Hollywood Ghosts On The Loose!
|The Old-Time Gang's All Here: Richard Conte and Checked-Coat Bill Castle Confer With|
(Left To Right) Helen Gibson, Francis X. Bushman, William Farnum, and Betty Blythe
Hollywood Story (1951) Picks Silent Era Bones
Bill Castle was a better showman than director, his megging a mere perfunctory step toward promoting he preferred. His foothold, however, was made with really boring
It was habit then to drag out old-timers for occasion like this. Otherwise, they'd be ignored as usual, resulting in time-to-time burn from most outspoken of them. Elmo Lincoln was called, he of ancient Tarzan guise, only to be pushed far into background as glorified extra. Those of the gone era who spoke did so briefly: Betty Blythe, William Farnum, Helen Gibson. Value of these relics was to publicize Hollywood Story, not perform in it. Francis X. Bushman perhaps understood this best. He was an old ham who'd been curing since the teens, hopeful swain to many a Grandma who might be induced now to come and see him flash a still manly profile. Difference was, Bushman had old-world charm and was an elegant speaker besides. Him on tour for Hollywood Story was guarantee of local press interest, wherever he appeared. You couldn't necessarily say that of flash-in-pan talent being incubated at U-I.
|Chicago Grannies Converge On "Frankie Boy" Bushman --- Placards Courtesy U's Art Dept.|
So it really came down to who among vets could be most useful, Elmo Lincoln as remind of how mighty had fallen, or Bushman with oodles of joie de vivre and capacity to fill a lodge or ladies' tea. Elmo would dig a losing hole deeper with remarks to '51 press thus: "Every time they want to exploit something like Hollywood Story, they call on us ... The motion picture industry is the most unappreciative, selfish business in
|My Town Boasted No Silent Stars I Was Aware Of --- Did Yours?|
Yes, you could say pioneers of the screen were ignored, but a number of them kept up with each other, and search of
|Hollywood Story Highlight When We Visit a U-I Soundstage|
So what we got was tentative evoke of old Hollywood, minus any actual names, other than guests along Bushman, Farnum, Gibson lines who were paid for few words, plus recognition by elder-enough fans. Otherwise, it's Richard Conte and Julia Adams bemused by what was left of a waxen museum, Conte a modern-day producer availing himself of old films as quest for authenticity ... but even that was problematic for Universal having burned up all its silent prints and negatives a few years before, a fact few were aware of in 1951. So what does he screen? Just the most famous strip of film Universal still had --- 1925's unmask scene from Phantom Of The Opera. Hollywood Story gave best glimpse of its title subject by going outdoors, specifically poolside at the fabled Roosevelt Hotel, footage of the annual Christmas parade down