Saturday, June 25, 2016

Been gone for a while...........

Well, true believers, it's been a while since I posted over here and the reason is pretty easy to explain. I started this blog as a way to try to get the word out to the public about how Mr. Brendel had unfairly been treated in the history of comedy and out of that I decided to start writing a book. 

Over 8 years ago I started this journey and I still continue it today. But career and my art (I am a photographer in my spare time) have always taken most of my time. But, I am constantly collecting new material on the life and career of El and wanted to give an update here.

In late October 2015, I borrowed a large amount of El material from a family member who had saved loads of stuff after El had passed. In this group are tons of press clippings, notebooks, an album of photos from the 20's to early 30's, near diaries of his and Flo's entire vaudeville career, etc., etc. So much material, in fact, that I am not even 1/4 of the way of going through it all. Some images below of what's in there:

Other news? Some good news I have found out is that a few of El's early films at Fox are in the restoration/preservation pipeline. The bad news is at this time I am sworn to secrecy as to which films they are, but rest assured, this is terrific news for all the fans.

It was announced in October of 2015 Fox would be releasing 100 movies on iTunes as part of their "Century of Cinema" campaign. One of the titles announced was the 1929 feature "The Cock-Eyed World" which would be the first digital release of this film. As of this writing it hasn't appeared yet but supposedly someday. Go here to see the titles released so far:

Capitolfest will have a rare screening of a 35mm print of the 1930 Fox feature, "Just Imagine" at their festival this year. Executive Director of the Capitol Theatre, Art Pierce, has told me this has been one of the most requested films by people coming to the event in years past. Capitolfest runs from August 12th-14th. More information on the weekend can be found on their Facebook page.

Speaking of Facebook, since I started this blog, we all have seen the taking off of the social media platform. Some enterprising folks over there have picked up the Brendel flag and started their own group celebrating El's work. I post there a lot, so come over and join up:

The Illegitimate Cousins of El Brendel Facebook group

That's about it for now, I can't think of anything else off the top of my head. Will update everyone when I have further updates. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

2 Brendel titles to be screened at the final Cinefest.

I'm back! Yes, after longer than wanted hiatus I am here to tell all my readers that 2 rare El Brendel features will be screened next week at the final Cinefest in Syracuse, NY. I have been going to this festival for about 12 years now and when word came down late last year that this would be the final Cinefest, I was heartbroken. I clearly understood the reasons the Syracuse Cinephile Society laid out for it's ending but the thought of not trudging up to central NY in March ever again to see rare films and all my friends, was depressing.

But, the people who put on the show had two great bits of news for all the El Brendel fans, this year they were going to be running two rare feature films he appears in! The first is a 1939 Universal feature, "Risky Business", which will be shown at 11:45pm on Friday night. The film is a radio crime drama and features El in the role of a janitor. His time on the screen is brief but he's there!

an Australian daybill for "Risky Business"

The other, and certainly harder to see film, will screen on Saturday afternoon at 3:45. "My Lips Betray" (1933) is one of the handful of starring roles made in the US by Lilian Harvey and co-stars John Boles. Our hero plays Oswald Stigmat, a chauffeur. This print comes from UCLA and has certainly been on my "most wanted to see" list for some time. According to the UCLA website, the print they have in 35mm is missing reel 6.  I don't know if they have found the missing reel or the film is being presented to us without the lost portion, I'll guess I'll find out when everyone else does!

this German postcard depicts a scene, probably a musical one, from "My Lips Betray"

The dates of the Syracuse Cinefest are March 19th-22nd and there is still time to make your reservations to attend. It is a wonderful weekend and I will miss it so, but it looks to be going out with a bang!! Just look at these great films:

(Films and starting times may be subject to change)

Thursday, March 19th
9:00 am    OUT ALL NIGHT (1933) with Zasu Pitts, Slim Summerville
10:15 am    BEST OF MOSTLY LOST III From the Library of Congress
11:05 am    YELLOW FINGERS (1926) with Olive Borden, Ralph Ince
1:15 pm    TOWER OF TREASURES, RKO TRAILERS Hosted by Ray Faiola
2:15 pm    LIFE IN THE RAW (1933) with George O’Brien, Claire Trevor
3:20 pm    LAST MAN ON EARTH (1924) with Earle Fox, Grace Cunard
4:30 pm    THE ROAD BACK (1937) with John King, Richard Cromwell  
8:00 pm    IT PAYS TO BE IGNORANT (1948) with Tom Howard
8:10 pm    KING OF THE KONGO, CHAPTER 10 (1929) With Boris Karloff
8:35 pm    LUCKY BEGINNERS Hal Roach All Stars
9:00 pm    RETURN OF PETER GRIMM (1926) with Janet Gaynor
10:10 pm    CAPTAIN FLY-BY-NIGHT (1922) with Johnnie Walker, Shannon Day
11:15 pm    THE THIRD ALARM (1922) w/Johnnie Walker, Ralph Lewis, Ella Hall

Friday, March 20th
9:00 am     SERVICE STRIPES (1930) Vitaphone short with Joe Penner
9:10 am    MEN ON CALL (1931) with Edmund Lowe, Mae Clarke
10:20 am    ME AND THE BOYS
10:30 am    DICK BANN’S HAL ROACH SHOW #1 Hosted by Dick Bann
1:00 pm    STORY OF COLOR IN THE MOVIES Hosted by Eric Grayson
2:30 pm     PAINTED WOMAN (1932) with Spencer Tracy, Peggy Shannon
3:40 pm    VITAGRAPH VARIETIES From the Library of Congress
4:45 pm    SECOND FLOOR MYSTERY (1930) with Loretta Young
8:00 pm    BRIDE OF FINKLESTEIN (2015) Hosted by Michael Schlesinger
8:20 pm    A SONG IN THE DARK, More Dangerous Rhythms by Richard Barrios
9:35 pm    HEART TO HEART (1928) with Mary Astor, Lloyd Hughes
10:40 pm    LUCRETIA LOMBARD (1923) with Irene Rich, Monte Blue
11:45 pm    RISKY BUSINESS(1938) with George Murphy, Dorothea Kent
Saturday, March 21st
9:00 am    SMOKING GUNS (1934) with Ken Maynard, Gloria Shea
10:00 am    WELCOME DANGER with Harold Lloyd, Barbara Kent
12 Noon    THE DAWN OF TECHNICOLOR  Early Technicolor Musicals
1:10 pm    FLORIDA STUDIO FILMS  From the Library of Congress
2:15 pm    NEW KLONDIKE (1926) with Thomas Meighan, Lilia Lee, Paul Kelly
3:25 pm    SEA SORE (1934) with Arthur Tracy, Baby Rose Marie
3:45 pm    MY LIPS BETRAY (1933) with Lilian Harvey, John Boles
4:50 pm    TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY (1914) with Mary Pickford
8:00 pm    WE WE MARIE (1930) with Slim Summerville, Eddie Gribbon
8:30 pm    TEA MAKING TIPS (1925)
8:50 pm    SYNTHETIC SIN (1928) with Colleen Moore, Antonio Moreno
10:05 pm    THE DANGER GAME (1917) with Madge Kennedy, Tom Moore
11:10 pm    BABIES, THEY’RE WONDERFUL (1947) with Patsy Kelly
11:20 pm    THREE KISSES (1955) Paramount Topper
11:35 pm    THE BACK PAGE (1933) with Peggy Shannon, Russell Hopkin

Sunday, March 22nd
9:00 am    THE BIG BROADCAST (1932) with Bing Crosby, Burns and Allen
10:30 am    THE AUCTION (2015) Hosted by Leonard Maltin and George Read
12:30 pm    ONCE A SINNER (1931) with Dorothy MacKaill, Joel McCrea 
1:40 pm    CALGARY STAMPEDE (1926) with Hoot Gibson, Virginia Brown
2:35 pm    DICK BANN’S HAL ROACH SHOW #2 Hosted by Dick Bann
3:40 pm    CODE OF THE SEA (1924) with Rod LaRocque, Jacqueline Logan
4:40 pm    THE SEA LION (1922) with Hobart Bosworth, Bessie Love

 Richard Walling & Janet Gaynor in "The Return of Peter Grimm"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

El's home movies - Christmas 1940

Since we have a couple of days to go before the Xmas holiday, I thought I would whip up another of the El Brendel home movies and share it with everyone. This one is from 1940 and shows scenes of Los Angeles, The Brendel's decorations, and El goofing around for the camera. This reel is curious as this may be the only Christmas reel which does not feature any other people other than El & Flo. Enjoy.

I'd like to personally wish Happy Holidays to all my readers and the best of wishes for everyone in 2015!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

El's home movies - Christmas 1939

Since we are around the time of the holidays, I thought what a perfect way to celebrate is to show one of the home movies El made at Christmas. From 1939 until 1963 (his last Xmas before passing), El would produce some fairly elaborate home movies showing how he, his wife Flo, and his friends would spend their holiday together. Along with the festivities of people having fun, there are inter cut scenes of the Brendel's decorations, gifts, and usually sprinklings of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. These 4 to 6 minute shorts were at some period, spliced into larger reels containing several years of Christmas shorts on them and luckily for the viewer, all these were shot in Kodachrome!

This film is the earliest Christmas reel to survive. As most of my readers here will easily spot El, we see his wife, Flo, is the woman with dark hair who answers the door for the guests and the only other guest I have been able to identify is the tall man who is the last one through the door. It's El's son from his first marriage, Elmer.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More of El with ????

Here's another round of "guess who's with El in this photo"! These 3 all come from the same photo session, it appears (to me) to be a recording studio. If you know who any of these people are, please let me know!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Unrealized El project - I Come From Hell

As I have written before, I love researching films from the 20's & 30's which were announced in the press but never filmed or released. This post is about one of them, El's unrealized feature, "I Come From Hell".

advert from the 33-34 Fox Personalities and Product pressbook

The first news of this film I have found comes from the August 7th, 1933 issue of the Los Angeles Times: “I Come From Hell” written by Mal St. Clair and he (was possibly) going to direct.  The description of the picture from the paper blurb: “Sounding like a cross between “Faust” and “Mephistopheles” rolled into one”.

By the September 3rd, 1933 issue of the New York Times, the title had changed to, I Came From Hell and just 8 days later on September 11th the title had changed yet again to, "Olsen's Night Out", Mal St. Clair was still listed as the director but not the writer as the story is now announced as being penned by Henry Johnson and James Tynan.

By the time the film was ready for release the name had changed again to, "Olsen's Big Moment":
artwork for the "I Come From Hell" ad used in the herald for, "Olsen's Big Moment"

And although IMDB (ugh, I know) lists the release date as January 9, 1933, this is incorrect as all reviews I have read come from early January 1934! 

A full reexamination of "Olsen's Big Moment" is certainly due, seeing as it's Brendel in a role where he is a janitor in a girls rooming house (the pre-code jokes could be endless!) and he teams with perpetual funnyman Walter Catlett. UCLA Film Archive has a copy in their vault which is listed on their website as, "7 reels of 7 (70 min.?) (ca. 7000 ft.) : opt sd., b&w ; 35 mm. nitrate print. NOTES: Studio print." Hopefully we will get to see it someday!

 Walter Catlett & El in, "Olsen's Big Moment"

 El and a bevy of girls. The "pre-code" possibilities are endless!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Even more movie ads!

 After my last post reviewing Capitolfest, I was informed I haven't been posting much and it's true. Life has gotten in the way of adding stuff here on a regular basis and hopefully I can change that in the near future. Although it might not seem it, the research into the life and career of El Brendel DOES continue on my end as I am in constant search for any tidbits I may be able to gather from what's out there on the net, in libraries, from generous collectors and other means.

Stay tuned friends, more stuff coming in the future! And sorry, guy who thought I should be posting more, I will try my best. Until I come at you with another article, he's some vintage move ads to tide you over: