Two seconds of Weegee keeping time in “The Set-Up.”
Three minute excerpt form “Footlight Varieties,” 1951 (RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.)
(Coincidentally and intriguingly Weegee’s work on a few films, made around 1950, in Hollywood, a few crime photos in “M” and distorted traffic and people in “Footlight Varieties,” were displayed on television, as television, in the films. The new medium of television on the old medium of film; or the old medium/entertainment of vaudeville, and perhaps photography, presented on the new medium/entertainment of film… Experimental film as a source of humor… Weegee the avant-garde-ist and experimental-ist.)
(And the photo he makes as a street photographer in “Every Girl Should be Married” is presented on the front page of a newspaper in the film… Weegee the multi-media-ist…:-)
“After ‘Yellow Cab Man,’ I did trick photography assignments for several films, including ‘Footlight Varieties’ for RKO. That was a series of shorts put together like a revue with Jack Paar as the master of ceremonies. Jack Paar used this film years later when he auditioned for the ‘Tonight’ show at NBC.”
Weegee by Weegee, p. 100
Special Effects: Weegee (Elastic lens eff)
“…Paar discusses the growing influence of television on popular culture, as scenes featuring unusual visual effects are shown on two television sets situated on the stage…”
Release Date: Apr 1951
Premiere Information: San Francisco opening: 21 Mar 1951.
Production Date: began 25 Jul 1950
Summary: From a theater stage, master of ceremonies Jack Paar greets the audience, then introduces radio quartet The Sportsmen, who sing three numbers. Next, Paar discusses the growing influence of television on popular culture, as scenes featuring unusual visual effects are shown on two television sets situated on the stage. Posing as a radio contest emcee, Paar then introduces comedian Red Buttons, who performs a routine about his public school days.
An excerpt from the short film He Forgot to Remember is next: When his wife Vivian catches him jitterbugging with a young woman in a nightclub, Leon Errol, who is supposed to be on a fishing trip, feigns amnesia. The next day, a seemingly concerned Vivian insists that Leon be seen at home by Dr. Twitcham. After the doctor concludes that Leon is actually suffering from dementia, a seductive woman named Barbara arrives and informs a startled Leon that she is his wife. Vivian soon discovers Barbara hiding behind her couch, and the two women start to argue, then Vivian suddenly offers to sacrifice Leon to Barbara. Unknown to Leon, Barbara is Dr. Twitcham’s nurse, and both she and the doctor are helping Vivian teach Leon a lesson. Their ruse climaxes when Barbara pretends to shoot Vivian, and two policemen storm in to question Leon. Believing that Vivian is on her deathbed, a contrite Leon finally confesses his deception. Vivian responds by hitting Leon over the head, which results in a genuine case of amnesia.
Back in the theater, dancer Inesita performs a flamenco number. Paar then provides humorous offscreen commentary as excerpts from a 1909 silent film, titled Confidence, or Beautiful Romance of a Nurse , are screened. Next Paar introduces pianist Liberace, who plays a classical piece as well as a boogie number. Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats perform next and are followed by a comic rumba routine featuring Paar and dancer Grace Romanos. In a film excerpt, Buster West, Melissa Mason and several pairs of black jitterbuggers perform a hillbilly-themed dance number. After The Sportsmen sing a final number, Paar bids the audience good night.
Special Effects: Weegee (Elastic lens eff)
Note: The film’s title card reads: “Footlight Varieties A New Musical Revue Including Highlights from RKO Film Hits.” Footlight Varieties was the third and last compilation film released by RKO between 1948 and 1951. The previous two pictures, Variety Time (1948) and Make Mine Laughs (1949), also featured Jack Paar as emcee (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). The Leon Errol excerpt was taken from a 1944 short RKO film entitled He Forgot to Remember . George Bilson produced the short and Hal Yates directed and co-wrote it. Frankie Carle’s “La Paloma” number first appeared in the 1947 RKO short film Carle Comes Calling , directed by Jack Scholl. The silent excerpt was taken from a 1909 American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. short entitled Confidence , directed by D. W. Griffith (see AFI Catalog. Film Beginnings, 1893-1910 ). Some of the actors listed above for Confidence may not have appeared in the excerpt. The number featuring Buster West and Melissa Mason first appeared in the 1938 RKO film Radio City Revels , directed by Ben Stoloff.
According to HR news items and production charts, the following performers were cast in the picture: Red Nichols and his New Orleans jazz band, The Elder Lovelies from Ken Murray’s Blackouts , Pat Hall, Mona Knox, Sue Casey, Blanche Taylor, Suellen Wiere, Spec O’Donnell, Sara Serenado and Wendy Waldron. The appearance of these performers in the final film has not been confirmed.
Cast: Leon Errol (Leon Errol)
Jerry Murad’s Harmonicats
Frankie Carle and His Orchestra
Dorothy Granger (Vivian Errol)
Patti Brill (Barbara)
Byron Foulger (Dr. Twitcham)
Harry Harvey (Leon’s friend)
Jack Paar (Himself)
Confidence excerpt: Florence Lawrence (Florence)
Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Director: Hal Yates (Dir)
Jack Scholl (Dir of “Carle Comes Calling” excerpt)
Ben Stoloff (Dir of “Radio City Revels” excerpt)
D. W. Griffith (Dir of “Confidence” excerpt)
Doran Cox (Asst dir)
Producer: George Bilson (Prod)
Writer: Hal Yates (Leon Errol scr)
Felix Adler (Leon Errol scr)
Photography: J. Roy Hunt (Dir of photog)
Frank Redman (Dir of photog)
Jack MacKenzie (Photog for “Radio City Revels” excerpt)
G. W. Bitzer (Photog for “Confidence” excerpt)
Arthur Marvin (Photog for “Confidence” excerpt)
Art Direction: Walter E. Keller (Art dir)
Film Editor: Edward W. Williams (Film ed)
Jay Whittredge (Film ed)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Norman Bennett (Mus supv)
Sound: Frank Sarver (Sd tech)
Special Effects: Weegee (Elastic lens eff)
Country: United States
“Every Girl Should Be Married,” 1948, The best 10 seconds. (Unfortunately Weegee’s voice was dubbed.)
“Every Girl Should Be Married,” 1948, The best 10 seconds… now 1:23.
“Every Girl Should Be Married,” 1948, The best 10 seconds… now 3:29
“Every Girl Should Be Married,” 1948, The best 10 seconds… now 13:57
(Betsy Drake and Franchot Tone.)
MoMA, October 30, 1950: Steichen reads Weegee’s words: “…So I got tired of fashion and so I went to Hollywood. I’ve appeared in five pictures as a street photographer. The greatest bit of casting since Lassie.” [much laughter and applause]
“I also joined the Screen Actors’ Guild and became an actor. My first part was in the RKO production ‘Every Girl Should Be Married,’ with Cary Grant (with complete wardrobe of sports jackets), Betsy Drake, Franchot Tone, and Diana Lynn. I played the part of a street photographer.”
Weegee by Weegee, p. 101
“In the remake of the old German Peter Lorre classic, ‘M,’ I played a murder suspect…” Weegee by Weegee, p.101
Screenshots from M, Directed by Joseph Losey, 1951 (starting approx. 8:05)
A few of the still images, between the “DON’T”s, are (bizarre and incongruous, staged and spooky) Weegee photos…
(A small mystery, finally, solved.)
“1951. March: A remake of the Fritz Lang film M is released with Weegee in the role of a murder suspect.” “Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles” p. 125
Seven of the greatest seconds in film history!
Seven seconds of seminal cinema!
Anyone who wanders into Weegee’s world, is curious and looks closely, notices that there is often a bit of ambiguity, confusion and obfuscation (perhaps even misinformation) surrounding the facts of Weegee’s photos. (Even the cats have three eyes.) The most obvious examples of this are the titles and dates of Weegee’s most famous photos, for example, “Summer, Lower East Side” ca. 1937, was made in the Upper West Side, perhaps around 1945. (More, and incomplete, info about “Summer, Upper West Side” is here.) “Weegee’s Camera Magic” is another example:
There is a Castle Film called “Camera Magic,” it’s #806. (It was made or released from 1945-1953?) Perhaps the filmmaker is anonymous.
There is a Castle Film called “Weegee’s Camera Magic,” it’s #1016 in black and white, and #9021 in color. It was copyrighted in 1960. (And released between 1960-1966?)
We think “Camera Magic” and “Weegee’s Camera Magic” are two different films.
(Interestingly Weegee’s film is in both color and black and white. And in way, perhaps Weegee continued his work with Universal.)
Page 156 of “Castle Films: A Hobbyists’s Guide” by Scott MacGillivray, the google books version is here.
Page 312 of “Castle Films: A Hobbyists’s Guide” by Scott MacGillivray, the google books version is here.
A useful, informative, great book: “Castle Films: A Hobbyists’s Guide” by Scott MacGillivray.
CAMERA MAGIC DVD Converted From Original Black and White by Arthur Weegee
* Historically Important Special Effects Revealed *
Please understand you are purchasing a DVD of the original print of the black and white – 16mm – sound version of this production. You will not be receiving any film product.
A documentary using camera techniques and found objects to allow the amateur film maker or enthusiast to create special effects. That would be interesting enough, but this was made by WEEGEE – the most famous TABLOID photographer in America – the man who created the genre in the 1930’s and 40’s. What might have been routine in the hands of another cinematographer takes on a new, weird and carnival-like flavor. WEEGEE roams the streets of New York City, and we get to tag along, seeing different camera tricks as we go. The techniques include shooting with a special 90 degree lens that lets you film people surreptitiously, shooting past angled mirrors to create kaleidoscope-like effects, and using reflective sheets with other tricks to achieve effects such as a woman with two heads. A great DVD for anyone with an interest in WEEGEE, a New York film collection or interest in the origins of the “light shows” of the psychedelic 60s.
Some of the scenes include: On Water or Dry Land, Bearded Lady of the Circus, Handsome Man in the Palm of Your Hand, The Girl Who Lost Her Head, Impossible Physical Contortions, The Human Fly, Split Stage (matting film), Goose Step, Horse That Can’t Make Up His Mind, Fish that Jump out of Lake into Boat, Preventing Accidents / Staging Accidents, Making Dollies, Dissolving in Two Figures, Optical Painting – Use of Prisms.
The DVD was carefully / optically produced, retaining the highest quality of the visual and audio information provided. Entertaining in a 9 minute DVD.
The above is a current eBay auction:
For $10.00 you can buy a DVD of a film that was not made by Weegee, but is allegedly made by “Arthur Weegee.”
This is not Weegee’s Camera Magic.
(Not Weegee’s Camera Magic can also be seen here.)
To be continued…