Like many of you, I receive e-mail links almost every day from friends who pass along interesting posts. Some of them turn out to be gems while others are a waste of time. I’ve accumulated a few I definitely want to share, beginning with a charming printed conversation between Paul McCartney and Doris Day that appeared in Britain’s The Telegraph, to promote a new (and long-awaited) CD from the retired singer/actress. I know you’ll enjoy reading this, as I did.
Silent-comedy location specialist John Bengtson has made hay with a wonderful new discovery from film archivist Rick Prelinger. Prelinger has posted some razor-sharp 1940s footage of a—
—car driving around the Bunker Hill area of downtown Los Angeles, which looks so different today. John, in turn, has identified a number of spots where Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy and others shot scenes for some of their comedies. Check out John’s latest post about this at silentlocations.wordpress.com. You can see the raw footage at www.archive.org.
The only time I miss commuting is when I look at all the interesting radio documentaries and podcasts I’ve accumulated—without enough time to listen to them all. The latest cache is a week-long series produced by WNYC’s Soundcheck about cartoon music, featuring some old friends like Will Friedwald, Daniel Goldmark, Ross Care, and George Daugherty, who are experts in this field. There are individual shows devoted to Disney, the Fleischer studio, Carl Stalling at Warner Bros., The Simpsons, and “cartoon rock.” You can listen, or download, at www.wnyc.org.
This next link has been online for months but only recently came to my attention: it’s from the Kodak website, and features the earliest tests of Kodachrome color from 1922, as preserved by the George Eastman House. This is fascinating footage, well worth four and a half minutes of your time.
While some major studios are ignoring their vintage film libraries, others are exploring new ways to bring old movies to the market, and sublicensing titles to entrepreneurs like Criterion (which has an agreement with MGM for its United Artists library), Olive Films (which has been mining the post-1950 Paramount catalog), and the new kid on the block, Twilight Time, an enterprise founded by producer-archivist-soundtrack aficionado Nick Redman and Warner Bros. studio veteran Brian Jamieson and distributed by longtime soundtrack source Screen Archives Entertainment. So far, Twilight Time has been producing limited-edition DVDs of 20th Century Fox films with isolated music tracks, to the delight of film music enthusiasts.
Now, Twilight Time has upped the ante with its recently-announced arrangement to release a monthly title from the Sony library on Blu-ray only. The series will kick off on November 13 with Mysterious Island, featuring Ray Harryhausen’s memorable visual effects, and continue on December 13 with Fright Night, the 1985 horror-comedy with Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall, which was recently remade. Needless to say, I wish Twilight Time a long and prosperous life.