When Comedians Were Kings
Lloyd and Keaton Make The Trades in 1926
Here are a couple of newsy trade items (from Motion Picture News, in fact) dated 1926. First is Harold Lloyd "on location" at Greenacres making home movies. Some of these are with the Lloyd DVD sets. They are pro jobs with sound and probably the slickest family reels anyone made during the 30's. Harold was a dedicated hobbyist, and had the money to collect all of anything that engaged him. His record library was said to be immense (did the granddaughter keep all those?). There was also photography, which he did to nines and mastered 3-D besides (a book of them is available). Lloyd seems to have been a self-contained guy. A real man-cave dweller, or in his case, eternal boy. He liked society of young people because, I guess, they reminded Harold of himself. Who else maintained a Christmas tree year round? Lloyd lived like a lot of us would if there was money enough, and the lord knows, he had the money. Also of '26 origin, November of that year in fact, is bulletin at left from location of The General, Buster Keaton's epic of the Civil War. I like its detail re hazards of filming the train wreck, which cost producer Joseph Schenck $40,000, "more than any single comedy sequence on record." Sounds like some minor casualties happened when that locomotive went down. And what of footage those other cameras got? Present day The General gives it to us from one angle only --- were others as effective, or more so? "Mr. Schenck insists on the actual thing," says reportage, and this was his cash to burn. So was it Joe or BK's initial idea to topple a real train? Maybe The General was intended start of segue from Buster the comic to Keaton the action hero. Lastly is total of 200,000 feet of film exposed, of which "7,000 feet will be viewed by laughing Keatonish folks when Buster's first United Artists film comes to the screen." As to balance ("193,000 feet") going into Keaton archives, we can but dream. Does any outtake or discarded stuff survive from The General?