Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tales from the Archives: The Movie Church - Dec. 16th 1928

The schedule at the "Movie Church" for December 16th 1928 contained one feature film, Hold 'em Yale (1928), followed by the short films When a Man's a Prince (1926) and Matching Wits (1928).

Hold 'em Yale
(1928), like several of the films shown by this church, was produced by the DeMille Pictures Corporation. I wasn't able to find out if it survives or not so I'll have to assume it is a lost film. However, you can buy a framed print from the movie here!
The actor on the left in the above still from Hold 'em Yale is Rod La Rocque. Although he is sitting down in the picture, La Rocque stood a tall 6'3". La Rocque was an American actor who married the famous Hungarian silent film star Vilma Banky in 1927. Unlike a lot of marriages between movie actors, they stayed together until his death in 1969. La Rocque started appearing in films in 1915. He retired in 1941 to become a real estate broker. La Rocque received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film industry.

Another actor in the cast for Hold 'em Yale was Lawrence Grant. Grant was a British actor whose career started in the silent era and continued into the 1940s. He appeared in popular films such as Shanghai Express (1932), The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Werewolf of London (1935), Son of Frankenstein (1939), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941). Grant hosted the 4th Academy Awards in 1931.

When a Man's a Prince (1926) was a short film starring silent film comedian Ben Turpin. The film still exists, but seems to be an incomplete version from a 1947 re-release. Turpin was cross-eyed due to an accident in his youth but managed to turn his affliction into a movie career. He even bought an insurance policy in case his eyes got uncrossed!
Turpin's earliest film credit goes all the way back to 1907. Turpin received what is believed to be the first instance of a comedian being hit with a pie in the face in the 1909 short Mr. Flip. In 1917 Turpin joined Mack Sennett's studio and became hugely popular in the 1920s. Many of his films were parodies of contemporary films and actors. For example, When a Man's a Prince pokes fun at Erich von Stroheim.
Turpin was a devout Catholic so I think he would've been happy that a Catholic Church showed his work.

Above is another picture of cross-eyed Ben Turpin as I couldn't find any pictures related to the final short!
Occasionally I will discover spelling errors in the titles of these schedules and we have another one this week as it should be Matching Wits (1928) not Matching Mits. Matching Wits was a Sport Pictorials production. Sport Pictorials were short documentaries on various sports which the company produced from 1921 thru 1929. This church showed Sport Pictorials shorts quite often. Two other series the Church liked to show a lot were Aesop's Fables and Our Gang, both of which I covered last week.

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