Sherlock Jr in Hamilton NY

Am back from a few weeks of R&R out of town, and ready to launch into September. Am gearing up for my return to Norway for “Stumfilm Dagere”, 5 Sessue Hayakawa films at MoMA’s retrospective, the launch of the fall season of my Silent Clowns series, a show at Scandinavia House (NYC), and my return to Massillon OH for the “Fall Cinesation“. Over 20 shows in all, plus the DVD release of Houdini: The Films by Kino Video.

The show on Sun Aug 5 in Hamilton NY went really well. The Hamilton Theater is the town’s original Opera House, built in the 1890s. The theater’s orchestra pit (boarded over currently) and dressing rooms etc are still intact. The theater became a movie house several decades back, and was acquired by Colgate College several years ago, and is currently primarily a first-run house with occasional special events. The vintage-looking marquee you see was built and installed last year as a gift from the Colgate class of 1956.

We do a silent film every year in early August, and this year (our 5th!) we had our biggest crowd ever. The program: Sherlock Jr., plus My Wife’s Relations and The Goat. All prints were 35mm, and the films went over big time. I was particularly pleased with the way My Wife’s went over, a great opening to the program. A local car collector parked two vintage 1920’s Ford automobiles in front of the theater. That’s theater manager Chuck Fox posing with me at the running board of one of the Fords. The other photo shows the theater staff; at the far right of the group is chief projectionist Henry, who when we started rummaged around the theater and found the lens and plate for silent full aperture for our 2004 show of Seven Chances.
Managed to work in a plug for Capitolfest, held the following weekend in Rome NY — unbeknownst to me, fest dir Art Pierce and his wife were in the audience! They’d come to Hamilton shows in the past, and it was great to see them again.

The following weekend found me in Manchester VT for a Harold Lloyd program of Grandma’s Boy, plus the shorts Number, Please? and Ask Father…all 16mm from my collection. Every August I do a show at this suburban platter-twin, but I bring in my own projectors and my daughter runs them. I also bring in one of my digital pianos for the program, and the theater arranges for a guitar amp. This year I also brought a tray of 35mm repro slides of 1920’s movie theater glass slides to run before we started. The show, which started at 12noon before the theater’s usual first show of the day, went really well, with quite a few kids in attendance, and the films played nicely.

You’ll notice there are two different projectors being used. One is an Elmo and one is an Eiki — the Eiki has been modified to run at 21.5 fps, a trick I learned from John Stone, who does the Films on the Hill series in Washington DC. The shorts were run on the Eiki, and Number Please? played much better at that speed. Bruce Lawton and I have run this a number of times to slightly iffy response and I’d always wondered if it just needed to be slowed down a hair, and this seemed to work.

Once these two shows were behind me, I was able to unwind and spend time with my family doing nothing. Details for the Norway fest continued to percolate during August, and I’ll post again with info on these shows.

Next show — Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington (Long Island). Will bring a short in 16mm from my collection to open for the feature (35mm), either The Goat or The Playhouse.

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