Classic movie site with rare images, original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
Search Index Here

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Showtime Again!

Countdown begins toward Cinevent and Slapsticon, my two favorite Spring-Summer destinations. Getting there has become half the fun for drives through the Virginias, Ohio --- both shows begin for me on Interstate 77 and each amount to apx. six hours on the road (Cinevent happens in Columbus, while Slapsticon headquarters in Arlington, VA). Driving time's good for meditating on fun I've had at previous Cine/Slaps. Actually, 2010 was my first at Slapsticon. Would that I could go back and attend ones missed! It's great reuniting with folks known primarily by mails, or now, internet. If reaction to movies and crowd cheer in general is any indication, everyone has a blast at Cinevent and Slapsticon. I get a rush just entering the hotel at Columbus --- near every year since 1982. There used to be guys camped in the lobby with 16mm lists. We'd look at those before checking in. There's still a thriving dealer room at Columbus, with more on the sixth floor where Morris Everett's annual poster auction is held. So much happens here that it seems four days pass in as many minutes.

Slapsticon last year yielded as many films as I've ever watched in a single weekend. I just couldn't pass any of these rarities up. Organizer Richard Roberts and staff book rarest and most recently restored/rediscovered titles. There's little at Slapsticon you'll find on DVD. Truly it's a show for those who think they've seen everything. This year there is treasure long buried that I'm particularly revved for --- War, Italian Style is a late career starring feature for Buster Keaton last sighted at the Liberty in 1966. It'll be a thrill revisiting this one on Slapsticon's big screen, and with an audience. Harold Lloyd's Professor, Beware is scheduled as well. This one was syndicated with pre-48 Paramounts long ago, but never surfaced in close-by tele-markets. Slapsticon 2011 will be my first time viewing it, as will, I suspect, be the case for many attending. Comedians who don't get enough mainstream exposure are served generously at Slapsticon. Lloyd Hamilton, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Drew, Harry Langdon, assorted Hal Roach all-stars, many more unheralded and richly deserving of play before an appreciative crowd, which Slaps' assuredly is. Best of all here is comfort and quality of hosting Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, where projected film looks great and acoustics for live music accompaniment is note-perfect. I lasted hours last year on Spectrum seating without fatigue and expect to do so again this July. How many other venues are as hospitable?

Cinevent has their customary line-up of unique attractions, in addition to lure of the auction and dealer rooms. Steve Haynes really does a splendid job of organizing. This year's program includes a Deanna Durbin, His Butler's Sister, so far unreleased on domestic DVD, and My Gal Sal in IB Technicolor. That one's not available on disc either. A Universal I've long waited to see, Bombay Mail, is scheduled. There's even The Lady and The Monster for horror and Von Stroheim completists. Man In The Dark was an early 3-D feature pretty much unseen since 1953. Many silent features are scheduled, with on-site talent at the piano. Any opportunity to catch pre-talkers with live music is worth seizing. Good as digital is, there's no substituting for performers in the room. Cinevent does a Saturday morning cartoon revue that's especially popular, dependable always for (way) off beaten path animation. A longer list of scheduled films is here. I'll be situated at least part-time at tables where Robert Matzen and Mike Mazzone will be selling a very impressive cache of posters and lobby cards they recently acquired. Readers I've met (and especially ones I haven't) are encouraged to stop by. Maybe this time I'll finally encounter Nitrateville's Mike Gebert after several years of just missing each other.


Anonymous r.j. said...


For the record, "Professor, Beware" used to play out here all the time on local L.A. television when we were kids, as part of that pre-48 Paramount package.

For many years it was the only Harold Lloyd I had ever seen because, as you know, he was sitting on the ones he owned. I have fond mmemories of "Professor", altho haven't seen it since, especially a scene I remember where he's wrestling William Frawley for clothes (or something) in the back-seat of a limo, because of course we all knew Bill from "Lucy", and a great chase scene at the end, which as I recall compares quite favorably with his best silent stuff. It might be of some added interest that Orson Welles once said he was directing "Horse Eats Hat" on stage in N.Y. at that time, and since they were incorporating silent-film footage in the show, he took the company to the Paramount Theatre one afternoon, so they could study "Professor" which had just opened.

I remain, as ever your "obedient servant",


9:36 PM  
Anonymous r.j. said...

As a quick P.S. here, just noticed inclusion of Keaton's last effort (which is about the best description one could charitably give it), called "War Italian Style". That too played on afternoon televsion years ago and I made the huge mistake of watching it, unprepared for what it was. I urge you, and other fans of his, to avoid it. You'll be terribly saddened by the experience.

best, R.J.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Looking at the film lineup;I remember seeing the same PBS showing of The Extra Girl in the 70s...

12:36 AM  
Blogger G. D. Wilson said...

By all means do not miss Lloyd's PROFESSOR BEWARE--a very under-rated gem in my opinion, with slight shades of Karloff's THE MUMMY plot and William Frawley in a great bit. A super closing gag and a shame it isn't out there on DVD. Next to THE CAT'S PAW it's my favorite Lloyd talkie.

12:51 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

"Maybe this time I'll finally encounter Nitrateville's Mike Gebert after several years of just missing each other."

I was thinking I was going to skip this one because of an extremely packed and car trip heavy summer... but now that I'm being called out by name, I may hafta... if I do, this year for sure, John!

10:58 AM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Received the following from Slapsticon's Richard M. Roberts via e-mail ...


Tell r.j. that his review of WAR ITALIAN STYLE and others like it are exactly the reason why we're running the film at Slapsticon this year. because so few folk have actually seen it in intervening years since it came out and all we ever hear is "oh, poor, sad, Buster!". Well, actually having seen the film recently, the real fact of the matter is it's not bad at all. You have Buster, in a leading role, playing a Nazi of all things, but doing bits and routines he obviously devised himself, in a nearly silent part. The Italian Comedy team Franco and Ciccio may be an accquired Italian comedy taste, but they are obviously quite honored to be working with Keaton, and at the end of the film pay a tribute to Buster that will bring a mist to the eye of anyone who loves his work, moreso because WAR ITALIAN STYLE was indeed the last film of Buster to hit the theaters. Considering Keaton was the last of the so-called "Kings of Comedy" to actually star in a big-budgeted (it was not a low-budget affair, Franco and Ciccio were very popular comics in their native land), internationally released movie, and due to his continued working in television and films (even things like BEACH BLANKET BINGO, no sad slumming as some depressives like to think, but popular mainstream movies aimed at the younger generations, don;t forget Frankie and Annette were pretty popular in their day)had the largest public recognition of the major comics at the time. Keatons last years were not sad ones, he made more money in those last fifteen years than he ever made working for Joe Schenck, had a happy marriage and was secure that he would be remembered as the great comic he was, adn he did a lot of varied and interesting work, of which more and more seems to turn up as we go along.

We like to do myth busting at Slapsticon, which is why we run things like this and PROFESSOR BEWARE, which I think is actually one of Lloyd's better talkies. Remember how we smashed the baloney circulating about SWINGIN ON A RAINBOW with Harry Langdon a few years ago.


9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently rubbing a magic lamp (actually I don't know if its magic, but it can't hurt) and wishing there could be a classic movie fest in Phoenix some day. I was lucky to go to Cinecon one year but the husband made such a fuss about being bored in Hollywood, I got to see one short. Yes, one short. Ugh. Glad he is history but I can't get to Hollywood anymore. Where are the teleport machines? :)

2:40 PM  
Anonymous r.j. said...

I realized right after posting that warning comment that all it would have is a reverse psychological-effect on whoever read it. Of course I'm going back over 30-years in my memory on the sole viewing one afternoon after school on a local T.V. station out here on the West Coast, but what I do recall is that there really wasn't much Keaton (the sole reason I wanted to see it of course) and what there was just seemed to reinforce the fact that he was a rather sick old man at that time. I also found his being cast as a Nazi General to be in excruciatingly bad taste. But I do recall the final scene vividly where the two clowns hand him his traditional outfit and he walks off toward the horizon, and that I found very touching.

I realize that Keaton's final-years were very contented ones and you're right, he was making more money than he ever did in his prime. I had the great honor of meeting Eleanor one night, somewhere after some event and we talked briefly. She seemed to take a liking to me, because I just remember her assistant (female) pulling her hand, but she seemed to want to take some extra time with me to talk, which of course was extremely flattering, and I'm very grateful I was able to meet this lady and pay my respects to Buster "in absentia".


8:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home
  • 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
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017
  • November 2017
  • December 2017
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • April 2019
  • May 2019
  • June 2019
  • July 2019
  • August 2019
  • September 2019
  • October 2019
  • November 2019
  • December 2019
  • January 2020
  • February 2020
  • March 2020
  • April 2020
  • May 2020
  • June 2020
  • July 2020
  • August 2020
  • September 2020
  • October 2020
  • November 2020
  • December 2020
  • January 2021
  • February 2021
  • March 2021
  • April 2021
  • May 2021
  • June 2021
  • July 2021
  • August 2021
  • September 2021
  • October 2021
  • November 2021
  • December 2021
  • January 2022
  • February 2022
  • March 2022
  • April 2022
  • May 2022
  • June 2022
  • July 2022
  • August 2022
  • September 2022
  • October 2022
  • November 2022
  • December 2022
  • January 2023
  • February 2023
  • March 2023
  • April 2023
  • May 2023
  • June 2023
  • July 2023
  • August 2023
  • September 2023
  • October 2023
  • November 2023
  • December 2023
  • January 2024
  • February 2024
  • March 2024
  • April 2024
  • May 2024