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Posts Tagged ‘Louis Weiss

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

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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:

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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

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/

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