Roaring Twenties birthday special was celebrated with
a feature from the days when audiences roared and the
pictures were silent it's the title that opened
the film temples doors, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
in Robin Hood.
On that October night in 1922, 13 year-old boy scout
Joseph Newman was costumed in Sherwood green to perform
in the gala theatrical prologue that preceded the popular
silent picture packed with action, heroism and romance.
The electric trolleys are gone now. So are the stables
and orchards. But Joe Newman and the Egyptian are both
going strong. What a privilege for cinephiles as Newman
revisited his career from MGM office boy to director
of wartime shorts like Obey The Law and
Dont Talk (screened at last years
Noir Fest #4) to feature titles like social drama Abandoned
and noir classic 711 Ocean Drive, even sci-fi
favorite This Island Earth. Top shelf. Fairbanks
in grand in "Robin Hood," too he's
also welcomed the Action Actors Academy, led by swordmaster
Robert Goodwin, for some Sherwood Forest-style sword-clanking,
scenery-chewing and good-natured rough-housing. It was
a little disorienting watching people battle each other
with swords and sticks inside the theater. Usually that
happens when you're looking for parking. Nevertheless
this well-met troop put on a committed display of Renaissance
fair vaudeville mayhem. Book them for your office party
down on La Cienega where Venice Boulevard is, but this
was before there was a Venice Boulevard the electric
trolley lines that took you from Hollywood to Venice
Beach ran there, the boulevard came later on
La Cienega down there the studio had their Maximus.
It was the scale replica of the Roman Circus Maximus.
They were shooting Ben Hur there (1925,
starring Ramon Novarro). My first job at the studio
(MGM) was office boy, every morning I filled up Louis
Mayers fountain pen. I filled up Eddie Mannixs
pen too. But at the Maximus and Ben Hur,
my job was to hand out the boxes of sandwiches to all
the people working there. That was where I started."