Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

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Gary Johnson
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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Gary Johnson » Sat Jun 27, 2015 2:25 pm

Just to level out the playing field a bit and prevent Keaton from sounding too saintly, I would say a good portion of that resentment toward Lloyd could also be accounted to good old professional jealousy. Lloyd's box office take routinely blew Keaton's films out of the water - which Keaton never really fessed up to. He would have us believe that he was on equal footing with both Chaplin and Lloyd throughout the Twenties.
To put it in modern Hollywood vernacular, Keaton was a star, Chaplin and Lloyd were superstars.

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Ed Watz » Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:45 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:Just to level out the playing field a bit and prevent Keaton from sounding too saintly, I would say a good portion of that resentment toward Lloyd could also be accounted to good old professional jealousy. Lloyd's box office take routinely blew Keaton's films out of the water - which Keaton never really fessed up to. He would have us believe that he was on equal footing with both Chaplin and Lloyd throughout the Twenties.
To put it in modern Hollywood vernacular, Keaton was a star, Chaplin and Lloyd were superstars.


It wasn't just in the Twenties when Chaplin and Lloyd were considered far above Keaton's strata. Take a look at this 1955 voting poll for the first George Eastman House Award's Silent Film Male Star recipients. Buster just made the pick:
GEH.jpg
GEH.jpg (126.41 KiB) Viewed 6321 times
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:38 pm

Gary Johnson wrote:Just to level out the playing field a bit and prevent Keaton from sounding too saintly, I would say a good portion of that resentment toward Lloyd could also be accounted to good old professional jealousy. Lloyd's box office take routinely blew Keaton's films out of the water - which Keaton never really fessed up to. He would have us believe that he was on equal footing with both Chaplin and Lloyd throughout the Twenties.
To put it in modern Hollywood vernacular, Keaton was a star, Chaplin and Lloyd were superstars.



I think it was less jealousy and more "stay in you own back yard" as far as Lloyd stealing Keatons writers was concerned. I don't think Keaton ever gave a damn about money or box-office, if he had, ALL his films would have looked like MGM made them. Keaton was a special niche star, with a large and loyal following, but he was indeed not a "superstar", whatever that actually entails.

But the real "superstars" of any particular decade in Film History are usually the ones whose stars fade over time anyway, they speak to their generations and lasting quality usually plays little factor in their popularity to begin with.


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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Jun 27, 2015 6:40 pm

Ed Watz wrote:
Gary Johnson wrote:Just to level out the playing field a bit and prevent Keaton from sounding too saintly, I would say a good portion of that resentment toward Lloyd could also be accounted to good old professional jealousy. Lloyd's box office take routinely blew Keaton's films out of the water - which Keaton never really fessed up to. He would have us believe that he was on equal footing with both Chaplin and Lloyd throughout the Twenties.
To put it in modern Hollywood vernacular, Keaton was a star, Chaplin and Lloyd were superstars.


It wasn't just in the Twenties when Chaplin and Lloyd were considered far above Keaton's strata. Take a look at this 1955 voting poll for the first George Eastman House Award's Silent Film Male Star recipients. Buster just made the pick:
GEH.jpg



Sign of the times in Archivist snobbery, would Barthelmess even make the list today?


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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Gary Johnson » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:32 pm

That's a strange list from Eastman House back in 1955. Keaton's films were just being rediscovered around that time so I can see him slowly making those types of polls, but Lloyd was still sitting on his films. He never really let them out of the backyard during his lifetime. How often were there revivals of his silents in the 50's and 60's?
The Walker Art Museum in downtown Mpls was my main exposure to silent comedy in the 70's. They showed everyone but Keaton and Langdon were particular favorites of the curator so he played them a lot. As I think back Lloyd was probably the least represented of the major clowns. Was his estate asking too high a rental fee for museum showings?

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Ed Watz » Sun Jun 28, 2015 4:18 am

There's a fascinating moment during "mystery guest" Harold Lloyd's 1953 appearance on "What's My Line?" when a blindfolded Dorothy Kilgallen asks Lloyd, "Were you a film comedian...like Laurel & Hardy?" The audience's derisive laughter at this remark -- they of course already know the guest is Harold Lloyd -- gives latter-day viewers a jolt of '50's reality. Lloyd in 1953 was still considered "Hollywood Royalty," even with his films mostly unseen: he was Imperial Potentate of The Shriners; a recent Academy-Award recipient; and perhaps most impressive to the media of the day, he held on to his millions. Whereas Laurel & Hardy, despite their resurgence in TV popularity and beloved status, were looked down upon as lowbrow slapstick comedians, and perhaps their daily half-hour accessibility on TV had something to do with that perception.

Two random observations about Harold Lloyd from my own experience in the 1970's:

When The Elgin Cinema ran the first Buster Keaton Festival in New York City over 40 days in 1970, near the end of its run another downtown revival house ran Lloyd's newly-restored print of THE KID BROTHER for one week (Lloyd was still alive and had just appeared at the UK's National Theater with his film). The Keaton Festival was a tremendous success, and returned to The Elgin again the following year and once more in 1974, while the Keaton rediscovery took off everywhere. I saw THE KID BROTHER back then in a near-empty theater. There was almost no media hype for what many consider Lloyd's masterpiece.

Rohauer told me that in the mid-seventies when The Lloyd Estate put his films up on the auction block, he offered $100,000 upfront and a 50-50 percentage deal. "I was laughed out of the room," he told me. "The Lloyd people wanted money in their hands, so they took Time-Life's big offer. The films proved more of a pain-in-the-ass to Time-Life than they were worth. They did not know how to sustain interest, they figured the films should just sell themselves. After a couple of weeks they gave up on big theater revivals and sold the films as cheap syndicated tv packages. Later one of the Lloyd people said to me that they saw what I had done with the Keatons, and maybe I would've been a better choice." For what it's worth, that's Rohauer's take on what went wrong with the Lloyd revival in the seventies.
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Gary Johnson » Sun Jun 28, 2015 2:01 pm

On a side-tracked note -- I came across an interesting article on Lloyd's adopted daughter, Peggy. I hadn't really read much about Lloyd's kids before, but I found her to be quite interesting -- independent, bright, fun to be with. She refused to live off her parents money, supported herself with many careers in and out of the film Industry and after her first marriage dissolved she raised her child herself (unlike her sister Gloria, who stashed her daughter with her parents while she traveled Europe). She was also very active socially and knew everyone in town - including Charlie and Oona Chaplin. What do you suppose the three of them talked about when out at a social gathering.....Peggy's Dad? But that term 'Hollywood Royalty' was mentioned frequently about her and her sister, so yes, the Lloyd name did hold sway in that town for many decades to go.

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Uli Ruedel » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:42 am

Ed, did you know how that one, albeit regionally limited, Lloyd revival that I'd say did have some success, on German television, came about? Pretty much all I know is that Richard Correll must have been invloved. The Time-Life Lloyd theme song was used, but other than that the versions were original and unedited (save for FRESHMAN -- 1960s re-edit?), although ZDF didn't heed Gaylord Carter's 24pfs suggestion in favor of a German silent film conductor's recommendation to speed-correct (quite excessively in at least one case). Even came with its onw television and book biographies of Lloyd.

Uli
Last edited by Uli Ruedel on Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Ed Watz » Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:09 pm

Uli Ruedel wrote:Ed, did you know how that one, albeit regionally limited, Lloyd revival that I'd say did have some success, on German television, came about? Pretty much all I know is that Richard Correll must have been invloved. The Time-Life Lloyd theme song was used, but other than that the versions were original and unedited (save for FRESHMAN -- 1960s re-edit?), although ZDF didn't heed Gaylord Carter's 24pfs suggestion in favor of a Greman silent film conductor's recommendation to speed-correct (quit excessively in at least one case). Even came with its onw television and book biographies of Lloyd.

Uli


Uli, on syndicated television in the U.S. I'd only seen the Time-Life cuts of the Lloyd features (as well as a half-hour series that sometimes used shorts but also had a "highlights" version of WELCOME DANGER without its soundtrack). Different versions of the Lloyd features for Europe sounds similar to how the Hal Roach Studios product was handled, two separate agreements for the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Having close access to MOMA was a godsend in the 1970s, it was the only way to see all the deleted scenes (including what was deemed politically incorrect) that were removed from Lloyd's films by the Time-Life censors.
"Of course he smiled -- just like you and me." -- Harold Goodwin, on Buster Keaton (1976)

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Re: Great Clyde Bruckman Article and Forthcoming Book

Postby Uli Ruedel » Fri Jul 10, 2015 1:50 pm

For any German readers around (Ed, is it just the two of us?), here are a couple vintage articles on the 1976 German theatrical (that one didn't get very far) and 1980 television revival:
http://pdfarchiv.zeit.de/1976/12/der-strebsame-optimist.pdf
http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-14317663.html

Uli


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