Saturday, June 25, 2011

Phil attends the 14th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival: Day Two, Part Three: THE EXTRA GIRL screening-June 25, 2011

Actress Mabel Normand
Hello everyone and welcome back to my LIVE up-to-the-minute blogging on the 14th Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival, hosted by the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! After having dinner at Bronco Billy's Pizza Palace (my favorite place in Niles and with awesome service from my good friend Heather) I was back at the Edison Theater to partake in the evening screening of THE EXTRA GIRL, starring the lovely Mabel Normand. Tonight's show was also made special with the presentation of the Ray Hubbard Award going to film historian Richard Roberts. The show began with four Keystone/Mack Sennett Comedies short films. Once again Roberts and Walker made the introductions, and returning to the piano for tonight's films was Phil Carli.

THE THIEF CATCHER: This film made headlines in the news last year. This was a lost Keystone film, but what made it more extraordinary was that it boasts a cameo appearance by none other than Charlie Chaplin as a Keystone Kop. He was discovered by Sennett in late 1913 and soon was busy making movies for him the following year. Chaplin made 37 film for Sennett in 1914 before leaving to work for the Essanay Film Company in January of 1915. The film was released by Keystone on February 19, 1914.

WITH THE U.S. ARMY IN SAN FRANCISCO: A facinating documentary short released by Keystone on January 4, 1915, this special doc short was filmed at the Presidio in SF. Known back then as an "Actuality," Keystone did release a small number of these types of films. Which lead me to...

PROTECTING SAN FRANCISCO FROM FIRE: Demonstrating the latest equipment and techniques to combat fire in SF, this documentary short was released by Keystone Films on December 18, 1913. These films are very rare and most of them have been lost or disintegrated. Luckily these two (which barley survived) were shown and we were able to see them.

THE DAREDEVIL: Starring the great Ben Turpin, the film's about his journey at becoming a Hollywood stuntman and stand-in. It's a funny film that pokes fun at the magic of movie making. The film was released on November 25, 1923.

Theatrical Movie Poster (1923)
During the intermission, several authors were signing copies of their respected books. Fans also voted for the museum for the THIS PLACE MATTERS contest. The winning establishment receives a $25,000 award. So click on the link and help the museum win this contest!

Afterwards the show resumed with THE EXTRA GIRL with Mabel Normand portraying Sue Graham, a small town girl who wishes to become a movie star. She also has two suitors vying to win her heart: her father's pick Aaron Apple John (Vernon Dent) and her long-time sweetheart Dave Giddings (Ralph Graves). She wins a Hollywood contract when a picture of a beautiful woman is sent to the studio instead of hers. When she comes out for an interview, the mistake is caught, but she ends up working in the props department. Even Dave follows her to the studio, working as a set carpenter. Soon her parents come out as well to California to deal in a money investment with a shady gentleman named T. Phillip Hackett, played by Ramsey Wallace.

The film print came from the old PBS series The Silent Years, which was shown during the 1970's. The introduction was done by the late, great Orson Welles. The film was funny, fantastic, and was the perfect film for Normand to star in. The movie was released by Mack Sennett Comedies on October 28, 1923.

Another day done, and one more left to go! It's still not too late to purchase tickets for Sunday's programs. To view the festival's film schedule, visit the museum's website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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