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|Volume 14 Number 3!||
Blu-Ray on the left, DVD Center, Book on the right
Our earlier issues chronicled the long and challenging ---- but ultimately successful --- efforts to restore The KING OF JAZZ (Universal/’30) after the original Technicolor nitrate was found about 6 years ago. The all color musical had previously only been seen in washed out, incomplete prints. Once the film was added to the National Film Registry, NBC Universal funded a full fledged state of the art 4K restoration. Its screening internationally, including at MOMA, Film Forum, Cinecon, BFI and in Europe and Australia attracted large audiences and accolades for the quality of this superb restoration.
Finally, the restored KING OF JAZZ will be available in both DVD and BluRay through Criterion. The set will include many extras, including audio commentary by Vince Giordano and others; two contemporary Walter Lantz Oswald cartoons with Paul Whiteman connections; graphics supplied by authors David Pierce and James Layton; a long unseen 1933 Universal short, I KNOW EVERYBODY AND EVERYBODY’S RACKET with Paul Whiteman, band singer Irene Taylor, Ruth Etting and others; and a super rare 1929 Paramount short, ALL AMERICANS, directed by KOJ’s director and the forerunner of the feature’s “Melting Pot” finale, and much more.
The DVD or BluRay may be ordered here:
The lavish book on the making and restoration of this film, by James Layton and David Pierce, can still be ordered here:
Or through Amazon:
Book - http://amzn.to/2DC55v7
Blu-Ray - http://amzn.to/2DFvVSh
DVD - http://amzn.to/2DvKfcQ
Show business legend and veteran of nine decades of performing, Rose Marie, passed away on December 28, 2017 at the age of 94. Her Vitaphone short, BABY ROSE MARIE, THE CHILD WONDER (1929) was the very first film our Project was involved with restoring in partnership with UCLA back in 1993. The Project’s Ron Hutchinson and Sherwin Dunner had the honor of sitting next to her during the restoration's first screening in Hollywood in 1995. It was a magical event, with the packed audience's gaze shifting frequently between the 7 year old on the screen and the seasoned performer sitting among us. After the short ended, they brought up the house lights and had her come up to the front of the audience. For several seconds, the place was completely silent as she thought about her first words. Then she said, as if all the memories of making that 1929 short were coming back to her, "That dress...... was blue. It was given to me by Evelyn Nesbitt Shaw...... and I looked off to one side because that's where my mother was....."
Ron Hutchinson kept in touch with her for the next 22 years, sending her a CD of all her 1930's 78s and soundtracks, making copies at her request so she could hand them out to friends at Christmas. It is so nice that the last three months of her life were filled with accolades and recognition due to the extensive screenings of her new documentary, WAIT FOR YOUR LAUGH.
RIP "Baby" Rose Marie!
Patrick Picking has managed the Projects website for the past 22 years, since joining us in 1996, and co-administered Detroit’s Redford Theatre, including screenings of two of the most popular restored Vitaphone shorts.
Audience favorites BABY ROSE MARIE THE CHILD WONDER (’28) with Rose Marie, long before she was on the Dick Van Dyke Show, was shown in honor of Rose Marie's passing. Also shown was another great Vitaphone short subject - LAMBCHOPS (’29) with George Burns and Gracie Allen. The main feature for the evening was THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! (’74). 702 people attended the showing, and everyone seemed to be having a great time!
Opened in January 1928, the beautiful 1,600 seat atmospheric theatre has been fully restored after several decades of effort.
The restoration was shown at MOMA in New York City on Monday, October 23rd and Thursday, October 26th, as part of their UCLA Poverty Row Restorations series. Paul attended both screenings and provided detailed and entertaining introductions to each. Attendance was strong, and the audience engagement was evident when in one early scene, an attendee yelled out “There’s Stymie!” (of Our Gang fame). Paul is now investigating the possibility of MAMBA being released on DVD or Blu Ray.
MAMBA (Tiffany/’30) was the first feature length, non-musical filmed in Technicolor. For years, only the soundtrack disks and the last reel of 35mm nitrate were known to survive. About ten years ago, the Project’s Australian emissary, Paul Brennan, found all of the Technicolor 35 mm nitrate footage, which was mute. The Project put him in touch with UCLA to arrange a proper restoration An interim synch up was made by Jonas Nordin and was screened at Cinefest in Syracuse in 2012
Watch the fascinating video for Murray and Pat Matthews’ THEATRE OF DREAMS: The Rescue of MAMBA.
Frank Buxton, a true Renaissance man and longtime funder of Vitaphone shorts restorations, passed away on January 2, 2018. Frank's incredible career included working with Keaton and Chaplin early in his career, directing countless episodes of HAPPY DAYS, MORK AND MINDY and THE ODD COUPLE, hosting the pioneering children's science series DISCOVERY, and creating and voicing the BATFINK cartoon series. I got to know Frank up at Cinefest and after our Vitaphone Project restored the bizarre and popular SHAW & LEE, THE BEAU BRUMMELS ('28), he insisted that if another Shaw & Lee short became restorable, he wanted to be the one to fund it. Within a year another S&L Vitaphone ("GOING PLACES ('30) ) became a restoration possibility and Frank immediately sent UCLA the full funding.
Frank frequently included Vitaphone shorts in screenings he held in his Bainbridge Island, WA community and funded many other shorts. While Ron worked in midtown Manhattan, we connected for a long and wonderful lunch at Grand Central Station, which allowed Ron to thank him for nurturing his interest in science through his DISCOVERY series, with Ron ultimately becoming a chemical engineer.
Frank was a kind and fun soul, and will be sorely missed!
The Vitaphone Project’s Ron Hutchinson now writes a monthly blog for the CLASSIC MOVIE HUB website. Each moth, columns about Vitaphone, early talkies, discoveries, and how the transition to sound was handled are covered. This blog is just one of many at the massive film buff site.
Here is the link to one of the recent early talkie blogs. Once there, you can search “Vitaphone” or ”Ron Hutchinson” to view more.
The long awaited first volume of restored, digitally mastered early Charley Chase Hal Roach shorts has been released. The two-DVD set contains 18 shorts derived from the best 35mm sources. Shorts included are:
Includes Audio commentaries, a poster gallery, and other extras too.
If this set sells well, more will be released. You can order here: http://amzn.to/2DDl9fr
The Vitaphone Project’s Facebook page now boasts over 2,700 members and has multiple new posts every day. In addition to film clips, stills, posters and discoveries, the site also announces new DVD releases and inquiries from its members.
Check it out at this link if you are already a Facebook member:
A number of interesting books recently released or pending which we are sure Vitaphoniacs will enjoy…..
Friend us on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vitaphoneproject
Movies and books related to Vitaphone can be purchased through Amazon.com by clicking on the items here!
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|VITAPHONE NEWS||ISSN 1066-5951|
|Corresponding Secretary & Editor||Ron Hutchinson||5 Meade Court|
Piscataway, NJ 08854
FAX: (732) 463-8521
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|Jeff Cohen's "Vitaphone Varieties" Site||http://vitaphone.blogspot.com|
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