Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

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Jeffrey Nelson
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Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Jeffrey Nelson » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:41 pm

Regarding Winston Sharples' and Gene Rodemich's work on the music & effects for the Van Beuren reissues of the Chaplin Mutuals, does anyone here know who did what on which films?

Richard Finegan
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Richard Finegan » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:26 am

Jeffrey Nelson wrote:Regarding Winston Sharples' and Gene Rodemich's work on the music & effects for the Van Beuren reissues of the Chaplin Mutuals, does anyone here know who did what on which films?

I have the original music cue sheets for the Van Beuren scores recorded for the Chaplin Mutuals. They list all the titles, composers, publishers and extent of use of all the tunes used, but not which of the two (Sharples or Rodemich) was in charge of which score. Very interesting info anyway, I always thought. I've always enjoyed those scores and have played my decades-old cassette tapes of them dozens (if not hundreds) of times over the years. Many of the tunes used in those scores are rather obscure pop hits of the day, not so well remembered today, that may have sounded a bit out of place to viewers at the time who knew they were watching old films but hearing current hit songs on the scores.

Years ago I figured out, and others have agreed that it seemed reliable to conclude that the scores with mostly string arrangements were done by Winston Sharples, while the jazzier arrangements were by Gene Rodemich.
I have a lot of the books on Chaplin, but certainly not all, so if this info may appear in a book or online somewhere I'm not aware of it.

Regarding the musicianship of the bands that recorded the scores, apparently no records were kept, or at least are not known. But it has been pretty well confirmed that among the session musicians who played on the tracks were such greats as Benny Goodman. And they're the same musicians who did such a great job on so many of the Van Beuren cartoons produced at that time.

Several years ago at a Sons of the Desert meeting our Grand Sheik announced that he had a Chaplin Mutual with its Van Beuren score coming up. When I asked "Is it a Gene or a Winston?" after he stopped laughing he just said "Only you would ask that!"

Jeffrey Nelson
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Jeffrey Nelson » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:23 pm

Thanks Richard! That's pretty amazing...I got an answer from no less than the person who owns all the original cue sheets for these scores. And you've got cassette tapes of the scores as well...crazy. Did you record them directly off the films, or were these scores actually released from the original masters at some point? I continue to be sad about these magnificent scores being supplanted by those of Michael Mortilla and Carl Davis, none of which can hold a candle to them. They are some of the best scores ever done for silent films that I've heard, and desperately deserve to be reunited with the films somehow; if the original masters do still exist, perhaps they could be cleaned up a bit and re-edited to fit the current, visually restored versions of the films. Of course, these versions would have to be sped up a bit to fit the music, contrary to the tendencies of current Mutuals custodian David Shepard. I understand his viewpoint that the original Van Beuren editions ran a bit too fast, and perhaps they did, but when he slowed the music tracks down to match his restorations in 1984, the results were aurally disastrous; although the pitch was appropriately corrected, the foley effects were out-of-synch, and the band sounded like they were medicated. Sad, because visually, the good Shepard's restorations were far superior to any previous attempt. And his newest restorations look absolutely spectacular and are more complete than ever before, but they're hamstrung by mostly mediocre scores, so I still often need to dust off my old Republic laserdiscs, which are taken directly from Blackhawk 16mm prints, with the Sharples/Rodemich music present and correct at the proper speed and the foley effects in perfect synch. The only problem with those is that they're zoomed in too far, so that the left side is missing too much info. I really wish I'd invested in a 16mm print of each of them when they were still being sold. I'd get them freshly telecined and make my own damn DVDs...

Pardon me for not hearing of you previous to this; I just googled you and discovered you are a film/film music historian, and are a fan of L&H and the Stooges in particular. Thanks for all you've done in this field so far, and for what you may yet do, whatever that will be.

Geoff Lucas
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Geoff Lucas » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:06 pm

Someplace or other, I had a Van Beuren cartoon on VHS that contained the exact same opening music as featured in their version of "The Immigrant".

Richard M Roberts
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Richard M Roberts » Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:37 pm

Ahmm, Guys, it's very easy to figure out who did which scores on the Van Buren's : They're credited on the original Van Buren prints!

Also, as I recall, the Van Buren Chaplin Mutuals were basically released in two series, and Rodemich did the first batch and Sharples did the second.

RICHARD M ROBERTS

Richard Finegan
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Richard Finegan » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:42 pm

Richard M Roberts wrote:Ahmm, Guys, it's very easy to figure out who did which scores on the Van Buren's : They're credited on the original Van Buren prints!

RICHARD M ROBERTS

You're right of course. I knew that and should have mentioned it, but I was proceeding on the assumption that Jeffrey was referring to prints on which the original Van Beuren credits may have been cut off, replaced or altered.

I can post the music cue sheets here, if anyone else, like me, is interested to know the titles of the tunes used in the scores.
Last edited by Richard Finegan on Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Geoff Lucas
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Geoff Lucas » Tue Feb 16, 2010 9:41 pm

Please do post those music cue sheets if you don't mind. I'd be very interested in looking them over.

I only have a few of the original Van Beuren openings for the films, and I don't have them handy right now so I couldn't tell you exactly who did what.

Geoff Lucas
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Geoff Lucas » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:41 pm

Okay, quick update. The Van Beuren cartoon that I mentioned in a previous post with the familiar Gene Rodemich music found in "The Immigrant" is called "Three Little Kittens".

Also, here is what I can confirm from the films that I have.

Gene Rodemich: "The Floorwalker", "The Vagabond", "The Immigrant"
Winston Sharples: "Easy Street", "The Adventurer"

I don't believe I have any others with original credits.

Richard Finegan
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Richard Finegan » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:35 am

Geoff Lucas wrote:

Also, here is what I can confirm from the films that I have.

Gene Rodemich: "The Floorwalker", "The Vagabond", "The Immigrant"
Winston Sharples: "Easy Street", "The Adventurer"



Going with info on the music cue sheets when occasional new compositions are credited, or an arranger credit is given, I report the following:
Gene Rodemich: The Fireman.
Winston Sharples: The Adventurer (confirming Geoff's report) and One A.M. (so much for the theory that Rodemich was responsible for the jazzier scores!)

Anyone else feel free to fill in the rest.

Jeffrey Nelson
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Jeffrey Nelson » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:42 am

Seven down, five to go. Thanks so much you guys!


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