around 1910. Author Israel Ludlow was a lawyer and early flier who lived until 1960. Lieutenant Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was one of the first Army aviators, became Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and retired as a five star general. Lochinvar was a character in Walter Scott's "Marmion". Robert G Fowler was an early aviator who managed to live until 1966. Pilot Phillips Ward Page joined Naval Aviation during WWI and died in a crash in 1917.
The Aeroplane and the Motion Picture Camera
By ISRAEL LUDLOW
A very profitable market, and practically the only market for the films, were the five and ten cent motion picture theatres throughout the United States. It is reported that there are over ten million people who attend these theatres daily, and this public demands not a scenic or educational picture, but rather a photo play which shall have some dramatic climax, or which shall entertain the spectators by its comedy features. The motion picture manufacturers have grown wealthy catering to the public along these lines; and they declared that a simple picture of one or more aeroplanes flying in the sky attracts no more than a picture of an express train or the race of a fire engine down the street, because the human element is lacking.
The owner of one of the great film factories very frankly told me in detail of this situation, and as a result of the friendship thus formed, he suggested that I write a scenario or two in which the aeroplane played a part, and engage the aviator, and his company would produce it. His offer was a very generous one, and I wrote two scenarios which were enacted before the motion picture camera on the aviation field at Nassau Boulevard, immediately following the Meet. Lieutenant H. H. Arnold, U. S. A., played the leading part; that is, he was the aviator and substituted for the actor when the actual flying was necessary. A leather coat, knickerbockers, puttees, and goggles gave actor and Lieutenant very much the same appearance, and the audience which subsequently saw the pictures projected on the screen, probably never detected the difference.
The plays had strong simple situations. Their titles fully suggest their plots; "The Elopement" was the story of a young Lochinvar who runs away with his lady-love in the aeroplane. "The Military Airscout" was about a brave officer who succeeded in delivering a message to the Commanding General, though his aeroplane was brought down by the aeroplane guns of the enemy, and he was badly hurt in the fall. Other stories: "The Red Cross Nurse", "The Aviator's Success", "Aviator and Automobilist", etc., followed.
Not satisfied entirely with work of this character, and recognizing the scientific possibilities of the combination of the aeroplane and the motion picture camera, the Aviation Film Company was organized. This Company put Robert G. Fowler, the cross-continent aviator, under contract to carry a camera on his aeroplane from Texas to New York. The unique qualities of a motion picture taken from an aeroplane were so striking that little difficulty was experienced in making a contract between this Company and a great film concern, which is a member of one of the big sales organizations that have an exclusive contract for the disposal of films to the exchanges, who in turn deal directly with the exhibitors. Mr. Sexton, and Mr. E. R. Shaw, a camera man, joined Mr. Fowler at Beaumont, Texas, where on December 17th, 1911, the first aeroplane picture in America was made.
Mr. Fowler's contract with us required him to carry Mr. Shaw as passenger, with camera, or in place of Mr. Shaw, an automatic device which would turn the crank of the camera with power transmitted directly from the aeroplane motor. This device was the joint invention of Mr. Robert L. Baird and myself. It was obvious that such a mechanical instrument had economical qualities of great value. It would save the weight of the passenger, and thus gasoline equal in weight could be carried, insuring longer flight, and one life instead of two would be risked.
Mr. John G. Hemment, a professional photographer, Mr. Frank S. Lusk, and the writer went to the Burgess Co. & Curtis' aeroplane factory, where with their assistance, on December 21st, 1911, a mechanism was perfected and successfully tried on a hyrdo-aeroplane, at Marblehead, Mass. The device was the result of ten days' or two weeks' experiments, and its value is so great in our minds that it is being patented in behalf of the Aviation Film Company. The device has its possibilities in connection with making a topographical survey of the country for railroads who may want a map of a route to be covered by a proposed line, and on a scouting expedition the military aviator could carry sufficient film to cover his flight, no matter of what distance (this exceptional length of film being one of our improvements over the ordinary camera) and within a few hours the films can be developed and projected on the screen, greatly magnified. The telephoto lens would probably also be added, enabling the aviator to fly at any height. Photographs can also be made when desired, which will not overlap but which join or abut on each other. Examination of these latter pictures, of course can only be made one at a time, but their value is unquestionably great, for the result of any scouting expedition, even hundreds of miles in length, would be certain and exact.
During the first flights at Marblehead, the camera was operated by hand, but for the continuation of the experiments the camera was geared to and run by the motor. By means of a switch attached to one of the uprights, aviator Phillips W. Page was able to start the film revolving and stop it at the completion of a picture. So far as is known, this was the first time in this country that an aviator has taken motion pictures unassisted.
On the following day Page took up Hemment, who has recently returned from a hunting trip in Africa, with Paul Rainey, adding a new sensation to his list of experiences of pursuing game with his motion camera. Flying over the bay at a height of 150 feet, the aeroplane gave chase to a flock of wild ducks, and, after some maneouvring, the ducks were brought within range of the lens.