Last week I received the March edition of Turner Classic Movie’s ‘Now Playing’ guide. I always get excited when this arrives in my mailbox. Breaking the seal, grabbing a highlighter and, like a kid in a candy store, I scan the rows of featured films. I ask myself important questions, such as “How much open space is on the DVR?” “How many can I watch in a day without drying my eyes out?” But most importantly, I ask “What are the silent films of the month?”
Most Sunday nights, TCM offers a silent movie, usually around midnight, Eastern Time. This March 7th is one of my favorites-SHOW PEOPLE (1928).
Directed by King Vidor and starring Marion Davies and William Haines, it tells the story of a young girl who goes to Hollywood to become a dramatic actress and finds herself cast in slapstick comedies.
Cameo appearances are made by such popular actors as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, John Gilbert, and Mae Murray. A funny, sweet and revealing story, SHOW PEOPLE is a wonderful behind the scenes look at life in the movies. But while the title says it is about the people of show business, that isn’t the only thing you will see. According to the TCM website: “Studio scenes were taken at the, by then, derelict Essanay studios, where such comedy greats as Chaplin and Mabel Normand had gotten their start. Shortly after filming, the whole place was demolished.”
George Eastman House holds the original nitrate camera negatives for SHOW PEOPLE in its vaults. It is not available on DVD or video, but is fully preserved at GEH. For more information on SHOW PEOPLE (and to vote on the TCM website for its release on DVD) please see http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title.jsp?stid=2609. Enjoy!
Deborah Stoiber is the Nitrate Vault Manager at The Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center. She graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School in 1998. After graduation, she spent time at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY working on their 16mm collection.