Friday Facts

Vanity Fair Frontispiece Facsimile

Vanity Fair Frontispiece Facsimile (Photo credit: Nils Geylen)

This week’s factual article was originally way back in 1921 in the publication titled Vanity Fair, no less. Written by Charles Hanson Towne, the article was called The Monstrous Movies and it looks at the growing new culture of Hollywood and film, but what it gives a modern audience is a forthright insight at what life was like way back in the silent era. This week I’ve the first of three parts of this fantastic article, with the following two parts appearing right here at Friday Facts over the coming weeks, so now, do enjoy:


Vanity Fair - August 2009Vanity Fair – August 2009


The Monstrous Movies


Caricature of Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936). ...

Caricature of Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936). Caption read “Mr Dooley”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There is a delightful story to the effect that when a young woman disappeared from New York some years ago, and every corner of the earth, seemingly, had been searched for her, Finley Peter Dunne suggested: Has anyone thought of looking in the gallery of the Century Theatre?'”


“Certain actor friends of mine have similarly disappeared from time to time. A deep, abysmal silence has followed their strange absence from the usual haunts of the metropolis. But now, at last, the mystery is solved. I know where they all are. They are in the movies – and most of them are in California, in a spot called Hollywood. I have prepared, on my first visit to the Coast, for the giant trees, the giant flowers, the colossal foliage and fruit that cause one to think he is living in a fairy-tale; I was certain of the great, wide-open hospitality – the big hearts and the abundant beauty I should see. But I was not prepared for the giant fungus growth, the monstrous mushroom that has sprung up overnight, as it were, in California – the most amazing and startling manifestation of the age: the movies.”


“Nothing can be small in California. Everything is magnified ten-fold or more; but the motion-picture industry has gone Nature one better; and the overwhelming scale on which it is run is something that the imagination cannot grasp at once.”



The New El Dorado


English: Nestor Studios, the first film studio...

English: Nestor Studios, the first film studio in Hollywood, 1913. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“As the old Forty-niners rushed to the gold fields in search of El Dorado, so now actors, actresses and managers, cameraman and directors, writers, artists and continuity folk, flock to that same section of the country; and they have built cities overnight, just as the gold-seekers did, and camped on the Coast. But with this definite difference: they have gone there to stay. They may rear a Spanish town this afternoon and demolish it next week; but something else will take its place within another twenty-four hours. A pavilion which is an exact replica of the one in Italy, let us say, may be erected for one scene in a play, and be absolutely valueless tomorrow. Money is thrown away as chaff before the wind. Almost it would seem that it would be more sensible to send a whole company to Italy than thus to toss gold into the Pacific. But no – all the paraphernalia is here – including the light that Nature has so thoughtfully and lavishly bestowed. Instead of actors being transported to Italy, therefore, Italy is brought to America – for a week or two; and nothing is thought of the miracle. next to it, a Greek village may be in the process of construction.”


Hollywood Studios 1922

Hollywood Studios 1922 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“‘The world is too much with us.’ one might say of Hollywood; and indeed the whole world seems literally to be here, concentrated in one tiny corner of the Earth. So many assortments are here that it reminds one of those ingenious prisoners who, with nothing else to do, crowd the words of the Lord’s Prayer on a pin-head. Hollywood is a contracted dance floor, on which everyone in the world is dancing; and the jazz goes on incessantly. There seems no rhyme or reason here, no method, no system, no direction; it appears a madhouse – as it is, and isn’t; and a visitor finds it difficult to adjust himself at first, to fall into step on the crowded, nervous floor.”


“Is it any wonder? For hodge-podge is Hollywood’s first, middle and last name. Confusion is the god that in some mysterious way runs this crazy universe.”


A Night at the Movies (film)

A Night at the Movies (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What shall be said of a judgement that exploits the so-called “personalities” of little girls with weak chins but big black  eyes that “film” well, in stories dashed off like penny-dreadfuls, with ungrammatical captions and incoherent “continuity?” Of actors who care only for the money that they earn, and wouldn’t give tuppence for the studios unless their pay-envelope bulged at the end of the week and they could ride back and forth in a ten-thousand-dollar car? Of the younger group of perfect cameo-like profiles who leave shops and offices to go into the films, with no knowledge of the technique of acting, and who, when they have a priceless opportunity to watch a really great artist before the camera (for there are such), sit behind clumps of scenery and smoke innumerable cigarettes?”


And that’s that from Friday Facts for this week; See ya next week for part two of this wonderful article, so adios amigo!


Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee




Fun Size Review: The Prisoner of Zenda (1922)

I’m Baaaacccckkkk!!!! Get ready to be flooded with posts over the coming days as I try to catch up with the last two weeks, but first of all have a butchers of this post from Movies Silently of the Rex Ingram production: The Prisoner of Zenda!!! Follow Link below and Enjoy:

The Prisoner of Zenda

Fun Size Review: The Prisoner of Zenda (1922).


Charlie’s Sunday Quote

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We think too much and feel too little.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Hope you are enjoying these Sunday quotes from Charlie Chaplin and I hope you enjoy this hilarious video from Youtube of Charlie Chaplin in The Bank.


Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Charlie’s Sunday Quote

English: Bronze, life size Charlie; co-commiss...

English: Bronze, life size Charlie; co-commissioned by the Chaplin estate and IRD Waterville Co. Kerry. It is the only official Statue shown to express his famous smile. Sculpted by Alan Ryan Hall, Valentia Island Co. Kerry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Look up to the sky. You’ll never find rainbows if you’re looking down.” ~ Charlie Chaplin



A Quote on Thursday: 1940 Cinema Part 2

Welcome back to ‘A Quote on Thursday’. This week I’ve a number of quotations taken from films that were released from 1944 to 1949. I’m sure you’ll remember several of these productions, so why not count up how many you remember!

Laura (1944)

Laura (1944) (Photo credit: twm1340)

Laura (1944):

I don’t use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.


Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the trailer for the film Meet Me in St. Louis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meet Me In St. Louis (1944):

I can’t believe it. Right here where we live – right here in St. Louis.”


To Have and To Have NotTo Have and To Have Not (1944)

To Have and To Have Not (1944):

You know you don’t have to act with me, Steve. You don’t have to say anything, and you don’t have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together – and blow.”

English: Screenshot of Bing Crosby from the fi...

English: Screenshot of Bing Crosby from the film The Bells of St. Mary’s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945):

If you ever need anything, no matter what it is or wherever you happen to be – “
Yes, I know. I just dial O for O’Malley.”


English: James Cagney & Sylvia Sidney in Blood...

English: James Cagney & Sylvia Sidney in Blood on the Sun – cropped screenshot (original image : see source) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blood on the Sun (1945):

Sure, forgive your enemies, but first get even.”


The Naughty Nineties (1945)The Naughty Nineties (1945)

The Naughty Nineties (1945):

Now on the St. Louis team, we have Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third.”
That’s what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellas on the St. Louis team.”
I’m telling ya: Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know’s on third…”


The Big Sleep (1946)The Big Sleep (1946)

The Big Sleep (1946):

So you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors.”


Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones- ''Duel in the S...

Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones- ”Duel in the Sun” 1946 (Photo credit: Movie-Fan)

Duel in the Sun (1946):

You always said you could shoot. I never believed ya.”


A distraught George Bailey (James Stewart) ple...

A distraught George Bailey (James Stewart) pleads for help from Mr. Potter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946):

Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence! Get me back! Get me back, I don’t care what happens to me! Get me back to my wife and kids! Help me, Clarence, please! Please! I wanna live again. I wanna live again. I want to live again. Please, God, let me live again.”


Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948):

Allow me to introduce myself. I am the Invisible Man.”


  Key Largo (1948)Key Largo (1948)

Key Largo (1948):

One thing I can’t stand, it’s a dame that’s drunk.”


Western ~ "Red River", 1948

Western ~ “Red River”, 1948 (Photo credit: e r j k p r u n c z y k)

Red River (1948):

Cherry was right, you’re soft. You should’ve let him kill me, ’cause I’m gonna kill you. I’ll catch up with ya! I don’t know when, but I’ll catch up. Every time you turn around, expect to see me. ‘Cause one time you’ll turn around and I’ll be there. I’ll kill ya, Matt.



adam’s_rib_(1949) (Photo credit: newhousedesign)

Adam’s Rib (1949):

Licorice, mmmm. If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s licorice.”


  Champion (1949)Champion (1949)

Champion (1949):

I suppose you know you have a wonderful body. I’d like to do it in clay.


Western ~ "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"...

Western ~ “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, 1949 (Photo credit: e r j k p r u n c z y k)

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949):

Don’t apologize – it’s a sign of weakness.”


screenshot of Virginia Mayo and James Cagney f...

screenshot of Virginia Mayo and James Cagney from the film White Heat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

White Heat (1949):

Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”


Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarenc...

Travers in his most memorable role, as Clarence Odbody in It’s a Wonderful Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And sure that’s that for this week. This completes my look at quotations from films of the 1940s, but I’ll be back next week with a selection of films from the 1950s. And that’s a Wrap!!!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee


Charlie’s Sunday Quote

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid

Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I do not have much patience with a thing of beauty that must be explained to be understood. If it does need additional interpretation by someone other than the creator, then I question whether it has full-filled its purpose.” ~ Charlie Chaplin



Thursday Quotes: 1940s Cinema – Part 1

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and H...

This screenshot shows Sydney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart in a discussion about whether Sam (Dooley Wilson) will come to work for Greenstreet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome back to our weekly look at quotations connected to the world of cinema. In recent weeks I have looked at quotations taken from films of the 1920s and 1930s, but this week I’m going to take my first look at quotations taken from films which were released in the 1940s. So how many of these pictures do you remember, or even better, can you recall these famous cinematic quotes?

Trailer for the 1940 black and white film The ...

Trailer for the 1940 black and white film The Grapes of Wrath. John Carradine as Jim Casy, former preacher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Grapes of Wrath (1940):
Well, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fella ain’t got a soul of his own – just a little piece of a big soul. The one big soul that belongs to everybody…Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere – wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. And when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise, and livin’ in the houses they build, I’ll be there, too.”


Trailer for the 1940 black and white film The ...

Trailer for the 1940 black and white film The Grapes of Wrath. John Qualen as Muley Graves, neighbor in Oklahoma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Grapes of Wrath (1940):
That’s what makes us tough. Rich fellas come up and die and their kids ain’t no good, and they die out. But we keep a-comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out. They can’t lick us. And we’ll go on forever, Pa… ’cause… we’re the people.”


Scene from His Girl Friday

Scene from His Girl Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His Girl Friday (1940):
He’s got a lot of charm.”
He comes by it naturally. His grandfather was a snake.


My Little Chickadee

My Little Chickadee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Little Chickadee (1940):
Any time you’ve got nothing to do and lots of time to do it, come up.”


A screenshot of Judith Anderson and Joan Fonta...

A screenshot of Judith Anderson and Joan Fontaine in Rebecca (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rebecca (1940):
You’re overwrought, madam. I’ve opened a window for you. A little air will do you good. Why don’t you go? Why don’t you leave Manderley? He doesn’t need you. He’s got his memories. He doesn’t love you, he wants to be alone again with her. You’ve nothing to stay for. You’ve nothing to live for really, have you? Look down there. It’s easy, isn’t it? Why don’t you? Why don’t you? Go on. Go on. Don’t be afraid!”


The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

The Thief of Bagdad (1940) (Photo credit: mikemennonno)

The Thief of Bagdad:
This is the Land of Legend, where everything is possible when seen through the eyes of youth!”


A deep focus shot: everything, including the h...

A deep focus shot: everything, including the hat in the foreground and the boy (young Kane) in the distance, is in sharp focus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Citizen Kane (1941):
I think it would be fun to run a newspaper.”


Sara Allgood as Beth Morgan and Roddy McDowall...

Sara Allgood as Beth Morgan and Roddy McDowall as Huw Morgan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Green Was My Valley (1941):
Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still – real in memory as they were in flesh, loving and beloved forever.”


Main title frame from the 1941 public domain t...

Main title frame from the 1941 public domain trailer for the Warner Bros. film The Maltese Falcon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Maltese Falcon (1941):
You, you imbecile! You bloated idiot! You stupid fathead!”


Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941)

Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941):
I was in love with a beautiful blonde once, dear. She drove me to drink. That’s the one thing I’m indebted to her for.”


Screenshot of the title screen of the trailer.

Screenshot of the title screen of the trailer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Casablanca (1942):
Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake…Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'”


Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a romant...

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a romantic scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Casablanca (1942):
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”


Screenshot of Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Cl...

Screenshot of Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film Casablanca. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Casablanca (1942):
If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it.”
– “Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.”


Cover of "The Major and the Minor (Univer...

Cover via Amazon

The Major and the Minor (1942):
Why don’t you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?”


screenshot of James Cagney from the trailer fo...

screenshot of James Cagney from the trailer for the film Yankee Doodle Dandy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942):
Ladies and gentlemen. My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you.”


Cropped screenshot of Edward G. Robinson from ...

Cropped screenshot of Edward G. Robinson from the trailer for the film Double Indemnity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Double Indemnity (1944):
It was a hot afternoon, and I can still remember the smell of honeysuckle all along that street. How could I have known that murder can sometimes smell like honeysuckle?”


Cover of "Going My Way (Universal Cinema ...

Cover via Amazon

Going My Way (1944):
Y’know, at one time I had quite a decision to make: whether to write the nation’s songs or go my way.


The added gas chamber ending was unneeded, Wil...

The added gas chamber ending was unneeded, Wilder realized, so he shelved it (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so that’s it for this week’s Thursday Quotes, but if you’re enjoying reminising these quotes from some of your most favourite films, don’t despair, sure I’ll be back next week with another bunch just for you. Now after all these quotations from the world of classic film, don’t ya have that longing to throw on your favourite classics … and play them one more time!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Charlie’s Sunday Quote

"Chas. Chaplin". Actor Charlie Chapl...

“Chas. Chaplin”. Actor Charlie Chaplin seated at desk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish. … The trouble is you won’t fight. You’ve given up. But there’s something just as inevitable as death. And that’s life. Think of the power of the universe – turning the Earth, growing the trees. That’s the same power within you – if you’ll only have the courage and the will to use it.” ~ Charlie Chaplin


Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee


Friday Facts

New York Times (1914)New York Times (1914)

And Friday Facts is upon us once again. This week I’m going to reproduce an article I have found in The New York Times from May 26th 1914. The article may amuse you as it was written to introduce the readers to a new verb – The Verb – ‘To Film’:

Ye Olde DictionaryYe Olde Dictionary

“The verb ‘to film‘ having gained currency, it must be graciously admitted to the language. It will soon be in the ‘advanced‘ dictionaries and it must be recognized. The old idea of protecting the English language from invasion is extinct. To ‘film‘ means to make a picture for a ‘movie‘ show. ‘Movie‘ is a tolerably new word, too, but all the élite use it. The moving pictures are doing much more than revolutionize the language. They are broadening the public knowledge, making globe trotters of the stay-at-homes, showing us the wonders of the growth of plants and the development of animal life. As for their influence on the drama, they have none in any true sense. Moving pictures, even when they are accompanied by talking machines of the best quality, must always  be a feeble substitute for histrionism. The actor’s art is not to suffer. Whenever it is manifested it will get its reward.”

Shakespeare's Anthony and CleopatraShakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra

“But the theatrical stage has long survived without much real histrionism to brag of and the moving pictures outdo its best shows. They give you real ocean with towering waves instead of painted canvas, they present the story in motion, and sometimes in color, with such a variety of a changing scene as to satisfy the eye. Dr. Johnson would doubtless have found that moving pictures interested him more than Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra on account of their frequent changes of scene. When the villain throws the heroine off a cliff into a boiling torrent there is a real cliff and the torrent is authentic. No doubt, the present enormous popularity of the moving picture will abate in time, but some of the current picture shows are really marvels of selection, patience, and skill, and they will always survive as illustrations of travel, as aids to the understanding of natural history. As a substitute for the theatre they will do well enough until there is a revival of real histrionism, until great actors come again to exercise their ‘sway o’er hearts’. Meanwhile, whether 16,000,000 persons daily attend the moving pictures in this country, according to the evidence placed before the House Committee on Education at Washington, or only 6,000,000, which seems a more reasonable number, the vogue of the moving picture is surely at its height.”

The ArtistThe Artist

And so there you have it. The New York Times were convinced that the idea of motion pictures was just a passing fad, which in 1914 (99 years ago), was at its height. Who knew – eh? The verb ‘to film‘ has certainly entered the dictionary and there it will remain for a long time to come. Hope you enjoyed today’s edition of Friday Facts. I’ll be back next week with some more. And that’s a wrap!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Friday Facts

The Birth of a Nation PosterPoster for The Birth of a Nation

Hello, and you are very welcome to the third part of the article ‘The Birth of  Era’ by the Great Silent Film actor Lillian Gish. I’m nearly a week late with it, but study called for a couple of Post-Grad Exams earlier this week and sure I’m back on top of things now. Anyway, this article has been a wonderful insight into the life of an actor, and indeed the crew, of one of the great silent film classics during the pioneering days of Hollywood. From little acorns like this grew the vast forest that is Hollywood and the film industry of the 21st century. I hope you enjoy this third part of this wonderful article. If you haven’t read the first two sections you can find them in the category ‘Friday Facts‘, which is on this WordPress website.

Billy BitzerBilly Bitzer

“The cameraman for The Birth of a Nation was Billy Bitzer, who, together with Mr. Griffith, was the inventor of the various new devices employed in the photography of the picture – devices never used before, and innovations in the art of motion-picture photography. Among us actors he was famous for his accurate eye, and he left his mark on everything his lens faced by bringing to accurate vision on the screen many things the eye itself could not discern. This was wonderful for battlefields, but most trying on faces. We used to beg for our close-ups to be taken just after dawn or before sunset, as the soft yellow glow was much easier to work in than the hard, overhead sun of midday.”

Henry B. WalthalHenry B. Walthall, or Wally, as he was affectionately called, came from Alabama, and was everything in life that his character of the Little Colonel was on the screen: patient, dear, and lovable, but with little idea of time. Consequently all during the filming of the picture there was a man hired for the sole purpose of getting him into make-up and to work on time, which in those days was around seven in the morning (that meant getting up at five and working steadily, sometimes without lunch, until sundown).”

The Birth of a Nation SceneThe Birth of a Nation Scene

“Sometimes, while Griffith was making scenes we were not in, he would send us to practice walking, first with comedy, then with drama, with pathos, or with tragedy. When he was satisfied with that, we would have to learn to run in these different manners. Then we would have to do it with subtlety, for when the camera would be close to us, then broader, for when the camera would be in the distance (which would necessitate acrobatics); all this with complete body control and balance, as it might have to be done on a sea wall or on a mountain top. You had to know how to dance and handle horses, or if you didn’t, these had to be learned outside of studio hours.”

The Wind machine is on overdriveThe Wind Machine on Overdrive

“It is very strange in those old pictures to watch the wind blowing through the rooms, when the property man had forgotten to tack down curtains, tablecloths, and such tell-tale properties.”

The Birth of a Nation ExtrasSome of The Birth of a Nation extras dressed up as Ghosts

“In The Birth of a Nation we used as many as six hundred people, and the complete cost of the picture was ninety-one thousand dollars. It was the first motion picture to run for two hours, and to be shown in a legitimate theatre twice a day at theatre prices. Its first run in New York was for forty-seven consecutive weeks at the Liberty Theatre. When it was shown in Boston it caused race riots and the firemen had to be called out in assisting the police in dispersing the mob.”

President WilsonPresident Wilson

Mr. Griffith had his reward, however, when President Wilson saw it at the White House and said: ‘It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.’ When this news flashed through the country, and it was learned that a mere motion picture had the power to stir feelings so deeply, The Birth of a Nation‘s reputation was made, and motion pictures took their place as an important part of daily life.”

The end credits

And so, that’s that for another edition of Friday Facts. It’s quite a number of days late, but I’ll be back soon with another post of Friday Facts and you’ll never know what I could dig up. This has been a hugely interesting article by Lillian Gish, which was originally published back in 1937 in an old magazine called the State Magazine. I’ve learned an awful lot of what was life like on the early sets of Hollywood through this article and I hope to have some more interesting facts for you for next week. Also if you have any facts from the Silent Era you want to share with us, please drop us a line by filling out our Contact Us form, or just leave a message in the Comment field below. Bye for now  …   and that’s a Wrap!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee