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Saturday Day 3

The morning started with the annual Cinecon business meeting. Members look forward to these meetings because it's a chance for them to find out first hand what's going on with the club, ask questions and make their own suggestions. Club president Bob Birchard led the meeting,

The Saturday line-up started STRANGE AFFAIR (Columbia, 1944). This was yet another foray into the world of comic mystery with Allyn Joslyn, and past Cinecon guest Evelyn Keyes. This little seen film ranks with past Cinecon hit, Dangerous Blondes, for laughs and chills. Marguerite Chapman and Edgar Buchanan are also in the cast.

GOOD TIME CHARLEY (Warner Bros., 1927) was an unassuming little drama of life in the theater made all the better because of an excellent performance by Warner Oland in the title role.

After lunch it was back to the theater for the afternoon program of films starting with Screen Snapshot short from 1923 featuring Clara Bow.

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imageNext up was a very special presentation made possible by the Mary Pickford Foundation in celebration of 100 years of Mary Pickford in film (1909-2009). They arranged for us to hold the U.S. premiere of the Swedish Film Institute's new restoration of THE DAWN OF A TOMORROW (Famous Players, 1915). Pickford historian Hugh image Munro Neely (top left) introduced the film. Because the film was restored from a Swedish print all of the subtitles were in Swedish. Since very few of our members speak Swedish (maybe none?) we had one of our members read the subtitles in English. That job fell to our resident voiceover artist, Will Ryan with Bob Birchard holding the flashlight.

Then we showed the comedy THANKS FOR EVERYTHING (Fox, 1938) Starring Adolphe Menjou, Jack Oakie, Jack Haley, Binnie Barnes and Tony Martin. Haley plays a small town guy who enters a radio contest to find the "Most Average Man in America" and wins. He's so average in fact that when the unscrupulous advertiser(Menjou) behind the contest decides he can profit from Haley's opinions on products he manipulates the poor sap into working for his market research company. He then has Oakie and Barnes secretly follow Haley around reporting on his likes and dislikes.

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For the last film of the afternoon we screened a Republic western THE LAST BANDIT (1949). Afterwards Mike Schlesinger interviewed one of the film's stars, Adrian Booth.

The film about an attempted train roberey was full of action and gunplay. Besides Booth the cast featured Gordon (Wild Bill) Elliott, Forrest Tucker, Andy Devine, Jack Holt and Grant Withers.

They started out by talking about her early career. In her 14 years as an actress she made nearly 70 films and shorts. She choose to retire from the screen in 1951, just a few years after she got married.

She was discovered by a Columbia Pictures agent while she was modeling. When they signed her to a contract they gave her the name of Lorna Gray, which she used until about 1945 when she changed it to Adrian Booth. When Mike asked why she changed her name she said that she's writing a book about it.

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Columbia put her in the their B-film unit where she began making low budget features, being loaned to other studios and, when needed, she even appeared in comedy shorts. It was while making these shorts that she had the opportunity to work with the likes of the Three Stooges, Buster Keaton and Charley Chase

After leaving Columbia in 1941 she signed with Republic Pictures where she made serials and westerns.

Through out her career she worked with a lot of great actors. When asked to comment on a few she started out by saying Buster Keaton "...was a doll to work with". Boris Karloff, "...was a quick study and could do long scenes in one take." She also enjoyed tea with him every afternoon. Adrian was in several Three Stooges shorts where she managed to hold her own with the boys; she said they were a lot of fun to work with.

While working in a picture with John Wayne she said that he kept stumbling in one of the scenes to drag out the shooting schedule and get more money for the extras.

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Then it was the audience's turn to ask questions.

A fan wanted to know what was her opinion of Bill Elliott. Her response was that she never got to know him personally but thought he was a believable actor and that he was great to work with.

An audience member commented that he loved her in Stooge short Three Sappy People. others in the audience began to applaude in agreement. She said that her husband had worked with them in vaudeville and played a strait man for Ted Healy.

There were a lot more audience questions and when they were done Adrian said that before she had to leave she wanted to share some of her husband's poetry with us.

Her husband, David Brian, was an acclaimed actor and star on radio, TV and films. Shortly after his death in 1993 she found a variety of poems that he had written. So that she could share these beloved poems with others she donated them to Boston University where they now reside, along with other papers and photographs, in the David Brian and Adrian Booth Brian Collection.

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Before wrapping up Adrian said that she loved making movies and had a lot of fun doing it. She added that she glad that she could share some of her great memories with up.

After the interview Adrian gave Mike a big thank you kiss.

Although she was unable to stay and sign autographs this afternoon she greeted a few fans before leaving. Adrian promised to be over at the Renaissance hotel Sunday afternoon before the banquet to sign autographs and talk further with fans.

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After dinner the evening session started with a short from the SCREEN SNAPSHOT series from 1930 with Mickey Rooney.

AFRAID TO TALK (Universal, 1932) is a red-hot pre-code drama about politicians, gangsters and corruption. It takes place in the Great Depression, but it remains timely. The great cast includes Sidney Fox, Eric Linden, Louis Calhern, Tully Marshall, Berton Churchill and Edward Arnold. Mob boss Arnold rubs out his rival and then shoots the only witness, Linden, who survives and agrees to testify about the crime. City officials are thrilled until Arnold reminds the corrupt politicians that he has the goods on them. What happens next to innocent Linden as he becomes a pawn in a bigger game can't be revealed here.

The silent BROADWAY LOVE (1918) was an entry in the country-girl-lands-on-Broadway type of stories. Starring Dorothy Phillips and Lon Chaney, the film was directed by Ida May Park.

NIGHTMARE (Universal, 1942). Stylishly directed by Tim Whelan, the film is a taut spy thriller in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps and Saboteur. Diana Barrymore, who co-stars with Brian Donlevy, gave a sensational performance in one of her few starring roles. Donlevy is an American gambler in London during the war. When he survives a Nazi bombing with only the clothes on his back he wanders into the apartment of a mysterious woman, Barrymore, and soon gets mixed up in murder and espionage with her.




Cinecon 45 in Pictures

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Sunday Day 4

We started the morning with chapter 6 from the Republic serial Perils of Nyoka, entitled Human Sacrifice.

ONLY THE BRAVE (Paramount, 1930) was our first feature of the morning. Gary Cooper and past Cinecon honoree Mary Brian star in this Civil War drama (or is it a comedy?) set behind Confederate lines. Directed by Frank Tuttle, the film shows off Cooper at his matinee-idol best.

Before lunch we had silent TURN TO THE RIGHT! (Metro, 1922). With it's breezy charm and earnest characters it was one of the favorites of the weekend thanks in no small part to its director Rex Ingram. The plot is simple - A small town boy, played by Jack Mulhall, gets sent up the river for a crime he didn't commit, befriends two crooks, and when he gets out he and his crook pals attempt to turn the tables on the real villain. Also in the cast are Alice Terry and Harry Myers.

The afternoon session began with a Scrappy cartoon The Railroad Wretch (Columbia, 1932).

LOVER COME BACK (Columbia, 1931) Stars Constance Cummings, Jack Mulhall, Betty Bronson and Jameson Thomas. Secretary Connie is in love with her firm's GM. When he marries the more glamorous Bronson Connie is heartbroken and ends up shacking up with her boss on Park Avenue.

Stella Stevens was our Sunday afternoon guest. For this final celebrity screening of the weekend we showed delightful spy spoof THE SILENCERS (1966). It was the first entry in the Matt Helm series starring Dean Martin. and the film showcased Stella's comedy skills as a klutzy beauty who is suspected of being a spy. The cast also included Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, Cyd Charisse, Arthur O'Connell and a host of others.

Interviewer Stan Taffel started out by asking her what it was like working on THE SILENCERS. She said that Dean was great to work with and that there were some great character actors in the film.

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She was attending Memphis State College when she was discovered while modeling at a local department store. That led to a contract at 20th Century Fox. Over the years she also had contracts with Paramount and Columbia.

Ms. Stevens has appeared in scores of films and TV shows since her film debut in 1959. She's also tried her hand at directing and producing.

Aside from her acting she also gained notoriety as a Playboy Playmate of the month for January 1960 and did 2 subsequent photo spreads in 1965 and 1968.

Stan asked her to comment on a few of her more notable films. Of comedy classic The Nutty Professor (1963) she said it was fun to work on and she learned a lot about comedy from Jerry Lewis. The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) was an enjoyable experience because she liked Glenn Ford very much. And on the film The Poseidon Adventure (1972) she said that it had a great cast and crew and that she would like to work with Ernest Borgnine again.

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Then it was the audiences turn to ask questions.

A fan said that he loved her performance in The Battle of Cable Hoage and thought it might have been her best work. Stella thank him and added that it has always been one of her favorites too.

Everyone got a laugh when a woman in the audience said she loved Stella's entrance in The Silencers (She backs up into the scene shapely bikini clad butt first).

Was making films better than working in TV? She answered that it didn't really matter as long as the part was good.

When asked if she ever felt stereo typed as a sex kitten she admitted that she probably was to some degree but then she added that she never thought that being known for her beauty was such a bad thing. She said that was glad that people liked her pictures in Playboy.

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As they wrapped up she made a final remark that she always wanted to make people happy and to entertain them. Judging by the large round of applause that she received from our audience she had a successful afternoon.

After the interview fans gather around Stella for pictures and autographs.

She signed quite a few autographs before it was time for her to leave.

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She's enjoying talking with the fans so much that Cinecon VP Marvin Paige has to pull her away so that she can go and get ready for the banquet

Before the banquet and as promised Adrian Booth set up a table in the Book Fair area over at the Renaissance hotel to sign autographs. She also brought a selection of photos that people could buy to get autographed.

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Everyone had fun looking at the photos and talking with her.

Some people even brought in original, lobby cards and posters from some of Booth's films to get them autographed.

She spent nearly half an hour signing items before she had to quit to go downstairs to the banquet.

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Meanwhile back at the theater we showed our final film of the afternoon.

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The swashbuckling silent adventure film BARDELYS THE MAGNIFICENT (M-G=M, 1926) starring John Gilbert was thought to be a lost film but was found and restored. Even though it is currently available on DVD but we decided to show the film on the big screen because we knew our members would enjoy seeing it.

Attending the screening was John Gilbert's granddaughter

After the film everyone had to rush back to the hotel to get ready for the cocktail reception and banquet.

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