The Sunday Intertitle: We Firemen
Preparing for Origin Story, an illustrated lecture I will be giving at Edinburgh International Film Festival as part of POW!!! — our retrospective of live-action feature film adaptations from the sixties, seventies and early eighties. This talk will trace the pre-history of the field, right back to the origins of cinema itself (no lie!).
Despite very early short movie versions of The Happy Hooligan and the Katzenjammer Kids among many others, the first FEATURE-LENGTH comic book movie appears to be ELLA CINDERS, starring the delightful Colleen Moore, from 1926. If anyone can nominate an earlier example, I am all ears.
ELLA C. was a natural for the movies since it deals with a movie-crazy teen who wants to be a star. Better, it began as a movie pitch for a Bebe Daniels vehicle, which turned into a newspaper strip when Hollywood turned it down. This kind of cross-fertilisation was more common than you’d think.