Nitrateville Correction Dept: One Opinion on Film

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Richard M Roberts
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Nitrateville Correction Dept: One Opinion on Film

Postby Richard M Roberts » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:49 am

You know, I have nothing particularly against Bruce Calvert, a reasonably reasonable fellow, but since he persists in being part of the Nitwitville nerdcount , he’s going to have to take his lumps just like the rest of them, especially when he is engaging in the standard Nitratevile practice of pulling information out of ones ass and presenting it as “fact”, as he did in this thread:

https://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=28037

where he exclaims like it’s God’s own truth that the Weiss Brother silent comedies were not “box office hits”. Oh really Sunny Bruce? Taken a look at Weiss Global International’s books have we? Well, as someone who has gone through the records of said organization, let me set you straight on the actual genuine facts of this matter.

In fact, The Brothers Weiss made a very pretty penny on their short comedies, not once, but several times. The standard budget for a Weiss Brother two-reeler, either produced by them or one of their producers like the West Brothers was $5,000 or less, as opposed to Mack Sennett or Hal Roach who spent on average $20,000 to $40,000 a short, and between the Weiss’s own small chain of East Coast Theaters, their own direct distribution and sales system to a national mailing list of rural independent theaters (the Weiss’s didn’t do that much states-righting, they handled their own East and West Coast rentals, and only states-righted to a few Midwestern and southern territories), and selling these to overseas distributors, it was almost impossible not to make money on these shorts, and most likely, that profit margin was higher than what Sennett and Roach was pulling in on their shorts (there’s much to be said for the concept of low overhead).

Also, due to the small rural theaters that Weiss was servicing, these silent comedies continued in play a lot longer than the silent product of the major producers, which is why Louis Weiss continued production on these shorts into 1929-30 and was still collecting money on them into 1932. Then just three years later, he put scores on a number of them and reissued them to theaters as old-time silent comedies, even if some of them were barely five years old, and earned more coin on them.

The next time these shorts minted money for the Weiss’s was in 1947 when Louis Weiss wisely realized there was already a growing need by the new medium of television for time-filling product and syndicated a collection of these shorts for just that use. Weiss was a pioneer in syndicating old film product to TV, and these shorts were a mainstay into the mid-1950’s, along with packages of old independent B-westerns Weiss had either released originally or picked up along the way, and paved the way for Weiss to purchase more film like the Lippert product the Benedict Bogeaus productions, and other television product for syndication that was their main money-spinners in the 1960’s and 70’s.

The third time these silent shorts made the Weiss Family a nice packet was in 1963, when thanks to Robert Youngson’s successful silent comedy compilations and kid’s shows looking for more funny, cartoon-like product, Louis’s son Adrian Weiss, now head of Weiss Global International, realized he had in his vaults enough material to produce his own COMEDY CAPERS/FUNNY MANNS series and cut these shorts into 150 five-minute programs titled THE CHUCKLEHEADS, which found quite decent syndication both in the states and overseas, these are why there are still a number of ageing film buffs who grew up knowing who Poodles Hanneford was.

Not “box office hits” ? Those shorts were some of the best investments Louis Weiss ever made, and this was a gentleman who used his film library better than anyone, and knew how to ballyhoos profits out of a film. He understood that lab bills and publicity bills were cheaper in those days than studio bills, and if a film couldn’t be re-released, it could be recycled, there were people who retired comfortably on their percentages of WHITE GORILLA (1945), shot in two and a half days and two-thirds consisting of the 1927 Weiss serial PERILS OF THE JUNGLE. Weiss Global International closed it’s doors in 1984, hell, it lasted longer than MGM, and the nicely preserved back catalogue now belongs to Kit Parker, and the reason those Weiss Brother Comedies still look so nice today when we put them out on DVD’s like WEISS-O-RAMA was not because the negatives were not used, it was because the Weiss’s kept them in pristine storage for decades, and in the late-40’s/early 50’s Louis Weiss spent the money to make nice fine grain safety preservations, both in 35mm and 16mm, as well as retaining the original nitrate materials. Perhaps second only to Hal Roach did any producer of short comedies make more out of their back catalogue, and Louis treated and preserved those materials infinitely better than Hal.

Never discount those “poverty row” producers, notice those same names seemed to continue from the Silent Era into the 50’s and 60’s, just because they didn’t spend much money on their films doesn’t mean they didn’t make pots of it off of them. The Trem Carrs, Willis Kents, Louis Weiss’s, Kroger Babbs etc all did very well for themselves thank you very much, as I said, there was much to be said for low overhead.

So sorry Bruce, you don’t know what you are talking about, I know it’s par for the course for most of Nitwitville these days, but perhaps you will understand that I kick on you for it because I expect more and better from you, and on yet another thread regurgitating Charles Epting’s stupid article from six months ago no less! I know Nitwitville has so little to say of import or accuracy, but do you really have to re-do threads already gone over? Oh well, someone who missed the message first time around, and was too lazy to do a search, happens a lot over at Nitwitvile apparently. Well, rest assured, Epting’s tome is still as stupid today as it was six months ago, but Nitwitvile may be continuing to lose ground.


RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard M Roberts
Godfather
Posts: 2134
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm

Re: Nitrateville Correction Dept: One Opinion on Film

Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:13 pm

So today Gebert tries to open his yap and show he knows even less than Bruce Calvert about this whole subject, even cluelessly making some nonsense claims that I am "switching the goalposts" in some comparison that Calvert never made to begin with.

Calvert said the Weiss Brother comedies were not "box-office hits", period, no comparisons to any other film producers.

I said (with proof to back up) that the Weiss Brother short comedies made money for the Weiss's the first time out of the box.

I then said the Weiss Brother comedies made money for the Weiss's the second time out of the box.

I also said the Weiss Brother comedies then made money for Adrian Weiss the third time out of the box.

I also proved that the Weiss's surviving materials on these films are in good condition not due to lack of use, but due to good preservation tactics amid much use of the materials.

What goalposts? The Weiss Brothers made films that were designed to make money in the markets they were made to be shown in, and they did, as well as proving themselves to be a successful and fruitful investment for them in the future. Neither Sam Goldwyn nor any other mogul has anything to do with the argument, nor does any silly-ass hierarchy of Hollywood made up by film nerds (Roger Corman ain't hurtin' for moolah either).

So Calvert's still wrong, Gebert's still wrong and an asshole, though at least he's speaking his piece over at his silly newsgroup, not trying to diss me over at his Facebook page, and proving once again he's still a daily reader of this site he says he ignores, and we still make him so twitchy that he tries to insert into the argument without thinking it through or likely even reading it properly. More nonsense pap from Nitwitville.


RICHARD M ROBERTS


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