Posts Tagged ‘DVDs’
No way…I’m still finding too many interesting movies to release on DVD/Blu-ray.
Hard to believe Kit Parker Films just celebrated its 45th year in the distribution of classic motion pictures! Back in 1971 the 16mm non-theatrical industry was thriving, but it was largely owned by corporations which were passionate about money, but dispassionate about films, and the quality of the film prints showed it. I saw a niche to be filled — renting out quality prints at affordable prices, and Kit Parker Films was born.
The 16mm library expanded throughout the years until home video made inroads into the industry — the quality of VHS was marginal at best, but the price was right. By the 90s I branched out into the 35mm theatrical arena, eventually becoming the go-to source for classics in the 35mm film format.
In the late 1990s I realized the days of projecting celluloid were going to be replaced by DVDs, so slowly phased out the “old” KPF, and in 2001 began purchasing the copyrights to vintage films. Over the next 15 years my collection grew to include hundreds of feature films, television programs, serials and shorts. Many of my acquisitions required a great degree of patience and detective work to clear rights and locate suitable elements, but those efforts unearthed many films that had seen little or no exposure for decades.
Launching my library on DVD was a success, but like other producers, my profit was far too diluted by wholesalers, and their related “expenses” that I had to pay for, but that was the traditional method media (starting with books) made its way to stores and customers for over 100 years.
Amazon has been amazing for people like me who don’t like to go to stores. By 2015 they were by far the #1 seller for my DVDs. Over time I noticed that some items I’d buy would say “Sold by ‘Acme Company’” and “Fulfilled By Amazon.” Amazon is making 90% of my DVD sales…I had a lightbulb moment! I can’t say why it took so long for me to figure out I could sell exclusively through Amazon, pay their fulfillment fee and continue to grow my business.
This means I can continue to augment my release schedule and continue to take a chance on projects that may not even recoup their costs. How many people are going to buy a silent serial, or an obscure cult film? In this business you never know, but I’ve built my career on taking new risks.
So, I did it, and my new company, The Sprocket Vault, was born. Although TSV was created originally to sell my own DVD/Blu-rays, other producers have started approaching me to sell theirs…so my company is growing, and that means lots of new releases of interest for you.
I WANT YOU!
TO LIKE TSV ON FACEBOOK
The following movies were eventually released on good quality DVD’s:
APACHE RIFLES (Admiral-Fox/1964)
Picture and sound track were a jumbled mess. Technician at VCI eventually matched everything up. (I still owe someone a steak dinner!)
THE COWBOY (Lippert/1954)
35mm color negative ruined by mold. Used 16mm color “EK” (print from the original color negative) for the DVD. Black and white duplicate negative and color “separation negatives” survive. BTW, I had a blast producing the commentary track with the authentic old cowboys who were the stars of the film.
THE GLASS TOMB (Hammer-Lippert/1955)
Original 35mm material missing. Used 35mm release print borrowed from the British Film Archive
THE GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID (Lippert/1954)
35mm color material missing. Used a 16mm color “EK.” 35mm black and white negative survives.
LIKE IT IS (Psychedelic Fever) (Lima/1968)
Missing sound track. Used audio from a bootleg VHS bought on eBay. Sometimes pirates serve a useful purpose!
MAN BEAST (API/1956)
Master 35mm material was cut for release in the UK and the excised scenes scrapped. Used missing footage found in a 35mm US release print. Scenes that were deleted prior to its US theatrical release were found in a Spanish dubbed print and are included as a Special Feature on the DVD.
Color camera negative survived – without titles. Used titles off a like-new 1956 16mm color print I bought from a collector on eBay. Not the first time a film collector has saved the day.
MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (Palo Alto-Lippert/1954)
35mm sound track decomposed. Used track from 16mm Armed Forces negative, which was longer than the theatrical release version. Extra scenes are part of the DVD special features.
MR. DISTRICT ATTORNEY (Republic/1941)
Nitrate picture and track negative decomposed. Used a “fine grain” master print borrowed from the British Film Institute
OUTLAW WOMEN (Howco/1952)
Original 35mm Cinecolor material decomposed. Used mint 35mm Cinecolor print
SEA DEVILS (Coronado-RKO/1953)
Combined 3-strip Technicolor negatives located at Technicolour in London and restored by Canal+, owner of Eastern Hemisphere distribution rights.
SHOTGUN (Champion-Allied Artists/1955)
Badly faded camera negative was all that survived. VCI technician was able to bring the color back to life in a tedious process of correcting the color scene by scene. (Another steak dinner, this one due Doug at Film and Video Transfers)
SINS OF JEZEBEL (Lippert/1954)
Original 35mm color negative missing. Used mint 35mm AnscoColor print labeled “Roadshow Version”. Could find no difference between the Roadshow and Regular release; not surprising given its penurious producer, Robert L. Lippert. Note: Fortunately AnscoColor, unlike widely used Eastman Color, does not tend to fade.
STRANGER ON HORSEBACK (Goldstein-UA/1955)
No color film elements known to exist. Used 35mm AnscoColor release print borrowed from the British Film Institute. 16mm black and white negative survives.
THUNDER IN CAROLINA (Howco/1962)
As with “Apache Rifles,” picture and sound track were a jumbled mess. Technician at VCI eventually matched everything up. (Guess I owe three steak dinners.)
AVAILABLE ON DVD FROM
There are movies which Kit Parker Films owns rights but cannot find suitable elements. Maybe you can help!
“The Black Pirates” (Salvador-Lippert/1954) Original AnscoColor negative missing. Duplicate negative with Spanish main and end titles survives, but was damaged by improper storage.
“God’s Country” (Lippert/1946)
Original Cinecolor nitrate negative decomposed in the 1960s. 35mm and 16mm black and white duplicate negative and sound track survive.
“Highway 13” (Lippert/1948)
Not really missing, but we had to use the 16mm negative which was less than optimal. I was told not to bother because the whole movie took less than 3 days to produce but, hey, it’s a mini-masterpiece!
“Rawhide Trail” (Terry and Lyon-Allied Artists/1958)
Nothing at all. The Allied Artists library was split between Warner Bros. and Paramount years ago, but this independent production was not among them.
“Mr. District Attorney in the Carter Case” (Republic/1941)
Nitrate negative decomposed. Not released to television so no duplicate negatives produced.
“The Incredible Face of Dr. B”
and “House of Frights”
Mexican films from 1963 that were also released in English language versions. Although the Spanish negatives survive, the English versions apparently do not.
“Let’s Live Again” (Seltzer-Fox/1948)
Only a mediocre 16mm negative and print survive.
You see it every day on television. Scratches, splices, specs, and hairs added by computer to reenacted scenes in order to make them appear “old.” They do it to vintage film, and pre-HD video tape as well. I watched a story about NASA on network TV that used video tape from the “ancient” 1980s, and they even “antiqued” it.
I’ve spent over 40 years trying to take away scratches. Whatever happened to adding “archive footage” in small letters at the bottom of the screen instead of defacing the image?
Enough grousing. In my business it is a constant chore finding suitable film material to make our DVD’s look good.
Here is a brief primer on what we look for in film materials to make our DVD’s look good.
The basic principal of film is positives are made from negatives, and negatives from positives.
1st choice for producing digital masters –
35mm Camera Negative (“EK”) – The film that actually went through the camera. Best and sharpest element to work with.
2nd choice –
35mm Fine Grain: A positive copy made from the camera negative. Grain and contrast are kept low because each successive generation (the duplicate negative and subsequent prints as described below) add both grain and contrast.
3rd choice –
35mm Duplicate Negative: A “dupe negative” is the source of manufacturing release prints.
4th choice –
35mm Print: A release print as shown in theatres.
5th choice –
16mm Duplicate Negative: Before digital, this element was used to manufacture prints for television stations, and non-theatrical exhibitors such as colleges and libraries.
6th and last choice –
16mm print. Although on rare occasions I’ve found 16mm prints struck off the 35mm camera negative, or dupe negative, normally 16mm prints are at least 4 generations from the camera negative, with expected result…loss of clarity. I use 16mm material only after we’ve searched the world for good 35mm elements.
There are many thousands of cans of films in my collection going back to 1923 stored at the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Academy Film Archive (part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Both institutions offer state of the art facilities with carefully monitored cold temperature and low humidity vaults. Both institutions are dedicated to preserving our motion picture heritage, and are a pleasure to work with.
Once the best film material is selected, it is retrieved from the vault and let stand for a day or two to be brought up to room temperature. Then it is sent to the lab for digitization. The subsequent digital master is sent to VCI Entertainment where imperfections are minimized as best as possible using special computer programs…or sometimes frame by frame (by a very patient technician.) If the final output is to be a DVD, special features (the fun part) and menus are added.
BTW, while distributing the Warner Bros. classics library on film, I discovered some prints of Clint Eastwood movies struck from the original camera negatives. Clint came to my office to discuss using some of my footage for his documentary about Carmel, California, “Don’t Pave Main Street,” and during our conversation (he made it clear he was not interested in reminiscing about his work before “Rawhide”!), and I mentioned the EK’s, which were subsequently turned over to him.
(Photo of actual decomposed film courtesy NFSA)
“An announcement to the trade that will prove a big surprise to the trades will be made next week” – Not!
In 1922 the Weiss Brothers purchased U.S. rights to a rather uninspired 52-reel Italian epic, “La Bibbia” (Appia Nuova/1920), supposedly filmed in Egypt and Palestine. Artclass already had it in circulation through National Non-Theatrical Pictures, Inc., as “The Holy Bible in Motion Pictures,” in 30 separate reels, each telling a specific Biblical story, serialized to schools and churches on a one-per-week basis.
Artclass cut it down to 11 reels and re-titled it “After Six Days,” accompanied with an elaborate ad campaign touting, “A Weiss Production” and “A $3,000,000 entertainment for the hundred millions.” Although it was technically crude, Louis said he had “proof” it cost at least $1 million!
The release plan was to play at distinguished legit houses which offered stage presentations, as well as road show films. Six weeks went by as they attempted to secure a Broadway booking, including bids for The Astor, Metropolitan Opera House, Gayety, Cohan and Harris, and others. When they weren’t able to clear a date, it was decided to premier at English’s Opera House in Indianapolis on October 22, 1922, which was still a plum engagement considering the theatre had only allowed two previous motion pictures to be shown, D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (Epoch/1915), and “Way Down East” (U.A./1920). Dates followed in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit.
“After Six Days” wasn’t exhibited in New York City until December 15, 1922, at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York. Some of the bookings that followed were the Woods, Atlantic City; Premier Theatre, Brooklyn; St. Denis Theatre, Montreal; and Ocean Grove Auditorium, Ocean Grove (N.J.) and Boston’s Tremont Temple.
Adam and Eve sequence from “After Six Days” (1922)
But there was trouble the next year. Famous Players-Lasky accused Artclass of expanding the title to “After Six Days, Featuring Moses and the Ten Commandments,” in order to unfairly capitalize on Cecil B. DeMille version of “The Ten Commandments” (Paramount/1923), a claim supported by the “National Vigilance Committee,” who asserted the title confused the public. The Brothers vehemently denied the charges, but went ahead and removed all reference to the offending part of the title, holding steadfast for years afterwards that they gave in on the lawsuit because they couldn’t afford a legal battle with a major studio.
“The History of the Bible in Motion Pictures” single reel versions continued playing non-theatrically through the 1920s. Also, in the late 1940s Adrian announced a ten-part series of two-reel 16mm sound versions under the series title, “The Epic of the Ages,” although I can find no record that they were ever actually produced. “After Six Days” proved to be an evergreen for Artclass, and was reissued in the early 1930s in a 7-reel sound (music, narration and effects) version, and in the mid-1940s, Adrian Weiss, prepared a hokey trailer in the hope of reissuing it theatrically as “An Adrian Weiss Production,” but wisely abandoned the idea.
The next Artclass release was a jungle drama, “The Woman Who Believed” (Artclass/1922). Then, controversy and legal problems rose again, this time revolving around a two-reel short, “Sawing a Lady in Half” (Clarion/1922), [aka “Sawing a Lady in Half, How It is Done,” and “Sawing a Lady in Half – Exposed,” to satisfy censorship issues in certain states] wherein magician John Coutts exposed the illusion made famous by magician Horace Goldin, whose name was synonymous with the act. Goldin had previously obtained an injunction against another magician who performed the illusion, so Coutts modified the performance somewhat.
Goldin filed a suit anyway, claiming the movie violated, among other things, the copyright to a filmed version he supposedly deposited at the Copyright Office in 1921 [I could not find a record of any such deposit], and exhibition of the Coutt film seriously jeopardized his contract with the Keith Circuit (which was true) where he had been a consistent big draw for some time. However, the Weiss’ lawyer successfully argued that Goldin didn’t originate the act, even arguing that the basis of the illusion could be traced back as far as 3766 B.C. Egypt, which the magic community found absurd.
However, Goldin won on appeal to the Supreme Court of New York where it was ruled that the earlier so-called comparable acts submitted by Clarion’s lawyer had little or no relationship to Goldin’s illusion, and the title of the film was an obvious attempt to capitalize on Goldin’s act, and must be changed. This is still considered a landmark case with respect to intellectual rights to magic methods. (In 1923 Goldin deposited a patent application for the specific device used in the illusion, that he later regretted because the illusion became part of the public record.)
Alfred Weiss (no relation) started his motion picture career in 1904, and by 1922 he was long an acknowledged VIP in the industry. He knew the Weiss Bros. since at least 1921, when Goldwyn Pictures, to which Alfred was one of the founders, purchased Artclass’ “The Revenge of Tarzan.”
In November 1922 he announced his departure from Goldwyn to become the new President and General Manager of Artclass. Alfred proclaimed that a slate of “high class” productions and four “big special productions” would be released annually through national distributors.
“Der müd Tod” / “Between Worlds” (1922)
The first was to be “Between Worlds” an “entirely different…great spectacle,” which turned out to be Fritz Lang’s German “Der müd Tod” aka “Destiny” (Decla-Bioscope/1921). It had everything going against it; “arty,” no star power, produced in a country the U.S. still bitterly resented, and released by a States Rights distributor. Nonetheless, it opened at the prestigious 4,000 seat Capitol Theatre in New York City, clearly a result of Alfred’s clout. The film was reissued by Artclass in 1928 as “Between Two Worlds.”
Alfred’s boast that “…a big surprise to the trades will be made next week,” never came to be, and I can find no evidence he had any involvement with the Weiss Brothers other than the one film.
Between 1924 and 1926, Artclass released almost 50 five-reel westerns. Most were produced by Lester F. Scott, Jr.’s Action Pictures, and many starred “Buffalo Bill, Jr.” (Bill Drake) (Years later Louis Weiss purchased the name and character “Buffalo Bill, Jr.”), Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro) and Buddy Roosevelt, with future star, Jean Arthur, often playing the romantic interest. In 1979 I asked her about appearing in those westerns, and she quickly changed the subject.
“Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927)
They began producing their own series of one-reel shorts; “Guess Who” (1925), “The Scandal of America” (1926), “Screen Star Sports” (1926), “Radio Personalities” (1926-7), “Embarrassing Moments” (1928), and “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927), which were three-reelers.
Poodles Hanneford in “Circus Daze” (1927)
The most successful Artclass short subjects was a slate of ten separate slapstick comedy series produced between 1926-28; “Ben Turpin Comedies” and “Snub Pollard Comedies,” starring silent comedy stalwarts who by then were past their prime; low-profile comics, “Poodles Hanneford Comedies” and “Jimmy Aubrey Comedies”; and six other series, “Hairbreadth Harry Comedies,” “Winnie Winkle Comedies,” “Izzie and Lizzie Comedies,” “Crackerjack Comedies,” “Lucky Strikes Comedies” and “Barnyard Animal Comedies” comedies. Calling them “Comedies” may have been a stretch for the majority, but many are quite good. Historian and silent comedy expert, Richard M. Roberts, cherry-picked the very best, and they are featured in the DVD collection, “Weiss-O-Rama”…in razor sharp prints with new piano scores and in depth commentaries.
Three ten-episode serials, “Perils of the Jungle” (1927), “Police Reporter” (1928) and “The Mysterious Airman” (1928), completed the Artclass release schedule for the silent era.
A complete Weiss Bros. silent-era filmography appears in the next blog.
American Film Institute, Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb, Kit Parker Collection/Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS, Moving Picture World 10/7/22; 10/14/22; 11/11/22, New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Copyright Office
Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS
Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures on DVD –
“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953) http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/after_six_days/640
“Weiss-o-Rama” Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/weiss-o-rama/521
Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958), and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives: http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/white_gorilla/517
Kit Parker Films available on DVD from VCI Entertainment: http://www.kitparker.com/buy.php
KPF Website: www.kitparker.com(c) 2012 Kit Parker Films
It started with a nickelodeon in 1907…
The Weiss Brothers, pioneer motion picture exhibitors, producers and distributors, financed, produced and/or distributed around 200 feature films, serials, and hundreds of short subjects, from 1915 until the late 1930s. Today they are barely a footnote, even to hard-core vintage movie buffs.
In 2004 I purchased the motion picture holdings of Weiss Global Enterprises with the goal of acquiring the Lippert Pictures collection with its 100+ feature films. Included in the acquisition was the Weiss Brothers film library, the motion picture holdings of their parent company, Artclass Pictures Corp., and its affiliates, Clarion Photoplays, Stage and Screen Productions, Superior Talking Pictures, Exploitation Pictures, and others. Most of the movies were unremarkable, filmed in only a few days on low budgets; some looked like they had no budgets at all.
Unfortunately, the copyrights had expired on those they had bothered to copyright in the first place, so there was no realistic way for me to exploit them commercially; a pity since most of the silent comedies and sound features survive in preserved safety film elements.
One day I was going through several file cabinets of old Weiss Bros. correspondence going back to the 1920s and learned later that one year before purchasing film library most of the correspondence was thrown out. This included original artwork and letters going back to the 1910s. Nevertheless, my interest was piqued and discovered that although there is information on most of the films, there is little information about the Weiss companies and those references I could find were often condescending.
I concluded that whatever production values were lacking in their output, they did make an effort to entertain audiences for over 20 years, and that deserves more than a footnote. There was virtually no biographical information about the brothers themselves with the exception of some short biographical paragraphs they wrote in the early 1930s for publication in the Motion Picture Almanac.
Adolph Weiss – Louis Weiss – Max Weiss
Samuel “Weisz,” his wife Lena, and their eldest son, Adolph (1879 – ?), immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1883, settling in New York City, where he worked as a clothes presser. Adolph and his younger brothers, Max (1886 – ?) and Louis (1890-1963), were the team who were to become motion picture impresarios; a sister, Anna, completed the family unit.
Neither Adolph nor Max ever married, but Louis and his wife, Esther “Ethel,” who was a former Ziegfeld Follies girl under her maiden name of Esther Gruber, had two sons, Adrian (1918-2001), who had a long career working in motion picture production and distribution, who I knew; Peggy Pearl Weiss (1921-1993), and Samuel Martin “Marty” Weiss (1926- ). As the family expanded, the entire family usually lived under the same roof for the majority of the next three decades.
Adrian Weiss and his wife, also named Ethel, had two sons, Steven, who formed Weiss Global Enterprises with his father in 1971, Lawrence, and a daughter Karen. Through the years, Adrian wanted me to buy his film library, but his asking price was not realistic…two years after his passing I purchased it from his estate.
Adolph Weiss was a bright entrepreneur; even-tempered and philosophical, later becoming a vegetarian who practiced yoga. He was 7 years older than Max, 11 years older than Louis, and made it a point to look after his younger siblings, and mentor them in business.
While still a teenager, Adolph “became involved,” as he put it, with partner Samuel Goldhor, in the Welsbach Lamp and Fixture Company, operating at 3rd. Avenue and 11th St. in New York City. Carl Welsbach owned many important patents, including for the metal filament used in the light bulbs, so presumably it was a busy enterprise.
Determined to make Max and Louis successful businessmen, Adolph gave jobs to Max and Louis, who were little more than children.
In 1900, at age 21, Adolph claimed that Welsbach was “insufficient to occupy my time,” and began purchasing various Edison Phonograph and Victor Talking Machine franchises, and the talking machine department of Western Electric Co. He opened the Western Talking Machine Co. of Philadelphia, several phonograph stores in New York and Philadelphia; and ran the Victor Jobbing Agency on South 9th St. in Philadelphia, which acted as agents for the manufacturers of phonographs and related products. He brought both his younger brothers into his enterprises, teaching them how to manage retail businesses, and later made them partners.
It isn’t known when Adolph sold his phonograph businesses, but in 1907 he brought his brothers into his new entertainment venture, motion picture exhibition, although Louis continued selling phonographs for at least a few more years. They branched outuntil they owned and operated at least 16 theatres (Moving Picture World claimed 50, which is doubtful), in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Photographs taken in July 2012 of the former locations of what are likely the first Weiss Bros. theatres. Top: Avenue A, 51 Ave. A. Bottom: Avenue A, later the Hollywood, 98 Ave. A. (Photos courtesy of Eric Spilker)
The Brothers decided to start producing motion pictures in 1915, formed Clarion Photoplays, and soon after, Weiss Brothers – Artclass Pictures, which became their parent corporation. Adolph served as Treasurer, and in charge of titling; Max was President, and handled worldwide distribution. Louis was the brother who truly loved producing movies, and relished being Vice-President in charge of production.
Artclass’ output was distributed on a “State’s Rights” basis, the usual distribution method utilized by low budget independent producers because it allowed them to sell their productions to various regional film exchanges for a predetermined price. Louis gained valuable knowledge about State’s Right’s distribution while working at independent film exchanges in the 1910s.
In 1919 the Brothers sold their theatre interests, except the original Avenue A, and the Fulton Theatre, Hempstead, L.I., which Max continued to operate on a policy of both vaudeville and movies.
The first Weiss Bros. release was a white slave exploitation drama, “It May Be Your Daughter” (Clarion/1916), written by George Merrick, who became a frequent Weiss collaborator into the 1950s, and produced by a dubious organization called the “Moral Uplift Society”; although Louis later said Clarion actually produced the film. In any case, it ran into censorship problems from the start, and was banned in, among other places, New York City, and all of the UK.
Subsequent releases included a series of “Lilliputian Comedies,” which appear to be lost to history; a mystery, “The Open Door” (Robertson-Cole/1919); and another exploitation film, this time a temperance drama, “It Might Happen to You” (Artclass/1920).
In 1919 the Weiss’ company, Numa Pictures Corp., acquired motion picture rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, “The Return of Tarzan.” State’s Rights Distributors were unwilling to pay the premium the Weiss’ were asking, so the Brothers went ahead and produced the nine-reel film at a studio in Yonkers, with location filming in Florida, Balboa, California, and the L-KO Motion Picture Company zoo in Los Angeles. The movie was sold outright to Goldwyn Pictures at a tidy profit, where the title was changed to “The Revenge of Tarzan,” so that the public wouldn’t mistake it as a reissue of the original “Tarzan of the Apes” (National Film Corp/1918). Advertised as costing $300,000 to produce, which is believable, the movie itself was only so-so, despite the multiple locales, huge numbers of extras, and innovative aerial shots. According to ERBzine, it was the fourth biggest money earner in 1921, even out-grossing Rudolph Valentino’s “The Sheik.”
Weiss’ next endeavor was a 15 episode serial, “The Adventures of Tarzan” (Artclass/1921) produced in conjunction with Great Western Production Co. This time the State’s Rights distributors accepted the Brother’s terms, and were rewarded with a blockbuster. Max went to Europe and successfully sold the serial in many foreign territories as well. In 1928 it was reissued in a 10 episode version, and again in 1935, with an added sound track. Only this shorter version survives, although the UCLA Film and Television Archive now has enough footage from different sources, including mine, to restore it to its full- length.
Footage from the serial was reused many different times in subsequent Weiss Bros. productions, looking more creaky and outdated as the years went by. Over half of the Louis Weiss production of “The White Gorilla” (Landres-Weiss/1946), was made up of stock footage from the old serial, and the DVD version offers some fragments of the original serial as a special feature.
My next blog picks up the Weiss Bros. story starting in 1922 and continues through the end of the silent era.
American Film Institute, Eric Spilker, Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb, International Motion Picture Almanac 1936-37, Kit Parker Collection, Margaret Herrick Library, AMP&AS, Moving Picture World 4/8/22; 10/14/22; 10/7/22, New York Census (1925), New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Census (1900, 1915, 1920,1930), U.S. Copyright Office
Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS
Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures on DVD –
“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953)
“Weiss-o-Rama” Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives
Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958) and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives:
Kit Parker Films available on DVD from VCI Entertainment: http://www.kitparker.com/buy.php
KPF Website: www.kitparker.com
Continued from my previous blog, “Who Was Craig Kennedy?”
“Craig Kennedy, Criminologist”
(in alphabetical order)
“*” Denotes this episode is part of the DVD collection sold by VCI Entertainment. http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/craig/520
Adrian Weiss produced, and screenplay credits are shared by Ande Lamb, Sherman L. Lowe and Al Martin
|1313 HIDDEN LANE ROAD *||1953||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy), Sydney Mason, Mary Adams, Coulter Irwin, Patricia Wright
Craig Kennedy (Donald Woods) finds himself in an uncomfortable position between a gullible matron (Liz Slifer) with a guilt complex, and a racketeering combine with a yen for $200,000 in cash.
|THE AMATEUR GHOST *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Princess Henrietta)|Tom Hubbard (Professor Zachary)|Liz Slifer (Mrs. Anna Collins)|Lane Bradford (Martin Collins)|Stephen Chase (Hemingway)
A photograph of a crusading councilman with two hoodlums threatens his career until Craig Kennedy conducts some experiments in trick photography.
|THE BIG SHAKEDOWN *||1952||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Janes Winters)|Jack Mulhall (William Kendall)|Bob Curtis (Mike Grady)|Jack Kruschen (Jack Brown)|Tom Hubbard (Dennis Phillips)
A photograph of a crusading councilman with two hoodlums threatens his career until Craig Kennedy conducts some experiments in trick photography.
|THE CASE OF FLEMING LEWIS *||1952||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Mrs. Fleming Lewis)|Tom Hubbard (Norman Lewis)|Lane Bradford (Harvey Lewis)|Stephen Chase (Wallace Lewis)|Jack Mulhall (Fleming Lewis)|Norval Mitchell (Thomas Woodward)
A planned fishing trip turns into a murder mystery when a wealthy chemist, Fleming Lewis (Jack Mulhall), who is host to Craig Kennedy (Donald Woods), Evening Star reporter Walter Jameson (Lewis Wilson) and police Inspector J. J. Burke (Sydney Mason), is killed.
|DEAD RIGHT||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Pamela Duncan (Abigail Wyndham)|James Guilfoyle (Tris Wyndham)|Karen King (Gertrude Smith)|Michael Road (Gregory Wyndham)|William Justine (Hal Stevens)|Craig Woods (Eddie Finley)
The weakling nephew of a Texas cattleman attempts to kill Craig Kennedy when he is framed for an attempted murder and a consummated robbery.
|THE FALSE CLAIMANT *||1952||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall (Alice Woodwine)|Jack Mulhall (James Kelly)|Edna Holland (Mrs. Richards)|Paul Newlan (Dan Sprague)|Tom Hubbard (Floyd Sprague)
An amnesia victim, a gardener who hates flowers and green grass, and a million-dollar art collection are involved in this episode.
|FILE 1313||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Patricia Wright (Alberta Seward)|Russ Conway (Frank Haines)|William Hreen (Emmett Thacker)|Valerie Vernon (Mrs. Emmett Thacker)|Joseph Rocca (Steve Carter)
Craig Kennedy is slugged as he interrupts two intruders who are rifling the files in his office. Kennedy’s File 1313, dealing with his investigation of an involved electronic device, disappears.
|FORMULA FOR MURDER *||1952||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Jean Rogers)|Stephen Chase (Dr. Armstrong)|Bettie Best (Wilma Gray)|Tom Hubbard (Peter Allen)|Lane Bradford (Tom Workman)|George Pierrone (Jack Priester)
A blond actress and a glamorous brunette both claim the love of a murdered research dietician, but Craig Kennedy brews his own formula for justice when he proves that professed love can be greed and jealousy, and that avarice not only leads to crime, but to poison as well.
|FUGITIVE MONEY *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sandra Spence (Edith Mills)|Glase Lohman (Howard Baker)|Phyllis Coates (Natalie Larkin)|William Justine (Olan Harby)|Chuck Lanson (Lane Bradford)|Tom Hubbard (Robert White)
A blonde walks into Craig Kennedy’s office, plunks down $50,000 in cash on his desk, and offers him the whole amount if he will find her fiance. But the money is hot and sought by the police along with the missing boy friend.
|THE GOLDEN DAGGER||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Dana Wilson (Sandra Whitney)|Glenn Strange (Del Whitney)|Ralph Byrd (Rocky Lane)|Stephen Chase (Carl Benson)
Strange hieroglyphics on a golden dagger provide a motive for murder. Crag Kennedy, called upon to translate the markings on the evil-omened knife, is drawn into a bizarre mystery when a collector of antiques is shot to death.
|I HATE MONEY||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mary Adams (Mrs. Ethel Jardine)|Michael Hale (Emery Jardine)|Tom McKee (Martin Glover)|Coulter Irwin (Denver Bryant)
Craig Kennedy assumes the role of a tramp to probe the mystery of why an old man prefers to live in a hobo’s shack rather than accept a half-million dollar inheritance.
|INDIAN GIVER *||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Maura Murphy (Ella Randolph)|Edward Clark (Henry Waters)|William Justine (Dan Logan)|Betty Ball (Mrs. Miller)|Barry Brooks (Ben Miller)|Craig Woods (Jay Duncan)
Craig Kennedy, Inspector Burke and reporter Walter Jameson uncover a plot to smuggle a revolutionary steel formula out of the country.
|THE KID BROTHER||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Richard Beals (Bobby “Butch” Moore)|Gloria Talbot (Della Cameron)|Richard Grant (Ken Moore)|William Justine (Harry Ferris)|Gilbert Frye (Charley Baker)
The cooperation of a youngster and Craig Kennedy’s examination of an apparently innocent letter bring an incipient crime career to a sudden end.
|THE LATE CORPSE *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Copper Johnson (Trudy Miller)|Lane Bradford (Noel Young)|Alice Rolph (Betty Parker)|Tom Hubbard (Tom Parker)|William Justine (Rex Gordon)
Craig Kennedy’s knowledge of minerals and precious stones uncovers a cruel hoax, which takes Kennedy from a desert in Mexico to a lavish penthouse in an American city.
|THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall ( Faith Clay)|Jack Mulhall (Captain Clay)|Edna Holland (Mrs. Patterson)|Milburn Morante (“Barnacle”)|Lane Bradford (Duke Dunlap)|Tom Hubbard (Ray West)
Kennedy and his friend, reporter Walter Jameson, pose as a couple of seafaring men to save an old man from murder, as Kennedy’s skills pay off as he unravels the mystery of a hoodlum who forces the operator of a Lonely Hearts Club to furnish him with a groom for a brunette beauty.
|THE MUMMY’S SECRET||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Charlotte Fletcher (Shirley Douglas)|Jack George (“Big Talk” Watkins)|Jeanne Dean (Helen Logan)|Barry Brooks (Alex Gordon)|Craig Woods (“Dude” Haley)
In a holiday mood, Craig Kenney, Inspector Burke and Walt Jameson visit a carnival and find mystery, danger and suspense involving a group of weird sideshow mummies.
|MURDER ON A MILLION||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Charmienne Harker (Ann Waller)|Perry Ivans (Alfred Pomeroy)|Valerie Vernon (Selena Pyke)|William Justine (Robbins)|Fred Kohler Jr. (Steve Callan)|Dennis Moore (Jack Draper)
An elderly inventor falls wounded at the door of Craig Kennedy’s crime laboratory and a short time later, Inspector Burke finds the wounded man’s partner shot to death in his palatial home.
|MURDER ON STAGE NINE *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Karen Day)|Jack Mulhall (Director Martin)|Nancy Saunders (Margaret White)|Bob Curtis (Producer Wilde)|Ted Adams (Prop Man, Kemp)|Tom Hubbard (Bob Ferrell)|Rod Normond (Thomas Spencer)|Ewing Brown (Extra Electrician)
Murder is performed before the eyes of dozens of witnesses on a Hollywood motion picture set when a killer switches a real gun for a prop gun.
|MURDER PREFERRED *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Elizabeth Root (Miss Thompson)|William Justine (Johnny Lane)|Erin Selwyn (Loraine Trend)|Tom Hubbard (Frank Trend)|Lane Bradford (Paul Lawson)
Craig Kennedy hears the murder shots as a gambler makes a phone appeal for help that is too late. Kennedy use his training in psychology to translate some apparently illegible doodlings on a page of a phone book into the thoughts which occupied the mind of the murdered man during his last living moments.
|THE MYSTERY BULLET||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Helen Chapman (Pamela Hunter)|Bert Arnold (Brad Donlan)|Mara Corday (Mae Gibson)|Robin Morse ( Stony Evans)|Barry Brooks (Jack Gibson)
An ingenious murder device baffles Inspector Burke when a racketeering plumber is shot to death as there are no rifling marks on the death bullet. Time to call Craig Kennedy.
|THE SECRET WILL||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall (Mary Hudson)|Edna Holland (Zenobia Bean)|Stanley Waxman (John Turner)|Jack Mulhall (Earl Norden)|Tom Hubbard (Glenn Graham)
A would-be-murderer demands payment for killing a victim, but the victim is still very much alive. Craig Kennedy unravels the mystery of a criminal who hunts his victims with a bow-and-arrow.
|STRANGE DESTINY *||1951||Harry Fraser|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Elsa Hoffman)|Stanley Waxman (Dr. Preston)|Bob Curtis (Henry Henderson)|Jack Mulhall (Burt Simmons)|Tom Hubbard (Sgt. Jackson)
A phony doctor, a notorious smuggler, and a sultry secretary combine their talents to outwit U. S. Customs officials by the use of a plaster cast.
|TALL, DARK AND DEAD||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mara Corday (Greta Varden)|Bert Arnold (Lester Gardner)|Barry Brooks (Jimmy Ankers)|Judd Holdren (Raney Daniels)|Robin Morse (Tom Hendry)
Craig Kennedy investigates the murder of a well-known stage actor, and it gets bizarre when the same actor is later shot at the door of Kennedy’s laboratory.
|THERE’S MONEY IN IT||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mary Adams (Mrs. C. Alcott Crockett)|Tom McKee (Mike Savage)|William Green (Jasper Kinney)|Patricia Wright (Mildred Kinney)|Coulter Irwin (Kenneth Crockett)|Gregg Rogers (Earl Rater)
Craig Kennedy, Inspector Burke and reporter Walt Jameson match wits with a clever gang that attempts to pass off some glass beads as the famous Von Anton Diamond Necklace.
|THE TRAP||1953||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Valerie Vernon (Georgette Benoit)|William Justine (Bill Brand)|Alice Rolph (Mrs. Brand)|Craig Woods (Jack Laird)|Barry Brooks (Harry Carter)
Craig Kennedy poses as a tramp to solve a mystery that centers on a jewel theft and the character weakness of a two-timing wife.
|THE VANISHER||1952||Adrian Weiss|
Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mara Corday (Lucille Merrill)|Will Orlean (“Okay” Oliver)|Bert Arnold (Dave Hollis)|Jack Lomas (Roddy Vender)
When a notorious gangster is killed by a rival hoodlum, Craig Kennedy assumes the murdered man’s identity to trap the killer.