Virginia Fox Zanuck was an American actress who starred in many silent films of the 1910s and 1920s. Fox was born in the daughter of Marie and Frederick Fox. While on vacation from boarding school, Fox traveled to visit a friend in Los Angeles; the two made a casual stop by the studio of Mack Sennett, where she was hired on the spot and made a bathing beauty in the studio's films. Fox went on to star as leading lady in many of the early films of Buster Keaton, including 1920's regarded "Neighbors."In 1924 she married film producer Darryl F. Zanuck, with whom she had three children, Susan Marie, Richard Darryl. Fox retired from acting, but was known as a behind-the-scenes influence on her husband's business decisions; the couple separated in 1956 over the studio mogul's affairs with other women, though they were never divorced. She was buried near Darryl Zanuck at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles. Despite some Internet accounts to the contrary, Virginia Fox was not related to William Fox, whose name is preserved in the company 20th Century Fox, which Darryl Zanuck created and led for decades.
William Fox founded Fox Studios, but had lost control of it by the time Zanuck acquired it and merged it into his own empire. Virginia Fox on IMDb
The Electric House
The Electric House is a 1922 American short comedy film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. Keaton plays a botany student, accidentally awarded an electrical engineering degree, he attempts to wire a home using many gadgets. The man to whom the degree should have been awarded exacts revenge by rewiring those gadgets to cause mayhem. Buster Keaton as himself Virginia Fox as Girl Joe Keaton as Extra Louise Keaton as Extra Myra Keaton as Extra Joe Roberts as Homeowner During the original scheduled shooting of the film in 1920, Keaton suffered a broken leg filming a sequence with the electric staircase; the project was shelved, re-done entirely. The known version today is the second version filmed. Buster Keaton filmography The Electric House on IMDb The short film The Electric House is available for free download at the Internet Archive The Electric House at the International Buster Keaton Society
Elgin Lessley was an American hand-crank cameraman of the silent film era—a period of filmmaking when all special effects work had to be produced inside the camera during filming. Though Lessley worked earlier with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, with Harry Langdon, he is best known for the groundbreaking effects he produced with Buster Keaton, who dubbed him "the human metronome" for his ability to crank at any requested speed. Lessley's most striking effects were in The Playhouse and Sherlock, Jr.. In The Playhouse, through use of a specially shuttered lens and repeated back-cranking and re-cranking, Lessley allowed Keaton to appear as up to nine characters interacting with one another. In Sherlock, Jr. Lessley's careful positioning of camera and actor in various locations produced the effect of a man stuck in a movie where his location keeps changing as he struggles to keep up. Lessley retired from filmmaking after shooting The Cameraman with Buster Keaton in 1928. Elgin Lessley was born on June 10, 1883, to Orpha and Shelton Lessley, joining a household with sisters Annette and Ora, uncles Herbert and Claude Brooks, grandfather Burton Brooks.
Another sister, Bindy joined the family. Shelton, a Confederate Army veteran and operated a general store with two sons from a previous marriage. In 1910, the family relocated to Colorado Springs, where Elgin worked as a window trimmer in the family's department store. After Shelton's death in 1911, the family relocated to Los Angeles. Lessley met his wife, Blanche Olmstead, in Colorado, they married in 1918, at some point the couple settled in Culver City, California. In 1911, at the age of 28, Lessley became a cameraman for American Wildwest, the renamed American branch of Star Film Company operated by French filmmaker Gaston Méliès, brother of Georges Méliès. American Midwest made one-reel Westerns. Lessley isn't known to be credited on any of these films, so it is difficult to determine which ones he worked on. Filming was done outdoors, including interior scenes which were shot on sets built outside and topped with cotton screens to control the sunlight. Thus, Lessley got his start in cinematography in outdoor settings, ideal for working with Arbuckle and Keaton, who preferred location shoots to studio shoots.
Gaston Méliès took his film company touring in the South Seas and Asia in the summer of 1912. Lessley joined them in Yokohama in April 1913, he worked there on short documentaries. Again, lacking screen credits, it is difficult to determine which films Lessley himself shot, but candidates include A Japanese Funeral, Home Life in Japan, The Rice Industry in Japan. Méliès wound down the tour and sent his crew back to the United States on May 10, 1913. Lessley returned to Los Angeles, near his sister Nettie, went to work for Mack Sennett at Keystone Studios. Lessley joined Keystone Studios in 1913. Since most early silent films are lost, cameramen weren't credited on-screen anyway, it's impossible to determine for certain which films Lessley shot, his first screen credit is for The Waiters' Ball in 1916, but Lessley was seen working on He Did and He Didn't with Roscoe Arbuckle and Mabel Normand in late 1915. Picture Play writer Will Rex described the workaday life Lessley was part of: The studio was bristling with activity.
Roscoe Arbuckle... was superintending the construction of a set, aided by Ferris Hartman, his co-worker, a dozen prop men. A dozen rough and ready comedians were practicing falls down a stairway. Lessley was on the payroll for $55 per week, Arbuckle evidently worked him hard for his money, shooting 10,000 - 15,000 feet of film for a single two-reel comedy; the rough and tumble atmosphere on an Arbuckle shoot went far in preparing Lessley for his work with Buster Keaton, who had standing orders for his cameramen to keep filming his risky stunts no matter what, until he either yelled "Cut" or was killed. Arbuckle launched his own studio, with Joseph Schenck in 1917. Lessley wasn't part of the original Comique crew, he shot a number of movies starring Arbuckle's nephew, Al St. John, including A Self-Made Hero, The Stone Age, A Winning Loser, he did The Dangers of a Bride with Gloria Swanson, A Clever Dummy with Ben Turpin. Arbuckle had recruited Buster Keaton, when Lessley came aboard Comique in 1918, he began their working relationship with The Bell Boy.
Lessley filmed Arbuckle, Keaton, St. John, Arbuckle's dog Luke in the subsequent Comique films, The Hayseed, The Garage. Though busy with Comique, Lessley continued to work with Gloria Swanson, filming Her Decision and You Can't Believe Everything, he filmed Pauline Stark in Irish Eyes, The Atom, Daughter Angele, Alias Mary Brown. Once Arbuckle moved to feature films in 1920, Keaton took over the old Comique studio, renamed Buster Keaton Studios, retained Lessley as his cameraman. Lessley shot all 19 of Keaton's shorts, six of Keaton's feature films, it was in his work for Keaton. When filming The Playhouse in 1921, Keaton was recovering from a broken ankle, thus was unable to perform his usual death-defying and physically punishing stunts, he decided to focus instead on special effects. He and Lessley went to work on seeing how many Ke
The Balloonatic is a 1923 American short comedy film co-directed by and starring Buster Keaton. It was one of Keaton's final short films. A young man has a series of encounters in an amusement area, much like Coney Island, until happening upon a group of men preparing a hot air balloon for launch; the young man assists the group by climbing atop the balloon to affix a pennant, when the balloon mistakenly takes flight with no one aboard but the young man. The young man downs the balloon in a wilderness area, where he encounters a young outdoorswoman and proceeds to have a series of misadventures. Buster Keaton as The Young Man Phyllis Haver as The Young Woman Babe London as Fat Girl at The House of Trouble Buster Keaton filmography The Balloonatic on IMDb The short film The Balloonatic is available for free download at the Internet Archive The Balloonatic at the International Buster Keaton Society
National Film Registry
The National Film Registry is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films deserving of preservation. The NFPB, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, again in October 2008; the NFPB's mission, to which the NFR contributes, is to ensure the survival and increased public availability of America's film heritage. The 1996 law created the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation which, although affiliated with the NFPB, raises money from the private sector; the NFPB adds to the NFR up to 25 "culturally or aesthetically significant films" each year, showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. A film becomes eligible for inclusion ten years after its original release. For the first selection in 1989, the public nominated 1,000 films for consideration. Members of the NFPB developed individual ballots of possible films for inclusion.
The ballots were tabulated into a list of 25 films, modified by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and his staff at the Library for the final selection. Since 1997, members of the public have been able to nominate up to 50 films a year for the NFPB and Librarian to consider; the NFR includes films ranging from Hollywood classics to orphan films. A film is not required to be feature-length, nor is it required to have been theatrically released in the traditional sense. In addition, television programs and foreign films are not excluded from consideration, although American films are given preference; the Registry contains newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, music videos, films out of copyright protection or in the public domain, film serials, home movies, documentaries and independent films. As of the 2018 listing, there are 750 films in the Registry; the earliest listed film is Newark Athlete, the most recent is Brokeback Mountain. Counting the 11 multi-year serials in the NFR once each by year of completion, the year with the most films selected is 1939, with 19 films from that year chosen.
The time between a film's debut and its selection varies greatly. The longest span is 121 years; the shortest span is the minimum 10 years. This table is through the 2018 induction list. For purposes of this list, multi-year serials are counted only once by year of completion. Category:United States National Film Registry films National Recording Registry These Amazing Shadows, a 2011 documentary film that tells the history and importance of the registry National Film Registry homepage Classic Movie Hub: National Film Registry List These Amazing Shadows site for Independent Lens on PBS
Pork pie hat
A pork pie hat is one of several different styles of hat that have been popular in one context or another since the mid-19th century, all of which bear superficial resemblance to a pork pie. The first hat to be called a pork pie was a hat worn by British and American women from around 1830 through to about 1865, it consisted of a small round hat with a narrow curled-up brim, a low flat or domed crown with a crease running around the inside top edge, with a ribbon or hatband fastened around the shoulder where the crown joined the brim. It was worn with a small feather or two attached to a bow on one side of the hat; such hats might be made of any number of materials —what made them "pork pies" was the shape and crease of the crown and the narrowness of the brim. The pork pie began to appear in Britain as a man's hat not long after the turn of the century in the fashion style of the man-about-town, but its resurgence in the United States in the 1920s is credited to the silent film actor Buster Keaton who wore them in many of his films.
The hats from his films were ones the actor made himself by converting fedoras and other hats into pork pies, creating more than a thousand in his lifetime. This kind of pork pie had a flat top and similar short flat brim; the heyday of the pork pie hat occurred during the Great Depression. In this incarnation, the pork pie regained its snap brim and increased in height; the dished crown of such hats became known among milliners as "telescopic crowns" or "tight telescopes" because when worn the top could be made to pop up slightly. Furthermore, as stated in a newspaper clipping from the mid-1930s: "The true pork pie hat is so made that it cannot be worn except when telescoped." The same clipping refers to the hat as "the bi crowned". Among famous wearers of the pork pie during this era are Frank Lloyd Wright, whose pork pie hat had a wide brim and rather tall crown. Lester Young, whose career as a jazz saxophonist spans from the mid 1920s to the late 1950s wore a pork pie hat during his performances, after his death the composer Charles Mingus wrote an elegy for him titled "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat".
Young's pork pie had a broader brim than seen in earlier styles but retained the definitive round, creased crown. In African American culture in the 1940s the pork pie—flashy, color-coordinated—became associated with the zoot suit. By 1944 the hat was prevalent in New Guinea. After the end of World War II the pork pie's broad popularity declined somewhat, though as a result of the zoot suit connection it continued its association with African American music culture jazz and ska. In television between 1951 and 1955, Art Carney wore one in his characterization of Ed Norton in The Honeymooners, in Puerto Rico the actor Joaquín Monserrat, known as Pacheco, was the host of many children's 1950s TV shows and was known for his straw pork pie hat and bow tie—in this incarnation, the pork pie returned to its Buster Keaton style with rigidly flat brim and low flat crown. In the 1960s in Jamaica, the "rude boy" subculture popularized the hat and brought it back into style in the United Kingdom, thereby influencing its occasional appearance in the mod subculture.
The porkpie hat enjoyed a slight resurgence in exposure and popularity after Gene Hackman's character Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle wore one in the 1971 film The French Connection. Doyle was based on real-life policeman Eddie Egan, who played the captain in the film, his exploits. Egan was famous all his life for wearing a pork pie hat, refused to surrender his hat to Gene Hackman to wear in the film; the producers were forced to obtain Hackman's hat elsewhere. At about the same time, Robert De Niro wore a pork pie hat in the 1973 film Mean Streets. Today the wearing of a pork pie hat retains some of 40s associations. Fashion writer Glenn O'Brien says, "the porkpie hat is the mark of the determined hipster, the kind of cat you might see hanging around a jazz club or a pool hall, maybe wearing a button-front leather jacket and pointy shoes. It's a Tom Johnny Thunders kind of hat, it has a flat top with a circular indent. The brim is worn up, it is worn with a goatee, soul patch, and/or toothpick." Musician D.
J. Bonebrake, of X and The Flesh Eaters, has accordingly worn a pork pie hat for many years. Bryan Cranston's character Walter White wears a pork pie hat in the AMC series Breaking Bad when he appears as his alter ego "Heisenberg", whose persona is associated with the hat. Sony Pictures Television donated "Heisenberg's" hat to the Smithsonian Institution; the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest features a pork pie hat–wearing hype man announcing the entry of each contestant, invoking the carnival barkers of the early 20th century. Pork Pie Hat vs. Fedora—Article on key differences in hat styles
The Haunted House (1921 film)
The Haunted House is a 1921 American two-reel silent comedy film starring Buster Keaton. It was directed by Keaton and Edward F. Cline; the runtime is 21 minutes. Keaton plays a teller at a successful bank. Unbeknownst to him, the manager at the bank and his gang are planning on pulling off a robbery and hiding in an old house which they have rigged up with booby traps and effects to make it appear to be haunted. After a mishap that afternoon with Keaton getting glue all over the money and himself, he thwarts the gang's robbery but when the owner of the bank walks in and sees Keaton armed with a gun he assumes it was he who tried to rob it. Keaton takes refuge in the old house. After Keaton has many encounters with the "ghosts" and the house's booby traps, he discovers the scam and the manager is revealed as being behind the robbery; as the manager is about to be taken away, he hits Keaton over the head and knocks him out before escaping. Next we see Keaton being awoken by two angels at the foot of a large stairway which he ascends all the way to Heaven.
He is denied and is sent all the way down to Hell. However, this is all revealed to be a dream sequence as Keaton regains consciousness in the house seconds later. Buster Keaton as Bank Clerk Virginia Fox as Bank President's Daughter Joe Roberts as Bank Cashier Edward F. Cline as Customer in Bank Dorothy Cassil as Flirty Bank Customer Mark Hamilton as Tallest Ghost Natalie Talmadge as Fainting Female Bank Customer Christopher Workman commented, " belongs to a different, more simplistic era of comedic storytelling; as such it doesn't work too well today... it has a certain amount of naive charm. In its day, there wasn't much original about it, given that haunted houses occupied by criminals had been a staple of the genre for nearly two decades already." List of American films of 1921 Buster Keaton filmography The short film The Haunted House is available for free download at the Internet Archive The Haunted House on IMDb The Haunted House on YouTube The Haunted House at AllMovie The Haunted House at the International Buster Keaton Society