Archive for John Kobal

Pg. 17 #10

Posted in FILM, literature, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2020 by dcairns

 

Barber came to the controversy thanks to a girlie magazine. In the summer of 1979 Gallery offered its readers, amongst the nudes, a record of the section of the police Dictabelt that includes the noises said to be gunshots. He played it again and again, and detected something the experts had missed. What had been thought to be unintelligible “Cross-talk” — conversation coming in from another radio channel — Barber’s ear identified as the voice of Sheriff Bill Decker, in the lead car of the motorcade. The sheriff’s voice occurs on the recording at the same point as the impulses that the Committee’s experts said were gunshots. What he is saying is, “Move all men available out of my department back into the railroad yards there… to try to determine just what and where it happened down there. And hold everything secure until the homicide  and other investigators can get there.” Clearly Decker did not issue his orders till after the shooting.

*

It was Reverend Pettigrew who complained about Floyd Gummer carrying them in his drugstore. Of course I went right down and seized them. Floyd was a good old boy and I knew he wouldn’t go complaining to any American Civil Liberties Union or any of those Illuminatus-controlled eastern troublemakers. I just told him about the complaint and he handed them over gentle as a lamb. He didn’t want to be on the bad side of the Reverend any more than I did. You sure can learn more diplomacy in a small town than you can at the Paris peace talks.

*

All interesting, indeed. And yet all these findings taken together did not slimmest reed of evidence. The case for demonic possession had finally to rest on what was plentifully lacking at Loudun: the reliably witnessed and reported occurrence of so-called paranormal phenomena. Levitating mattresses are very out front.

*

I never took it as seriously as some people because of my insatiable curiosity about everything. This is why the moment I finished making a picture, I left California as quickly as I knew how, on a train in those days, and used that time in bed all the way across the continent for reading, because I didn’t have time to do it back there. I would see all the plays in New York, see all my friends and then maybe stay here or go abroad.

*

South Avenue northeast of the Village acquired a reputation not long after the Civil War as a competitor to the Bowery. Legend has it that the area was christened by the notoriously corrupt Police Captain Alexander “Clubber” Williams, when, upon being transferred in 1876 from the Oak Street Station in the drably commercial far downtown to West Thirtieth Street, he said, “I’ve been living on chuck steak for a long time, and now I’m going to get a little of the tenderloin.”

*

Zukor not only gave Goldstein the money — which was an uncharacteristic gesture for someone as cautious as Zukor — but he visite the arcade and within a short time convinced Kohn they should set up one of their own on Fourteenth Street, which at that time was New York’s tenderloin, crammed with dance halls, saloons, and arcades and teeming with immigrants looking for inexpensive thrills. As he later recounted his inspiration to Michael Korda, “I looked around and said, ‘A Jew could make a lot of money at this.'”

*

“Aaron Wassertrum, for instance! He’s a millionaire. Owns a third of the Ghetto. Didn’t you know that, Herr Pernath?”

*

Seven extracts from seven page seventeens in seven books, plucked fairly randomly — but I, too, believe in the reality of accidents — from my bookshelves. The books were ~

Not in Your Lifetime, by Anthony Summers; Right Where You Are Sitting Now, by Robert Anton Wilson; William Peter Blatty on The Exorcist, From Novel to Film, by William Peter Blatty; People Will Talk, by John Kobal, interview with Gloria Swanson; Lowlife, by Luc Sante; An Empire of their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, by Neal Gabler; The Golem, by Gustav Meyrink.

Semi-random illustration: the Kino-Babylon cinema, Berlin, designed by architect Hans Poelzig, also set designer of DER GOLEM.

Pg. 17, #4

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2020 by dcairns

fields

De Laurentis inspects Kong’s skeleton.

*

Vaudeville was born at approximately the same time as W.C. Fields and in approximately the same place. An outgrowth of the British music hall tradition, variety performances were initially used to draw customers into American beer halls in the 1870s. The first vaudeville theater, Tony Pastor’s, was opened in New York in 1881, and the trend to clean shows that could play to “double audiences” (meaning men and women) spread to other cities. By 1885, there were more than twenty such houses in Philadelphia, which was to become known as “the Cradle of Vaudeville” for all the important acts that got their starts there.

*

What vaudeville had to teach its practitioners was a discipline and method. The vaudeville act had to put itself over to a critical and not very patient audience, in a strictly limited time–it could be sixteen minutes or it could be eight–against relentless competition and without the benefit of a favourable context (a dramatic monologuist might be sandwiched between knockabout comics and performing seals).

*

The leaning towards violent contrast — which in Expressionist literature can be seen in the use of staccato sentences — and the inborn German liking for chiaroscuro and shadow, obviously found an ideal artistic outlet in the cinema. Visions nourished by moods of vague and troubled yearning could have found no more apt mode of expression, at once concrete and unreal.

*

Your world appeared to have everything. You grew up in Hollywood, you had the kind of adulation that people live lifetimes trying to achieve without ever attaining.

*

That June, I spent my first night alone in a hotel (at Grand Rapids), and so, a little more than a month before my sixteenth birthday, I was into a ten-week season–one production a week–during which I would end up playing leads not only in the children’s shows (for instance, the Lion in The Wizard of Oz), but in the regular Equity company too (Signe Hasso’s teenage son in Glad Tidings). I played a butler with Sylvia Sidney, worked with Edward Everett Horton (as his dresser), Veronica Lake and ZaSu Pitts (moving furniture around). I also received my first credit as director–of the Children’s Variety Show. That winter, I got special permission from my school to miss athletics so I could take afternoon and early-evening acting classes with the legendary Stella Adler, who became so dear to me in so many ways.

*

‘We were able to do that much for Bitsy, buster,’ Harry snarled. ‘We were able to get the Joint Chiefs to lean hard enough to get you an honorable discharge.’

*

Seven passages from seven page seventeens found in seven books in my living room, randomly but mostly on the same shelf. I like the mix of film and non-film here. It tells a kind of story, doesn’t it? Well, in roughly the same way that MARIENBAD does.

W.C. Fields, a Biography, by James Curtis, Buster Keaton, by David Robinson, The Creation of Dino De Laurentiis’ King Kong, by Bruce Bahrenburg, The Haunted Screen, by Lotte H. Eisner, People Will Talk, by John Kobal (interviewing Gloria Swanson), Who the Devil Made It, by Peter Bogdanovich, and Arigato, by Richard Condon.