10 Questions with Mike Schlesinger

This is Mike accepting the Rondo award.  Rondo is on the lower left!
This is Mike accepting the Rondo award. Rondo is on the lower left!

I’ve known Mike Schlesinger for a number of years.  Just how many, I’m not sure.  I ran into him at a film convention some time in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and laughed at one of his T-shirts.  Despite what he says, he has a collection of odd shirts, always film-related, most I’ve never seen anywhere else.  We also share a fondness for really stupid jokes and bad puns.

Mike is very modest and soft-pedals his various accomplishments.  I can tell you, and without hyperbole, that for years he was the only guy in distribution at any of the studios with a clue about movies made before 1950.  Today, the vast majority of them still don’t have a clue, and many actively don’t care.  (There are more people who care now than when I started, but we can still use more.)

With most studios, it was, “Do we own that?  Is that ours?”  The really inept ones would tell me that they didn’t own the film when I knew they did.  It was too much work to look it up.  Mike would immediately know if a print was on hand, and if the film had changed hands, and he always knew who to call to help me book an odd print.

And while Mike may also downplay his contributions to film preservation (I deeply admire all the guys he mentions), he has done a lot behind the scenes to make things happen.  When he was at Paramount, old Paramount titles got reprinted, and when he was at Sony, old Columbia titles got reprinted.  As I always say, access is half the battle for preservation, and Mike was great about making sure prints were out there and could be rented.

Mike’s trailer for Lost Skeleton of Cadavra

Q1. You have a long history with film preservation and working at the studios. Tell us a little about each place you’ve worked and some of the things you’ve done. Are you really Leonard Maltin’s favorite film executive? Does Leonard really exist, or is he a figment of my imagination?

Actually, I’ve never preserved a foot of film in my life. Others, such as Dick May, Grover Crisp and Barry Allen, oversaw all that work. My job was in distribution. I have indeed made suggestions of specific titles, but again, I never had my hands on film. Think of them as the chefs and me as the waiter. I worked at MGM/UA, Paramount and until last December, Sony (Columbia). Each was a unique and largely satisfying experience, though ultimately I’d always run afoul of people above me who didn’t understand what I did and why it was important. Among my most fulfilling experiences (aside from the ones discussed below): bringing out the “director’s cuts” of The Boy Friend, Wild Rovers, 1900, The Conformist, Wattstax, Darling Lili and getting the ball rolling on Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; prying The Manchurian Candidate, Broadway Bill and White Dog out of movie jail; the record-breaking 50th anniversary reissue of Citizen Kane, and the extended version of Major Dundee. Striking new 35mm prints of numerous Columbia cartoons and shorts was also a treat. (Plus I made a number of trailers which, if I do say so myself, were, as the kids say, pretty freakin’ awesome.)

It was Roger Ebert who said I was his favorite Hollywood executive. Funny story: When that hit print, I e-mailed him, “Who came in second?” He replied, “What makes you think there was a second?”

Leonard does indeed exist. I’ve even hugged his lovely wife Alice.

Q2. You’re a long-time Godzilla fan. Tell us about your involvement in Godzilla 2000.

Well, that’s not a short story, but I’ll try to make it so. Sony’s distribution chief Jeff Blake (whom I largely owe my career to) happened to be in Japan when G2K opened and was breaking records. Since the Emmerich version didn’t turn out to be the most-beloved film of its generation, the studio was unsure of how to proceed. Jeff felt that releasing G2K here would be at least a place-keeper and at best a make-good to the fans who felt let down by the Emmerich.

We had a screening, and there was considerable concern: the pace was slack and the dubbing was pretty dire. Jeff was having second thoughts. I assured him that with some judicious editing and a new dub it’d be right as rain. He said, “Okay, then you do it.” And just like that it was in my lap. He figured, I hope correctly, that I was the only one there who’d actually seen some Godzilla movies and would have the right handle on it. So with a release date breathing down our necks, I dove right in.

Jimmy Honore, then Sony’s post-production czar, provided me with an editor and a sound man. Toho’s local guy, Masaharu Ina, was also involved, as every single change had to be approved by Tokyo. I wrote a new script, hired a swell bunch of Asian-American actors to reloop, and worked with the editor to sweat nine minutes of fat out of the film (over 130 individual cuts) and restructuring scenes to increase the tension. We rebuilt the soundtrack from scratch, adding some new music cues (including a couple of classic Ifukube themes) and creating foley for scenes that had been played in total background silence. I even did directional dialogue in some scenes. The sound guys were brilliant and completely supportive, and very complimentary whenever I came up with a suggestion that worked. Happily, Toho (albeit a bit grudgingly at first) admitted that our version was a big improvement; so much so that they even re-released it subtitled in Tokyo, as well as a few other countries, like India. The reviews here were mostly positive (if sometimes patronizing). It made money. And best of all, I got a six-week crash course in post-production that has served me very well. Even I was surprised at how quickly I picked it up. And I have the unique honor of being the first person to put a line of Yiddish in a Godzilla movie.

It's-All-True-documentary-posterQ3. Wasn’t It’s All True one of your pet projects?

THE project, though more for its importance. After the Kane reissue, I was approached by Myron Meisel and Bill Krohn, who had been trying to put the picture together, but Paramount owned the footage. Balenciaga was willing to pay all costs in exchange for distribution in France, Germany and Italy. So it was basically a free movie. I managed to get everyone into the same room, and after 14 needlessly drawn-out months, the deal was done. The film was completed on schedule. We were premiering it in the New York Film Festival–the first Paramount picture with that honor since Nashville. And then the distribution heads, for reasons still unknown, decided to kill it, and me in the process. It won the L.A. Film Critics Award for Best Documentary, and no one from the studio came to the ceremony. (I went on my own dime.) It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done…and hardly anyone saw it. 🙁

Q4. You picked up Larry Blamire‘s Lost Skeleton of Cadavra at a time when indies were barely being picked up, and it actually got a theatrical release. Few indie filmmakers are so lucky. Let’s hear about your discovery of Blamire and your involvement with his other films.

God, at this rate there’ll be no need to write my autobiography! Cadavra was a happy accident. The American Cinematheque used to showcase independent films on Thursday nights; I read the synopsis in the paper, it sounded fun, and as I had nothing better to do that night, I went. The theatre was packed: over 500 people laughing their asses off. During the Q&A with the cast and crew, they said it cost “well under” $100,000. I said to myself, “That’s it, I have to have this movie.” I got Larry’s and Miguel’s phone numbers from the Cinematheque, and told them I was interested. As the only other offer they’d received was a lowball from Troma, they were naturally thrilled. Jeff agreed that Sony couldn’t get hurt at such a low price and okayed the acquisition, though there again, it took over a year to get the contract signed. The rest is history, though as Larry himself later acknowledged, getting picked up by a major studio doesn’t guarantee success. It really didn’t find a wider audience until it hit cable. Now it’s the world’s tiniest franchise, and I’ve co-produced Larry’s three subsequent films, with hopefully more to come, including the highly-anticipated conclusion of the first trilogy, The Lost Skeleton Walks Among Us.

Q5. There’s a legend in the film world about your long-lost Godzilla script, which was almost shot by Joe Dante. Please, relate the whole story, down to why it didn’t get made. Is there any hope for it now?

Legend? Seriously? Wow. Anyway, it’s doubtful it’ll ever get made, what with the new Warners version coming out next year. It started, as so much of my life does, with a joke. I ran into my friend Jon Davison one day; he was at Sony producing The Sixth Day. I told him about what Toho was doing with my version of G2K (as related above), and he said, “Yeah, you’re really Mr. Godzilla now.” I laughed, “Yeah, and if these guys were smart, they’d get you, me and Joe to do the next American one.” He said, “Hey, we’re there.” Later in the day, I was pondering this and thought, “Well, why not? Who better to save the franchise?” So I called them both and asked if they were interested. They were, so I went in to the Columbia production head and pitched the idea of a “Wrath of Khan”-like sequel: a modestly-budgeted, man-in-suit picture, using Toho’s effects people, but set in America with English-speaking actors. I said we could do it for $20 million. He was intrigued, but said he really couldn’t authorize it. However, if I wanted to write it on spec, they would certainly consider it if it came out as good as I said it would. That was fine by me.

So I went home and got to work. I set it in Hawaii for various reasons, among them that I’d need no tortured explanation of how Godzilla got there, not to mention the unlikelihood of any actor turning down a feature being shot in Hawaii. (My suggested tagline: “Say aloha to your vacation plans.”) I decided to follow the Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein Rule–make the human scenes funny and play the monster stuff straight. I wrote it with genre favorites in mind for the cast: Bruce Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Scott Bakula, Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy and of course Joe’s stock company. After jokingly giving it the temporary title of GodzillaEast of Java, I settled on Godzilla Reborn, which referred to not only the franchise but also the storyline, in which he’s killed and eventually resuscitated. Sid Ganis eventually came on board as a producer as well. Everybody adored the script. It shoulda been a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, by the time I finished it, Columbia had a new production head, and he wanted no part of it. Wouldn’t even read it. It takes balls to say that to Sid Ganis, who’s a former Academy president, but he did. And there ya go. Now everyone’s too old for their parts and Warners has the franchise. A damn shame; it would’ve been a monster hit. Pun intended.

Q6. How did your legendary collection of film t-shirts get started? What are some of your most popular?

Huh? I have a bunch of T-shirts, but I’d hardly call it “a legendary collection.” I just buy them like everyone else.

Q7. What the heck is Biffle and Shooster? They weren’t originally your idea, because I found them on YouTube. Who created them and how did you end up with them?

Once again, it started, as so much of my life does, with a joke. Nick Santa Maria and Will Ryan created the team, but they hadn’t really done a great deal with them. Then one day, Nick posted a picture on his Facebook page: the two of them holding up an empty picture frame and mugging. I replied, “From their classic two-reeler It’s a Frame-Up, with Franklin Pangborn as the art dealer.” And then I had a brainstorm. After I mopped up, I called them and said, “Hey, why don’t we actually do this? A B&W, 1.33:1, authentic-as-possible 1930s two-reeler, like it was one of a series.” They loved the idea. I wrote a script, went on Kickstarter, fell short by a razor-thin 89%, and then broke the two rules of The Producers and paid for it myself. I rounded up a bunch of the Lost Skeleton people, and filled in the remaining slots with some incredible industry vets. We shot for 4 1/4 days in December, and had the cast & crew screening in early March. The first public showing was at Cinefest in Syracuse about two weeks later–which is where you saw it–and now it’s out to festivals. We’re also treating it as a pilot for a potential internet series, since we have titles and loglines for 19 more. I’ve already completed the script for another and started a third. Nick and Will are each writing one as well.

Q8. If It’s a Frame-Up! is successful, what are your plans for the future? (And if it is successful, could you put in a good word for the Dr. Film show? A bad word would be fine, too.)

Well, part of the original intent was to use it as a calling card to raise money for more features for Larry (and me). But as noted above, an internet series would be fine as well. Worst comes to worst, I figure I can make two more, shoot some bridging material, and create an ersatz feature, The Biffle & Shooster Laugh-O-Rama. That at least I could sell to TV and/or make a DVD deal.

Q9. I think this is a stupid question, but it’s been asked too many times for me to ignore it: Why go back and make a cheap, impoverished-looking 1930s short? Shouldn’t you make one that’s BETTER than they were in the 1930s?

I made a cheap, impoverished-looking short because that’s all I could afford to make. If we get any kind of financing, then we’ll do the “earlier, more expensive” ones. And I didn’t make one better than those from the 1930s because NO ONE can.

Biffle and Shooster fighting the Tong War.
Biffle and Shooster fighting the Tong War.

Q10. I get asked questions by people all the time that aren’t particularly germane or interesting. What question did I NOT ask that I should have asked?

Why does sour cream have an expiration date? Is that when it turns good?

It is part of a global conspiracy.  Expired croutons also become fresh bread.  Hey, you were warned about stupid jokes, folks.

Moving Beyond the Big Four

I was having a discussion, a polite one, with another film historian the other day.  He’s a guy I like and respect, so I won’t sully this conversation by naming him, because I disagreed with his whole premise.  That’s OK, because he disagreed with my whole premise.

To sum up, this was his position:

Comedians other than the “Big 3” are only of academic interest and should not be shown to general audiences.  General audiences are so far removed from the days of silent comedy that they can no longer relate to it in any way and shouldn’t be asked to.  The whole idea that we have the “Big 3” is because the critics have decided that these are the best and most worthwhile comedians to watch, and therefore any uninitiated audience should see them first.  The other comedians should not be run for first time audiences because they are not as good and unique as the “Big 3.”

The Big 3, of course, are Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd.  Some people will call it the Big 4, including Harry Langdon.

Now I’ll sit here right now and tell you that I have absolutely NOTHING against Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, or Langdon.  I like them, every one.

But I hate this idea to its very roots.

I have this strange and odd counter-idea.  I think comedy should be run because it’s funny.  And I have another strange and odd idea: I don’t believe that there is a Jeffersonian Meritocracy of comedians and that we’ve decided who the good ones are and who the less worthy ones are.  There are just plain too many films that we haven’t seen to judge accurately.

I’ve pointed this up before, but I have to say it again: films don’t necessarily survive and get shown because they are good.  They survive and are shown because they are available, out of copyright, and can be found in nice-looking prints.  Film history is written by the survivors, not necessarily the best films.

This whole notion got started in Walter Kerr’s book called The Silent Clowns.  Now, again, I don’t have a problem with Kerr, either.  My problem is that he wrote his book in 1975 when it was just downright impossible to see a lot of the films that we take for granted today.  In 1975, we could say that DW Griffith was the father of film, because everything we could see showed Griffith streets ahead of everyone else.

Now we see that this wasn’t true, that there were others who were doing really interesting work.  It was the fact that Griffith’s films were seen and preserved that put him in such a hallowed position.  And, again, Griffith deserves a hallowed position, just not as the only guy who made movies move forward.

In 1975, there were only a few Charley Chase films available, almost no Max Davidson around, no Charley Bowers at all, and not even all of the Keaton and Lloyd films were obtainable.  The Langdons were spotty.  Kerr had to rely on memories and prints that he could find in private collections (thank you, Bill Everson.)

Arbuckle?  Not much.  Lloyd Hamilton?  A few.  Snub Pollard?  Hit and miss.  Lupino Lane?  Never heard of him.  Larry Semon?  Yeah, there’s some stuff around.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg to me.  I don’t think we should look at Kerr’s book as the roadmap for “this is all we should watch” because he studied it and wrote the book for us.  In my opinion, he’s telling us, “Hey, I’ve studied these films, these are some of them that I like, and here’s why I like them.”

That’s valuable, and that’s why the book is great.  But if we limit ourselves only to what he covered, it’s a sad thing.  It’s like eating only Big Macs at a Smorgasbord.  Hey, Big Macs are popular, some of the most popular food in the world, nothing wrong with them.  But you can find those anywhere, and there’s so much other stuff you could try… even just to nibble on!

I would also make an argument that limiting ourselves to these guys is sad on another level.  Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Langdon all had an interesting commonality: they had almost complete control of their pictures and basically unlimited budgets.  Chaplin even had almost unlimited time.

Is it really fair to compare Chaplin, who made one movie in 1925, to Charley Chase, who made 19 movies in 1925?  I’d wager that all of Chase’s movies together cost less than Chaplin’s one.  Does that make Chase a lesser comedian, or Chaplin a better one?

WHO CARES?  Chaplin is funny and so is Chase, and there’s not a fair benchmark to compare them.  Want some laughs?  Watch Chase in His Wooden Wedding.  Chaplin?  Well, you know about him already.  At least I hope you do.  Otherwise, watch The Gold Rush.

The guy that I’d like to see analyzed by the academic types is Larry Semon.  This guy was insanely popular in the 1920s, his movies made money, he had a great following, and his own studio.  And his movies are interesting but not very good when seen today.  It is fair to pit Semon against those other guys, but for some reason, no one does.

And we do other odd things.  The Big 4 are to be revered because they came up with individual comic characters, when no one else did.  Seriously?

chaseChase had a unique character, and we can now see him build into it.  Then, when talkies came in, he became too old for the man-about-town-misunderstood-husband, and he changed the character.  Max Davidson had a unique character, quite unlike anyone who has come before or since.

Oh, but Max had help, you cry.  Leo McCarey and George Stevens worked on his films.  Yeah?  You think those other guys didn’t have brilliant writers?  Clyde Bruckman worked with almost all of them at one point.

Apparently, Arbuckle, who invented a lot of things that got ripped off later, isn’t a genius because he didn’t last long enough into the 1920s, even though he did a lot of directing after the scandal that unfairly sidelined him.

Lupino Lane was too British and was willing to use special effects in conjunction with his amazing acrobatic abilities, so that negates him.

Charley Bowers doesn’t count either because he used extensive special effects, and didn’t have a unique comic character.  It was just a ripoff of Keaton, according to those who are “in the know.”


I have two criteria for judging comic performers:

  1. is it funny?  Does it make me laugh?
  2. is it stale?  If I’ve seen it before done by someone else, then I’m not too impressed, and even less so if you don’t do it a lot better than I saw it the first time.

By this yardstick, I officially love Keaton, Chaplin, Lloyd, Lupino Lane, Max Davidson, Charley Chase, and Charley Bowers.  And a lot of other comedians, too.

Let me make a slight sidelight for two of them.  As many of you know, I’m a sucker for something different, something I’ve never seen before.  I really hate boring predictable movies, especially if they’re comedies.

This is why I especially love the silent comedies of Max Davidson and Charley Bowers.  Lupino Lane is great too… but he’s an acrobat with a great sense of timing and danger.  It’s familiar stuff done fantastically well.

bowersBut Bowers.  Wow.  I disagree completely with the dismissal that he’s part Chaplin and part Keaton. (He actually looks a little like Keaton, which isn’t his fault, but it’s led to his being dismissed as an imitator.)  Bowers is all Bowers.  He is a reality-challenged go-getter (actually rather more like Lloyd than the other two) who solves problems in ways that no one ever thinks of.  There It Is (1928), which is probably his finest surviving silent film, is so bizarre as to be beyond description.  Now You Tell One (1926) has some of the most haunting ideas I’ve ever seen in a film: Bowers marches elephants into the Capitol Building, and has invented a grafting potion that allows any item to grow from a stem: cats grow from cattails, eggplants sprout eggs, etc.  The sheer volume of ideas that strike Bowers is enough for me to love him.

And there’s nothing like him again in all Cinema.

maxAnd Max Davidson.  Oh, Max.  I’ve come to really love Max as an actor because he pops up in movies all the time.  A shock of hair, a beard, but an amazingly flexible face that can even portray policemen if necessary.  As a cheap Jewish character, Max got his own series along Chase and Laurel and Hardy in the late 20s.  I love Max’s reaction shots.  Max’s reaction to the chaos that often surrounds him is priceless.  He’s every bit as good (and different) as Babe Hardy was at portraying frustration or just plain bewilderment.  Pass the Gravy (1928) hinges on him not understanding a key element of the plot for 15 minutes, and he absolutely sells the idea that he doesn’t follow it.  The guy sells a one-joke comedy for 15 minutes, and it’s one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen.

And there’s nothing like Max again in all Cinema.

I suppose I should sum up by saying that there’s nothing wrong with watching only the big 4 comedians.  I like them all.  But there’s so much more out there today, stuff that’s funny, stuff that does stand up to the test of time, and if only watch the big 4 you’ll be missing it, along with a lot of laughs.

You can still get a Big Mac at the Smorgasbord, but there’s a McDonald’s on every street corner all around the globe.  Wouldn’t it be fun just to taste a spanakopita from Greece?  I love them, too.  Think what you might be missing.

Don’t take my word for it.  Your tastes may vary.  Find out for yourself, and get back to me.

Guest Blog: I Believe in Dr. Film!

This week’s guest blogger is Glory-June Greiff, longtime supporter of this endeavor.  Her unedited words begin after the period at the end of this sentence.

Dr. Film is discouraged and has for a long time now wanted to give it up, take the website down, move on to other things (not that he isn’t already, having accomplished two significant restorations in the past few years: the two-color sequence of Buster Keaton’s Seven Chances and Chapter 5 of the first sound serial King of the Kongo).

“No one cares!” he cries.  I continue to encourage Dr. Film to keep trying, and it has nothing to do with the fact–full disclaimer–that I portray Anamorphia in the pilot of Dr. Film, shot some years ago.  So he challenged me to write a guest blog about why it is important that he continue.

It’s true that a part of it is because I dearly love old films of all stripes and I am concerned that they are simply disappearing from the scene.  Growing up, old movies were all over TV, just THERE, not just relegated to a cable station, or worse, something you find on the Internet and watch on your iPhone.  The loss is personal, but the loss to American art and culture is far greater.  Some arbiter decides that, say, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton are the finest examples of and thus represent silent film comedy, are the only ones worth seeing.  Never mind the others, lesser known, perhaps, not because they are unworthy but because many of their films were lost or, at best, are difficult to find.  The same is true of every other film genre.  There are so many wonderful movies out there and many that are less than stellar but still worth watching.  An example that jumps to mind is a low-budget action movie made in the 1930s called I Can’t Escape, which I caught because Eric Grayson showed the film for his vintage movie series at the Garfield Park Art Center.  The film stars a very handsome actor named Onslow Stevens, whose career slid soon after.  It beautifully captures the desperation of the Depression and boasts some gorgeous Art Deco sets, a nice little picture worth seeing, if nothing else, for the way it presents the context of the 30s so well.  But the way things are, unless you make a heroic effort, you will never see movies like these.  As with much of history (that’s what I do in “real” life), it’s only the winners you hear about.  And “winning” is often a fluke.   In the case of old films, we know about many actors because their films, or at least some of them, made it to television in that golden age I mention.  And the old copyright bugaboo played a huge part in which of the old films became known as “classics” and which lay moldering in a vault.  Or burned.  Intentionally.

Film history is fascinating, but I’m already a convert.  I began to read about old films, their actors and even their directors at an early age.  I was very fond of the Universal horror films and 50s sci-fi, so I actually had a subscription to Famous Monsters of Filmland, which in turn led me to the library to find out more.  Like many who grew up in the Depression, my mother found escape by going regularly to the movies, and she told me about them and the actors when we watched the old films that, as I said, were always playing on television.  In memory of Mom, I am especially fond of her favorite, Jean Harlow, the sizzling blonde bombshell of the 1930s, who died tragically young at 26.  My father loved the Errol Flynn swashbucklers and westerns, and oh yes, I had fantasies about Flynn (okay, he was already dead, but oof!) and I still can recite about half the dialogue of Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood.  Over time I got to know the character actors, such as Alan Hale and Guy Kibbee and Una O’Connor and Una Merkel.  Though I may have taken it farther than many, the thing is, these films were out there, and the majority of my peers also knew who Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis et al. were.  In those halcyon days, almost everybody knew, too, of the classic horror movies, to the point where plastic models of Universal film characters made by Aurora were immensely popular.  Heck, I even still have a bubble bath bottle made to look like the Frankenstein monster.  On TV local and syndicated characters such as Sammy Terry and Svengoolie hosted classics like Frankenstein and Dracula, interspersed with their endless sequels and B movies featuring haunted houses and raging gorillas.  We were exposed to all of them.

Dr. Film is not in competition with old time horror film hosts like Svengoolie, although he takes the idea of humorous hosting from them.  And obviously he is not the debonair Robert Osbourne or Nick Clooney, although he certainly has the chops.  The character Dr. Film may be mildly obnoxious and a figure of fun, but the man under the fez is a knowledgeable film historian.  He knows his stuff and perhaps even more important, he loves films!  The passion is a necessary component, I firmly believe, in sparking people’s interest in films and film history.  And film history is our history.  In addition to being entertained, we can learn a great deal watching films of another era.  Conversely, we can get so much more out of any number of films if we know what was going on in the country at the time.

Dr. Film may love movies, but he is discriminating.  If a film is bad, he will tell you, and he’ll point out some of the silly mistakes and cheap tricks to catch as you watch.  But no matter how bad, he doesn’t mock the film during its showing as some hosts do, a practice I find obnoxious and brought to its nadir by Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Recently, for the first time in decades, I watched The Beginning of the End, a pretty awful 1950s sci-fi of the giant-insects-caused-by-radiation variety.  In the 50s, scientists were usually the heroes, for this was the era of early space exploration; schools pushed all the sciences heavily, and men (and a few women) in such fields as biology, chemistry, and astronomy were admired.  So it was in this movie, even though it had been the scientist, played by Peter Graves, who inadvertently caused the gargantuan locusts who ultimately invaded Chicago.  (I’m not making this up.)  Unintended consequences was the not-so-subtle theme, one that still resonates today.  I bring this up because my viewing was marred by the movie host, who, having  decided the film moved too slowly, would jazz it up with goofy sound effects and comments.  Dr. Film would never do this.  Movies are ever so much more interesting if you have a little background, and that is what Dr. Film provides, gradually whetting your appetite for more.  It may be more Onslow Stevens or more 1920s animation (much of which is truly bizarre) or lesser known works of well known directors or forgotten silent film comedians like Charley Chase or Max Davidson.  I am the richer for having seen these, I clamor for more, and shows such as Dr. Film would like to offer are a means of doing so.  Only, no one seems interested.

I feel like Peter Pan when Tinkerbell was fading away.  If you believe in Dr. Film, clap your hands!