Sunday, July 20, 2008

For Sale on eBay

I was going through some of my books the other day, and realized I had two copies of Adventures with D.W. Griffith, by Karl Brown.

So, if anyone is interested, it is up for sale on eBay.

Brown was a cameraman with Griffith on all of his major productions, beginning as an assistant to legendary cameraman Billy Bitzer in 1914 up to Griffith's finest work (IMHO), Broken Blossoms.

It's a wonderful read.

Update: Well, it didn't sell. If anyone is interested, let me know!

Friday, July 18, 2008


With the heat becoming unbearable here in NEO, I thought it would be a good time to post something I'd been holding onto a while.

In Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, there once was a place called the Lumina (or Luminia). It's heydey was during the 1920s and '30s, with the dance hall featuring some of the biggest bandleaders of the day: Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, etc.

What really set the Lumina apart, however, was the giant screen located in the ocean, where they would show silent movies. The imagery is staggering: A dark, moonlit evening, with Valentino, or Pickford emoting under the stars, the waves crashing beneath them, the orchestra in residence accompanying the action...

There's a 1995 interview with Wallace West, a gentleman who spent his youth at Lumina and has some wonderful reminiscences (he talks about watching movies there on page 5).

Also, Sage has written a wonderful, lyrical poem about Lumina on his blog; he goes on to give a little background on the place to people who are unfamiliar. I'm reprinting the paragraph about Lumina here, I hope he doesn't mind! It's really lovely, and captures what I was trying to describe earlier:

And I never laid in the sand on the beach
watching silent movies projected on a screen
beyond the breakers, a constant rhythm,
for the antics of Mr. Fields and company
until a nor’easter flatted the screen,
by then obsolete with the new talking shows.

I had first run across a reference to Lumina about 10 years ago; there was even a photo of the screen. The site it was on is long gone, but I never stop hoping I'll run across another photo.

I guess the secret is out: I'm a romantic at heart!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Link

I have yet to get started on the really time-demanding tasks of updating the links pages and reorganizing the old News & Notes articles -- they are high priorities and I hope to get to them this week or next.

In the meantime, I've added a new link for The Bioscope, a wonderful blog on silent movies run by Luke McKernan. And I see he's so kindly included my site, so I am returning the favor. Definitely a must-visit! (and not just because he's got WTSM linked)

I Can Be Bought

Well, not me, exactly, but Welcome to Silent Movies!

No, not the site -- the merchandise. Six years after exploring the idea, I have finally gotten it together and created a line of goods emblazoned with the unofficial logo of Welcome to Silent Movies.

Available through Cafe Press, you can purchase t-shirts, mugs, a carry bag, or a magnet, all with the smiling face of the moon (with something caught in his eye).

As you may have noticed, I accept no advertising for WTSM; I don't so that visitors aren't overwhelmed.

I'm not adverse, however, to a little bit of advertising when I feel it's something useful, i.e. purchasing items from Amazon or buying a t-shirt. You don't have to buy anything if you don't want to -- heck, you don't even have to visit either site. It's your choice. I happen to love Amazon, and purchase waaay too much from them, and I like that Cafe Press allows me to create images and put them on items that I can give to relatives this Christmas.

Anyways. Shop or not, but I do ask you visit WTSM! I'm really working to get this updated and better than ever in the days and weeks to come.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hey, late-breaking news: The Welcome to Silent Movies store has changed -- and how! I mean, really changed. Take a look...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Had No Idea

File this under the, "Well, what do you know!" category:

I ran into this bit of interesting history while reading a New York Times article about Ayn Rand. Never having been a big reader of/about Rand, I did not know that at one time she was a scriptwriter in Hollywood:

"She was born in 1905 in Russia. Her life changed overnight when the Bolsheviks broke into her father’s pharmacy and declared his livelihood the property of the state. She fled the Soviet Union in 1926 and arrived later that year in Hollywood, where she peered through a gate at the set where the director Cecil B. DeMille was filming a silent movie, “King of Kings.”

He offered her a ride to the set, then a job as an extra on the film and later a position as a junior screenwriter. She sold several screenplays and intermittently wrote novels that were commercial failures, until 1943, when fans of “The Fountainhead” began a word-of-mouth campaign that helped sales immensely. "

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Survey!

To show you that I'm serious about getting the site refreshed and fabulous, I have created a survey for everyone to fill out and let me know how/where I'm seriously lacking.

It's a really short survey, and should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete. And to thank one and all who take the time, everyone who makes it to the end can enter to win a $20 gift certificate to

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking!

Survey closes November 30, 2008.

Original Cut of Metropolis Found

The IMDB is reporting that an original cut of Metropolis has been found in Argentina:

"Less than two weeks after New York-based Kino International had announced that it had completed a frame-by-frame restoration of Fritz Lang's 1927 classic Metropolis and would release it in 2009, a long-lost and badly scratched original cut of the movie has turned up in Argentina, where it was shown to reporters for the first time on Thursday. Paula Felix-Didier, director of the Museo de Cine in Buenos Aires, told the reporters that the three-and-a-half-hour print is the only known copy of Lang's complete film. The film that has been shown in theaters since that time and which in recent years has become available on home video is roughly half that length. Kino said Thursday that it may include the newly discovered footage in its 2009 release."

I sincerely hope Kino decides to include the footage, badly scratched or not. It would be wonderful to see this classic as Lang intended.

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