kitparkerfilms

Posts Tagged ‘Kit Parker

 

 

z

 

I wanted to write about the pleasures of watching “Gasoline Alley” and “Corky, of Gasoline Alley.” They’re well written and directed by the underrated, Edward Bernds, with above average production values expected from a Columbia Pictures programmer. You’ll enjoy both movies, especially several sequences in “Corky,” which are laugh-out-loud funny.

Leonard Maltin felt the same way; here is what he had to say:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/gasoline_alley_and_friends

VCI’s DVD collection contains the two Gasoline Alley features, plus four bonus feature films from Lippert Pictures, “Stop That Cab” and “Leave it to the Marines,” (both 1951), starring Sid Melton; “As you Were” (1951) and “Mr. Walkie Talkie” (1952) with William Tracy and Joe Sawyer. Six features in all, plus trailers and photo gallery.

Features, serials and animated cartoons based on comic strips have always been popular starting with the live-action “The Katzenjammer Kids in School” (1898), running less than two minutes, and continuing through today’s blockbusters based on Marvel Comics heroes.

“Gasoline Alley” first appeared in newspapers in 1918, the creation of the innovative cartoonist, Frank O. King. It still is published today! The second longest running comic strip behind “The Katzenjammer Kids.”

Columbia Pictures had success with the “Blondie” series which ran its course by the late 1940s. In 1950 the studio contacted Frank O. King through his syndicator, Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. A deal was struck: $5,000 to option the property for two feature films, and $17,000 (almost exactly $170,000 in today’s dollars) to exercise it, which was done, and the two features began production. Television syndication rights were not included and King retained the right to produce a TV series, though none materialized. Typical licensing deals granted the studios a ten-year window to produce and distribute the films, after which time their rights ceased. This was the “Gasoline Alley” deal.

Before television, studios only made money from theatres. By the time the character right licenses expired, movies were generating only occasional $12.50 bookings, not worth it except with high-profile properties like Tarzan.

After the licenses expired, studios usually owned the negatives, but couldn’t exploit them without permission from the cartoonists; this worked visa versa, too. Movies disappeared into limbo—sometimes for decades. Occasionally negatives became the property of the character-owners, as with “Gasoline Alley.”

The King-Columbia deal expired in 1960-61, and the movies fell into obscurity. We’ll never know why King, who died in 1969, never exploited them.

In 2006, I took it upon myself to find out why, and discovered that King’s heirs unknowingly owned the movies. It took a while to find them, purchase their rights, and locate the negatives. Easier said than done. The heirs were surprised they owned two movies, and were very easy to work with, and very committed to perpetuating their father’s works. After a half-century, the negatives were controlled by Columbia. I was delighted because for once I didn’t have to search around the world for film elements to use as source material for making our masters.

Digging through dusty old files, finding lost heirs, locating film elements…that’s my job, and how the “Gasoline Alley” are now available for your enjoyment.

Lost and Won’t Be Found –

“Bringing Up Father” and “Joe Palooka,” two series from Monogram Pictures produced between 1946-50. Occasionally I’m asked why these aren’t available. In a nutshell: The rights are a mess, and even if they weren’t, many of the negatives are missing. I gave up…very unusual for me!

Gasoline Alley DVD Set from VCI Entertainment

COLUMBIA PICTURES PRESENTS
SCOTTY BECKETT and JIMMY LYDON in “GASOLINE ALLEY”
with SUSAN MORROW, DON BEDDOE and PATTI BRADY
BASED on the COMIC STRIP by FRANK O. KING
PRODUCED by MILTON FELDMAN
SCREENPLAY and DIRECTED by EDWARD BERNDS
76 minutes
The popular Frank O. King comic strip characters go from newspaper page to screen in this 1951 feature from legendary comedy director Edward Bernds (of Three Stooges and Bowery Boys fame). Scotty Beckett and Jimmy Lydon are Corky and Skeezix, half-brothers who find themselves in the restaurant business until complications and some family conflicts arise.
Bonus: Lobby Card Set

LIPPERT PICTURES PRESENTS
WILLIAM TRACY and JOE SAWYER in “AS YOU WERE”
with RUSSELL HICKS, JOHN RIDGELY and SONDRA RODGERS
SCREENPLAY by EDWARD R. SEABROOK
PRODUCED by HAL ROACH JR.
DIRECTED by FRED GUIOL
59 minutes
Oh, those Army daze–and nights! An infusion of WAC beauties adds to the fun when ex-G.I. “Dodo” Doubleday (William Tracy), now a hotel clerk, impresses Army brass with his memory, and considers going back into the military. But recruiting station sergeant Bill Ames (Joe Sawyer), remembering how Tracy jinxed him back in WWII days, begs him not to re-enlist!
BONUS: Original theatrical trailer

LIPPERT PICTURES PRESENTS
WILLIAM TRACY and JOE SAWYER in “MR. WALKIE TALKIE”
with MARGIA DEAN, ROBERT SHAYNE, ALAN HALE JR. and RUSSELL HICKS
SCREENPLAY by NED SEABROOK and G. CARLETON BROWN
PRODUCED by HAL ROACH, JR.
DIRECTED by FRED GUIOL
65 minutes
Joe Sawyer and William Tracy return in another wacky service comedy, Sawyer as the exasperated sergeant of a GI trainee (Tracy) who remembers everything he has ever heard. Their misadventures include reassignment to Korea, an enemy spy and the offer of a Congressional Medal of Honor for Sawyer—if he can control his temper long enough to get it!

COLUMBIA PICTURES PRESENTS
SCOTTY BECKETT and JIMMY LYDON in “CORKY OF GASOLINE ALLEY”
with DON BEDDOE, GORDON JONES and PATTI BRADY
BASED on the COMIC STRIP by FRANK O. KING
PRODUCED by WALLACE MacDONALD
SCREEPLAY and DIRECTED by EDWARD BERNDS
80 minutes
How long can a cousin visit? That’s the question for Corky (Scotty Beckett) when his wife’s cousin (Gordon Jones) makes himself an unwanted houseguest, begins telling Wallet family members how to run their businesses, and blows up one of Corky’s restaurant’s ranges AND one of Skeezix’s (Jimmy Lydon) cars! Another entertaining comedy-drama for fans of the classic Frank O. King comic strip.

LIPPERT PICTURES PRESENTS
SID MELTON in “STOP THAT CAB”
with MARJORIE LORD, TOM NEAL, WILLIAM HAADE and GREG McCLURE
SCREENPLAY by LOUELLA McFARLANE and WALTER ABBOTT
PRODUCED by ABRASHA HAIMSON
DIRECTED by EUGENIO de LIGUORO
57 minutes
Babies and bandits spell trouble for Sid Melton, a bumbling Hollywood cabby whose night is filled with constant harassment from his wife (Iris Adrian), and whose fares include a radio quiz show contestant in search of a movie star, an expectant mother who is no longer expectant when she LEAVES his cab—and a gunman!

LIPPERT PICTURES PRESENTS
SID MELTON in “LEAVE IT TO THE MARINES”
with MARA LYNN, GREGG MARTELL, IDA MOORE and SAM FLINT
SCREENPLAY by ORVILLE HAMPTON
PRODUCED by SIGMUND NEUFELD
DIRECTED by SAMUEL NEWFIELD
68 minutes
Quintessential schnook Sid Melton, looking for the license bureau so that he can marry his girl Mara Lynn, instead stumbles upon a Marine recruiting office and ends up in uniform. Lynn reacts by joining the Women’s Marine Corps. Between the two of them, they’re the Howls of Montezuma and the Roars of Tripoli in this frantic service comedy.

 

To order on DVD, visit our site –

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 .

Advertisements

When I think of movies like “Hellgate” (Lippert/1952), directed by Charles Marquis Warren, and “The Tall Texan” (Lippert/1953), directed by Elmo Williams (Oscar-winning film editor on “High Noon”), I marvel at how  directors like that were able to produce really entertaining films on a minimal budget (and an even more minimal shooting schedule.)

David Schecter does the same, only he thinks of the composers, in this case, Paul Dunlap and Bert Schefter.

“Monstrous Movie Music” is the name of David’s company.  He specializes in producing CD’s with music scores from lower-tier science fiction films, but there are a few “A” features as well. These movies were helped immeasurably by the gifted composers, who like their director and producer counterparts, relegated to the demands of low budgets and extremely tight production schedules.

Some bring back fond memories of my going to the movies as a kid at the State and Rio Theatres in Monterey, CA:  “The Blob” (Paramount/1958) composed by Ralph Carmichael; “The Last Man on Earth” (AIP/1964), composed by Paul Sawtell and Bert Schefter; “The Brain From the Planet Arous” (Howco/1957), composed by Walter Greene.  I remember as the end title on “Arous” came on the screen and thinking I’d just wasted $.50.  My disappointment was forgotten after watching the co-feature, “The Alligator People” (API-Fox/1959), composed by Irving Gertz, exemplifying there is no accounting for the taste of an 11-year-old.

David Schecter is a champion of composers, especially the lesser-known ones, many of whom he knew personally, and dedicates himself to making their scores available.  He and his staff have gone to the trouble of re-recording the scores utilizing renowned symphony orchestras in Poland and Slovakia when they aren’t releasing original soundtracks.  He write superb liner notes as well.

Monstrous Movie Music:

http://www.mmmrecordings.com/index.htmlb

The movies themselves are available on DVD from VCI Entertainment:

http://kitparker.com/buy.php

tt

“Hellgate,” starring Sterling Hayden, Joan Leslie, Ward Bond, and James Arness (one of my favorites), directed by Charles Marquis Warren, is part of the two-disc DVD collection titled, “Darn Good Westerns”  Volume 1, featuring five additional titles, “Panhandle” (Allied Artists/1948) with Rod Cameron, in “glowing Sepiatone,” and four from Lippert Pictures, “Fangs of the Wild” (1954),  with Charles Chaplin, Jr., and underrated actress Margia Dean in one of her best roles, “The Train to Tombstone” (1950) which is a Don “Red” Barry western, “Operation Haylift” (1950) with Bill Williams and Ann Rutherford, and “Wildfire – The Story of a Horse” (1945) starring Bob Steele, in Cinecolor, which was the first production from legendary exhibitor turned producer, Robert L. Lippert.

“The Tall Texan,” is a solid western starring Lloyd Bridges and Lee J. Cobb, with cool special features, including “The Making of ‘The Tall Texan’” by Elmo Williams (still alive at age 100!); audio reminiscences by Ross May, a wrangler for the movie; the original theatrical trailer, and Chapter 1 from “Secret Agent X-9” (1945).

On the subject of Elmo Williams, I highly recommend “The Cowboy” (Lippert/1954), a feature length documentary filmed in color.  Both “The Tall Texan” and “The Cowboy” were made in Deming NM where in 2005 my wife Donna and I went to produce the commentary featuring reminiscences of four of the original cowboys who starred in the film.  Listening to these authentic cowboys fifty years later is a hoot…worthy of a blog of its own.

*Usually credited as a Lippert production, it was actually an independent film from producer by John C.  Champion (brother of Gower), under his Commander Films banner.  Champion also produced “Panhandle.”

http://fiftieswesterns.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/50s-western-scores-by-paul-dunlap-and-bert-shefter/

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 .

 

 

There are low budget movies, and there are no-budget movies.

1926

 

        The sound-era came to Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures a year before Vitaphone and “The Jazz Singer.”

        Dr. Lee DeForest developed a sound-on-film process in the early 1920s, and many short films used this process, including vaudeville acts and “Song Car-Tunes” produced by Max Fleischer, featuring the bouncing ball. At one time Louis Weiss was the general manager of the DeForest Phonofilm Corporation, but found it difficult to interest the major studios in licensing the early sound process, despite the comparatively good technical quality of many of these films.

        In 1926 Louis persuaded the Phonofilm board to allow Weiss Bros. –Artclass Pictures into distributing a series of the Fleischer cartoons.  The major studios controlled the best theatres, and they weren’t interested in booking the shorts, but Artclass was able to place them into some of the better independent cinemas.  However, the system was doomed, not only by studio indifference, but a series of misfortunes and patent lawsuits that Dr. DeForest was unable to overcome.

1927 – 1928

Artclass produced and released only silent films during these two years.  (See my earlier posts.)

1929

        By the later part of the 1920s, the Brothers Adolph, Louis and Max had amassed a considerable amount of valuable real estate, and traded heavily on the stock market.  After the market crash, their highly-leveraged holdings tumbled and much of their fortunes vanished. Among their losses included the property that later became the site of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  

        The first Weiss Bros. talkie was “Unmasked” a leaden and stage-bound mystery based on a Craig Kennedy crime novel, and starring Robert Warwick.  It survives only in fragments.

        “Unmasked” was the last collaborative production effort by the three Weiss brothers.  Thereafter, Louis Weiss became the driving force behind Artclass and its future offshoots, although his brothers, Adolph and Max retained a modest financial interest until 1935.

        The only other releases for 1929 were two silent films to which Artclass had only limited rights:  An Art Mix western, produced by Victor Adamson, “Below the Border”; and “Two Sisters” a crime adventure starring Viola Dana, in a dual role, and Rex Lease.  

1930

        Next year, as expected, there was a lean release schedule.  Only one film, “Damaged Love,” (alternate title: “Pleasant Sins”), managed to complete production.  Starring future cowboy star Charles Starrett (as Charles R. Starrett), the melodrama was based on a 1919 play, “Our Pleasant Sins.”  Much needed cash was brought in to Artclass when Louis arranged a buyout deal for the film with Sono-Art World Wide Pictures, which released it early the next year.

        Weiss picked up two exploitation melodramas from Windsor Picture Plays: “Her Unborn Child,” an anti-abortion melodrama based on the play of the same name, of note because it was Elisha Cook, Jr.’s. debut film role (Louis made several unsuccessful attempts at getting the picture remade as late as 1955); and, “Today,” acquired from Majestic Pictures on a limited distribution basis, starring Conrad Nagle…a topical subject about a wealthy couple losing their fortune, with the exploitation angle being the wife’s wandering into prostitution rather than giving up her lavish lifestyle. 

1931

 

        Artclass reactivated when Louis concluded a deal with Alfred T. Mannon’s Supreme Features, Inc., Ltd. (not to be confused with A. W. Hackel’s Supreme Pictures*) to produce and/or finance a slate of pictures.  In 1933 H.E.R. Laboratories foreclosed on the pictures, and conveyed them to  Aladdin Pictures Corp. (Samuel Tulpin), which caused a series of legal problems because Max Weiss had licensed the pictures to States Rights distributor, J. H. Hoffberg Co. without the permission of H.E.R. or Aladdin.  The suit continued for a year until Artclass settled with Tulpin and took undisputed legal possession of the library.

        The movies were produced by Louis Weiss and frequent Weiss collaborator, George Merrick, although the producer credit given is Supreme Features, Inc., Ltd., Alfred T. Mannon, President. (Mannon went on to form Resolute Pictures.)

 

        The slate of Supreme Features pictures were comprised of a romantic-drama, “Pleasure,” starring Conway Tearle and Carmel Myers; a crime-drama, “Night Life in Reno,” with Virginia Valli; a mystery, “Convicted,” starring Aileen Pringle; and “Cavalier of the West,” the first of four westerns starring Harry Carey.  The balance of the Supreme titles were released later in 1932.  

        Another five features were acquired from independent producers for distribution on a limited territory basis: “Maid to Order,” was the first release from the “new” Artclass, it came from Jesse Weil Productions and starred the legendary female impersonator, Julian Etlinge; “Pueblo Terror,” a Buffalo Bill, Jr. western from West Coast Pictures ; “White Renegade,” a western from Carlsbad Productions starring Tom Santschi; a crime melodrama, “The Sea Ghost,” starring Alan Hale and Laura LaPlante from Peerless Productions (Alfred T. Mannon); a horror-thriller oddity, “The Phantom,” with a miscast Guinn “Big Boy” Williams; and a drama, “Soul of the Slums,” starring William Collier, Jr., the latter two from producer Ralph M. Like.

1932

 

        “Uncle Moses” was certainly a unique 1932 release, and the only production from Louis Weiss’, Yiddish Talking Pictures, Inc.  Produced by Louis, and spoken entirely in Yiddish, it came about at the suggestion of his friend, German director, Max Nosseck, who had produced “Der Schlemiel” the year before.  Based on the 1919 novel by Sholem Ash, and subsequent stage play of the same name, it starred Maurice Schwartz, founder of the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York.  (Character actor, Shimen Ruskin, started his career as an assistant director on this film.) As expected, it performed well at the boxoffice in cities with large Jewish populations, especially in New York City, but it also became a non-theatrical evergreen when it was exhibited to Jewish groups in 16mm.

        Supreme Features offered “Cross-Examination,” a mystery-drama starring H.B. Warner and Sally Blane; “They Never Come Back,” a boxing drama with Regis Toomey and Dorothy Sebastian; three Harry Carey westerns, “Cavalier of the West,” “Border Devils,” and “The Night Rider,” which was the final curtain for Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures. “The Drifter” a melodrama starring William Farnum and Noah Beery, was acquired from producer Willis Kent for limited distribution.  

1933

        Three new entities took the now-moribund Artclass’ Pictures place: Weiss Productions, Inc. (1933-38), Superior Talking Pictures, Inc. (1933-35), and Stage and Screen Productions, Inc. (1933-46).   Robert Mintz was the president of all three, although some trades listed Edmund Souhami in the top spot.  In fact, he was only a short-time board member.  

        Louis Weiss and Robert Mintz envisioned producing movies based on plays that had been performed on Broadway.  Despite only 28 performances on Broadway, their first effort was “Before Morning,” a mystery melodrama starring Leo Carrillo, produced by Weiss Productions (Louis Weiss as supervising producer), and released by Stage and Screen. 

        Superior acquired three westerns from producer Victor Adamson, “Circle Canyon” with Buddy Roosevelt; two Buffalo Bill, Jr.’s, “Fighting Cowboy” and “Lightning Range,” particularly shoddy productions for which one would think even the most unsophisticated audiences would demand their money back; “Sucker Money” was an expose of the “psychic racket” from producer Willis Kent (as Real-Life Dramas), directed by Dorothy (Mrs. Wallace) Reid, and starring Mischa Auer.  “Trails of Adventure,” a no-budget Buffalo Bill, Jr. western, from American Pictures Corp., was released in limited territories.  Stage and Screen acquired rights for limited territories to Allied Pictures’ (M.H. Hoffman) “The Eleventh Commandment,” a drama starring Marian Marsh.

1934

 

        International Stageplay Pictures, Inc., was set up as a derivative of Superior Talking Pictures, Inc., with the goal of realizing Weiss/Mintz’ Broadway-to-film aspirations.  It’s one and only release was “Drums O’ Voodoo” (“Louisiana” was an alternate title), with an all-black cast, produced by Louis Weiss, starring Laura Bowman and J. Augustus Smith, who wrote the play and screenplay.  Produced on Broadway by the Negro Theatre Guild, it closed after less than ten performances.   The movie is little more than a filming of the play, with a miniscule budget reportedly using short ends of film stock.  In 1940 Louis reissued it under the title “She Devil.”  State’s Righter, Sack Amusement Enterprises, a specialist in distributing ‘race pictures,’ got considerable playdates for several years thereafter.  

        Exploitation Pictures, another Superior Talking Pictures spinoff, released but one picture, “Enlighten Thy Daughter” (reissue title,” Blind Fools”), a remake of a 1917 wayward-youth drama, produced by Robert Mintz and starring Herbert Rawlinson.   

        Producer Victor Adamson was responsible for three more Buffalo Bill, Jr.’s, “Rawhide Romance,” “Riding Speed” and “Lightning Bill,” and two Buddy Roosevelt’s, “Range Riders” and “Boss Cowboy,” a remake of “Cyclone Buddy” (Artclass/1924), all released by Superior. 

        Adamson told producer-historian, and editor of the favorite magazine of my youth, Screen Thrills Illustrated (1962-64), Sam Sherman, told me that Adamson accused Weiss Productions of purposefully bankrupting Superior in a scheme to swindle him out of royalties and his negatives.  I have no information on such a dispute.

        In November of 1934, Superior inked a deal with Ralph M. Like, owner of a small studio doing business as Argosy Pictures, to make two westerns for $3,900 each, and two “northwest” pictures (1930’s producer-speak for a Canadian Mounties picture) for $4,400 each, with 24,000 feet of picture and track raw stock included for each production…not a lot left over for retakes!

        Weiss Productions, formed in 1933, released its first production, a Wally Wales western, “Way of the West,” produced by Robert Tansey.

         Producer Willis Kent’s Real Life Dramas, provided a drama, directed by Mrs. Wallace Reid, “The Woman Condemned,” with Claudia Dell, and a Reb Russell western, “Fighting Through,” both released by Superior.

        Stage and Screen’s releases included “Inside Information,” with 38 and 60 minute versions (even the 38 min. version is too long!); the first of three Tarzan the Police Dog Police Melodramas from Consolidated Pictures Corp. (Bert Sternbach, Albert Herman), starring, in addition to Tarzan, of course, Rex Lease, in a rare non-western role; and the first seven of a series of eight two-reel Wally Wales and Buffalo Bill, Jr. westerns, and perhaps some other titles from William Pizor’s Imperial Productions, to which, I believe S&S had only limited distribution rights.

1935

 

        Four Rex Lease westerns came from Weiss Productions and Argosy Productions, produced by Louis Weiss and George Merrick: “Cyclone of the Saddle” (Rough Riders series), “Fighting Caballero,” “Pals of the Range,” “Rough Riding Ranger”; a northwest, “The Silent Code,” starring Kane Richmond and featuring Rex, King of Dogs as played by “Wolfgang,” produced by Louis Weiss; two more Tarzan the Police Dog’s from Consolidated Pictures, “Captured in Chinatown” with Marion Schilling, and “The Million Dollar Haul,” with Kane Richmond.

        “The Drunkard” was an old temperance melodrama allegedly first staged in 1843 by P.T. Barnum, then in 1933 it was revived on the stage at Los Angeles’ Theatre Mart.  According to the Hollywood Reporter, Louis Weiss, under the Exploitation Pictures banner (it was ultimately produced by Bert Sternbach and released as a “Weiss Production” through Stage and Screen), optioned the rights to make a motion picture.  Weiss hired former silent-era stars James Murray, ironically a chronic alcoholic after triumphing in King Vidor’s “The Crowd” (MGM, 1928), as the lead, joined by Clara Kimball Young, Bryant Washburn, and other veterans in support.  Louis planned to road show the film around the country with stars of the film making personal appearances. However, James Murray tragically died a hopeless drunk at age 35, one year after production wrapped.  

        Ten years later, Joseph E. Levine, operating from his State’s Rights film exchange in Boston, purchased all rights for $5,000 ($61,000 in today’s dollars…far more than its production budget), and cut it down for inclusion as a segment in his first feature film, “Gaslight Follies” (Embassy/1945). 

        All of the Weiss Productions were released by Superior Talking Pictures, except for “Million Dollar Haul,” which was distributed through Stage and Screen.

 

        The four proposed Argosy productions mentioned earlier ended up as  three Rex Lease westerns distributed by Stage and Screen, “Cyclone of the Saddle” “Ghost Rider” (Lone Rider series) and “Cowboy and the Bandit,” the latter somehow billed as from International Pictures.

        Stage and Screen also released two Northwest  Morton of the Mounted adventures from Weiss Productions (sometimes credited to “Empire Pictures,” which may have been only a regional distributor), “Courage of the North” and “Timber Terrors,” with John Preston, Dynamite, The Wonder Horse and Captain, The King of Dogs!

        Limited territory releases included “Get That Man” (Scott-Bennet Productions/Mayfair Pictures), with Wallace Ford, and “Arizona Trails,” an Art Mix (Victor Adamson) western.

        By this time the Brothers had the controlling interest in the Hillcrest Golf Club in Jamaica, New York, and Utopia Park Villas of Flushing New York, and Hillcrest Manor, also in Flushing.  Adolph and Max sold their film interests to Louis.

        Max Weiss left the picture business altogether and stayed on the East Coast, only occasionally visiting Adolph and Louis in Los Angeles. 

        Adolph, the introspective and much loved Weiss brother who mentored his younger brothers in the business, and set the foundation for the various Weiss brothers motion picture exhibition, production and distribution businesses, allegedly became a wealthy man.  He chose to dabble in various production manager capacities for Louis, where cast and crew affectionately called him “Uncle Adolph,” overlooking his obsession of stopping production caravans to collect empty bottles and return them for the deposits.  In his mid-50s, he pursued, and got, his dream job…working in the wardrobe department at MGM. 

        Louis continued his dream job — to produce movies, especially serials, and it wasn’t long before he earned the nickname of “Mr. Serials.”

The Serials: 1935 – 1938

 

         Louis’ first talkie chapter play was to be called “The Mysterious Pilot,” and star famed aviator, Wiley Post, who, among other feats, had been the first man to fly solo around the world.  In late July, 1935, Post told Louis he’d be ready to start work in two weeks, after returning from a flight to Siberia with Will Rogers, but the two perished in a remote part of Alaska.

        Three Weiss Productions (Louis Weiss/Robert Mintz) serials were filmed and released in quick succession in 1936, “Custer’s Last Stand,” with Rex Lease was the first.  To promote it, an elaborate insert was placed in the December 14, 1935 issue of Boxoffice Magazine (see above.)  The first three episodes received uniform acclaim in the trades, and Weiss and Mintz plastered them all over the insert.  The balance of 12 chapters were duds.    

        Louis’ son Martin told me that one of the great thrills of his youth was being on the set of “Custer’s Last Stand” and watching the wind blow the curtain off the outdoor dressing room of actress Ruth Mix (daughter of Tom Mix), completely exposing her for a brief instant for all to see…an instant he can still describe in vivid detail over 75 years later. 

 

        A Craig Kennedy mystery, “The Amazing Adventures of the Clutching Hand” (the alternate, and feature version title was “The Clutching Hand”), followed in 1936, with Jack Mulhall in the title role.  Fifteenth down the cast was Charles Locher, who became known as Jon Hall, and an instant star in John Ford’s “The Hurricane” (Samuel Goldwyn-UA/1937).  Not to miss an exploitation angle, Louis later inserted a full-frame title, “Starring Jon Hall,” into the negative.  It was such a blatant example of false advertising, even from a Poverty Row studio, that the title was subsequently removed, although it occasionally pops up on public domain DVD’s.

 

        “The Black Coin,” a mystery with Ralph Graves, was the third and final serial.  Both “Custer” and “Clutching” were also released in cut-down feature versions.

        Among the files I donated to the Margaret Herrick Library of the AMPAS, are pay stubs for the actors performing in some of the early talkies and serials, and they were miserly.  Ruth Mix, second-billed in one serial, and fourth in the other two, was paid only $3.75 a day for her work…and despite being subjected to embarrassment due to the “tent malfunction,” felt compensated enough to write a “thank you” note to Louis, asking him to consider her for any roles  in his future productions!  (Yakima Canutt was by far the highest paid performer in the three serials, getting $125 a day for risking his life doing stunt work.)

        Other proposed serials, “The Phantom Railroad,” “Pony Express,” and “Jungle Perils,” touted as an amazing African Adventure by the Intrepid Herbert Bruce, were never produced.

 

        Weiss Productions, operating as Adventure Serials, Inc., produced three chapter plays under Louis’ supervision for Columbia Pictures: “Jungle Menace” (1937), starring outdoor adventurer Frank “Bring ‘em Back Alive” Buck; “The Secret of Treasure Island” (1938) a pirate adventure starring Don Terry; and the reactivated Wiley Post adventure, “The Mysterious Pilot” (1938), starring another famous pilot, Frank Hawks, who himself died in an aviation crash one year later.  

        L. Ron Hubbard, later the founder of Scientology, regularly peddled stories to Louis, and according to Martin Weiss, said he was going to start a religion.  Louis retained Hubbard to write the screenplay for “Island,” and reportedly to work on the script for “Pilot.”   

        Upon delivery of the last serial to Columbia, the former Weiss Bros. production and distribution offshoots, for all intents and purposes ceased; although Stage and Screen continued as a corporate entity until 1946. 

 

        The majority of the original nitrate negatives of the sound era were burned in a vault fire.  I practically cried when I saw so many of the old film element cards boldly rubber stamped “AXED.” Fortunately, by that time most of the sound features and serials had been transferred to 35mm safety fine grains to facilitate the manufacture of 16mm negatives.  Although the silent features and serials were “axed,” the comedy shorts were preserved.  They are stored in temperature and humidity controlled vaults at the UCLA film and Television Archive, and the Academy Film Archive (AMPAS). 

        In 1940 Louis Weiss purchased last of the old guard, Robert Mintz’, interest in Stage and Screen Productions, and Louis’ son Adrian joined the board of directors.  It was a new era for Louis, Adrian, and, later his brother, Martin, and grandson Steven.  More “Weiss” stories to follow, and as well as a complete sound-era filmography.

* The Supreme Pictures releases were not released theatrically by any of the Weiss entities, but Louis did purchase sixteen Bob Steele and eight Johnny Mack Brown Supreme westerns  outright from A.W. Hackel in the late 1940s for use on television.

Sources: Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library AMPAS   American Film Institute, Boxoffice Magazine, December 14, 1935, Film Daily Yearbook, I Went That-a-Way: The Memoirs of a Western Film Director Harry Fraser by  Wheeler  W. Dixon and Audrey Brown Fraser (Scarecrow, 1990), IMDb, International Motion Picture Almanac 1936-37, Kit Parker Collection, Margaret Herrick Library AMPAS, New York State Archives, Poverty Row Studios, 1929 – 1940, by Michael R. Pitts (McFarland, 1997), Sam Sherman, Martin Weiss, Steven Weiss, U.S. Copyright Office

(c) 2012 Kit Parker Holdings, LLC

Kit Parker Films/Weiss Bros. Collection on DVD: 

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 .

Other Weiss Bros. releases available from VCI Entertainment:

“Boss Cowboy” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/buddy_roosevelt/125

“Cavalier of the West” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/cavalier_of_the_west/123

“Circle Canyon” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/circle_canyon/125

“Cowboy and the Bandit” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/COWBOY_AND_THE_BANDIT/128

“Fighting Caballero” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/FIGHTING_CABALLERO/128

“Last of the Clintons” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/LAST_OF_THE_CLINTONS/130

“Pals of the Range” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/PALS_OF_THE_RANGE/145

“Range Riders” http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/RANGE_RIDERS/144

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 

——-

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 .

 

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 –

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 .

 

 

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.

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 .

 

 


Advertisements

Categories