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

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Tommie Hicks
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Re: Rodemich, Sharples & the Chaplin Mutuals -- who did what?

Postby Tommie Hicks » Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:33 am

THE CURE was scored by Rodemich.

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

Postby Richard Finegan » Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:34 am

This is not nearly as easy as it appeared it should have been.
I've been checking YouTube and Archive.org for the Chaplin Mutuals and not yet have I seen one from either source that has the original Van Beuren titles & credits.
I know I have very old videos of them with the real Van Beuren titles, but after a recent move, the boxes of videos are stacked way too high and too deep to easily locate them.

As mentioned earlier, I have a lot of the various books on Chaplin, but certainly not every one. So if this following filmography is in a book or online somewhere, I am not aware of it.
This is a filmography I compiled many years ago of the release dates by Van Beuren of the Charlie Chaplin Mutual shorts:
1. The Cure (8-19-32). GR
2. Easy Street (9-30-32). WS
3. The Rink (11-11-32).
4. The Floorwalker (12-23-32). GR
5. The Vagabond (2-3-33). GR
6. The Pawnshop (3-17-33).
7. The Fireman (8-23-33). GR
8. The Count (11-17-33).
9. The Immigrant (1-19-34). GR
10. One A.M. (3-23-34). WS
11. Behind the Screen (5-25-34).
12. The Adventurer (7-5-34). WS

I have added the initials of Gene Rodemich and Winston Sharples after each title whose musical arranger has so far been confimed. The shorts do appear to have been released in two "seasons": #1 through 6, and #7 through 12. But from the musical arranger credits we have logged so far, there seems to be no pattern to which one worked on which film.

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

Postby Skretvedt » Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:12 pm

Well, Rich, I figured if anyone had the cue sheets for the Van Beuren-Chaplin films, it would be you! One of my dear departed friends was Arnold Brilhart, a remarkable man who during the 1920s and '30s was a prominent saxophonist and clarinetist on New York recording sessions and radio shows. During one of our talks, he recalled being on at least some sessions for the Chaplin scores, and also did some cartoon work, likely also for Van Beuren. (For you old-record fans, Billy Murray is on the Fleischer "Dizzy Dishes," and Red McKenzie sings on the Van Beuren Cubby Bear cartoon "Croon Crazy.") I can hear Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden on some of the scores.

I still have my Image laserdiscs which contain the Van Beuren scores in very nice sound. I wonder if these weren't slightly slowed down in tempo; it seems to me that the films in these video transfers are running at about 20 to 21 fps, and even though the soundtracks seem to be in their original pitch, the tempo seems a bit slower. I could be wrong; it's been years since I've seen the old "Chaplin Carnival/Festival/Cavalcade" compilations in 16mm.

Regards Gene Rodemich, he made many records in the early '20s but nothing in the electrical era. There's a CD series of his records which does include several of the early '30s cartoon soundtracks. Info here--I don't know what happened to Volume One, but I imagine you can ask for it: http://www.jazzbymail.com/search.aspx?s=Rodemich

Rodemich was only 43 when he died in February 1934, which would account for Sharples taking over the balance of the Chaplin scores. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1213860/

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

Postby Jeffrey Nelson » Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:05 am

Skretvedt wrote:I still have my Image laserdiscs which contain the Van Beuren scores in very nice sound. I wonder if these weren't slightly slowed down in tempo; it seems to me that the films in these video transfers are running at about 20 to 21 fps, and even though the soundtracks seem to be in their original pitch, the tempo seems a bit slower. I could be wrong; it's been years since I've seen the old "Chaplin Carnival/Festival/Cavalcade" compilations in 16mm.


The Image laserdiscs were indeed slowed down and pitch-corrected. From an interview with David Shepard at Silents Are Golden:

These were basically the Van Buren versions, except that I made new main titles and historical titles to precede each one of the films. At that time, when the prints were brand new, before they went into service, I made one-inch videotape masters and began to license them for television through TV Cinema Sales Corporation. I didn't have any idea how they would do, but they are what they are - works of genius, but works of genius in black and white without sound. But the company did all right with them, and we put out those versions on home video, as well, through a company called Media Home Entertainment which distributed laserdiscs through Image Entertainment. This was the beginning of my relationship with Image.

As I recall, I didn't have the rights to put them out that way on video under my deal with Blackhawk, but I made some kind of arrangement with them to split the income, and they were glad for the extra income and gave permission. So that was the first video edition of them - basically the slightly modified Van Buren versions.

The other modification associated with the video release was to slow them down to 20 frames a second which is the right speed - or at least in my opinion is the right speed - and to reprocess the Van Buren tracks through an analog device that existed at that time which was called the Eventide Harmonizer which allowed us to raise the pitch so that when we slowed the music down, we could get the pitch back up and it simply sounded like the orchestra was playing slower - not like you were playing a 78 rpm record at 45 or a 45 rpm record at 33.


A bad decision in my opinion, as this also resulted in the audio track being noticeably out-of-sync; not only does the orchestra sound medicated, but the foley effects are off. These same masters (or possibly the laserdiscs themselves) were recycled by Mark Roth for Reelclassicdvd's release of the Van Beuren versions; they are exactly the same except that the films are separated, in chronological order, and new video-generated "Reelclassicdvd Presents" titles have replaced the Shepard titles. The Grapevine release of the Van Beurens is ripped from the Republic VHS tapes, which used Blackhawk 16mm prints, in some cases more complete footage-wise and title- than the Image versions, and projected at the correct speed for the Van Beuren versions so everything sounds right, but unfortunately zoomed in a bit too far. I'd love to have freshly mastered, properly telecined DVDs of the Blackhawk 16mm sound prints at 24fps. Failing that, I'll stick with my trusty Republic laserdiscs.

Here's the complete Shepard interview, for those interested:

http://www.silentsaregolden.com/articles/DavidShepardinterview.html

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

Postby Richard Finegan » Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:23 pm

Yes, I know I still need to get back on here and post those cue sheets I said I'd do!

But meanwhile, digging through old papers I just found a copy I made many years ago of Gene Rodemich's obit from "Variety" for Tuesday, March 6, 1934.
I thought it may be of interest to others reading this topic.

Here it is, exactly as reported by Variety:

GENE RODEMICH
Gene Rodemich, 43, first picture theater m.c. and more recently director of a 65-piece radio and recording orchestra, died in the Medical Arts sanitarium Feb. 28 of pneumonia.

He was making an electrical transcription for the World Broadcasting Co. on Saturday (24) when he felt a chill, but he added clothing and persisted in his task until the selection had been waxed. He was taken immediately to the hospital, but did not rally.

He had been for many years with the Van Beuren Co., makers of animated shorts, and had written much of the music for the Aesop's Fables and the Amos and Andy cartoons.

He began his musical career with the Skourases in St. Louis and in 1928 came to NBC.

---------------
By the way, among other recent passings reported on the same page was Mrs. Ida Mollis - mother of Ben Selvin.


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