While not of any great importance, it should be noted however that this footage dates from the early 1930's and not the 1920's as indicated. Specific clues suggest 1932 as the year this footage was filmed.
To pin it down a bit more- the first three minutes of the film were too deteriorated to transfer, but contained footage of the Majestic shot from a boat going upriver on a different day. Also contained a nice shot of the Olympic. I'm trying to get prints made from the indivdual frames so at least something can be saved from that part. So, it was taken at a point where Olympic, Paris and Majestic were in NYC within the time frame of a week or so.
Vitaphone- excellent name choice! I'm addicted to the musical shorts, some for their artistic merit, some for lack of the same!
Sorry for the belated reply. Clearly, I need to check the message board more often!
The 1932 date for the film footage is based almost wholly on clothing, which (during that period) changed rather dramatically from season to season, and from year to year. The length of coats, skirts and (particularly) female hat style doesn't place this footage any earlier than 1931 nor later than 1934.
I'm no fashion maven by any stretch of the imagination, but it's just something I've simply "absorbed" by years of viewing orphaned footage and working with visual clues to pinpoint date of creation.
Thanks for the kind word, Jim! Further information on films of the early sound era (and their restoration and preservation) can be found at www.vitaphoneproject.com
BTW --- LOVED the Normandie photo album. Despite the utterly heartbreaking final images, the rest of the material was magnificent to behold.
Thanks, Jeff. I just sat through "Bubbles" the believed-lost Vitaphone short which, unfortunately for legend, resurfaced.
It packs more bizarre and disturbing images into 8 minutes than the Blair Witch Project did in two hours. And, I say that fondly. Where else can one see 7 year old Judy Garland as a singing moon creature, what appears to be a teenage boy in drag, dressed as a flapper showgirl, badly singing, badly dancing and badly scatting (in the musical sense of the word) and an old perv wearing one of those collars one puts on a dog to prevent it from eating its own stitches making odd remarks about the decades-underage talent..."Ahhhh, here is my little Venus!" For DECADES, as I am sure you know, Judy Garland fans bemoaned the loss of "Bubbles," and then were confronted with ugly reality when it was found. Here's hoping that the technicolor print some day pops up.
Jim, your encapsulated review of BUBBLES (1930) was quite the funniest thing I've read in a long time, not to mention also being spot on in terms of your observations!
While the film plays today not unlike an opium induced fever hallucination, it's actually a fairly typical reel of the period. Likely produced to fulfill part of Warners' contractual obligation with the Technicolor Corporation, the film utilizes melodies that would have been familiar to audiences in 1930 --- and which were lifted from other (then) contemporary Warner Bros. productions which were also either all or part-Technicolor. "The Land of Let's Pretend" is from ON WITH THE SHOW! (1929), "Miss Wonderful" is from PARIS (1929) and "Lady Luck" is from SHOW OF SHOWS (1929.) Near as I can tell, the plaintive "Bubbles" is an (ahem) original composition.
Then, as now, the real attraction would have been the Technicolor process, so we can only hope (?) that the color elements some day turn up. Only very recently, the only Technicolor fragment known to exist from ON WITH THE SHOW! turned up, as did an additional bit of color footage from GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY --- so anything's possible --- for better or worse.
>it's actually a fairly typical reel of the period.
Yes, I agree....but at the same time it has an overall weirdness that sets it apart from all of the shorts save for, perhaps, the reel of Hajii Baba The Trained Regurgitator and the 1925 test film of the scary man singing "Ma- He's Making Eyes At Me" while squeezing a duck to make it squawk on each "Ma."
>Near as I can tell, the plaintive "Bubbles" is an (ahem) original composition.
I take it that the plot of the film, if one can call it that, is the dream of the narcoleptic little girl in the "Bubbles Song" interlude. But the gentleman sitting to the right blowing bubbles through the sequence draws the attention. This may sound mean, but I immediately thought of "Warren" in There's Something About Mary when I saw that hulking bit player. Then, 30 seconds later we are in the presence of Judy Garland and her sisters dressed as Siamese Triplet moon creatures~ singing so out of synch, so off key, and so shrill that it seems that they are performing three different songs~ and the engagingly bizarre bubble blowing man vanishes never to return.
The teenage boy in drag flapper- an actor so desperate to get into movies he'd do even that? The loser of one heck of a sadistic bet? Or the victim of a driven monster of a stage mother?
>Then, as now, the real attraction would have been the Technicolor process, so we can only hope (?) that the color elements some day turn up.
Color would literally be gilding the lily!
BTW- Do you know the name of the creepy actor who played the Dark King of the Land of Let's Pretend, aka Protective Collar Man? Certainly the last person I'd leave my kids around
at least as presented in the film. His intros seem to be a bit...inappropriate... especially when he introduces the teen boy in drag.
>Only very recently, the only Technicolor fragment known to exist from ON WITH THE SHOW! turned up, as did an additional bit of color footage from GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY --- so anything's possible --- for better or worse.
This is all great news! By any chance, do you know if the notorious Lost Film "Convention City" has ever resurfaced? From the synposis, it belongs right next to the uncut Baby Face on a double bill....but at the point where my obsession with pre-Code films waned a bit it was still MIA. And, has the last reel of Sadie Thompson been located in the collection of some obsessive hoarder?