Showing posts with label Joseph Schenck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joseph Schenck. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2016

United Artists stars & producers gather to protest the Fox West Coast Theater monopoly, November 1930

"We'll show our pictures in tents!" they said.

L-R: Al Jolson, Mary Pickford, Ronald Colman, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks, Joseph Schenck, Charlie, Samuel Goldwyn & Eddie Cantor.

Modern Screen, Feb. 1931. Click to enlarge.

What did Chaplin have to say?

Santa Cruz Evening News, Nov. 29, 1930

(City Lights premiered January 30th, 1931 at the newly constructed Los Angeles Theater.) 

Fox West Coast and United Artists eventually reached a compromise in August 1931. Read more about it here.

L-R: Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, Chaplin

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

L-R: Chaplin, Joseph Schenck, Irving Berlin, Fred Niblo, and Sid Grauman, January 1928

This photo shows Sid Grauman presenting Berlin with a "life pass" to the Chinese Theater in the form of a watch. Taken on the occasion of the Irving Berlin Jubilee at the theater.

Chaplin appears to be wearing the same coat he wore three years earlier at the end of The Gold Rush when he becomes a "multi-millionaire."

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Aboard the Invader, 1933

This is a slightly different pose than the more commonly-seen shots--and colorized to boot.

L-R: Alva Green, Harry Green, CC, Grace Poggi, Joseph Schenck (the yacht's owner), Margaret LaMarr, & Paulette.

Thanks to "JustMe" for bringing this one to my attention! It's currently up for auction on ebay.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Members of United Artists at United Airport in Burbank, July 1933

L-R: Ed Finney, Hal Horne, Walt Disney, Al Lichtman, Mary Pickford, CC, Joe Schenck.
The first four were heading to Chicago for a convention of film exhibitors.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dodge Brothers Radio Hour

Back Row: Albin Kesley Schoepf (Dodge Bros. rep.), Douglas Fairbanks & Joseph Schenck, president of UA.
Front Row: Dolores Del Rio, John Barrymore, CC, D.W. Griffith & Norma Talmadge.

On March 29th, 1928, six of United Artists' biggest stars gathered behind locked doors in Douglas Fairbanks' studio bungalow to do a nationwide broadcast on the Dodge Brothers Radio Hour. The show would be heard not only in people's homes but also in movie theaters in a 55-city hookup. Radio had fast become a popular form of entertainment by the late 1920s and was the movies' only competition. Mixing the two was a controversial move:
R.F. Woodhull, president of the Motion Picture Theater Owners of America, protested that broadcasting the voices of favorite screen stars during normal show times would sharply reduce attendance. In fact, MGM, Paramount and First National had all been approached by the radio people and had passed on the project. Only Joseph M. Schenck, president of United Artists, was willing to take the risk. In the face of Woodhull's protestations, Schenck could only respond that all the contracts had been signed and the broadcast had to go on.1

On the program that evening were Douglas Fairbanks, who gave a speech on exercise and self-confidence & also served as master of ceremonies, Dolores Del Rio sang the title song to her forthcoming film "Ramona," Norma Talmadge discussed women's fashions, D.W. Griffith read an essay about love,  John Barrymore, not surprisingly, presented a soliloquy from Hamlet, and Chaplin told "characteristic stories."2 Paul Whiteman's Orchestra performed a number of tunes and Dodge Brothers president, Edward Wilmer, spoke for ten minutes, much to the chagrin of the audience, about the company's latest "Standard Six" model. Mary Pickford was originally on the bill but was forced to back out due to the death of her mother. Gloria Swanson was also asked to participate but declined saying that she felt her audience would prefer to see her rather than hear her.

Ad from Capital Times, Madison, WI

Douglas Fairbanks introduced "Charles Chaplin" as "the hardest working man I know." Audibly nervous, Chaplin spoke to the audience: "Ladies and gentlemen, in thanking my good friend, Douglas, I admire the spirit in which he remains modest about himself while extolling the achievements of others." Chaplin then told several "humorous" stories. Including one about how he was once complimented by a lady who thought he was Harold Lloyd. Another was about a cake, and one story he attributed to Ed Wynn. He closed by saying "I  must now get behind the screen, where I am more eloquent than here." His performance brought mixed reviews. The Syracuse Journal was pleasantly surprised by the "heavy, masterful tones, with an unmistakeable English accent." The Chicago Tribune noted that "he had a nice little voice" although it was "a bit nervous and hesitating at times." The reviews in Variety weren't so kind. Abel wrote: "Rather see Charlie in makeup than hear Charles from now on" Chaplin was not only the "only star to stutter," but the stories he told had been heard before. After the broadcast, Chaplin remarked that he nearly died from "mike fright" & was worried as to how had done.

The broadcast also had its share of technical problems. There were complaints of static due to bad weather. A number of theater owners claimed that the entire program was inaudible because of it.
However the biggest problem was the reaction of the audience, especially at the Fifth Avenue Playhouse in New York where patrons booed, hissed, stamped their feet, and yelled "take it off!" until theater managers were forced to comply. Some theaters tried to show newsreels and silent comedies during the broadcast but it didn't help. Numerous patrons left the theater in disgust. Others demanded that the theater bring back the regular feature. The overall consensus was that the broadcast was a flop. As Variety succinctly put it: "Movie stars should be screened not heard."

Following the show, Chaplin hosted a "buffet supper" at his home. "Having received from Dodge Brothers a $5,000 check for five minutes' talk, Chaplin felt he could afford to entertain Wall Street right royally which he did until three o'clock in the morning. Fifty people attended the supper, featured by a speech by the comedian on "Capital and Labor" that sent Otto Kahn into convulsions of laughter!"3

This was not Chaplin's first radio broadcast. In 1923, he appeared on WOR in New Jersey to promote A Woman Of Paris. He went on to do a handful of radio broadcasts over the next twenty years. Read more about them here.

1Rob Farr, "Screened But Not Heard, The Big Broadcast Of 1928," 2000
2New York Times, March 30th, 1928
3Mayme Peak, Boston Globe, April 11, 1928

Other sources:

Chicago Tribune, March 30, 1928
Decatur Daily Review, March 30, 1928
Film Daily, April 1, 1928
Syracuse Journal, April 1, 1928
Variety, April 4, 1928

Farr, Rob, "Screened But Not Heard, The Big Broadcast Of 1928," 2000
Crafton, Donald, The Talkies: American Cinema's Transition to Sound, 1926-1931, 1999

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

British journalists visit United Artists, 1929

Back row (L-R): Henry C. Owen, Lili Damita, Ralph D. Blumenfeld, Joseph Schenck, Camilla Horn, Ronald Colman, Lady Peake, John Barrymore (in costume for Eternal Love), Vilma Banky. Front row: Samuel Goldwyn, William J. Locke, Charles Igglesden, Chaplin, W. J. T. Collins, Alan Pitt Robbins.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The United Artists Corporation, 1925

L-R: Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Joseph Schenck. Standing: Dennis O'Brien, Robert Fairbanks (brother of Douglas), Hiram Abrams, & Sydney Chaplin.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

L-R: Fred Niblo, Joseph Schenck, Irving Berlin, Sid Grauman, & Chaplin, 1928

"Berlin, songwriter, is presented with a life pass to Graumans Chinese Theatre on the occasion of the 'Irving Berlin Jubilee.' Witnessing the presentation of the gift, a watch, are Fred Niblo, Joseph M. Schenck, Berlin, Grauman and Charlie Chaplin." (Motion Picture News, February 1928)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

United Artists meeting, 1934

Left to right, front row: Mary Pickford, Joseph Schenck, Douglas Fairbanks. Standing, CC, Darryl Zanuck, and Sam Goldwyn.
Funny how everyone is smiling in the top photo, but frowning in the bottom photo (especially soon-to-be exes Doug & Mary). Ms. Pickford also added a scarf to her ensemble. Charlie looks like he's fresh from a tennis match.

Monday, November 5, 2012

At the Federal building in New York during the tax evasion trial of Joseph Schenck in which Charlie appeared as a character witness, March 1941

During his testimony, Charlie spoke so softly the judge had difficulty hearing him.  He put up his left hand when he was sworn in, then grinned when the clerk corrected him, and raised his right.