Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
grbrpix@aol.com
Search Index Here




Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Rat Patrol Was Upon Us!


Dateline 1931: Mutiple Mickeys Loose On Hollywood Boulevard

I'd guess there are a hundred oversized Mickey Mice running loose at Disneyland and Disney World, but where did it all begin? I'll be bold and propose 1931, the year Frisco's Loews Warfield offered Mickey "In Person" and took in $25,000 for an April week that also featured El Brendel in Mr. Lemon Of Orange. Prologues were essential to grim competition between big-town venues, and best among these were conjured by the brother-sister team of Fanchon and Marco, New York based, but with units fanned out cross-country (a nice website about the family here). They'd dream up minimum of fifty-two "ideas" in a given year, pressure forever on to top one week's novelty with another more sensational the next. If you want approximation of 24/7 push behind F&M's operation, watch Footlight Parade (1933), where James Cagney is a live wire inspired by the sibling wunderkinds.



Fanchon and Marco were recognized a quickest in the prologue race, enough so as to insure quick yes upon approach to Disney with a Mickey idea. His cartoons were beyond viral in 1931 theatres (as witness the February ad at above left). What more natural than to give Mickey life and offer face time to the fan base? Threshold questions, however: Did we need to be confronted with rats as big as us? ---let alone ones pacing in packs, as here? The Mickeys I've seen lurking Disney parks, with their modern big heads, are similarly adult-size and not a little intimidating. Do they frighten kids? --- I guess no more so than noggins adorning 1931 models. Might it have been preferable to scale these rodents to child stature, as better befitting mice vis a vis people?

Chaplin Associate and Restaurateur Henry Bergman Presents Cheese to Visitor Mice

Mickey Rings In 1931 For Showman Friends
The Hollywood Pantages Theatre was first on the West Coast to utilize mice, and how they did. The Fox chain was tied tight to Fanchon and Marco, the former's house organ (newsletter) tracking ways in which Mickey "gags," stunts, and tie-ups could enhance biz throughout the circuit. A parade of Mickey Mice going up Hollywood Boulevard? Can do (as shown at top). The first mouse to enter one of the new General Electric Refrigerators seemed a good idea, assuming we'd want vermin in our ice-boxes, and what better than for Mickey himself to give away dolls with his likeness in toy departments throughout LA? A real mind-blower for me  was discovery of H'wood restaurateur "Henry" presenting multiple Mickeys with cheese outside his famed eatery. Turns out Henry was none other than rotund comic Henry Bergman, loyal support and majordomo to Charlie Chaplin from legendary Mutual shorts made years before, and briefer appearance in City Lights and later Modern Times.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dr. OTR said...

Okay, thanks very much, I'm going to have nightmares about those marching mouse corps tonight. Their elongated snouts are so much more sinister than the live-action ones you see at Disneyworldland today.

But it's always great to see a shoutout to Henry Bergman! I just watched a couple of the Mutuals with my kids the other night. I started them with my son (age 8), and when my daughter (age 4) wandered in, she exclaimed "It's just like Buster Keaton!" before sitting down to watch with us. And I couldn't help but think a) how many four year olds would use that analogy when confronted with a nearly 90 year old film?, and b) Chaplin would be turning over in his grave if he'd heard that comparison.

I should point out that my son is named Keaton, so they have more of a familiarity with his work than most kids.)

1:21 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hitz said...

I think the most interesting thing about this article was in one of the ads - who knew that there was a "National Hair Bow Week"?!

1:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

grbrpix@aol.com
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016