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A sad, silent goodnight

Do you appreciate, love and/or admire silent films?

I'm afraid there is some startling news bouncing around media outlets this morning.

This single frame may be one of the few remaining from the silent version of "The Great Gatsby." (flixist.com)

In a shocking report just out by the Library of Congress, it appears about 70 percent of 11,000 silent movies made between 1912 and 1930 have been lost due to what the Associated Press is calling "decay and neglect over the past 100 years."

According to an article posted on the Hollywood Reporter website:

“'The Library of Congress can now authoritatively report that the loss of American silent-era feature films constitutes an alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record,” Librarian of Congress James Billington said in a statement. “We have lost most of the creative record from the era that brought American movies to the pinnacle of world cinematic achievement in the 20th century.'”

Some of the classics starring silent film era stars Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Mary Pickford (Wings) have been saved and, in many cases, restored to near-pristine condition.

Sadly, other classics like The Great Gatsby from 1926, Cleopatra (1917), The Patriot (1928) and Lon Chaney's London After Midnight (1927) are presumably lost forever.

Silents, it appears, are no longer golden.

Richland Emeritus kick-off postponed

Mitzi Werther, program director of Richland College's Emeritus plus 50 for seniors, has sent word that the Emeritus Back-to-School Spring Kick-off, originally set for Friday (Dec. 6) morning, has been postponed a week due to the threat of inclement weather.

"There is a strong possibility of a treacherous Friday morning drive.  We do not want to put anyone in harm's way," Werther said.

Marlon Brando with his "borrowed" trophy in "The Wild One" circa 1953. (Columbia Pictures)

No worries, though, the kick-off  has been pushed back a week to Dec. 13.  Instructors will take turns touting their upcoming classes in everything from aging issues, current events, nutrition, music, religion and even screenwriting. 

Yours truly will be among the instructors.  My spring class, which will likely be my last in the Richland Emeritus plus 50 program for a while, will focus on Oscar-winning Hollywood icon Marlon Brando.  We'll dive into the fascinating subject of the man behind the myth.

This is my personal invitation for you to sign up for my spring class and others and to come to the always exciting kick-off event on Dec. 13 (Richland's Sabine Hall, Room 118).

It's free and there's snacks; coffee and muffins at 9 a.m.  Call 972-238-6972 to reserve your spot.

Parody, the new way to pay disrespects

Who says I'm not on the cutting edge of everything cinematic and trendy?

Well, plenty of people, but that's not the point.

George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) once caught a fish this big! Not really, but as long as we're spoofing. (RKO Radio Pictures)

Parodies are all the rage this year.

From music videos like the Bound 3 spoof of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian's Bound 2 by Seth Rogen and James Franco to feature films, videos are hotter than this year's "must-have" toy on Black Friday.

Frank Capra's 1946 Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life appears to be the holiday target of choice this year when it comes to movies.

According to an article posted on the Hollywood Reporter website, "One is by comedian Owen Weber and the other is from Jean-Marc Vallee, director of the Oscar contender Dallas Buyers Club.

Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character in "The Wolf of Wall Street." (thewrap.com)

"Weber recut a Wonderful Life trailer to the tune of Kanye West's  Black Skinhead, which is also heard in the first trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street (opening Dec. 25).

"Weber's parody The Wolf of Bedford Falls ... depicts Jimmy Stewart's hero as a corrupt sellout to evil banker Mr. Potter," the article states.

Sacrilege or homage?

I'll say a little (actually, a lot) of both.

I know this, though.  The version of "It's a Wonderful Life" you'll see in the video below is not your mama's version of George Bailey.


Don't fret over planning your holiday party

Santa315lThe holidays are here and Movie Memories has you covered when it comes to entertainment for your event.

It is time to get serious about planning your holiday event, though.  Whether it's a corporate Christmas party, a country club holiday gathering or a retirement community seasonal celebration, the "Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays" Movie Memories presentation arrives bearing gifts of laughter, nostalgia and holiday joy.

In a presentation lasting a little over an hour, I combine classic Christmas movie clips with behind-the-scene Hollywood insight and tales of Christmases past sure to entertain your group and inspire and touch hearts along the way.
We'll begin by boarding The Polar Express, with stops along the way at everything from White Christmas to The Santa Clause.  Of course our final holiday stop simply must be ... Well, you just have to join us to find out.
Call 972-599-2150 to book your "Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays" Movie Memories presentation today to secure your group's preferred date.


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