Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Phil attends the 22nd ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL: DAY THREE at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 28, 2019

Greetings and salutations everybody and welcome to the third and final day of the 22nd ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL here at the Edison Theater, the home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! A lot of fun and excitement took place on Sunday, so folks, if you don't mind, let's get this day started!

The morning program was entitled THEY RODE OUT OF THE SILENT SCREEN, which was hosted by friend of the museum Larry Telles.

The early afternoon screening was 16mm SURVIVORS: THE ROLE OF THE 16mm COLLECTORS IN FINDING LOST FILMS.

The late afternoon program was the screening of LORRAINE OF THE LIONS.

Well folks, there you have it! Another great festival and another great time at the museum. Remember that the museum has weekly Saturday shows, and they will also be showing Laurel and Hardy talkies on Sunday afternoons. To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!  

Phil attends the 22nd ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL: DAY TWO at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 27, 2019

Hello again folks and welcome to Day Two of my trip to the 22nd Annual Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival here at the Edison Theater, home of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum. Today there were several programs, lectures, and films for silent film fans to attend. So let’s not waste anymore time, and let me tell you all what went down!

First off, we were once again treated another WALKING TOUR OF NILES, lead again by our Niles residents and gurus Rena and David Kiehn (they also did this tour during the Charlie Chaplin Days event). For those who chose to stay at the museum for the festival, they were treated to a screening of BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDIT’S SECRET, along with the making-of documentary WINDOW TO THE PAST.

Afterwards, there was the A SALUTE TO THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS: ESSANAY CAMERAMEN AND THE BELL & HOWELL CONNECTION presentation at 1pm. Here, David Kiehn talked about all the various cameramen that worked for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, both here in Niles and at their Chicago location. Of course, Kiehn talked about the great and legendary cinematographer Rollie Totheroh, who would go on to become Chaplin's main cameraman. He also talked about other cinematographers who would join the ASC, including Fred Jackman, Ira Morgan, and Jackson Rose. Kiehn also talked about Frank D. Williams, the man who invented the Williams travelling matte process for special effects work.

At 3:30pm was the mid-afternoon screening event, which was called the ESSANAY STUDIO FILMS FROM CHICAGO TO NILES. It was five short film that were shot for both studios. I was super excited about this because I haven't seen too many of the films from Chicago, due to them being rare. Here was the rundown of film shorts:

TEN NIGHTS IN A BARROOM (1909): A cautionary tale about a family man who ends up spending too much time at his local bar, which ends up having a negative affect on his family and his job. A super cool rare short film from the Chicago studio. The movie was directed by Gilbert Anderson and was released on June 9, 1909.

A RANCHMAN'S RIVAL (1909) Made in the same year as the first short, but filmed in Golden, Colorado. Here, Gilbert Anderson portrays Broncho Billy, . This was the infamous film that Anderson was directing when his lead actor refused to listen to him. As a result, Anderson fired his actor right thee on the spot, and he took over the lead role, thus becoming the world's first cowboy superstar and making cinema history! The movie was directed by Gilbert Anderson and was released on December 11, 1909.

THE COWBOY COWARD (1911): Made in San Rafael, California (located in Marin County in the North Bay), Anderson plays a no-good card gambler that gets rejected by his sweetheart Gladys Field because of said bad habits. She meets the good-looking Robert Henry Gray, but lies to her to cover up his cowardly demeanour. The movie was directed by Gilbert Anderson and was released on December 16, 1909.

ALKALI IKE'S PANTS (1912): Made here in Niles, California, this was part of the Snakeville Comedy series. Here, Alkali Ike tries to woo the lovely and very available Margaret Joslin, but a monkey wrench is thrown into hi plan as Mustang and Coyote steals his only good pair of pants!
The movie was directed by Gilbert Anderson and was released on September 21, 1912.

FROM THE SUBMERGED (1912): Made in Chicago, the film stars E.H. Calvert as a poor homeless man who's about to commit suicide by throwing himself into the river when he is stopped by the good natured Ruth Stonehouse. When Calvert inherits his father's fortune, he remembers Ruth and begins to look for her, only to save her from trying to commit suicide as he tried to earlier. The movie was directed by Theodore Wharton and was released on November 12, 1912.

After the program, it was time for some dinner! So I headed over to my favorite place in Niles, Broncho Billy's Pizza Palace, where I ate some of the best pizza in town! After filling my belly up, it was time to head back to the museum for the night time show!

THE TRAIN WRECKERS (1905): A romance between a railroad engineer and the switchman's daughter is nearly ruined by train wreckers who knock out the girl and leave her on the tracks to be run over. The engineer perches on the engine's cow catcher and rescues the girl. Starring Gilbert Anderson and directed by Edwin S. Porter, the short was released by Edison Manufacturing Company on November 27, 1905 (it's also available on the Edison: The Invention of the Movies boxset from Kino Lorber).

THE BROKEN BRAKE (1920): Chapter of the popular serial by the name of "The Hazards of Helen", the short stars Helen Gibson, considered to be the first professional stunt woman. Here, she must save a both a train and a boxcar filled with dynamite! And she performs a really cool and dangerous stunt towards the end of the movie. Not many of her shorts survived over the years, so this was a really cool treat to watch! The short was released by the Capital Film Company in 1920.

Then it was intermission time! After, we all settled back in the theater, where Rena Kiehn awarded author/historian/researcher Marc Wanamaker with the prestigious Ray Hubbard Award for his contributions to preserving and protecting of film history.

RED SIGNALS (1927): Filmed on the Santa Fe Railway in and around Los Angeles in the late 1920s, the film is packed with action, this film showcases wooden box cars, speeding freight and passenger trains, explosions, derailments and almost a complete lack of regard for safety.  There’s even a treacherous switching move with a box car of dynamite. Starring Wallace MacDonald, Earle Williams, Eva Novak and directed by J.P. McGowan, the film was released by Sterling Pictures on March 1, 1927.

And that was it for Day Two of the festival!! Remember the Broncho Billy Film Festival concludes this Sunday! So make plans to attend this event! To purchase tickets and passes, view the festival's film schedule, and to become a member, visit the museum's official website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil attends the 22nd ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL: DAY ONE at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 26, 2019

Greetings from Niles, California! Today begins an annual film event that I’ve been fortunate to attend for well over a decade! Tonight begins the 22nd ANNUAL BRONCHO BILLY SILENT FILM FESTIVAL here at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum! After a long day at work, I was really looking forward to a weekend of silent films, lectures, and friends! So let’s not waste anymore time and let the festival begin!

The night began with THIS IS FRANCES X. BUSHMAN (2019), a work-in-progress documentary about the biggest star from the Chicago Essanay Studio. Produced by the museum, the film was introduced by the director himself Lon Davis. This was cool to see, mainly because I've only seen a couple of images from the Chicago studio. I cannot wait to see when this project is completely finished!

After a brief intermission and social mingling, it was time for the feature presentation.

THE CHARGE OF THE GAUCHOS (aka Una nueva y gloriosa nación) (1928) is set in the early 1800s colonial Argentina, Manuel Belgrano (Frances X. Bushman) leads a revolt against the oppressive Spanish authorities, and his poorly trained and badly equipped army inflicts a series of stunning defeats on the superior Spanish and loyalist forces. Monica Salazar (the beautiful Jacqueline Logan), Belgrano's sweetheart, is the daughter of a prominent loyalist but is also a spy for Belgrano, sending him valuable information until she is caught and sentenced to be beheaded. Belgrano must gather his forces to rescue Monica before she goes under the headsman's axe.

Directed by Albert Kelly and released by in Argentina on May 10, 1928, the film was screened here in the states on September 16th that same year. However, it only played in theaters for a brief time before fading away to film obscurity. For years the film was thought to be forever lost, until a print of the movie was discovered in 2013. Tonight’s screening was considered to be the film’s first screening here in the states since 1928, and was an astounding silent classic! The print had Italian titles, which were lovingly translated by Jackie Capurro.

This was a historic film production, mainly because this was a major Hollywood studio production that was actually financed, supervised and produced by an Argentinean producer, in this case Julián Ajuria. The movie was released Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) to theaters in the fall of 1928. Ironically, Film Booking Offices of America would eventually morph into RKO Radio Pictures. The film's title was changed to THE BEAUTIFUL SPY for the American market, since most didn't know what a gaucho was.

I was familiar with director Albert Kelly, due to his contribution to the world of exploitation cinema. He directed some true cult classics, such as NO MORE CHILDREN (1929),  JUNGLE BRIDE (1931), DOUBLE CROSS (1941), and my personal favorite STREET CORNER (1948), which is available on DVD from the fine folks over at Something Weird Video!

And that my friends was the opening night of the festival! There’s still plenty more fun to be had, so don’t miss out on all this silent film festivities! To learn more the festival’s schedule, weekend passes, and how to become a member, please visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil’s Horror Watch: DEAD PIT (1989) from Dark Force Entertainment/Code Red - July 22, 2019

DEAD PIT Blu-Ray Glow-in-the-Dark Slipcover
DEAD PIT (1989)

Starring Jeremy Slate, Cheryl Lawson, Stephen Gregory Foster, Danny Gochnauer, Geha Getz, Joan Bechtel, Michael Jacobs
Screenplay by Brett Leonard, Gimel Everett
Cinematography by Marty Collins
Edited by Gimel Everett, Brett Leonard
Produced by Jack A. Sunseri, Gimel Everett
Directed by Brett Leonard
Originally released by Imperial Entertainment
Re-released by Dark Force Entertainment/Code Red

Hello boils and ghouls and welcome back to another edition of Phil's Horror Watch! Today's film I'll be reviewing is one of my favorite horror films to come out of the late 1980's! The movie holds a special place in my heart, as it was filmed here in the South Bay, Santa Clara to be exact. The special effects were done over the hill in Santa Cruz. And it's one of the most excellent batshit crazy horror flicks this side of the nuthouse! I bought the special edition DVD years ago and I've been waiting it to be released on Blu-Ray. Now, thanks to Dark Force Entertainment, in partnership with Code Red, I just watched the brand new version of DEAD PIT Special Edition Blu-Ray and it was gloriously awesome!!

The film's official synopsis:

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Phil attends the LAUREL & HARDY TALKIE MATINEE Screening at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - July 14, 2019

On the second Sunday of every month, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum hosts a Laurel & Hardy Talkie Matinee show, hosted by the Sons of the Desert gang. The museum has been doing this for years, and it was the first show I've attended in a very long time. Because I was there volunteering that Sunday, I was able to check out the LAUREL & HARDY TALKIE MATINEE, with all the films dedicated to "The Boys", Charley Chase, and the Our Gang kids. And there were plenty of laughs to had!! Overall, there were four side splitting Hal Roach produced comedy short to watch!!

HOOK & LADDER (1932): Featuring the Our Gang kids, we see them set-up their own fire station. But when a real five alarm fire breaks out, the gang springs into action to combat the blaze, in their own hysterical fashion.And things get even more crazy, when they find crates of dynamite!

It's been a long time since I've seen a talkie OUR GANG short. I grew up watching these on TV back when I was a kid, and they're just as funny now as they were then when I was younger! The short was directed by Robert McGowan, produced by Hal Roach Studios, and was released by MGM on August 27, 1932.

THEM THAR HILLS (1934): Poor ole Ollie! Taking his doctor's advise, he and Stan take a trip into the mountains so that he can recover from his bad case of gout in his foot. However, a gang of bootleggers just dumped their moonshine in the well that the boys sample their 'healthy' mountain water.' from. Then, Mr and Mrs. Hall's car runs out of gas. He leaves his wife there while he heads back to the gas station. When he gets back, he finds his wife plastered, along with the boys! Oopsie!

This is a perfect example of the comedic timing and genius of Laurel & Hardy! This was one of the funniest short films that the duo made! I laughed my butt off! The short was directed by Charley Rogers, produced by Hal Roach Studios, and was released by MGM on July 21, 1934.

MIDSUMMER MUSH (1933): Starring the great Charley Chase as a Boy Scout leader, he causes a major traffic jam, keeps falling of his bicycle, causes trouble for a traffic cop, and meets the girl of his dreams in the form of Betty (Betty Mack). He leads her and her father, and his scouts to the camp site, where even more crazy hijinks continues to plague our poor friend Charley!

This was the very first talkie Charley Chase short I have ever seen, and I loved it! The repeat gag with him falling into the lake over and over again was funny as hell! It's a real shame that Chase never became as big as his peers. Personal demons kept him from becoming a household name, and unfortunately, he's best known for his small role in THE SONS OF THE DESERT with Laurel and Hardy. But we still have his shorts to watch, and because of that, he will live on forever! The short was directed by Charley Chase (as Charles Parrott), produced by Hal Roach Studios, and was released by MGM on October 21, 1933.

TIT FOR TAT (1935): Picking up after the events in THEM THAR HILLS, Stan and Ollie encounter their old nemesis Mr. Hall, whose grocery shop is next door to their home appliances store. Unable to let bygones be bygones, a war breaks out between the two camps. Will those tit-for-tat battles ever end?

This was new to me, and it was quite the surprise! Here's another example of continuity that bridges shorts together to create a universe with the Hal Roach Studio. This was really neat to see! Yeah, I sound like a dork, but who cares! Anyway, I laughed my ass off again, but that shouldn't come as no surprise. It's Laurel and Hardy people! You're supposed to laugh your ass off! But that fact that a short that was made 84 years ago says something. These guys are comic legends, and this one of the many reasons why they are legends! The short was again directed by Charley Rogers, produced by Hal Roach Studios, and was released by MGM on January 5, 1935.

Well, there you have it folks! Another fun-filled cinematic adventure here in Niles!! And I can't wait to come back for more silent film and talkie comedies! The museum is open for tours every weekend from 12pm-4pm and every Saturday night there's a silent film show starting at 7:30 (doors open at 7pm). So if you would like to learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, becoming a member, to view their film schedule, visit

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show! 

Phil sees AVENGERS: ENDGAME (WITH BONUS CONTENT) for the fourth time at the Cinemark Century 20 Oakridge and XD - July 11, 2019


Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin
Based on the Comic Book by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin
Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Cinematography by Trent Opaloch
Edited by Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Produced by Kevin Feige, Jon Favreau, James Gunn, Stan Lee, Victoria Alonso, Trinh Tran
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

I know what you're all thinking. And yes, I'm a total freaking nerd. Moving on now...

So, I went and saw AVENGERS: ENDGAME with the bonus content at the Cinemark Century Theater in Oakridge Mall today after work, and it was totally worth it. Not so much for the bonus content, but for the film itself. This was going to be the very last time I would be able to see the movie on the big screen. And that's the main reason why I went to see it again.

As for the bonus content, they were OK. The big one for me was the lovely tribute to the Man himself, Stan Lee. I still find it hard to believe that he's really gone. It doesn't feel like it, since we, the fans, still talk about him. Then there was a cut scene featuring the Hulk, but it wasn't completely rendered. The last bonus was featured the opening scene of SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, which I just saw earlier this week. But as I stated earlier, I just wanted to see the film on the big screen one last time, and it was so worth it!!

AVENGERS: ENDGAME (WITH BONUS CONTENT) is currently playing in theaters nationwide, including the Cinemark Century Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME at the Cinelux Tennant Station Stadium 11 - July 8, 2019


Starring Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders , Jacob Batalon
Screenplay by Erik Sommers, Chris McKenna
Based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
Cinematography by Matthew J. Lloyd
Edited by Leigh Folsom Boyd, Dan Lebental
Produced by Kevin Feige, Avi Arad, Stan Lee,Victoria Alonso
Directed by Jon Watts
Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When I first saw SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING two years ago, I thought to myself, "Finally!! They did it right!! We finally have the Spider-Man we the audience have been waiting for!!" And it was glorious!! Unfortunately, the bad part was that we were gonna have to wait a while for the sequel, since the AVENGERS films would be released first. After the emotional rollercoaster that was AVENGERS: ENDGAME, I finally got to see the final chapter of the now called "The Infinity Saga" that first began with IRON MAN back in 2008. And needless to say, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME lives up to the hype and is a fitting epilogue to this first epic conclusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

The film's official synopsis: Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter's plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is a high intense, action packed, hilariously funny, ultimate superhero comic book movie sequel you've been waiting for! It's also a very satisfying and logical conclusion to the "The Infinity Saga" and sets up the next phase of the MCU perfectly!! So grab the family and go see the last MCU film of the year on the big screen!! 5 out of stars!! Highly recommended!!

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is currently playing in theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Phil sees TOY STORY 4 at The Cinelux Almaden Theatre & Lounge - July 3, 2019


Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Jordan Peele,  Keegan-Michael Key, Madeleine McGraw, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Stephany Folsom
Cinematography by Patrick Lin, Jean-Claude Kalache
Edited by Axel Geddes
Produced by Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera
Directed by Josh Cooley
Distributed by

When I saw TOY STORY 3 back in 2010, I balled my eyes out! Seriously balled my eyes out! If you saw that movie and said that that last half hour of the film didn't leave you a weeping like a little girl, then you are lying your monkey ass off!! Everyone I spoke to since the film's release have stated that they cried like a three-year-old. As I walked out of the theater all those years ago, I thought for sure that this would be the last time I would see Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Slinky, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, and the rest of the gang. Then in 2018, Pixar announced that they were making TOY STORY 4, for a 2019 release. And yes, I went and saw it this past weekend, and it was very good, just not great.

The film's official synopsis: Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries.

So, let's get down to the nitty gritty of this movie. The computer animation is absolutely, mind-blowingly stunning!! I am always taken aback on just how awesome and realistic the animation looks! It's just astounding!! It's light years from what the original film looked like! You can see the blades of grass, hair blowing in the wind, individual rocks and pebbles, dust bunnies, it's all there for you to behold with your own two eyes!!

As for the story itself, it was OK. Truth be told, I found the film to be more of an epilogue than a true sequel. The third film ended on such an emotionally satisfyingly conclusion that there was no way this film could top it. And it doesn't even come close to that. With TOY STORY 3, we were on such an emotional roller coaster of ride, especially those last twenty minutes. Here, I felt like this was more of, "Hey, let's see where these characters are now. Just in case you were wondering." I wasn't wondering at all. In the years between the third and fourth film, we've been treated to some hilarious shorts and a couple of half hour specials, and I was fine with that. I didn't need, nor did I want, this sequel. It's totally unnecessary, but I can see why Pixar made it. I just wasn't emotionally invested in it, but if you have kids, then they are gonna love this! And that's why it was made: this is a love letter for all those kids who have now grown up with it, thanks to their parents, who watched these when they were kids. TOY STORY crosses generations, and it brings families together. It doesn't matter if your a child or a parent; there's something for everyone to love and enjoy. And. in the long run, that's all that matters. So pay no attention to me, I'm just sounding like "Old Man Phil" but I'm still glad I saw the movie. It made me want to bring my family to see.

TOY STORY 4 is a solid entry to this beloved franchise and is Pixar's best animated film to date!! You have never seen a film like this before!! And FYI, you might cry during the film, especially at the end! Anyway, this was a great movie for fans of the series! So take the family to your favorite theater and go see this movie!! 4 out of 5 stars!! Recommended!!

TOY STORY 4 is currently playing in theaters in 2D, 3D, and IMAX nationwide, including at the Cinelux Theaters here in the Bay Area. To view showtimes, visit their website at 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Phil attends the CHARLIE CHAPLIN DAYS Event at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum - June 28-30, 2019

Charlie Chaplin as The Tramp (1915)
During the year of 1915, the world of cinema was making history. D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION  changed the landscape of cinema forever. Producer/distributor William Fox founded the new Fox Film Corporation. Also in the small town of Niles, California, a little comedian came into town, made about five films in three months, and then left. However, those five films helped paved the way for Charlie Chaplin's signature character The Tramp to become one of cinema's most beloved icons. This past weekend, the town of Niles, as well as the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, celebrated its most famous actor with its annual Charlie Chaplin Days, which are held this year on the last weekend of June.

Before I begin, let me tell you how Mr. Chaplin found his way to Niles real quick. In late 1914, Essanay Studio co-founder G.M. Anderson (also known as Broncho Billy, the screen's first cowboy superstar) signed the then yet well known comedian Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin had been discovered by Mack Sennett, founder of Keystone Films, the home of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, and the infamous Keystone Cops. Anderson offered the young comedian complete creative over his films: he would write, direct, and star in his films. To sweeten the deal, Anderson offered Chaplin a $10,000 signing bonus, which was a large sum of money back in late 1914. Chaplin made one film for the Chicago Essanay Studio branch, but he didn't get along very well with co-owner George Spoor. Chaplin soon left to make films out in Niles. During this time he made an astounding five films in just three months, as well as discovering his leading lady Edna Purviance.

However, Niles was a little too boring and country-ish for Chaplin, who loved the city life. So with Anderson's permission, Chaplin took Purviance and a small crew to Los Angles, where he finished up his contract. The following year, Chaplin singed a deal with Mutual Pictures, where they offered him more money, his own production company, and a $150,000 signing bonus. But it was his time in Niles is where he developed his Tramp character. By combining pathos, sympathy, while still bringing a smile to our faces, Chaplin's Little Tramp became an overnight sensation, and thus creating one of cinema's most treasured characters.

The festivities began Friday evening at the museum, but the fun actually started in the early afternoon in San Francisco. Conducted by my old friend and a staple at the SF Silent Film Festival Rory O'Connor (under the auspices of the Friends of the Library City Guides), The WALKING TOUR OF SF SILENT FILM LOCATIONS took the group all over the city, showing the buildings, parks and locations where Chaplin filmed his movies.

Then at the museum, the fun began at 7:30 pm, where we had special guest visiting us, Dan Kamin! If you didn't know, Kamin created the Chaplin moves for Robert Downy, Jr. for his film CHAPLIN and worked with Johnny Depp for his role in BENNY AND JOON.  Then was saw 1918's SHOULDER ARMS, which was a video transfer from an vintage film print. The great Jeff Rapsis provided the musical accompaniment. Afterwards, we saw the short film CHAPLIN STUDIO TOUR from 1953. This was exciting because not only this was very informative and cool, but this was a 35mm film print that we were watching! I visited the studio back in 2011, and it's now known as the Jim Henson Studios. Chaplin's cinematographer Rollie Totheroh was the host in the film, giving us a tour of the famed studio.

On both Saturday (in the expansion are of the museum) and Sunday (in the main theater), the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum showed all five of Chaplin's films he made here in Niles: A NIGHT OUT (co-starring Ben Turpin), THE CHAMPION, IN THE PARK, A JITNEY ELOPEMENT, and his most famous film THE TRAMP, featuring the most iconic image and ending in film history of the Little Tramp walking away in Niles Canyon. One of Chaplin's most important films he ever made.

On Saturday morning in the main theater, the museum screened BRONCHO BILLY AND THE BANDIT'S SECRET along with the documentary of the making of the 2012 silent film. Then the afternoon consisted of the following: CHAPLIN AND HIS MUSIC with host and moderator Nigel Dreiner, where he discussed the music that Chaplin written for his films, the documentary short THE MOVIES GO WEST, the 1974 PBS short that was narrated by the late, great Hal Angus, THE IMPORTANCE OF CHUCK REISNER, who contributed with Chaplin in several of his films and was conducted by author Hooman Mehran, then it was the repeat screening of the short film CHAPLIN STUDIO TOUR.

Later that night, the museum screened one of Chaplin's overlooked films THE PILGRIM from 1923. In the film, Chaplin's The Tramp is an escaped convict who is mistaken as a pastor in a small town church. Also shown was Chaplin's short HOW TO MAKE MOVIES from 1918, the short CHAPLIN STUDIO TOUR again, and A DOG'S LIFE released by First National in 1918, which was introduced by Hooman Mehran.

On Sunday the day began with the aforementioned Chaplin Essanay shorts from 1915. After the screenings, the museum held their annual Charlie Chaplin Look-a-Like Contest! Later, it was the special screening of the 2019 documentary entitled CHARLIE CHAMPION, which told the story of Dr. Ashok Aswani, who helped create the Charlie Chaplin Fan Club over in India.

This was such a fun filled weekend! It was a lot of hard work, but everything went well and everyone had a great time! I can't wait for next year's Chaplin weekend. In the meantime, there are plenty more excitement happening at the museum. To learn more about the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, how to become a member, and to view their film schedule, visit their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!