Sunday, May 27, 2018

Buck Moon Trail, Part 3

Note: This is the third part of a series of fan fiction. Please keep in mind that outside of the primary character, Tom Tyler, all others are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Screencaps are from Tom's movies and are used simply as visuals. With the usual disclaimer aside, if you would like to link back to this story and need help doing so, please contact me at Thank you and enjoy the story! 

Supper that night might have been mundane as last night's had Julie not been thinking about Joe's conversation with her earlier. When the time came for her to help feed Tom, who remained in the covered wagon all bundled up, peering out the back and feeling the warmth of the campfire, her movements might not have felt so forced. Julie lovingly held a bowl of hot stew, and spoon fed Tom, occasionally offering him a vegetable or bite of bread. At least his stomach was able to hold down some nourishing food. Plus, Julie felt a lot safer sitting next to Tom for supper than she did with any of the other men, although she did not know why.

“Was that good?” Julie asked Tom, as he finished the last drop of a second bowl of stew. Tom dabbed the left corner of his mouth with a green cloth napkin.

“It was delicious. Thank you, Julie.” Tom's face was close to her own and she looked into his amber eyes. Almost golden, she thought to herself. Pupils visible, eyes that sometimes seemed darker from Tom's left side when the light cast onto it. Now Julie smiled, her lips parted slightly, dropped a tiny kiss on his forehead. All of a sudden she forgot what happened over an hour ago, and started to fall into Tom. A warmth spread over her and it wasn't from the campfire; it melted away her worries, her troubles.

“You're welcome, Tom.” Julie picked up the other end of the blanket Tom left unused, and wrapped it around her shoulder. Tom's eyes widened and he smiled at her. “Do you have any idea how good you are for me?” she asked him.

Tom burst out laughing. “I may as well have asked you the same thing!” he replied, his nose touching her face. They both laughed merrily, a laughter that drowned out the chit-chat of Joe and the other men on the other side of the campfire. Julie felt Tom's arm around her, his big strong hand on her left shoulder. His touch was gentle, yet friendly and protective, like that of a sibling. For the first time during their trip across the country, Julie felt content for the first time. It could have been the first hour of darkness that helped, while the embers of the campfire started to burn down. Every single ember Julie watched go out, matched a part of her past which died out completely. Why would she be worried about such insignificant things anyways, when Tom's health meant so much more to her anyways? She breathed out and shut her eyes. Tom must have noticed because he looked at her expressionless face, which slowly grew back into one of a happy love.

Julie thought to her herself, 'There is just no way I am in love with a man like Tom. It's impossible. It cannot happen. It cannot happen to me. Why? HOW do these things happen?' Her eyes remained closed.  “If you only knew...” she began, her soft words trailing off into the dark of night.

Tom raised his eyebrows before producing a closed-lip smile. His eyes studied her face, taking in her translucent skin and pale pink lips. “I care about you too, Julie. You're just like a sister to me.” At that moment Julie's eyes opened wide before she burst out laughing, loud enough for the men outside the wagon to hear her, also startling Tom.

“Where's my flask?” Julie screamed, thrusting her right hand into her cotton purse and yanked it out, almost tearing the fabric. Tom's eyes widened at her while she took a deep swig. Julie's eyes closed once again and right before she was ready to pass out, a sharp bolt of lighting hit the land close by. It seemed to come out of nowhere, for no rain could be heard falling from the sky. The skies were clear after all when the troupe entered Missouri. Yet something changed, which made Julie think there something more than just a disturbance in the atmosphere. For her, it was a feeling, something that should not exist, something she had to overcome, whether she was drunk or not. 'Ignore it', Julie told herself. 'Just ignore it.' She wanted to scream but did not, could not, perhaps due to Tom's making a resigned sigh before turning over on his side, an indication he wanted to sleep.

“Goodnight Julie,” Tom softy called to her. He wanted to say something about her drinking before bedtime but figured it was useless. His only hope was that she was sober by the time they arrived at their destination. The distant whirring of cicadas lulled Tom to sleep but kept Julie awake. She finally got up, as tipsy as she was, climbed out of the back of the wagon and started walking away from the camp. Joe and the other two men were asleep in their sleeping bags under the stars in front of the wagon, so she did not have to
worry about one of them waking up and following her. Julie kept going on, walking into the night going by the light of the moon. Not really thinking, she found an outcropping of rocks, and sat down by them. Encrusted with mica and quartz, the moonlight seemed to make the rocks wink at her and beckon, as she ran her fingers over them. Pulling out her flask once more, Julie took a final swig and passed out, crawling underneath the shallow ledge of the upper rock. The thunder started up once again only this time, approached closer, and the darkness of night soon turned yellow, drowned out by the sound of rain falling.

To be continued...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Update on Aventuras de Tom Tyler website

By now regular visitors have noticed a change to the homepage of Aventuras de Tom Tyler. There are two reasons behind this: the code needs to be brought up to date for 2018, and due to the volume of material on the site, for aesthetics. Nothing will be lost or removed; if anything, more will be added, particularly regarding the types of roles Tom Tyler played on film. Those four animated stars on the homepage, courtesy of CSS3 code, will have links for each one of them: Cowboys, Superheroes, Movie monsters, Dramatic Roles.

Also – because a number of Tom's “lost films” have surfaces in the past several years, there will be a stress on the need to restore and digitize them (the list thus far consists of: “Jungle Mystery”, “The Man from Nevada”, “The Man from New Mexico”, “Lightning Lariats”, “Cyclone of the Range”,

Tom's non-FBO silent films made for Syndicate Pictures and directed by J. P. McGowan are most likely to be found here in the states; his FBO films, in Europe, active centers being Spain, Russia, Belgium, Netherlands. This is not say an FBO film won't pop up in another European nation; it primarily depends on how thorough a film archive documents what it holds, not to mention the constant influx of donated collections. A film archive operates like a museum; film collectors donate their collections, items are accessioned, the condition of the donated items evaluated (35mm prints from the silent film era usually take priority due to their unstable nature, being made from nitrate which is highy flammable), entered into their database (most professional archives utilize PastPerfect, a software database created just for museums, libraries, film archives), and so on.

In the meantime, the main website is still fully functional, any kinks in the code will eventually be worked out, and enjoy all regular updates there and of course on the blog.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tom Tyler and the Motion Picture Hall of Fame in Anaheim, California

The Motion Picture Hall of Fame in Anaheim, California sounds like a prestigious institution in the domain of Hollywood glamour, but at the height of its operation between 1971 and 1979, it was a combination historical Hollywood museum and cinema which specialized in exhibiting films made before 1950. These films included all genres, even silent films, and film serials. The theatre originally had 48 seats but was eventually remodeled to include 98 seats, with enough space left over to display the collection of the cinema owner, Doug Wright, who worked in movie promotion for a major Hollywood agency. Doug's collection included 2000 items ranging from celebrity autographs, films scripts, movie posters, movie props of all kinds, and early motion picture cameras. Located in what was an old banquet hall located in back of the Saga Hotel (now called Grand Legacy at the Park) on 1650 S. Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim, with the nearest crossroad being Disney Way, Motion Picture Hall of Fame became a destination for connoisseurs of classic film. What diehard cinema patron would not want to be surrounded by a plethora of film memorabilia while enjoying pre-1950's classic films? At the same time, any funds generated from ticket and museum prices went towards a permanent home in the form of a museum for Doug's entire collection.

Most importantly, Doug Wright held an annual event which honored a number of stars in memorable roles, films that were relevant to Hollywood history. In 1975, one of those films happened to be “Adventures of Captain Marvel”,  the 1941 Republic production which is considered to be the greatest serial of all time. Frank Coghlan, William Benedict, Louise Currie, and David Sharpe attended the event during the second week of March, 1975. Tom Tyler was also honored posthumously at the event,  and most importantly, the cinema ran “Adventures of Captain Marvel” from February 27 to May 20 of that year, one chapter per week, in true film serial style.

From The Los Angeles Times, CA, March 14, 1975

Cinema ticket prices were only $1.50 on weekends for the matinee, and for children under the age of 12, $.75 cents. Museum admission was $2.00. While the Motion Picture Hall of Fame generated enough interest among locals and tourists,  funding for the permanent museum ran short and by 1979, ceased operation as a cinema.

Sadly, the Motion Picture Hall of Fame of Anaheim no longer exists although the hotel remains, along with a number of businesses that include Pizzaterian, Jimboy's Tacos, Alpha Mart, Discount Tickets & Tours and Creamistry on the ground floor. Despite its brief period of operation – just barely one decade long – it held an important position in Hollywood cinema history.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tom Tyler at Mostly Lost 2013

One of the most important events in the nitrate community is the annual Mostly Lost one held at Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. Open to the public, the audience of film enthusiasts attempt to identify the exhibited films. It just so happens that back in 2013 at Mostly Lost, a snippet of a Tom Tyler film was shown. Titled “Tom Tames Outlaw”. This film was distributed by Excel Movie Products, a Chicago, IL based company that distributed both 16mm and 8mm films for home use. The company also manufactured film projectors for home use, to encourage people to buy them specifically designed for use with the films available in their catalogs. “Tom Tames Outlaw” was probably an 8mm of “War of the Range” (1933), probably during the 1940's or 1950's. Of course this is not the only one which has been repackaged for home use; Atlas Films was another company that frequently released movies on 8mm for home use, such as “Cowboy Justice”, another Tom Tyler film which was “A Rider of the Plains” (1931).

Screencaps of “Tom Tames Outlaw” can be viewed here.