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Posts Tagged ‘Kit Parker

The Weiss Brothers – Artclass Pictures
 
SILENT ERA FILMOGRAPHY
 
Weiss Bros. Distribution Entities – Silent Era
Artclass:  Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures
Clarion:  Clarion Photoplays
Numa:  Numa Pictures Corp.
 
 
FEATURE FILMS AND SERIALS
1929
BELOW THE BORDER  
Western; Bruce M. Mitchell; Art Mix Prod.; Artclass (limited territories)
Art Mix (Victor Adamson), Ione Reed, Lafe McKee, Horace Carpenter, Alfred Hewston
 
TWO SISTERS 
Released in both silent and music track versions
Crime Drama; Scott Pembroke; Tremm Carr Prod.; Artclass (limited territories)
Viola Dana, Rex Lease, Claire Du Brey, Tom Lingham, Irving Bacon
 
1928
THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN, THE [Serial – 10 eps.]
Adventure; Henry Revier; Artclass; Artclass
10 eps; Walter Miller, Eugenia Gilbert, Robert Walker, Eugene Burr, Dorothy Tallcot
 
POLICE REPORTER [Serial – 10 eps.]
Crime Drama; Jack Nelson; Artclass; Artclass
10 eps; Walter Miller, Eugenia Gilbert, William Lowery, Robert Belcher, Keene Duncan
1927
ROSE OF THE BOWERY
Crime Drama; Bertram Bracken; David Hartford Prod.; Artclass (limited territories)
Johnny Walker, Edna Murphy, Mildred Harris
 
PERILS OF THE JUNGLE [Serial – 10 eps.]
Adventure; Jack Nelson, Ray Taylor; Artclass; Artclass
10 eps; Eugenia Gilbert, Frank Merrill, Bobby Nelson, Milburn Morante Al Smith 
 
1926
ACTION GALORE                  
Western; Robert Eddy; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Toy Gallagher, Charles Williams, Joe Rickson, John O’Brien
 
THE BLIND TRAIL                          
Western; Leo Maloney; Maloford Prod.; Clarion
Leo Maloney, Josephine Hill, Nelson McDowell, Bud Osborne, James Corey
 
COMING AN’ GOING               
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Belva McKay, Harry Todd, Hal Thompson
 
DEUCE HIGH                      
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Alma Rayford, Robert Walker, J.P. Lockney, Harry Lord  
 
DOUBLE DARING                  
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), J.P. Lockney, Jean Arthur, Hank Bell, Slim Whitaker  
 
EASY GOING                        
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Alma Rayford, Frederick Lau, Robert Walker, Edward Heim
 
THE FIGHTING CHEAT                  
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), Jean Arthur, Ted Rackerby, Fanny Midgely, Slim Whitaker 
 
HOODOO RANCH                  
Western; William Bertram; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt,  Nelson McDowell, Dixie Lamont, Frank Austin
 
RIDIN’ RIVALS                
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Jean Arthur, Lew Meehan
 
THE ROARING RIDER       
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), Jean Arthur, Bert Lindley, Slim Whitaker, Hazel Rogers 
 
SPEEDY SPURS                   
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Alma Rayford, Charles Whitaker, Jr., James Welsch, Frank Ellis
 
TANGLED HERDS                  
Western; William Bertram; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt; rest of cast unknown
TRUMPIN’ TROUBLE              
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Alma Rayford, Bob Fleming, Slim Whitaker, Mark Hamilton
 
TWIN TRIGGERS, THE             
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Nita Cavalier, Frederick Lee, Laura Lockhart, Lafe McKee 
 
VANISHING HOOFS               
Western; John P. McCarthy; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), Alma Rayford, William Ryno, Hazel Keener, Frank Ellis
 
WITHOUT ORDERS                
Western; Leo Maloney; Maloford Prod.; Artclass-Clarion
Leo Maloney, Josephine Hill, Whitehorse, Fred Burns, Frank Ellis  
 
1925
CUSTER’S LAST FIGHT 
Expansion of “Custer’s Last Stand” and “Custer’s Last Fight”; Bison; 1911-12
Western; Thomas H. Ince; Thomas H. Ince; Artclass (limited territories)
Francis Ford, Grace Cunard, William Eagle Shirt, J. Barney Sherry; Art Acord
 
DESERT DEMON                   
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Betty Morrissey, Frank Ellis, Harry Todd, John B. O’Brien 
 
DOUBLE ACTION DANIELS    
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Lorna Palmar, Edna Hall, J.P. Lockney, Edward Piel  
 
FAST FIGHTIN’                   
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt,  Nell Brantley, Joe Rickson, Emily Barrye, Sherry Tansey
 
FULL SPEED                       
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Neil Brandtley, Harry Todd, Lafe McKee, Mildred Vincent
 
GALLOPING JINX                   
Western; Robert Eddy; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Gloria Heller, J. Gordon Russell, Ralph Whiting, Billie Bennett  
 
GALLOPING ON               
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales, Jessie Cruzon, Louise Lester, Slim Whitaker, Richard Belfield  
 
GOLD AND GRIT                  
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Ann McKay, William Turner, L. J. O’Connor, Wilbur Mack 
 
THE HURRICANE HORSEMAN    
Western; Robert Eddy/ Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), Jean Arthur, Vester Pegg, Slim Whitaker, Kewpie King
 
LUCK AND SAND                 
Western; Leo Maloney; Maloford Prod.; Artclass-Clarion
Leo Maloney, Josephine Hill, Homer Watson, Florence Lee, Tom London
 
ON THE GO                         
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Helen Foster, Lafe McKee, Nelson McDowell, Rayne Hampton
 
QUICKER’N LIGHTNIN’            
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Dorothy Dorr, B. F. Blinn, Harry Todd, J. Gordon Russell  
 
RECKLESS COURAGE
Western; Tom Gibson; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Helen Foster, J.C. Fowler, Jay Morley, William McIllwain
 
SADDLE CYCLONE               
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Nel Brantley, Will Herford, Norbert Myles, Harry Todd 
 
A STREAK OF LUCK
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Dorothy Wood, Nelson McDowell, Bertram Marburgh, Slim Whitaker
 
TEARIN’ LOOSE              
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro), Jean Arthur, Slim Whitaker, Alfred Hewston, Polly Van  
 
THUNDERING THROUGH        
Western; Fred Bain; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Jean Arthur, Charles Colby, Lew Meehan, Frederick Lee 
 
WIN, LOSE OR DRAW           
Western; Leo Maloney; Maloford Prod.; Artclass
Leo Maloney, Josephine Hill, Whitehorse, Roy Watson, Tom London  
 
1924
BATTLING BUDDY                 
Western; Richard Thorpe; Approved Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Violet LaPlante, William Lowery, Kewpie King, Shorty Hendrix  
 
BIFF BANG BUDDY             
Western; Frank L. Inghram (Lloyd Ingraham); Approved Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Jean Arthur, Buck Connors, Bob Fleming, Al Richmond
 
BRINGIN’ HOME THE BACON 
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Jean Arthur, Bet Lindley, Lafe McKee, George F. Marion 
 
THE COSMIC DRAMA 
Documentary; Raymond Ditmars; Urban-Kineto; Artclass
 
CYCLONE BUDDY                 
Western; Alvin J. Neitz; Approved Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Norma Conterno, Alfred Hewston, Bud Osborne, John P. Lockney  
 
THE FALL OF JERUSALEM
U.S. release of “Jeremias”; Germany, 1922 
Biblical Epic; Eugen Illés; Spera-Film; Artclass (limited territories)
Carl de Vidal Hundt, Theodor Becker, Jaro Fürth, Werner Hollman, Georg John  
 
FANGS OF THE WOLF          
Re-edit of the serial “The Great Gamble”; Pathe, 1918
Adventure; Harry O. Hoyt (Harry Fraser); Western Photoplays; Artclass
Charles Hutchison, Leah Baird, Austin Webb, Mary Hull, Edmund D’Alby 
 
FAST AND FEARLESS          
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey),  Jean Arthur, William H. Turner, George Magrill,  Julian Rivero
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
 
THE FATAL PLUNGE               
Re-edit of the serial “The Great Gamble”;  Pathe, 1918
Adventure; Harry O. Hoyt (Harry Fraser); Western Photoplays; Artclass
Charles Hutchison, Leah Baird, Austin Webb, Mary Hull, Edmund D’Alby 
 
HARD HITTIN’ HAMILTON
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Hazel Keener, J. Gordon Russell, William Ryon, Lafe McKee
 
THE LAW DEMANDS               
Re-edit of the serial “Wolves of Kultur”;  Pathe, 1918
Western; Harry O. Hoyt (Harry Fraser); Western Photoplays; Clarion
Charles Hutchison, Leah Baird, Austin Webb, Mary Hull, Edmund D’Alby 
 
RADIO FLYER                
Re-edit of the serial “Wolves of Kultur”; Pathe,1918
Adventure; Harry O. Hoyt (Harry Fraser); Western Photoplays; Artclass
Charles Hutchison, Leah Baird, Austin Webb, Mary Hull, Edmund D’Alby 
 
RARIN’ TO GO
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Jay Wilsey), Olin Francis, L.J. O’Connor, James T. Kelley, Dorothy Wood  
 
RIP ROARIN’ ROBERTS         
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Brenda Lane, Joe Rickson, Al Richmond, John Webb Dillon 
 
ROUGH RIDIN’                       
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Elsa Benham, Richard Thorpe, Joe Rickson,  Frances Beaumont 
 
TEN AFTER TEN
Drama; Harry O. Hoyt (Harry Fraser); Artclass; Artclass
Charles Hutchinson, Anne Luther; rest of cast unavailable
 
THUNDERING ROMANCE       
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buffalo Bill Jr. (Jay Wilsey),  Jean Arthur,  Harry Todd,  Lew Meehan, Rene Picot  
 
WALLOPING WALLACE         
Western; Richard Thorpe; Action Pictures; Artclass
Buddy Roosevelt, Violet La Plante, Lew Meehan, Noah Hendrix, Lillian Gale 
 
1923
BETWEEN WORLDS 
U.S. release of “Der müd Tod” aka “Destiny”; Germany, 1921 
Fantasy; Fritz Lang; Decla-Bioscop; Artclass; reissued in 1928 as “Between Two Worlds”
Lil Dagover, Walter Janssen, Bernhard Goetzke, Hans Sternberg, Karl Rückert
 
1922
AFTER SIX DAYS  
Condensation of “La Bibbia”; Italy; 1920
Biblical Epic; Pier Antonio Gariazzo; Appia Nuova; Artclass
Uberto Semprebene, Bruto Castellani, Mario Cionci, Augusto Mastripierti, Gabrielli 
 
THE WOMAN WHO BELIEVED   
Drama; John Harvey; Artclass; Artclass
Walter Miller, Ann Luther, Dorothy Bernard, Armand Cortez, Frank Evans
 
1921
THE ADVENTURES OF TARZAN [Serial – 15 eps.]                                   
Adventure; Robert Hill; Numa; Artclass
15 eps; Elmo Lincoln, Louise Lorraine, Percy Pembroke, Frank Whitson, George Monberg 
 
THE FOUR SEASONS 
Documentary; Raymond Ditmars; Urban-Kineto; Artclass
[Opened at the Rialto in Times Square in support to Paramount’s “The Great Impersonation”]
 
IT MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU
Drama; Alfred Santell; Artclass; Artclass
Billy Mason, Dorris Dare, William Harcourt, Walter Beckwith, Violet Mack 
 
THE REVENGE OF TARZAN     
Adventure; Henry Revier; Numa; Goldwyn Pictures
Gene Pollar, Larla Schramm,  Estelle Taylor, Armand Cortes, Franklin Coates
 
1919
THE OPEN DOOR
Mystery; Dallas M. Fitzgerald; Artclass; Robertson-Cole
John P. Wade, Sam J. Ryan, Bob Broderick, Frank Evans, Anna Lehr
 
1916
IT MAY BE YOUR DAUGHTER
Drama; director unknown; Moral Uplift Society; Clarion
Edith Thornton, Hugh Thompson, Dorothy Gwynne, Charles Hallock, Virginia Campbell
 
Short Subjects:
Key: # reels; year; genre; producer; distributor —
“WOR” featured in “Weiss-O-Rama” 
1928-29
“BEN TURPIN COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1928-29; Artclass; Artclass
THE COCKEYED FAMILY (1928)(WOR)
aka “The Whole Cockeyed Family” 
COCKEYED HERO (1928)
THE EYES HAVE IT (1928)
dir/Leslie Goodwins
HOLDING HIS OWN (1929)(WOR)
HOLLYWOOD DRESSMAKER (1929)
dir/Leslie Goodwins
HORSE PLAY (1928)
IDLE EYES (1928)
dir/Leslie Goodwins; Georgia O’Dell, Helen Gilmore, Billy Barty
TAKING THE COUNT (1928)
TWO LONELY KNIGHTS (1928)
SEEIN’ THINGS (1928)
dir/Leslie Goodwins cst/Turpin, Georgia O’Dell, Helen Gilmore
SHE SAID NO (1928)
WHY BABIES LEAVE HOME (1928)(WOR)
 
 
“POODLES HANNEFORD COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1928-29; Artclass; Artclass
AIN’T IT THE TRUTH
AIN’T LOVE GRAND?
BETTER BEHAVE
CIRCUS DAZE
DEAF, DUMB & BLONDE
FARE ENOUGH
HELP WANTED
HIT THE HAY  
TENSHUN
WHY DETECTIVES GO WRONG
1928
“EMBARRASSING MOMENTS”
1-reel; 1928; Artclass; Artclass
CLOSE SHAVE
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
GAY NIGHTIES
IT’S A GIFT
1927-28
“LUCKY STRIKES COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1927-28; Artclass; Artclass; various casts
ALL FOR A GIRL (1927)
cst/Buddy Messinger, Marie Messinger, William T. Hayes, Joe Bonner
FLIRTING WITH THE MOVIES (1927)
HOMING BIRDS (1928)
PIE ALLEY (1928)
NEAR DEAR (1928)
JUST BOYS (1928)
SOME BABY (1928)
“JIMMY AUBREY COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1927-28; Artclass; Artclass
ALIBI ALLEY
DIZZIE DAZE  
EXCESS RELATIVES
HAVE A HEART
KEEP SMILING
MUSICAL MIXUP
SOONER OR LATER
aka “Spooner or Later”
TOO MANY WIVES
“BARNYARD ANIMAL COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1927-28; William Brown Productions; Artclass
BARNYARD FOLLY (1927)
DOWN ON THE FARM (1928)
BED CURED (1927)
FIXIN’ FATHER (1928)
BETWIXT AND BETWEEN (1928)
UPS AND DOWNS (1928)
BREAKIN’ IN (1928)
WESTWARD WHOA (1928)
dir/Max Gold
1927
“CRACKERJACK COMEDIES”
1-reel; silent; various casts
ALL ASHORE
BEAR FACTS
CAN-O-BULL CHIEF
CLEAN SWEEP, A
COFFEE AND — — —
CRAZY TO BE MARRY 
aka “Crazy to Marry”
FISH TALES
FRAMING YOUTH
GOOFY GAS
GYPING GYPSIES
HIS LUCKY DAY
dir/J. Tansey 
THE HUNTER
THE LYIN’ HUNTER
MABEL’S MATE
MAIL MAN, THE
OUT OF ORDER
OH, TAXI
PLASTERED
PLAY BALL
RAISING CAIN
SAFE AND SANE
SOUR MILK
SPOOKY SPOOKS      
SOAP AND WATE
TOO TIRED
THE WEDDING KNIGHT 
TOO BAD MEN
“GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES” 
3-reels; 1927; Cardinal Productions; Artclass
ALADDIN’S LAMP 
THE MOTHER GOOSE GIRL
LITTLE SNOW WHITE 
THE OLD WOMAN OF THE WOOD 
“MISC. 2-REEL NOVELTIES”
2-reels; 1927
JUNGLE LAND
Negative is being examined for credits
A SHORT TAIL
dir/Hal Sintzenich prod/Charles Mintz dist/Paramount
1926-28
“SNUB POLLARD COMEDIES”
2-reels;1926-28; Artclass; Artclass
ALL WET (1928)
dir/James Davis
BIG SHOT (1926)(WOR)
BUM’S RUSH (1928)(WOR)
dir/James Davis, Leslie Goodwins
DOUBLE TROUBLE (1927)
THE DOUGHBOY, THE (1926)(WOR)
dir/James Davis
FIRE!! (1926)(WOR)
dir/James Davis
HERE COMES A SAILOR (1926)
MEN ABOUT TOWN (1927)(WOR)
cst/Pollard, Marvin Loback
MITT THE PRINCE (1928)
KOO KOO KNIGHTS (1928)
NO KIDDING (1927)
ONCE OVER (1928) (WOR) 
dir/Leslie Goodwins cst/Pollard, Marvin Loback
SNUB BE CAREFUL (1928)
SNUB THE HERO (1928)
SNUB THE PLAYBOY (1928)
SNUB THE SAP (1928)
SNUB’S SURPRISE (1928)
SOCK AND RUN (1928)(WOR)
SPRINGTIME SAPS (1929)
THICK AND THIN (1929)(WOR)
UNDER REPAIRS (1928)
THE YOKEL (1928)
dir/James Davis cst/Pollard, Marie Mosquini
“WINNIE WINKLE COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1926-28; W.T. Lackey Productions; Artclass; Ethelyn Gibson as “Winnie Winkle”
ALWAYS LATE (1926)
FLIRTING WINNIE (1927)
HAPPY DAYS (1926)
aka “Winnie the Breadwinner” aka “Happy Daze” dir/Arvid E. Gillstrom
OH! WINNIE BEHAVE (1926)
aka “Winnie Behave”
WEARY WINNIE (1927)
WINNIE AND THE RINKY DINKS (1928)
WINNIE BE GOOD (1927)
WINNIE STEPS OUT (1927)
WINNIE WAKES UP (1927)
WINNIE’S BIRTHDAY (1927)
WINNIE’S VACATION (1926)
WINNIE’S WINNING WAYS (1927)
WINNING WINNIE (1928)
WORKING WINNIE (1927)
dir/Edward Ludwig
WORRY WINNIE (1926)
1926-27
“IZZIE AND LIZZIE COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1926-27; W.T. Lackey Productions; Artclass
AIN’T WE GOT FUN? (1927)
FIGHTING FOOLS (1926)
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR (1926) 
HAM AND HERRING (1927)
MONKEY BUSINESS (1927)
MOVIE MANIA (1928)
NICE NEIGHBORS (1927)
NIZE PEOPLE (1926)
OFF AND ON (1926)
PAPA’S PEST (1926)
STRICTLY KOSHER (1926)
WHY PAY RENT? (1926)
“HAIRBREADTH HARRY COMEDIES”
2-reels; 1926-27; Artclass; Artclass; Earl McCarthy as “Hairbreadth Harry”
CURSES (1927)
Director:  Al Herman
DANGER AHEAD (1926)*
dir/Percy Pembroke; McCarthy, Charlotte Merriam, Jack Cooper, Max Asher
DIRTY WORK
FEARLESS HARRY (1927)(WOR)
Director: Al Herman
FLYING PAPERS (1926)
Director: Al Herman
FOILED (1926)
MOONSHINE AND NOSES (1927)
NUTTY BUT NICE (1927)
RUDOLPH’S REVENGE (1928)(WOR)
SAWDUST BABY (1926)
Director: Al Herman
SIGN THEM PAPERS! (1926)(WOR)
dir/Edward Ludwig, as Edward I. Luddy
THE VILLAIN (1927)
“RADIO PERSONALITIES”
2-reels;1926-27; Artclass; Artclass
RADIO PERSONALITIES VOL. A
RADIO PERSONALITIES VOL. B 
RADIO PERSONALITIES VOL. C 
1926
 
“SCANDAL OF AMERICA”
1-reel; 1926; Artclass; Artclass
IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU
NIGHT PROWLER, THE
PAYROLL HOLD-UP
THE STICK-UP MAN
UNEXPECTED VISITOR
WHO IS SAFE?*(WOR)
“SCREEN STAR SPORTS” 
1-reel; 1926; Artclass; Artclass
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. A
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. B
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. C
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. D
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. E
SCREEN STAR SPORTS VOL. F
1925
“GUESS WHO?”
1-reel; 1926; Artclass; Artclass
GUESS WHO? #1
GUESS WHO? #2
GUESS WHO? #3
GUESS WHO? #4
GUESS WHO? #5
GUESS WHO? #6
1923
“TENSE MOMENTS FROM FAMOUS PLAYS”
1-reel; 1923; prod. in 1922; Master Films (UK); Artclass
BLEAK HOUSE
dir/H.B. Parkinson cst/Sybil Thorndike, Betty Doyle, Stacey Gaunt
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME(WOR)
Original title: “Esmeralda” dir/Edwin J. Collins cst/Sybil Thorndike, Booth Conway, Arthur Kingsley
JANE SHORE
dir/Edwin J. Collins cst/Sybil Thorndike
LADY OF THE CAMELLIAS
dir/Edwin J. Collins cst/Sybil Thorndike
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
dir/Challis Sanderson cst/Sybil Thorndike, Ivan Berlin,  R. McLeod
MACBETH
dir/H.B. Parkinson cst/Russell Thorndike, Sybil Thorndike
The following set was titled  in the U.K. as “Tense Moments with Great Authors”
DAVID GARRICK
cst/Milton Rosmer
EAST LYNNE
cst/Iris Hoey
THE LAST HOURS OF FAGIN
aka “Hours of Fagin”; original title: “Fagin” dir/H. B. Parkinson cst/Ivan Berlin
LES MISERABLES 
dir/H.B. Parkinson cst/Phyllis Neilson Terry, Charles Garry, Lyn Harding, Hilda Moore 
MOTHS 
cst/Cameron Carr
NANCY 
dir/H. B. Parkinson cst/Ivan Berlin
SAPHO
Hilda Moore
THE SCARLET LETTER 
dir/Challis Sanderson cst/Sybil Thorndike, Tony Fraser, Dick Webb, Rice Cassidy
SCROOGE
H.V. Esmond
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
VANITY FAIR
1922
SAWING A LADY IN HALF
aka “Sawing a Lady in Half – Exposed” aka “Sawing a Lady in Half, How it is Done”
prod/dir/cst/John C. Coutts; Clarion
“THE HOLY BIBLE IN MOTION PICTURES”
Excerpts from “La Bibbia” Italy; 1920
1-reel; 1922; only released non-theatrically
Subsequently released in 1924 as: “The Holy Bible (Old Testament Series)”
ABRAHAM AND ISAAC 
ABRAHAM AND SARAI
CAIN AND ABEL 
CREATION, THE 
END OF THE DELUGE 
EXODUS AND RED SEA MIRACLE 
IMPRISONMENT OF JOSEPH 
ISAAC AND REBECCA 
ISRAELITES IN EGYPT 
ISRAELITES IN WILDERNESS 
JACOB AND ESAU 
JACOB AND JOSEPH 
JACOB AND RACHEL 
JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS
JOSEPH AS GOVERNOR 
LAW REPEATED AND DEATH OF MOSES 
MOSES
MOUNT SINAI AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS*
NAOMI AND RUTH 
NOAH
THE PASSOVER
THE PEACEMAKING
PLAGUES OF EGYPT 
REHABILITATION OF JOSEPH 
RUTH AND BOAZ 
SELLING OF JOSEPH
SODOM AND GOMORRAH
SOLOMON IN ALL HIS GLORY
TOWER OF BABEL, THE
WISDOM OF SOLOMON
* © 1924; only title in the series to be copyrighted
“EPIC OF THE AGES”
Condensed version of “The Holy Bible in Motion Pictures”
2-reels; track added around 1930; 
CHAPTER 1
The Creation/Cain and Abel/Noah
CHAPTER 2
End of the Deluge/Tower of Babel/Abraham and Sarai
CHAPTER 3
Sodom and Gomorrah/Abraham and Isaac/Isaac and Rebecca
CHAPTER 4
Jacob and Esau/Jacob and Rachel/Jacob and Joseph
CHAPTER 5
Selling of Joseph/Imprisonment of Joseph/Rehabilitation of Joseph
CHAPTER 6
Joseph as Governor/Joseph and His Brothers/Peacemaking
CHAPTER 7
Israelites in Egypt/Moses and the Burning Bush/Plagues of Egypt
CHAPTER 8
Passover/Exodus and Red Sea Miracle/Israelites in Wilderness
CHAPTER 9
Mt. Sinai and the10 Commandments/Law Repeated and Death of Moses/Naomi & Ruth
CHAPTER 10
Ruth and Boaz/Wisdom of Solomon/Solomon in all his Glory
1916
“LILLIPUTIAN COMEDIES”
No information othan than Louis Weiss confirmed they were in fact produced(WOR) —
*****State’s Rights Exchanges:

The Weiss Bros. distributed their pictures on a State’s Rights basis (see previous posts), but apparently at one time had at least one film exchange of their own.  On occasion they acquired rights only for the limited territories served by their exchange, or exchanges. 

*****

Please send any corrections or comments to kit@kitparker.com, or post under “Comments.”  I’d particularly appreciate any help with the following questions:

 “Lilliputian Comedies” ca.1916 comedy shorts — Does anyone have any information on these films?

“It May Be Your Daughter” 1916 feature — Director’s name?

“Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments,” Episode 25 of “The Holy Bible in Motion Pictures” (1922)- This was the only episode Artclass copyrighted; why was it copyrighted in 1924, two years after its previous release, and why did they risk another battle with Paramount by adding “…The Ten Commandments” to the end of title?  [See previous blog]

“Ten After Ten” 1924 feature – Additional cast members?

“Tangled Herds” 1926 feature – Additional cast members?

“Ridin’ Rivals” 1926 feature – Additional cast members?

“A Short Tail” 1927 2-reel short – Why did Artclass own this Paramount short?

“J.” Tansey: – Was this Robert, or another, Tansey?

Various Short Subjects – Additional director and cast credits?

****

Sources:  Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, American Film Institute, IMDb, Kit Parker Collection, Margaret Herrick Library (AMPAS), Richard Roberts, U.S. Copyright Office, New York State Archives, Internet Archive; various issues of: Exhibitor’s Herald, International Motion Picture Almanac, Moving Picture World, Film Daily Yearbook 

——-

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Weiss Bros. Westerns available on DVD from VCI Entertainment:

Bob Steele 4-pack
Bob Steele Western Double Feature   Vol. 3
Bob Steele Western Double  Feature Vol. 5
Bob Steele Western Double  Feature Vol. 6
Bob Steele Western Double  Feature Vol. 9
Bob Steele Western Double  Feature Vol. 10
Buddy Roosevelt   Western Double Feature
Harry Carry Western Double  Feature Vol. 1
Harry Carry Western Double  Feature Vol. 2
Harry Carry Western Double  Feature Vol. 3
Johnny Mack Brown Western 4-Pack
Johnny Mack Brown Western  Double Feature Vol. 4
Johnny Mack Brown Western  Double Feature Vol. 6
Johnny Mack Brown Western  Double Feature Vol. 16
Rex Lease Western Double  Feature Vol. 1
Western Heroes Western Double Feature Vol. 1
Western Heroes Western Double Feature Vol. 2
Western Heroes Western Double Feature Vol. 7
Bob Steele Western Double Feature Vol. 1
Bob Steele Western Double Feature Vol. 8
Bob Steele Western Double Feature Vol. 12

© 2012 Kit Parker Films

“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.

Sources:
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)  

“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:

Visit our website to order DVDs –

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Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

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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.

Sources:
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:  

 

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

Continued from my previous blog, “Who Was Craig Kennedy?”

 

“Craig Kennedy, Criminologist”

Series Episodes

(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

 

Title/Year/Director

 

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.

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I bought the Weiss Global Enterprises film library in 2004, and one of the properties was “Craig Kennedy.”  Who was this character? 

 

While going through some old files I discovered that he was extremely popular in the 1910’s and 20’s as fiction’s first detective to utilize “modern” criminal science, such as analyzing tire tracks, blood types and finger prints.  There were scores of Craig Kennedy short stories and novels, written by Arthur B. Reeve.  Later six movie serials, a feature film, 26 television episodes, and even a comic strip were based on his detective hero.   

 

The Weiss Brothers (Adolph, Max, Louis), owners of Weiss Bros.-Artclass Pictures, were pioneers in low-budget filmmaking.  In 1927 they made two successive deals with Reeve, which gave them renewable options to produce motion pictures and serials based on his published Craig Kennedy stories, along with a commission for Reeve to write a 10 chapter serial tentatively titled “You Can’t Win.”  (Incidentally, the Weiss Bros. were forward-looking enough to include exhibition by “television” into their contracts!)  Two 10-chapter silent serials, “The Mysterious Airman” (1927), and “Police Reporter” (1928), along with their first feature talkie, “Unmasked” (1929), were produced and released by Weiss Bros.-Artclass Pictures on a State’s Rights basis.

 

In 1935 The Weiss Brothers, under the name of Stage and Screen Productions, made another deal with Reeve to produce two serials using the Craig Kennedy stories, “The Clutching Hand” and “The Golden Grave,” and at the same time acquired merchandizing rights, which included fingerprint kits.  “The Clutching Hand” was produced, in conjunction with Charles Mintz, and released in 1936 as “The Amazing Adventures of the Clutching Hand.” (“The Golden Grave” was never made.)   Yakima Canutt received $125 for performing stunts, but most of the actors were paid only between $3.75 and $10 a day.  One of them, Ruth Mix (daughter of Tom Mix), had a good part in the film, but was one of the actors who received only the dismal $3.75.  (Apparently she was happy with it, however, as she wrote Louis Weiss thanking him for hiring her, and asking if he had any more work.) The Weiss’ must have had a great deal of confidence in the forthcoming release of “The Clutching Hand,” because they concluded another deal with Reeve just four days prior to its release.  Reeve died four months later.

Arthur B. Reeve

On June 12, 1944, Stage and Screen bought all rights, in perpetuity, to the Craig Kennedy character, and stories, from the Reeve family, but no other films were ever produced.  Max and Adolph Weiss retired, leaving Louis Weiss, operating under The Louis Weiss Co., with the film library and all other assets, including the rights to Craig Kennedy.  In October of 1944, Louis tried to get a publisher, Novel Selections, Inc. to reprint the stories, but was turned down.  Then he went to the first publisher of the Kennedy stories, Harper and Brothers, who had great success with the stories 20 years earlier, but was told the stories were too antiquated.

                                                                                                Adrian and Louis Weiss ca. 1949

Louis suffered a heart attack in 1948, and his son, Adrian, who had a background in films, joined the firm to relieve some of the pressure off his father and to exploit their library of old films on television.  Television was just starting to take off, and suddenly there was a big demand for old films, particularly produced in the U.S.A.  The major studios were afraid to license their pictures to the new medium because their theatrical exhibitors threatened boycotts.   Louis and Adrian had no such qualms, because they were no longer in the theatrical business.  They knew years before most other producers that television was going to be big, so early on they acquired many feature films, mostly cheap westerns, to augment what they had actually produced.  Because of that demand, Louis and Adrian had the foresight to preserve the negatives of their sound era features and serials, as well and dozens of silent 2-reel comedies Weiss Bros.-Artclass had produced in the late 1920s.  Most of this material survives to this day.

 

In 1949, flush with money from licensing their library to TV stations desperate to fill time slots, Adrian and Louis decided to update the Craig Kennedy character and produce 13 half-hour television episodes to be called, “Craig Kennedy, Criminologist.”  It was a roll of the dice because they self-funded the project, filming in expensive 35mm, for television syndication (sales to individual stations on a market-by-market basis) without any guarantee they’d be able to sell the show. 

 Experts at producing films on the cheap, Adrian and Louis kept the Weiss Bros. tradition of using character actors, and former stars, well beyond their prime.  For the part of Craig Kennedy they hired the Canadian actor, Donald Woods, who had a long list of  credits, but never reached star-status.  (He later went on to perform in scores of television programs).  They also talked some of the talent into deferring income until the shows went into the black.

 

The first 13 shows were picked up in many television markets, where amazingly it hit some home-runs, notably in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and particularly in New Orleans (WDSU-TV), where it got a surprising 50 share (half the people watching television), slightly besting “I Love Lucy” and “Dragnet”.  A second season was produced, which also did well. 

   

 

In 1999, Adrian approached me to buy his entire library, known as Weiss Global Enterprises, which controlled hundreds of films, including the Lippert Pictures library, several independent productions, and the Craig Kennedy stories, but wanted three times it’s actual worth.  Adrian died in 2001, and I purchased the entire Weiss library at a fair price in 2004, from his son and daughter.

Please see my forthcoming blog, “Craig Kennedy, Criminologist,” for descriptions of each episode in the TV series.

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A week doesn’t go by that I’m not asked that question.  The answer is “yes,” but it’s still protected by copyright…

  

Before the New Copyright Act of 1976, an author was granted an initial 28 year term of copyright protection, with an additional 28 years upon proper renewal. If a movie wasn’t renewed during its first term of copyright, it went into the public domain.

However, under well-established copyright law, the distribution, sale, and exploitation of a motion picture which has no valid copyright, but derived from a copyrighted novel, play, musical composition, etc., infringes the copyright in and to that underlying copyright.

 

As a kid in the 1950s I collected 8mm and 16mm movies. Most were purchased from Blackhawk Films, which specialized primarily in silent-era films that had fallen into the public domain.  In the 1960s, other companies began following the Blackhawk model of selling “PD” movies, and now included the sound era.  Many of these films had owners who derived their livelihood from, them. (In those days broadcast television was virtually the only outlet for old pictures, but the film “syndication” business was very lucrative because virtually every station aired at least some movies, and the number available was finite.)

Adrian Weiss, a producer-distributor, and member of a pioneering motion picture family, had a large library of films, many of which were in the public domain. He told me that before the mid 1960s, the established distributors of films to TV were “gentlemen,” and they respected ownership rights, regardless of the lack of enforceable copyrights.

The first time I recall an issue about the use of movies in the public domain was in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when someone at a PBS station realized that the copyright to Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Liberty-RKO/1946) was not renewed.  Soon after, the Christmas perennial started receiving wide exposure on PBS stations throughout the country during December “pledge nights.” The movie’s owner of record, National Telefilm Associates (NTA), protested, and eventually PBS backed down.

At the same time entrepreneurs realized they could make copies of public domain movies on 8mm and 16mm and sell them to collectors, broadcast TV, cable stations that proliferated in the 1970s, and so on. The exploitation of public domain films built up steam, and the practice continues to this day, particularly on the Internet. In 1992, NTA, then known as Republic Pictures, took an aggressive enforcement stance against sellers of the film, and had a great deal of success stopping infringers. Paramount is the present owner of Republic Pictures, and therefore “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In the early days of Kit Parker Films I could only afford to buy public domain films for my rental library. One was “A Walk in the Sun” (Superior-20th Century-Fox). In 1975 I received a cease and desist letter from John Ettlinger, President of Medallion TV Enterprises, claiming he owned the movie and I was violating copyrights controlled by him. I told him that the movie was in the public domain. He responded that it was a moot point because he also controlled the exclusive motion picture rights to the copyrighted novel in which the movie is based, along with the copyrights to the musical compositions (which played throughout well over half the movie). His logic was it was impossible to show the movie without violating the copyrights to both the novel and music. I argued with him, but ultimately relented, and paid him a royalty in order to keep the film in my library. A couple of years later, when I got over my self-righteousness, I realized he was correct, and my position that he was wrong was just wishful thinking.

When VHS tapes came out there was a proliferation of companies selling public domain movies. By and large, the individuals involved in this business had little or no knowledge of the intricacies of Copyright Law, and saw movies as strictly a commodity – no different than a pair of shoes — and, of particular concern to me, didn’t care at all about picture and sound quality.

John Ettlinger was very aggressive in stopping infringers. He had deep pockets (told me he was an heir to the Hertz fortune), and did not hesitate filing lawsuits against what he called “bottom feeders.” He was able to extract back-royalties, and those that made the mistake of fighting him ended up paying back royalties and legal fees.

In the early 1990s, Ettlinger passed away, his library was sold, and later changed hands a few times. When DVD’s came out, a company unaware of Ettlinger’s previous legal and financial victories, released “A Walk in the Sun.” When no lawsuits materialized many other “bottom feeders” followed. Unlike Ettlinger, the new owners of the Medallion library did not have the wherewithal to effectively fight off violators, so enforcement of the underlying rights to the movie was only lackluster. (Ironically, although Ettlinger held the torch for the rights of literary authors when it suited his purpose, but fought against them when it came to paying residuals.)

Although ignorance of the law is no excuse, my goal is usually not to punish those who unknowingly violate my properties that are protected by copyright, but to simply get them to stop. To those that cooperate (most do), I return the favor. Those that don’t, I don’t.

Sometimes I receive responses telling me the film is in the public domain, and any facts I offer to the contrary are bogus.  I ask them if they are so sure, why aren’t they selling “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

I’m often asked to prove my claim by sending all of the documentation going back to the original Bronston deal.  I tell them the matter, and the documents related thereto, are part of the public record at the Copyright Office in WashingtonDC, and for them to hire a professional, or go there.  After that, some tell me where to go.

By the way, www.copyrightoffice.gov can be helpful, but it is not infallible.

 

Here is some background on how “A Walk in the Sun” came to be in the first place:

In 1943 Knopf Publishers made a deal with a U.S. Army Sergeant, Harry McNab Brown, to write a novel titled “A Walk in the Sun,” which was published the following year to critical acclaim. Brown was an exceptional writer of fiction, which is how he was able to make a deal on an as yet unwritten book. Producer Samuel Bronston’s Comstock Productions, purchased all motion picture rights to the novel from Brown, with a plan of having it directed by Lewis Milestone, and released through United Artists.  Bronston fell into financial difficulties.

Milestone’s Superior Productions, took the project over, produced the movie, and granted 20th Century-Fox a seven-year distribution deal.  Still, the movie was foreclosed on by the Walter E. Heller Co./Ideal Factoring Co., major financers of “A Walk in the Sun,” and countless other movies. Heller retained Medallion TV Enterprises as its sales agent. Later on, Medallion bought all of Heller’s rights. I purchased the entire Medallion library, including “A Walk in the Sun,” in 2008, and continue to take an aggressive stance against those who infringe any of the copyrights owned or controlled by me.

I licensed The Sprocket Vault the exclusive DVD rights to “A Walk in the Sun.” Their version is un-cut, restored from original film elements, and features a great interview with Norman Lloyd (Private Archimbeau in the film), and “The Men of ‘A Walk in the Sun’,” a documentary produced by Joel Blumberg.

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George Reeves, Barry Nelson, DeForest Kelley and Betty White were Don Hanmer’s “co-stars” in his first film role.

Don Hanmer (1918-2003)(1) was introduced to me by Ralph Senensky at our very first  Dinosaur Club meeting.  He had the voice and face of someone who entertained me countless times in the movies, and especially on television…but I just couldn’t place the name.  I suppose that’s one of the hazards of being a character actor.  He told me that it wasn’t a big deal to him when people didn’t know his name, and told a funny story about how he and some other actors met with a producer in the hope of landing a role in a major television movie; the producer, for some reason not recognizing him, said, “Thank you all for coming, but we’re looking for a Don Hanmer type”!

Don acted in scores of scores of television shows, and a few movies [most notably as the butterfly trader in “Papillon” (1973)].  Years before he had acted under the direction of two other members of the club, directors Ralph Senensky and Lamont Johnson.  Between the three of them not one question of mine about the golden age of television went unanswered.

I haven’t been able to find any meaningfully biographical information on Don, but he told me he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, appeared as an extra in both the stage and movie versions of Moss Hart’s “Winged Victory” (1944), and the following year had his first performance as an actor in “Time to Kill”(2) a 23 minute WWII U.S. Navy morale booster, with George Reeves, Barry Nelson, Jimmy Lydon, Don Taylor, and also in their first film roles, DeForest Kelley and Betty White.  Don said it was filmed in a couple of days at the Motion Picture Unit U.S. Army Airforces, First Motion Picture Unit, dubbed “Fort Roach,” because it was located at the Hal Roach studios in Culver City, CA.

After the war, Don joined the famed Actor’s Studio in New York, where he honed his craft, which soon turned into a busy career in live television.  He also met and married his first wife, Marlon Brando’s sister, Jocelyn, with whom they had two sons. 

Ralph Senensky(2) reminded me of two stories Don shared at one of our lunches…which Ralph articulated them far better than I.

Don was a member of the famed Actors’ Studio. He told me of an incident years before in one of his classes. The assignment was to perform an activity using sense memory. Don chose to eat a banana. Seated in his chair in the classroom he pantomimed picking up a banana and slowly starting to peel it. At this moment Cloris Leachman arrived late. She quietly slipped in and took a seat directly behind Don and took a banana out of a sack for her late lunch. Don, engrossed in his pantomime suddenly looked up and said to Lee Strasberg, “I’m so into this, I can actually smell the banana.”

Also, on THE BULL ROARER, an episode of the television series BREAKING POINT, Don played a trainer at the Guide Dogs for The Blind school.  The head of the school, Bill Johns, came to Hollywood from San Rafael and served as a technical advisor during our filming. He brought with him one of the trainers from San Rafael to help tend to their seeing eye dogs.. At one point I asked Bill if what Don as doing on film was correct. He responded that the only thing wrong with his performance was that since the dog trainers did a tremendous amount of walking as they first trained the dogs and then trained the blind people how to use the dogs, Don’s appearance was quite a bit more rotund than those of the San Rafael trainers!

(1) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0360168/

(2) www.ralphsenensky.com

 

Free downloads:

“Time to Kill” (1945)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QShd6twB3Do

 “Tales of Tomorrow” (1952)

 http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi2662466073/

 

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In his 80s he still had that amazing voice…

One of the members of our “club” was Lamont Johnson (1922-2010)(1)(2), who used his dynamic bass radio voice on network radio while still in his teens.  He enjoyed a long and successful career as an actor (radio, stage, screen, television) and director (I can’t begin to list all of his credits). 

One time we were talking about overcoming difficult situations, and he gave me three examples he experienced, one serious, and two humorous:

Lamont Johnson was a sickly and painfully shy child who was an invalid until age 10 because of suffering TB of his leg.  He said his voice helped him get good parts in school plays, and that plus years of psychoanalysis, brought him out of his shell.

Lamont played Tarzan in “Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle”(3) on Mutual Radio in the early 1950s, which was sponsored by Post Cereals.  On one occasion Post asked him to perform the Tarzan yell while saying the words “P-o-s-t R-a-i-s-i-n B-r-a-n,” a difficult job to do under any circumstances, but he had to do it live, and with only an hour to rehearse.  He succeeded, and gave me a spot-on rendition 50 years after the fact…muted so as not to disturb the other restaurant patrons!    

Lamont’s first feature film as a director was “A Covenant with Death” (1967)(4).  The famous Mexican actor Emilio Fernández(5), notorious as a loose cannon on the set (and everywhere else), played the role of Ignacio.  The evening before the first day of shooting Lamont was up late obsessing about his first effort for the big screen.  Around 2:00 AM he got a phone call from the local police…Emilio was in jail; he got into a bar fight and knifed someone!   Lamont rushed to the jail, where Emilio, still woozy, was in tears, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, Mr. Johnson, for causing you this trouble!”  Much to Lamont’s relief, the police brought the remorseful actor to the set in handcuffs, let him play his scenes.  They put the cuffs on him and brought him back to jail…a scenario repeated until the filming ended.

Lamont was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, and throughout his life aligned himself with progressive causes.  He told me he worked extensively as a director of made for television movies, because that medium, rather than the big screen, was much more receptive to portraying controversial subjects.  Lamont wrote the screenplay as well as directed what he told me was his favorite TV movie, “The Execution of Private Slovik” (1974)(6), the story of the only American soldier executed (since the Civil War) for desertion during World War II. 

Into his 80s he never tired of answering my questions, and especially articulating his ideas for future movies dealing with social causes. 

With that booming voice of his I would have been happy to listen if he simply read from the phone book.   

 

(1) http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=johnsonlamo

(2) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0425593/

(3) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071477/

(4) http://www.erbzine.com/mag23/2337.html  

(5) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061525/

(6) http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0273477/

Contact kit@kitparker.com

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I saw my first DVD and knew it was all over…

   The former Kit Parker Films building in Sand City,CA

 

Kit Parker Films continued humming along throughout the 1990s.  Videotape shut down most of the non-theatrical distributors, but we held steady because the majority of our customers demanded the clarity that film provided…and from day one we were Ninja about print quality.  The acquisition of the “The Classic Collection” (a joint venture between Films Incorporated and Janus Films) helped, because this added many international classics to our library.  But by that time, our theatrical division was our mainstay…However, starting in 1997, we started losing our studio contracts…not because they weren’t happy with our work, it was…corporate politics.

 

 We had just completed a successful revival of classic 1970s blaxploitation movies called “Blaxploitation, Baby,” that helped Orion sell tens of thousands of VHS tapes of the individual movies.  Then we got the word that MGM/UA bought Orion Pictures, and they wanted their own “classics” division, which meant taking all of the prints back from us.  In addition, they placed someone in charge who knew nothing about classics distribution. 

 

The writing was on the wall…

 

In the mid-1980s some very savvy executives took over and turned the floundering Republic Pictures into a very successful Home Video company.  However, in 1994,   Aaron Spelling purchased the company, and Republic’s former brain trust left, and a new regime was put in charge who wasn’t in the league of the former management.  (An exception was a lawyer by the name of Margie Pacacha, who was both smart and decent…someone destined for much bigger things.) We grew concerned because KPF had the entire Republic library on an exclusive basis for both theatrical and non-theatrical use.  I knew from experience that when a successful company changes hands it often meant trouble for me, and we certainly didn’t want to lose evergreen titles like “High Noon,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “Johnny Guitar.”  Fortunately life moved along on a fairly even keel (we had released a very successful compilation of Max Fleischer cartoons, called “Betty Boop Confidential”).  Then in 1999 Viacom (Paramount) bought Spelling Entertainment, and it was all over for us.  As with MGM/UA, the studio decided they’d distribute the films themselves, so we sent all of the films to Paramount, and once again the library was under the control of a studio’s so-called classic division.

 

Right on the heels of that loss, we took our final blow.  I went to Warner Bros. to meet with distribution executive Jeff Goldstein to hopefully make a deal to acquire theatrical rights to “The Wizard of Oz,” which had been recently restored and had a brief theatrical run after which there were hundreds of unused prints I could certainly put to good use.  Warner Bros. was by far my most important client, and Jeff told me that everyone at Warner Bros. Distribution, knew I was doing a great job, but they had to take their pictures back.  I was never told straight-up, but it was whispered by others in the company that the decision was political; by then WB had acquired Ted Turner’s library of classics, which included all of the pre-1986 MGM, and pre-1948 Warner Bros. titles, as well, and no one wanted to take the chance of getting on Ted Turner’s bad side for fear he would go to Warner’s CEO and say, “Why is someone else distributing my films, when we have our own distribution company?” 

 

Of course, the logical answer would have been that not only would they have made much more money with me doing it with no effort whatsoever on their part.  Jeff made it clear that even if I distributed their films for free, they still would have taken them back.  Once again, a studio hired someone with no experience to handle their classics.  Jeff was a good guy, as were Barry Reardon and Dan Fellman above him.…they even bought the bookings I had already taken…something they were under no obligation to do.  The Warner Bros. people were always good to me.

 

However, I was reeling after that disappointment, and although we were still profitable, I was wondering what I would be doing for the years to come.  It was not a good feeling.

 

Then I got a call from Peter Becker of Janus Films/The Criterion Collection, who asked me to reissue the restored version of “Gimme Shelter,” originally released in 1970.  Their goal was to generate publicity for Criterion’s subsequent DVD release of the classic rock movie…a job all of us at KPF were well equipped to do.  (We had worked with them earlier on “Picnic at Hanging Rock” and “The Last Wave,” to good success.)

 

I declined, as by then I was tired of all of the work that went into distributing a multi-city  reissue.  But, Peter, and my long-time friend at Janus, Jonathan Turell, persisted…so it was one more reissue for Kit Parker Films!  Janus Films, I might add, was and is the epitome of class. Becker and Turell were happy with the job we did on distribution/marketing because it generated ink in major city, and national press.  After my work was done, a package arrived with a note in it, “Thank you. Peter.”  It was a DVD player…the first I’d ever seen.  I tried it out that night…took one look at the beautiful image, and had mixed emotions because I knew film would be dead in a few years, and that was sad for a life-long “film guy,” but the quality of the DVD suggested that maybe there was something in it for me to pursue. 

 

The next day, 29 years after forming my company, I announced the closing of our film distribution business…it took a year to wrap things up because we had to honor all of the future bookings.  It was heartbreaking to see the KPF team go, but it was time to reinvent myself…

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Before Roger Corman there was Robert L. Lippert

Producer/Exhibitor Robert L. Lippert’s low-budget productions are sometimes called Grade “C.”  Personally, I’ve never seen one below “B-,” and in fairness, he did put out some “B+,” “nervous A,” and who can call “The Fly” (1957) anything but an “A”?

Lippert felt there was an unmet demand for “B” product for his circuit of theatres, so in 1945 he and John L. Jones formed a production company, Action Pictures, and distribution company, Screen Guild Productions.   The first and sole release for 1945 was “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse,” in Cinecolor, starring Bob Steele.  Regular releases followed, and in 1949 Screen Guild became “Lippert Pictures,” and in the final count, cranked out over 125 low budget movies, and released many more acquisitions and reissues.  He produced many more films for release by 20th Century-Fox…more about the Fox deal later…

 

The early Lippert productions were unremarkable B movies (okay, there may have been some C’s), with a few notable exceptions.  Things changed in 1949 when he rolled the dice and took a chance on a feisty independent newspaper reporter by the name of Samuel Fuller. Lippert gave Fuller, who had no movie experience, virtual free-reign, and his name above the title, to create a film about Jesse James’ assassin, Bob Ford.   It was released as “I Shot Jesse James” (1949), and became a critical and box office success, and today it is considered a classic, notable, among other things, for its extensive use of close ups.  Soon after, Fuller directed his second film, “The Baron of Arizona” (1950), a true story about a swindler who seized much of Arizona by forging Spanish land grants.  Vincent Price played the “Baron,” and many years later claimed it was one of his very favorite roles.  Truly, the Lippert/Fuller magna opus was the classic Korean War drama, “The Steel Helmet” (1951), which garnered first-run dates at prestigious theatres.  The three Fuller films are out on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

Lippert’s cause célèbre was to produce films as cheaply as possible, and still offer at least some entertainment value, particularly for the more unsophisticated movie patrons. No Lippert movies were allowed to go over budget.  Not negotiable…even for Fuller.  Despite the puny budgets, minor classics resulted, including “Little Big Horn” (1951) and “The Tall Texan” (1953), both starring Lloyd Bridges. 

 

Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me a story about filming of the climactic ending of “The Steel Helmet,” where a Korean temple is to be destroyed, and it almost didn’t come to be…  Fuller had shot all but the ending, and production was about to go into overtime. Lippert came on the set and literally pulled the power switch to shut down production.  Fortunately, after he left the set, Fuller turned the power on and filmed the finale. 

 

In 1950, Lippert gave himself a challenge…produce a series of six Jimmy “Shamrock” Ellison-Russell “Lucky” Hayden westerns, all at the same time, using the same casts, sets, crew, and so on.  In one movie an actor may play a bad guy and a bartender in another.  A camera was be set up in the saloon, for example, and the saloon scenes for each movie would be shot sequentially, with actors rushing about changing costumes between each roll of the camera.  It must have been a nightmare for the script girl!  Robert L. Lippert, Jr. told me it was his father’s proudest achievement!  VCI released this series as a set under the “Big Iron Collection” banner.   

 

There was also a distinctive film noir series filmed in Great Britain starting in 1953 when Lippert formed a production alliance with his British distributor, Exclusive Films, soon known as Hammer Film Productions.  Under the arrangement, Lippert would provide an American “star,” on the way down, but who still had some name value, plus cash to pay for part of the production.  Exclusive/Hammer and Lippert divided up the distribution territories.  The result was a series of good thrillers, supported by solid English casts, and many directed by Terence Fisher, in his pre-horror film days.  The Lippert-Hammers are all available as part of the “Hammer Noir” collections released by VCI Entertainment.

 

Lippert, like Roger Corman after him, was able to gather together producers, directors, screenwriters, composers, and, of course, actors, willing to work on tight schedules for minimal pay.  There were stars who had lost their major studio contracts (Paulette Goddard, George Raft) or who had problems with the House on Un-American Activities (Lloyd Bridges, Lee J. Cobb).   Even Clint Eastwood and Jack Nicolson had roles in later Lippert productions.

Lippert was a master marketer.  When producer George Pal set out to mount a big budget Technicolor production of “Destination Moon” (1950), based on the science-fiction book by Robert A. Heinlein, Lippert saw an opportunity.  He capitalized on Pal’s media campaign by throwing together his own low (of course) budget “moon” picture, “Rocketship X-M” (1950).  It beat Pal’s movie into the theatres, stealing a good deal of the Technicolor epic’s thunder.   I’m told Mr. Pal was not amused.

 

Trouble, and opportunities, lay ahead for Lippert.  To be continued…

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