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.