kitparkerfilms

Posts Tagged ‘“silent movies”

 

 

It’s been a year-long journey, but our “Super 10-Chapterplay of the Air” is finally released!

I have owned the chain of title for years, but couldn’t find any film elements to work with. Then long-time friend and film collector, Jeff Joseph, loaned us his one-of-a-kind 35mm tinted nitrate print. Working with an almost 90 year-old-print took time, but it turned out beautiful.

We are delighted that silent film accompanist Dr. Andrew Simpson agreed to score, and what a great job he did.

Our favorite commentator, noted film historian, Richard M Roberts, liked the serial so much he produced and recorded a full-length commentary…excellent, as always.    More time was spent syncing (easier said than done), checking the final master, creating packaging, replication, shipping to Amazon, and impatiently waiting for them to disperse inventory to their various warehouses. It’s here at last!

“Superior to the usual run of serials…full of thrills…” – Schenectady (NY) Gazette

You just might think the Schenectady Gazette’s comment is an understatement.  Feel free to let me know. Of course, you’ll have to buy it first! Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y4GLV4C

 

The following is our formal press release —

The Sprocket Vault announces its DVD release of the 1928 silent serial THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN, a ten-part “Super Chapterplay of the Air” starring silent era-serial superstar Walter Miller and Eugenia Gilbert produced by the long-lasting Poverty Row Producers, The Weiss Brothers.

 

 

Featuring vintage biplanes and exciting action, THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN was the last silent serial produced by The Weiss Brothers and one of the last silent serials ever produced. Thought to be a “lost” film, Producer Kit Parker, who purchased the holdings of Weiss Global International in 2004, was approached by film archivist, Jeff Joseph of SabuCat Productions, who offered to loan a near-complete original 35mm tinted nitrate print which was missing only the first reel of Chapter Nine. The print was lovingly restored and transferred (recreating the missing reel from stills and plot synopses), and a new piano score was commissioned from ace silent film accompanist Dr. Andrew Earle Simpson, main accompanist of the Library of Congress Packard Campus in Culpeper, Virginia.

 

The Sprocket Vault’s DVD release of THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN also features a complete and comprehensive commentary track by noted film historian Richard M Roberts. He weaves a story about the production and the people involved, from stars Miller and Gilbert, co-stars like Robert Walker and Dorothy Talcott to Director Harry Revier and the production staff of Weiss Brothers-Artclass Pictures, a family of low-budget film producers whose filmmaking operations kept them in business from the 1910s up to the 1990s, outlasting some of Hollywood’s major studios.

 

The Sprocket Vault’s release of THE MYSTERIOUS AIRMAN heralds an important rediscovery in film history, as few silent serials exist today in anything resembling complete form, much less in lovely tinted original print quality. It’s a fun, light-hearted cliffhanger that shows the joys of Saturday Matinee moviegoing and what could be done on less-than-spectacular budgets as well as illustrating the early days of flying,   seat of your pants filmmaking from the seat of your pants days of Aviation.

 

Also included as bonus features:

 

  1. “Flying Cadets” (1928) 2-reel short with great vintage plane shots filmed at Brooks Field, TX
  2. New York Censor Board File (some scenes were required to be cut for the serial to be shown in the State of New York!)
  3. Gallery of original posters and lobby cards

 

DVD BASICS

 

Retail: $24.99

Amazon Price: $19.99

Language: English title cards

Running Time:

Color: Original color tints

Year: 1928

Rating: Not Rated

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 – 4X5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 –

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

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Weiss Bros. Westerns available on DVD from VCI Entertainment:

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

© 2012 Kit Parker Films

“An announcement to the trade that will prove a big surprise to the trades will be made next week” – Not!

In 1922 the Weiss Brothers purchased U.S. rights to a rather uninspired 52-reel Italian epic, “La Bibbia” (Appia Nuova/1920), supposedly filmed in Egypt and Palestine.   Artclass already had it in circulation  through National Non-Theatrical Pictures, Inc., as “The Holy Bible in Motion Pictures,” in 30 separate reels, each telling a specific Biblical story, serialized to schools and churches on a one-per-week basis.

Artclass cut it down to 11 reels and re-titled it “After Six Days,” accompanied with an elaborate ad campaign touting, “A Weiss Production” and “A $3,000,000 entertainment for the hundred millions.”  Although it was technically crude, Louis said he had “proof” it cost at least $1 million!

The release plan was to play at distinguished legit houses which offered stage presentations, as well as road show films.  Six weeks went by as they attempted to secure a Broadway booking, including bids for The Astor, Metropolitan Opera House, Gayety, Cohan and Harris, and others.  When they weren’t able to clear a date, it was decided to premier at English’s Opera House in Indianapolis on October 22, 1922, which was still a plum engagement considering the theatre had only allowed two previous motion pictures to be shown, D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (Epoch/1915), and “Way Down East” (U.A./1920).  Dates followed in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit.

“After Six Days” wasn’t exhibited in New York City until December 15, 1922, at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.  Some of the bookings that followed were the Woods, Atlantic City; Premier Theatre, Brooklyn; St. Denis Theatre, Montreal; and Ocean Grove Auditorium, Ocean Grove (N.J.) and Boston’s Tremont Temple.

Adam and Eve sequence from “After Six Days” (1922)

But there was trouble the next year.  Famous Players-Lasky accused Artclass of expanding the title to “After Six Days, Featuring Moses and the Ten Commandments,” in order to unfairly capitalize on Cecil B. DeMille version of “The Ten Commandments” (Paramount/1923), a claim supported by the “National Vigilance Committee,” who asserted the title confused the public.  The Brothers vehemently denied the charges, but went ahead and removed all reference to the offending part of the title, holding steadfast for years afterwards that they gave in on the lawsuit because they couldn’t afford a legal battle with a major studio.

“The History of the Bible in Motion Pictures” single reel versions continued playing non-theatrically through the 1920s.  Also, in the late 1940s Adrian announced a ten-part series of two-reel 16mm sound versions under the series title, “The Epic of the Ages,” although I can find no record that they were ever actually produced.  “After Six Days” proved to be an evergreen for Artclass, and was reissued in the early 1930s in a 7-reel sound (music, narration and effects) version, and in the mid-1940s, Adrian Weiss, prepared a hokey trailer in the hope of reissuing it theatrically as “An Adrian Weiss Production,” but wisely abandoned the idea.

The next Artclass release was a jungle drama, “The Woman Who Believed” (Artclass/1922). Then, controversy and legal problems rose again, this time revolving around a two-reel short, “Sawing a Lady in Half” (Clarion/1922), [aka “Sawing a Lady in Half, How It is Done,” and “Sawing a Lady in Half – Exposed,” to satisfy censorship issues in certain states] wherein magician John Coutts exposed the illusion made famous by magician Horace Goldin, whose name was synonymous with the act.  Goldin had previously obtained an injunction against another magician who performed the illusion, so Coutts modified the performance somewhat.

Goldin filed a suit anyway, claiming the movie violated, among other things, the copyright to a filmed version he supposedly deposited at the Copyright Office in 1921 [I could not find a record of any such deposit], and exhibition of the Coutt film seriously jeopardized his contract with the Keith Circuit (which was true) where he had been a consistent big draw for some time.  However, the Weiss’ lawyer successfully argued that Goldin didn’t originate the act, even arguing that the basis of the illusion could be traced back as far as 3766 B.C. Egypt, which the magic community found absurd.

However, Goldin won on appeal to the Supreme Court of New York where it was ruled that the earlier so-called comparable acts submitted by Clarion’s lawyer had little or no relationship to Goldin’s illusion, and the title of the film was an obvious attempt to capitalize on Goldin’s act, and must be changed.  This is still considered a landmark case with respect to intellectual rights to magic methods.   (In 1923 Goldin deposited a patent application for the specific device used in the illusion, that he later regretted because the illusion became part of the public record.)

Alfred Weiss (no relation) started his motion picture career in 1904, and by 1922 he was long an acknowledged VIP in the industry.  He knew the Weiss Bros. since at least 1921, when Goldwyn Pictures, to which Alfred was one of the founders, purchased Artclass’ “The Revenge of Tarzan.”

In November 1922 he announced his departure from Goldwyn to become the new President and General Manager of Artclass.  Alfred proclaimed that a slate of “high class” productions and four “big special productions” would be released annually through national distributors.

“Der müd Tod” / “Between Worlds” (1922)

The first was to be “Between Worlds” an “entirely different…great spectacle,” which turned out to be Fritz Lang’s German “Der müd Tod” aka “Destiny” (Decla-Bioscope/1921).  It had everything going against it; “arty,” no star power, produced in a country the U.S. still bitterly resented, and released by a States Rights distributor.  Nonetheless, it opened at the prestigious 4,000 seat Capitol Theatre in New York City, clearly a result of Alfred’s clout.  The film was reissued by Artclass in 1928 as “Between Two Worlds.”

 

Alfred’s boast that…a big surprise to the trades will be made next week,” never came to be, and I can find no evidence he had any involvement with the Weiss Brothers other than the one film.

Between 1924 and 1926, Artclass released almost 50 five-reel westerns.  Most were produced by Lester F. Scott, Jr.’s Action Pictures, and many starred “Buffalo Bill, Jr.” (Bill Drake) (Years later Louis Weiss purchased the name and character “Buffalo Bill, Jr.”), Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro) and Buddy Roosevelt, with future star, Jean Arthur, often playing the romantic interest.  In 1979 I asked her about appearing in those westerns, and she quickly changed the subject.

“Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927)

They began producing their own series of one-reel shorts; “Guess Who” (1925), “The Scandal of America” (1926), “Screen Star Sports” (1926), “Radio Personalities” (1926-7), “Embarrassing Moments” (1928), and “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927),  which were three-reelers.

Poodles Hanneford in “Circus Daze” (1927)

The most successful Artclass short subjects was a slate of ten separate slapstick comedy series produced between 1926-28; “Ben Turpin Comedies” and “Snub Pollard Comedies,” starring silent comedy stalwarts who by then were past their prime; low-profile comics, “Poodles Hanneford Comedies” and “Jimmy Aubrey Comedies”; and six other series, “Hairbreadth Harry Comedies,” “Winnie Winkle Comedies,” “Izzie and Lizzie Comedies,”  “Crackerjack Comedies,” “Lucky Strikes Comedies” and “Barnyard Animal Comedies” comedies.  Calling them “Comedies” may have been a stretch for the majority, but many are quite good.  Historian and silent comedy expert, Richard M. Roberts, cherry-picked the very best, and they are featured in the DVD collection, “Weiss-O-Rama”…in razor sharp prints with new piano scores and in depth commentaries.

Three ten-episode serials, “Perils of the Jungle” (1927), “Police Reporter” (1928) and “The Mysterious Airman” (1928), completed  the Artclass release schedule for the silent era.

A complete Weiss Bros. silent-era filmography appears in the next blog.

Sources:
American Film Institute,   Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb,  Kit Parker Collection/Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS, Moving Picture World 10/7/22; 10/14/22; 11/11/22, New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Copyright Office

Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS

Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures on DVD –

            

“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953)  

“Weiss-o-Rama” Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives  

Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958), and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives:

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It started with a nickelodeon in 1907…

 

The Weiss Brothers, pioneer motion picture exhibitors, producers and distributors, financed, produced and/or distributed around 200 feature films, serials, and hundreds of short subjects, from 1915 until the late 1930s. Today they are barely a footnote, even to hard-core vintage movie buffs.

In 2004 I purchased the motion picture holdings of Weiss Global Enterprises with the goal of acquiring the Lippert Pictures collection with its 100+ feature films.  Included in the acquisition was the Weiss Brothers film library, the motion picture holdings of their parent company, Artclass Pictures Corp., and its affiliates, Clarion Photoplays, Stage and Screen Productions, Superior Talking Pictures, Exploitation Pictures, and others.  Most of the movies were unremarkable, filmed in only a few days on low budgets; some looked like they had no budgets at all.

Unfortunately, the copyrights had expired on those they had bothered to copyright in the first place, so there was no realistic way for me to exploit them commercially; a pity since most of the silent comedies and sound features survive in preserved safety film elements. 

One day I was going through several file cabinets of old Weiss Bros. correspondence going back to the 1920s and learned later that one year before purchasing film library most of the correspondence was thrown out.  This included original artwork and letters going back to the 1910s.  Nevertheless, my interest was piqued and discovered that although there is information on most of the films, there is little information about the Weiss companies and those references I could find were often condescending.

 

I concluded that whatever production values were lacking in their output, they did make an effort to entertain audiences for over 20 years, and that deserves more than a footnote.  There was virtually no biographical information about the brothers themselves with the exception of some short biographical paragraphs they wrote in the early 1930s for publication in the Motion Picture Almanac.

 

Adolph Weiss – Louis Weiss – Max Weiss

Samuel “Weisz,” his wife Lena, and their eldest son, Adolph (1879 – ?), immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1883, settling in New York City, where he worked as a clothes presser.  Adolph and his younger brothers, Max (1886 – ?) and Louis (1890-1963), were the team who were to become motion picture impresarios; a sister, Anna, completed the family unit. 

 

Neither Adolph nor Max ever married, but Louis and his wife, Esther “Ethel,” who was a former Ziegfeld Follies girl under her maiden name of Esther Gruber, had two sons, Adrian (1918-2001), who had a long career working in motion picture production and distribution, who I knew; Peggy Pearl Weiss (1921-1993), and Samuel Martin “Marty” Weiss (1926- ).  As the family expanded, the entire family usually lived under the same roof for the majority of the next three decades. 

 

Adrian Weiss and his wife, also named Ethel, had two sons, Steven, who formed Weiss Global Enterprises with his father in 1971, Lawrence, and a daughter Karen.  Through the years, Adrian wanted me to buy his film library, but his asking price was not realistic…two years after his passing I purchased it from his estate.

Adolph Weiss was a bright entrepreneur; even-tempered and philosophical, later becoming a vegetarian who practiced yoga.  He was 7 years older than Max, 11 years older than Louis, and made it a point to look after his younger siblings, and mentor them in business.   

While still a teenager, Adolph “became involved,” as he put it, with partner Samuel Goldhor, in the Welsbach Lamp and Fixture Company, operating at 3rd. Avenue and 11th St. in New York City.  Carl Welsbach owned many important patents, including for the metal filament used in the light bulbs, so presumably it was a busy enterprise.

Determined to make Max and Louis successful businessmen, Adolph gave jobs to Max and Louis, who were little more than children.

 

In 1900, at age 21, Adolph claimed that Welsbach was “insufficient to occupy my time,” and began purchasing various Edison Phonograph and Victor Talking Machine franchises, and the talking machine department of Western Electric Co.  He opened the Western Talking Machine Co. of Philadelphia, several phonograph stores in New York and Philadelphia; and ran the Victor Jobbing Agency on South 9th St. in Philadelphia, which acted as agents for the manufacturers of phonographs and related products.  He brought both his younger brothers into his enterprises, teaching them how to manage retail businesses, and later made them partners. 

It isn’t known when Adolph sold his phonograph businesses, but in 1907 he brought his brothers into his new entertainment venture, motion picture exhibition, although Louis continued selling phonographs for at least a few more years.  They branched outuntil they owned and operated at least 16 theatres (Moving Picture World claimed 50, which is doubtful), in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.   

 

Photographs taken in July 2012 of the former locations of what are likely the first Weiss Bros. theatres.  Top:  Avenue A, 51 Ave. A.  Bottom:  Avenue A, later the Hollywood, 98 Ave. A.    (Photos courtesy of Eric Spilker)

The Brothers decided to start producing motion pictures in 1915, formed Clarion Photoplays, and soon after, Weiss Brothers – Artclass Pictures, which became their parent corporation.  Adolph served as Treasurer, and in charge of titling; Max was President, and handled worldwide distribution. Louis was the brother who truly loved producing movies, and relished being Vice-President in charge of production. 

 

Artclass’ output was distributed on a “State’s Rights” basis, the usual distribution method utilized by low budget independent producers because it allowed them to sell their productions to various regional film exchanges for a predetermined price.   Louis gained valuable knowledge about State’s Right’s distribution while working at independent film exchanges in the 1910s.

In 1919 the Brothers sold their theatre interests, except the original Avenue A, and the Fulton Theatre, Hempstead, L.I., which Max continued to operate on a policy of both vaudeville and movies.

 

The first Weiss Bros. release was a white slave exploitation drama, “It May Be Your Daughter” (Clarion/1916), written by George Merrick, who became a frequent Weiss collaborator into the 1950s, and produced by a dubious organization called the “Moral Uplift Society”; although Louis later said Clarion actually produced the film.  In any case, it ran into censorship problems from the start, and was banned in, among other places, New York City, and all of the UK.

Subsequent releases included a series of “Lilliputian Comedies,” which appear to be lost to history; a mystery, “The Open Door” (Robertson-Cole/1919); and another exploitation film, this time a temperance drama, “It Might Happen to You” (Artclass/1920). 

 

In 1919 the Weiss’ company, Numa Pictures Corp., acquired motion picture rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, “The Return of Tarzan.”  State’s Rights Distributors were unwilling to pay the premium the Weiss’ were asking, so the Brothers went ahead and produced the nine-reel film at a studio in Yonkers, with location filming in Florida, Balboa, California, and the L-KO Motion Picture Company zoo in Los Angeles. The movie was sold outright to Goldwyn Pictures at a tidy profit, where the title was changed to “The Revenge of Tarzan,” so that the public wouldn’t mistake it as a reissue of the original “Tarzan of the Apes” (National Film Corp/1918). Advertised as costing $300,000 to produce, which is believable, the movie itself was only so-so, despite the multiple locales, huge numbers of extras, and innovative aerial shots. According to ERBzine, it was the fourth biggest money earner in 1921, even out-grossing Rudolph Valentino’s “The Sheik.”

 

Weiss’ next endeavor was a 15 episode serial, “The Adventures of Tarzan” (Artclass/1921) produced in conjunction with Great Western Production Co. This time the State’s Rights distributors accepted the Brother’s terms, and were rewarded with a blockbuster. Max went to Europe and successfully sold the serial in many foreign territories as well.  In 1928 it was reissued in a 10 episode version, and again in 1935, with an added sound track.  Only this shorter version survives, although the UCLA Film and Television Archive now has enough footage from different sources, including mine, to restore it to its full- length. 

Footage from the serial was reused many different times in subsequent Weiss Bros. productions, looking more creaky and outdated as the years went by.  Over half of the Louis Weiss production of “The White Gorilla” (Landres-Weiss/1946), was made up of stock footage from the old serial, and the DVD version offers some fragments of the original serial as a special feature.  

My next blog picks up the Weiss Bros. story starting in 1922 and continues through the end of the silent era.

Sources:
American Film Institute, Eric Spilker, Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb, International Motion Picture Almanac 1936-37, Kit Parker Collection,  Margaret Herrick Library, AMP&AS, Moving Picture World 4/8/22; 10/14/22; 10/7/22, New York Census (1925), New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Census (1900, 1915, 1920,1930), U.S. Copyright Office

Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS

Weiss Bros.  – Artclass Pictures on DVD –

“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953)

“Weiss-o-Rama”  Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives

Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958) and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives:  

 

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Arthur B. Reeve

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

                                                                                                Adrian and Louis Weiss ca. 1949

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

 

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

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

 

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

   

 

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

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

Order the TV series on DVD:

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Today it seems that young people have no interest in old movies, and don’t even know that films from the silent era exist.  But, there are exceptions to the rule, and I had the pleasure of meeting one such young woman.

In March 2007, Brandee Cox came up with the idea of publishing a bi-monthly newsletter about silent films. She shared that idea with graphic designer/film buff, Steven K. Hill, and The Silent Treatment (www.tstnews.net) was born.  Their partnership in TST continues…much to the benefit of silent film buffs around the world.

I met Brandee Cox in 1999 when she sought  an internship at Kit Parker Films  while finishing her degree in Cinema Studies: History, Theory, and Analysis from San Francisco State University.

Although I was told in advance Brandee was a film buff, I certainly wasn’t expecting a young woman from the millennial generation to be so knowledgeable about old movies, especially silents.  Even more surprising was her interest in the physical aspects of motion picture film.

In those days Kit Parker Films was a distributor of motion pictures servicing the film libraries of major studios and independent producers.  We had thousands of 16mm and 35mm prints stored at our Sand City (Monterey area), CA film exchange, and employed film inspectors whose job it was to carefully check each print for damage, color fading, and other blemishes.  This was the perfect job for Brandee given her interest in film archiving, and I hired her on the spot and she was with us for six months.

With her intern credit going towards her degree from SFSU, she took the next logical next step, film archiving post-graduate work at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY.  After finishing her studies there she got and still has the perfect job, archiving films at the Academy Film Archive, a division of the Academyof Motion Picture Artsand Sciences that archives, preserves, and restores motion pictures.   Now she was, and is, able to work with all of the motion pictures she wants…and gives us The Silent Treatment.

I founded Kit Parker Films over 40 years ago, made old movies my vocation, and have been surrounded by old movies ever since.  It’s a pleasant surprise knowing there are young people who have that same passion and are making it their vocations as well.

As for Brandee, she and I are just big kids in a candy shop.

 

Free subscription to The Silent Treatment:

www.tstnews.net    

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Two years ago I purchased the Medallion TV Enterprises film library.   Some movies were prestigious, others schlock, and still others in-between.  (More on Medallion in a later blog)  One, “Yesterday and Today,” is an oddity.   It’s a silent movie compilation primarily covering the period 1900 – 1910.  The excerpts  really interesting, well above average, but the identification of them in George Jessel’s  voice-over is a mess.  The majority are incorrectly identified!

It all started with two 1951 British compilations, Return Fare to Laughter, produced by Henry E. Fisher, compiled by James M. Anderson, and Those Were the Days, produced by Bishu Sen Butcher, and edited by Philip Wrestler, both for Butcher’s Film Service Ltd. Y&T is essentially a combination of these two films, The British producers apparently had access to an excellent library of early films.    But, the descriptions?  A mess!  I got the feeling that some of the films came from mislabeled, or unlabeled, cans with, in some cases, made up titles!   Y&T perpetuates these errors, but the good thing is the excerpts are sharp (from 35mm) and long enough to actually enjoy…most I’ve never seen before.

This is the part I really enjoyed:

 

Richard M. Roberts

As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to identifying the most obscure of silent films, there is Richard M. Roberts, and then all others.  I called him into service, but many of these films are so obscure that even he had to call in his fellow film historians.  They eventually identified just about every one, sometimes starting with the absolute thinnest of clues.  The fruits of their efforts are contained in the supplemental commentary track.  Roberts narrates it himself in his usual light-hearted, unpretentious way.  In fact, I think I’ll take a break from writing and watch (listen) to it again.

Trivia:  The producer was the late talent agent Abner J. (“Abby”) Greschler, who dabbled in the importation of some minor British pictures.  Here comes super-trivia; they were: Emergency Call (US: The Hundred Hour Hunt) (1952,) Bombay Waterfront, (1952,) and Life’s a Luxury (US: Caretaker’s Daughter) (1952.)  Why did a powerful, and extremely wealthy, agent for Martin and Lewis, Danny Kaye, Al Jolson, Benny Goodman, Eddie Cantor, and Milton Berle (later, Vince Edwards, Marcel Marceau, The Monkees, Jayne Mansfield, and others) bother with some grade B English movies, and also spend time creating a special-interest picture like Yesterday and Today, with the end result being a difficult-to-book 57 minute running time?  Tax shelter?  Hmmm, maybe I’ll ask Richard…when he’s recovered from this assignment! — Kit Parker

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