Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tales from the Archives: The Movie Church Nov. 1928 Part 3

After being on hiatus since December 2011 (except for a special post back in April that was part of the Short Animation blogathon) my Tales from the Archives series is finally back! To catch up on my previous posts simply click on the Tales from the Archives tag at the bottom of this post. New Tales from the Archives entries will be up every Tuesday.

I'm picking up exactly where I left off, which was in the middle of going through schedules of movies shown by the Catholic Church of the Holy Infancy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the 1920s. My last entry was about the movies shown on November 18th 1928, so without further ado let's get to the movies people watched at this Church the very next week!

Like November 18th, the Church showed another double feature the following Sunday the 25th. The first movie was The Girl From Chicago (1927), a crime film with romance starring Conrad Nagel and Myrna Loy. Myrna Loy was in another movie this Church showed a few weeks earlier titled Ham and Eggs at the Front (1927). Like that film, this movie was another early role for Loy before she would breakout as a superstar playing Nora Charles in The Thin Man series which started in 1934. Like many of the movies shown by this Church, The Girl From Chicago was a Warner Bros. Vitaphone production. This meant that even though it was a silent film, there was a recorded musical score and sound effects which were synched with the movie when shown. It appears that is a lost film, but I was able to find a contemporary review of the movie! Check it out here.

Conrad Nagel received top billing for The Girl From Chicago, and unlike Myrna Loy this is his first appearance in my Tales from the Archives series. Nagel was a prolific actor with over 135 credits spanning from 1918 to television appearances into the mid 1960s! Nagel was in a famous lost film, London After Midnight, which I discussed in this post last summer. Nagel had no problem making the jump from silent movies to "talkies" and later television. He must've had a great voice since he also hosted the popular radio program Silver Theater in the 1930s and 1940s.
Conrad Nagel was one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization best known for giving out the Academy Awards or Oscars! Nagel hosted the 3rd Academy Awards in 1930 and the 5th Academy Awards in 1932. Nagel would later co-host the 25th Academy Awards in 1953 with none other than Bob Hope! The 21 years between hosting Oscar ceremonies still holds the record for the longest gap between hosting the Academy Awards. Nagel was given an honorary Oscar in 1940 for his leadership and involvement in the Motion Picture Relief Fund. In 1960 Nagel received three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in Motion Pictures, Radio, and Television.

The second movie of this week was a romance film titled Dress Parade (1927) about a boxer who enrolls at West Point and falls in love with the commandant's daughter. The star of Dress Parade was actor William Boyd, who was featured in many of the movies shown by this Church. William Boyd would later become famous for role as the cowboy Hopalong Cassidy. The Hopalong Cassidy character was extremely popular as the series lasted from 1935 to 1947 for a grand total of 66 films! Hopalong Cassidy was so well received that the movies even spawned an amusement park in Los Angeles named Hoppyland! Boyd made regular appearances at the park but it ended up not being a success as it only lasted from 1951 to 1954.

The director of Dress Parade was Donald Crisp, pictured above. Crisp was also an actor and won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for How Green Was My Valley (1941). Crisp co-directed The Navigator (1924) with Buster Keaton and worked as an actor and assistant to D.W. Griffith for many years.
Dress Parade survives today and has even been released on DVD.

The Flight That Failed (1928) was an animated short in the Aesop's Fables short film series. The Flight That Failed is not on YouTube and I'm not sure if it still exists. I covered these cartoons in depth with a post for the Short Animation blogathon so check it out here to find out more.


  1. It's a shame how many of these films didn't survive...I kinda want to watch them all so I can get the whole "1928 Catholic Double-Feature Experience!"

  2. Yeah the survival rate of silent films is depressing. In this post one of the two features survived, that is pretty good considering!