Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tales from the Archives: The Movie Church Oct. 1928

This week's parish monthly calendar is from September 1928 and shows us the films scheduled to be shown in October of that year.

The first film of the double feature on October 7th was a comedy called The Missing Link (1927). There is a typo in this listing as the film starred Syd Chaplin (not "Chapman"), a half-brother of the much more famous actor Charlie Chaplin. I wrote about Syd Chaplin in an earlier entry as the Church saw another film starring Syd Chaplin called The Better 'Ole (1926). According to IMDB this film had music and sound effects through Vitaphone discs and was the fourth ever feature length Vitaphone production. The Church had shown a couple other Vitaphone films so I am guessing that they did have the capability to make use of the added music and sound effects that went along with these otherwise silent films. It appears that The Missing Link is a lost film.
I could not find any information about the second film, Football Sense. The listing does not explicitly say that this is a double feature so perhaps Football Sense was a short. That said, I have had pretty good luck finding information on shorts so far and still couldn't turn up anything so it looks like this will remain a mystery.

The short A Battling Duet (1928) was a silent cartoon from the Aesop's Fables series. The Church had shown several shorts from this animated series before and they were quite popular in the 1920s. The listing calls it "The Battling Duet" but the correct title is A Battling Duet. This typo is not as big as "Syd Chapman" but whoever wrote this schedule was getting sloppy!

The Yankee Clipper (1927), a high seas adventure about the naval rivalry between America and England in the mid-1800s, was the first film shown on October 14. The Yankee Clipper still exists and has even been released on DVD. The film stars William Boyd who was in several films shown by this Church. Boyd would later become famous for playing the title role in the Hopalong Cassidy film series. The Yankee Clipper was directed by Rupert Julian, who also directed the 1925 Lon Chaney classic, The Phantom of the Opera. The Yankee Clipper was produced by Cecil B. DeMille and featured his mistress, Julia Faye (who I mentioned last week when discussing The Main Event). The female lead in The Yankee Clipper was played by actress Elinor Fair, the real life wife of William Boyd. Boyd proposed to Fair while filming The Volga Boatman in 1926. His character was supposed to propose to Fair's character so Boyd decided to use the moment to actually propose to Elinor! Luckily Fair accepted both in character and for real. Since this was a silent film the scene of Boyd really proposing was kept in the movie! Fair and Boyd are pictured together in the above screenshot from The Yankee Clipper.

Like Football Sense, I was unable to find any information on the second film, "An Oriental Album." I'm guessing it was a short and a travel feature like I assumed with "Holland" from last week.
The Flying Age (1928) was another Aesop's Fables short cartoon.

The weekly wrap-up will be Sunday as usual. On Tuesday 11/22 I will make a special post on Fall TV shows I have been watching. There will not be a Tales from the Archives post next Thursday due to Thanksgiving but it will be back on schedule for Thursday 11/29.


  1. Chris,
    So glad that some of these great silents are being released via DVD. They won't ever get the attention that films like Twilight do but it's a start.
    I did enjoy The Yankee Clipper.
    Another nice write up. Have a great weekend!

  2. Thanks Page! It is depressing to see how many of these films are lost, so as you said its great when silents make it to DVD. I haven't seen The Yankee Clipper or any of the features shown by this Church, but I have seen a few shorts they saw thanks to YouTube.