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Friday, May 23, 2014

You Want To Be A Football Hero?


Fort Dodge Football Celebrated with The Drop Kick (1927)

Somewhere in Fort Dodge, Iowa, there might be someone who still has a football autographed by Richard Barthelmess and presented to the high school football team of 1927. Sport was king in those years, college grid a way into local equivalent of movie stardom for young men that could lead the team. Some of those who college-played did make it to Hollywood, like John Mack Brown. Most male names with at least suggestion of youth carried the ball for cameras. Dick Barthelmess was 32 by time of The Drop Kick, assuming the role of college boy to kick winner goals. The Strand's ad promised "Co-Ed Romance --- Campus Scandal --- College Widows," that last intriguing because I've wondered since first seeing Horse Feathers what a college widow was. Here, then, are two definitions: (1) a young woman in a college town who dates students of successive classes, and (2) a girl whom new men meet from year to year but whom no one ever marries. OK, that settles that. The Strand "Wonder Organ" had been recently installed at cost of $3,395, according to a comment at Cinema Treasures (house seating: 572). Presentation of a signed football from Dick must have been crowning glory for the H.S. team and management. Someone at First National's Iowa exchange likely got a clap on the back for arranging this. Do you suppose that pigskin might still be displayed in the school's trophy case? Notable is sport theme carrying over to a short subject billed with The Drop Kick, funnyman Billy Bevan in The Golf Nut.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kevin K. said...

How many autographed footballs do you think Barthlemess handed out during the movie's run?

He was still playing a college student at 35 in "Son of the Gods," where his character was also Chinese, a stretch that not even he could quite pull off, especially when sharing scenes with real Chinese actors. Kind of like when Al Pacino goes ethnic against real Latinos.

9:39 AM  

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