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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Warner Archives' Birthday and Pop Twenty

By my reckoning, Warners' DVD Archive has been around three years as of this month. Over 1,600 titles are in release so far. It's a great program for rarities that would never have seen pressed/store release. Beyond Warners, MGM, and RKO, they've delved into Allied Artists and, lately, Monogram backlog. The Archive now distributes On-Demand Columbia and UA On-Demands, way more a convenience than trolling around Amazon for these. Frequent WAC sales and coupons are welcome, along with weekly announcement of new product. I guess eventually we'll have access to every feature the company owns.

For the month of March, Greenbriar will post on a group of features available from the Archive, a tiniest fraction of their offerings, but representative of a largest, and to my mind best, vintage library. Bravo to them for so much treasure exhumed these past three years --- Vitaphone shorts, Pre-Code in abundance, Tim Holt and other series westerns, closure on Buster Keaton's MGM talkers, plus mining from Jazz Singer days when music/effects ruled (that GPS ban on "silent" labeling still in effect). Saturday's column will begin the anniversary recognition. For a meantime, there are past posts taking up Warner Archive pics, as follows: Digging The Warner Archive, The Command, Somewhere I'll Find You, Wichita, Sunrise At Campobello and I Was A Communist For The FBI, Colleen, Politics and Reducing, From Hell It Came, Berlin Express, The Tall Target, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure, I Dood It, Darby's Rangers, Tribute To A Bad Man, Rhapsody, Mara Maru and The Iron Mistress, The Last Flight, Saratoga, Paid, Five Star Final, Yellowstone Kelly, Summer Holiday, The Trail Of '98, Stranger On The Third Floor and High Wall, Macabre and The Hypnotic Eye, The Swan and The Opposite Sex, Mammy, George Arliss, A Stolen Life, The Fireball, Border Incident, Devil's Doorway, Noah's Ark, Black Zoo, and Taxi!.

There's also a new magazine I highly recommend. Pop Twenty came my way via Amazon order and per boost from Leonard Maltin at his fine Movie Crazy site. Publishers of Pop Twenty are Michael Bifulco and Robert S. Birchard. You'll recognize the two from outstanding books they've written. If there's anyone who knows more about movies than Bob Birchard, I've not met him. Pop Twenty is chock-filled with fascinating stuff on pics, TV, radio, and music from our preferred era. Issue #1 features Birchard on Footlight Parade (revelation a-plenty here), peeks into private DeMille files, and a downright spooky account of Howard Hughes may-be back from beyond to order re-edits on Cock Of The Air. Bifulco explores the Old Tucson filming location where Rio Bravo and other greats were filmed, as other writers cover James Dean's embrace by rock n' rollers, Fred Waring, Charley Chase, and more. We even get a column on "Super-Collectors" of Hollywood memorabilia that explains much I never knew about vanguard hoarding and those who were first at it. There's 112 pages of Pop Twenty and all are terrific. I can't wait for the next issue, set for June release.  

2 Comments:

Anonymous Dbenson said...

I'm a huge fan of the Vitaphone short collections. Every home should have one, at the very least.

Particularly fond of the musicals that jam a B-movie plot, a bunch of barely coherent songs and occasionally lavish production into a two-reel package -- sometimes with surprisingly capable unknowns. Add a cartoon and a 60-minute B and you've got a filling double feature in half the time.

Still hoping for the Passing Parades, Crime Does Not Pay, Pete Smith Specialties and the travelogues. And more of those two-reel epics.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Jim Lane said...

Thanks for putting me onto Pop Twenty, John; promptly ordered my copy and haven't regretted it yet (nor do I expect to). An unexpected bonus was the ad on p. 110 for The Legendary Lydecker Brothers by Jan Allen Henderson. I remember commenting on Howard and Theodore Lydecker here at GPS some time back, and wishing somebody would write a book about them. Hope this is the one I've been waiting for!

6:50 PM  

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