DW Giffiths' "America" - Monday, October 12, 2015

We know there are a lot of people in the world who choose to avoid watching movies made prior to 1927.  The reasons are obvious:  1)  they don't want to read a movie, and these were all made before the technology existed to have sound in the film, and 2)  they don't like black-and-white films.  So, why does the American Treasure Tour blog spend as much time as we do discussing these old films?  Because we hope to inspire you to give them a try, mostly.  Considering how basic the technology was back then, it can be amazing what was done to create films that often said something important and amazing.  They also show what the world looked like one hundred (give or take) years ago, which can be fascinating.  And because we have many pieces of artwork on display celebrating them.  Today, we are going to discuss the film advertised in one of our less-visible posters, hanging in the Toy Box.

D.W. Griffith stands out as one of the most famous early film directors, with countless films on his resume, most famously 1915's highly controversial Birth of a Nation.  He was still going strong in 1924, when he created America, telling a rarely-told story from the era of the American Revolution about alliances made between Native American populations and both the Patriots and the Tories.  Griffiths was struggling with finances at the time, and the mixed reviews and marginal interest of audiences found this movie lacking.  Clocking in at well over two hours long, it had a convoluted plot, with people unable to differentiate the good guys and the bad guys at times.  But it had a rare cameo by George Washington (played by Arthur Dewey), so it had that going for it, which is nice.
QUESTION:  Which of the following was also a D.W. Griffiths film?
A)  M
B)  Intolerance
C)  Metropolis
D)  Cleopatra

IRON LUNG.  If you've never heard of a "Negative Pressure Ventilator," better known as an iron lung, you can thank modern medical science for that.  They were invented almost one hundred years ago as a device to help people breathe when they lost muscle strength enough to do it on their own.  It helped to fill the lungs with air to sustain life, and became most closely associated with assisting victims of polio.  The first iron lung was successfully put into action in Boston, Massachusetts on this day in 1928.  Fortunately, the polio virus has been all-but eradicated since then, and newer methods to help people breathe now exist. 

THANK YOU, GUMBY!  Today we celebrate the birth of Art Clokey - born Arthur Charles Farrington in 1921.  Orphaned as a boy, then adopted by a classical music composer named Joseph Clokey, he was introduced to claymation animation as a young man.  He went on to create two of the most famous stop-animation programs to ever hit television.  Gumby first aired on The Howdy Doody Show in the 1950s, then Davey and Goliath, which was sponsored by the Lutheran Church in America.  He passed away in 2010 at the age of 88.

QUOTE:  The essence about Gumby is that he makes children feel safe.  He's their greatest pal. - Art Clokey

ANSWER:  B)  Intolerance