Edward Sedgwick was an American film director, writer, actor and producer. He was born in Galveston, Texas, the son of Edward Sedgwick, Sr. and Josephine Walker, at the age of four, young Edward Sedgwick joined his show business family in what was then the Sedgwick Comedy Company, a vaudeville act, doing a singing speciality. He played child parts and did vaudeville acts until he was seven, when he was given his first comedy part, during this time, he was only on stage during the summer months. In winter his father took him back to Galveston and sent him to school and he graduated from St. Marys University of Galveston, and was then sent to the Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio, from which he graduated with the rank of first lieutenant. After graduation, he contemplated a military life but the lure of the stage proved stronger and so he rejoined his fathers company. The troupe consisted of his parents, himself and his two sisters, forced to close the act through the fathers illness, Sedgwick went into musical comedy and soon had a company of his own, known as The Cabaret Girls, produced, directed and managed by himself. The two other members were Edwards twin sisters Eileen and Josie Sedgwick, who both later pursued successful silent-movie acting careers. Sedgwick broke into films as a comedian in 1915, frequently cast as a baseball player. He then became a serial director six years later in 1921, Sedgwick signed with MGM in the late 1920s. There, he found a spirit in fellow baseball buff Buster Keaton. In 1936 Sedgwick briefly became a producer-director at Hal Roach Studios, there, he made Mister Cinderella and Pick a Star, both starring Jack Haley. The latter film featured a guest appearance by Laurel and Hardy and he directed the 1938 film The Gladiator starring Joe E. Brown and Dickie Moore. By the 1940s, Sedgwick had fewer opportunities to direct, when Laurel and Hardy returned to MGM in late 1942, Sedgwick was chosen to direct them in Air Raid Wardens. It was his last assignment for five years, but he remained on the MGM payroll, in 1948, Keaton, employed as a gagman for Red Skelton, had suggested that Sedgwick would be an ideal director for the upcoming A Southern Yankee. But Sedgwick was not up to the challenge, though he received sole directorial credit, Sedgwicks final released film was Universals Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm. Sedgwick died of an attack in North Hollywood, California at the age of 63. He is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Edward Sedgwick at the Internet Movie Database Edward Sedgwick at Find a Grave
Joseph Frank Buster Keaton was an American actor, director, producer, writer, and stunt performer. He was best known for his silent films, in which his trademark was physical comedy with a stoic, deadpan expression. His career declined afterward with a loss of his artistic independence when he was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He recovered in the 1940s, remarried, and revived his career to a degree as a comic performer for the rest of his life. Many of Keatons films from the 1920s, such as Sherlock Jr, the General, and The Cameraman, remain highly regarded, with the second of these three widely viewed as his masterpiece. Among its strongest admirers was Orson Welles, who stated that The General was cinemas highest achievement in comedy, Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest film director by Entertainment Weekly, and in 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 21st greatest male star of classic Hollywood cinema. Keaton was born into a family in Piqua, Kansas. He was named Joseph to continue a tradition on his fathers side and Frank for his maternal grandfather, later, Keaton changed his middle name to Francis. His father was Joseph Hallie Joe Keaton, who owned a traveling show with Harry Houdini called the Mohawk Indian Medicine Company, according to a frequently repeated story, which may be apocryphal, Keaton acquired the nickname Buster at about 18 months of age. Keaton told interviewer Fletcher Markle that Houdini was present one day when the young Keaton took a tumble down a flight of stairs without injury. After the infant sat up and shook off his experience, Houdini remarked, according to Keaton, in those days, the word buster was used to refer to a spill or a fall that had the potential to produce injury. After this, it was Keatons father who began to use the nickname to refer to the youngster, Keaton retold the anecdote over the years, including a 1964 interview with the CBCs Telescope. At the age of three, Keaton began performing with his parents in The Three Keatons and he first appeared on stage in 1899 in Wilmington, Delaware. The act was mainly a comedy sketch, Myra played the saxophone to one side, while Joe and Buster performed on center stage. The young Keaton would goad his father by disobeying him, a suitcase handle was sewn into Keatons clothing to aid with the constant tossing. The act evolved as Keaton learned to take trick falls safely and this knockabout style of comedy led to accusations of child abuse, and occasionally, arrest. However, Buster Keaton was always able to show the authorities that he had no bruises or broken bones. He was eventually billed as The Little Boy Who Cant Be Damaged, decades later, Keaton said that he was never hurt by his father and that the falls and physical comedy were a matter of proper technical execution
James Francis Jimmy Durante was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. He often referred to his nose as the Schnozzola, and the word became his nickname, Durante was born on the Lower East Side of New York City. He was the youngest of four born to Rosa and Bartolomeo Durante. Bartolomeo was a barber, and his wife Rosa was the sister of a woman who lived in the boarding house. Young Jimmy served as a boy at Saint Malachys Roman Catholic Church. Durante dropped out of school in grade to become a full-time ragtime pianist. He first played with his cousin, whose name was also Jimmy Durante and it was a family act, but he was too professional for his cousin. He continued working the citys piano bar circuit and earned the nickname Ragtime Jimmy, before he joined one of the first recognizable jazz bands in New York, Durante was the only member not from New Orleans. His routine of breaking into a song to deliver a joke, with band or orchestra chord punctuation after each line, in 1920 the group was renamed Jimmy Durantes Jazz Band. By the mid-1920s, Durante had become a star and radio personality in a trio called Clayton, Jackson. Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson, Durantes closest friends, often reunited with Durante in subsequent years, Jackson and Durante appeared in the Cole Porter musical The New Yorkers, which opened on Broadway on December 8,1930. Earlier that same year, the team appeared in the movie Roadhouse Nights, by 1934, Durante had a major record hit with his own novelty composition, Inka Dinka Doo, with lyrics by Ben Ryan. It became his theme song for the rest of his life, a year later, Durante starred on Broadway in the Billy Rose stage musical Jumbo. A scene in which an officer stopped Durantes character—who was leading a live elephant across the stage—to ask. Followed by Durantes reply, What elephant and this comedy bit, also reprised in his role in Billy Roses Jumbo, likely contributed to the popularity of the idiom the elephant in the room. Durante also appeared on Broadway in Show Girl, Strike Me Pink and Red, Hot, during the early 1930s, Durante alternated between Hollywood and Broadway. His early motion pictures included an original Rodgers & Hart musical The Phantom President and he was initially paired with silent film legend Buster Keaton in a series of three popular comedies for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer -- Speak Easily, The Passionate Plumber, and What. No Beer. -- which were hits and a career springboard for the distinctive newcomer
Thelma Alice Todd was an American actress. She also had roles in Wheeler and Woolsey farces, several Laurel and Hardy films and she intended to become a school teacher and enrolled at the Lowell Normal School after graduating from high school in 1923. However, in her teens, she began entering beauty pageants. While representing her state, she was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout. She had a brother, William. During the silent film era, Todd appeared in supporting roles that made full use of her beauty. In 1931 she was given her own series, teaming with ZaSu Pitts for slapstick comedies and this was Roachs attempt to create a female version of Laurel and Hardy. When Pitts left Roach in 1933, she was replaced by Patsy Kelly, the Todd shorts often cast her as a working girl having all sorts of problems, and trying her best to remain poised and charming despite the embarrassing antics of her sidekick. In 1931, Todd became romantically involved with director Roland West, Todd became highly regarded as a capable film comedian, and Roach loaned her out to other studios to play opposite Wheeler & Woolsey, Buster Keaton, Joe E. Brown, and the Marx Brothers. She also appeared successfully in such dramas as the original 1931 film version of The Maltese Falcon starring Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, during her career she appeared in 119 films although many of these were short films, and was sometimes publicized as The Ice Cream Blonde. In August 1934, she opened a cafe at Pacific Palisades, called Thelma Todds Sidewalk Cafe. Todd continued her short-subject series through 1935, and was featured in the full-length Laurel and this was her last film, she died after completing all of her scenes, but most of them were re-shot. Producer Roach deleted all of Todds dialogue and limited her appearance to one musical number. On the morning of December 16,1935, Thelma Todd was found dead in her car inside the garage of Jewel Carmen, carmens house was approximately a block from the topmost side of Todds restaurant. Her death was determined to have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, West is quoted in a contemporaneous newspaper account as having locked her out, which may have caused her to seek refuge and warmth in the car. Todd had a circle of friends and associates as well as a busy social life. At the restaurant, she had had a brief but unpleasant exchange with her ex-husband, however, her friends stated that she was in good spirits, and were aware of nothing unusual in her life that could suggest a reason for her committing suicide. She was driven home from the party in the hours of December 15 by her chauffeur
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of feature films and television programs. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California and it is one of the worlds oldest film studios. In 1971, it was announced that MGM would merge with 20th Century Fox, over the next thirty-nine years, the studio was bought and sold at various points in its history until, on November 3,2010, MGM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. MGM Resorts International, a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MGM, is not currently affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1966, MGM was sold to Canadian investor Edgar Bronfman Sr. whose son Edgar Jr. would later buy Universal Studios, the studio continued to produce five to six films a year that were released through other studios, mostly United Artists. Kerkorian did, however, commit to increased production and a film library when he bought United Artists in 1981. MGM ramped up production, as well as keeping production going at UA. It also incurred significant amounts of debt to increase production, the studio took on additional debt as a series of owners took charge in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1986, Ted Turner bought MGM, but a few later, sold the company back to Kerkorian to recoup massive debt. The series of deals left MGM even more heavily in debt, MGM was bought by Pathé Communications in 1990, but Parretti lost control of Pathé and defaulted on the loans used to purchase the studio. The French banking conglomerate Crédit Lyonnais, the major creditor. Even more deeply in debt, MGM was purchased by a joint venture between Kerkorian, producer Frank Mancuso, and Australias Seven Network in 1996, the debt load from these and subsequent business deals negatively affected MGMs ability to survive as an independent motion picture studio. In 1924, movie theater magnate Marcus Loew had a problem and he had bought Metro Pictures Corporation in 1919 for a steady supply of films for his large Loews Theatres chain. With Loews lackluster assortment of Metro films, Loew purchased Goldwyn Pictures in 1924 to improve the quality, however, these purchases created a need for someone to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since longtime assistant Nicholas Schenck was needed in New York headquarters to oversee the 150 theaters. Mayer, Loew addressed the situation by buying Louis B. Mayer Pictures on April 17,1924, Mayer became head of the renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with Irving Thalberg as head of production. MGM produced more than 100 feature films in its first two years, in 1925, MGM released the extravagant and successful Ben-Hur, taking a $4.7 million profit that year, its first full year. Marcus Loew died in 1927, and control of Loews passed to Nicholas Schenck, in 1929, William Fox of Fox Film Corporation bought the Loew familys holdings with Schencks assent. Mayer and Thalberg disagreed with the decision, Mayer was active in the California Republican Party and used his political connections to persuade the Justice Department to delay final approval of the deal on antitrust grounds
Although the Code was adopted in 1930, oversight was poor and it did not become rigorously enforced until July 1,1934, with the establishment of the Production Code Administration. Strong female characters were ubiquitous in such films as Female, Baby Face. Gangsters in films like The Public Enemy, Little Caesar, along with featuring stronger female characters, films examined female subject matters that would not be revisited until decades later in US films. Nefarious characters were seen to profit from their deeds, in cases without significant repercussions. Many of Hollywoods biggest stars such as Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Blondell, Other stars who excelled during this period, however, like Ruth Chatterton and Warren William, would wind up essentially forgotten by the general public within a generation. Beginning in late 1933 and escalating throughout the first half of 1934, in 1922, after some risqué films and a series of off-screen scandals involving Hollywood stars, the studios enlisted Presbyterian elder William H. Will Hays, a figure of unblemished rectitude, to rehabilitate Hollywoods image, Hays, later nicknamed the motion picture Czar, was paid the then-lavish sum of $100,000 a year. The Supreme Court had already decided unanimously in 1915 in Mutual Film Corporation v, lords concerns centered on the effects sound film had on children, whom he considered especially susceptible to their allure. Several studio heads, including Irving Thalberg of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, met with Lord, after some revisions, they agreed to the stipulations of the Code. One of the motivating factors in adopting the Code was to avoid direct government intervention. It was the responsibility of the Studio Relations Committee, headed by Colonel Jason S. Joy, to film production. The Code was divided into two parts, the first was a set of general principles which mostly concerned morality. The second was a set of applications which was an exacting list of items that could not be depicted. Some restrictions, such as the ban on homosexuality or the use of curse words, were never directly mentioned but were assumed to be understood without clear demarcation. Miscegenation, the mixing of the races, was forbidden and it stated that the notion of an adults-only policy would be a dubious, ineffective strategy that would be difficult to enforce. However, it did allow that maturer minds may easily understand, the Code sought not only to determine what could be portrayed on screen, but also to promote traditional values. Sexual relations outside of marriage could not be portrayed as attractive and beautiful, presented in a way that might arouse passion, nor be made to seem right, All criminal action had to be punished, and neither the crime nor the criminal could elicit sympathy from the audience. Authority figures had to be treated respectfully, and the clergy could not be portrayed as characters or villains
What! No Beer?
What - No Beer. is a 1933 Pre-Code comedy film starring Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante, and directed by Edward Sedgwick. The studio had also paired Keaton and Durante as a team during this period in The Passionate Plumber. Mild-mannered Elmer, a taxidermist, and gregarious Jimmy, a barber, are duped by a confidence woman, Elmer and Jimmy reactivate an abandoned brewery in anticipation of the repeal of Prohibition. Their success prompts the crooks to get tough, but Elmer foils them with a truckload of beer barrels, the filming of What - No Beer. was difficult. Since joining MGM in 1928, Keaton was not accorded the creative freedom that he had enjoyed during the silent era, by 1933 personal problems and a messy divorce were interfering with Keatons work, he often showed up drunk or not at all for the filming of What. He was enough of a professional to complete the film, doing extreme pratfalls even while visibly impaired, Elmer J. Butts, taxidermist, goes to a dry rally, where he follows the beautiful Hortense and her gangster boyfriend Butch Laredo into the meeting hall. He sits by Hortense, only to be out after the speaker asks if they want liquor back in this country. Its Election Day, and theres a referendum on Prohibition on the ballot, Jimmy convinces Elmer to vote wet, and they go to the polls only to cause confusion and collapse the booths. Later, at Jimmy’s barbershop, the reports that the country has voted to repeal Prohibition. At a hotel, a group of Spike Moran’s gangsters realize that their operation is washed up. They wonder what Butch will do, at Butch’s place, Hortense asks if this means that she can’t have her Rolls Royce town car. Butch tells her she’ll be lucky to have a wheelbarrow, back at the barbershop, Jimmy breaks off of the celebratory conga line to tell Elmer his million dollar idea, buying a brewery. Elmer wants to be rich, too, so he can marry – and they collect the money and take it to the president of the bank that foreclosed on the local brewery. Jimmy’s offer of $10,000 cash plus $5,00 a month is quickly accepted, Elmer and Jimmy arrive at the brewery, toting bags of supplies. They find three unemployed homeless men there, and they hire them, after dousing themselves with an unpredictable water hose, they assemble the ingredients for a five gallon batch of beer in the huge tank. It only makes a small puddle at the bottom of the tank and they realize that they need 500 gallons, so after donning raincoats, they start work. Suds bubble up over the top and they bottle as much as the can, having several mishaps with exploding bottles and foam piling up over their heads. They put up a sign, “Real beer –5 cents”, instead the cops come in and raid them