Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One of the (many) great things about the American Treasure Tour is our collection of posters and photographs dedicated to movies classic and new.  Yesterday, we honored one of Elvis' films. (Or, if honored is too strong a word, we could say we acknowledged it.)  Today, we are going to talk about another film that pre-dates most people:  1930s Street of Chance.  

Street of Chance was released in January 1930.  The technology of the cinema had radically changed just a few years earlier with the introduction of sound in film, but many theaters still had not yet adapted to it.  In the attached poster, you will notice that the movie was offered in both "silent" and "talking" versions.  Street of Chance stars William Powell as John Marsden, a successful New York gambler whose ruthlessness in business threatens his marriage to the beautiful Jean Arthur.  He is willing to give it all up for love, when he sees that his younger brother Babe, played by Regis Toomey, is dabbling in his own nefarious trade.  Unfortunately, we are not aware of the movie having been released on dvd or blu-ray, so we cannot advise you on how to see it.  Also, we cannot ethically spoil the ending.  A true conundrum, just like the one in which the Marsdens are stuck....

QUESTION:  Another Street of Chance was released in 1942 that had nothing to do with gambling.  This one was about amnesia and possible murder.  Who stars as Frank Thompson in this 1942 film?
A)  William Powell
B)  Burgess Meredith
C)  Cesar Romero
D)  Adam West

ANSWER BELOW

HAPPY RATIFICATION DAY!  Some anniversaries are not exactly well known, like today's Ratification Day, but merit a nod and a smile.  Like today's Ratification Day.  The American Revolution constituted eight long years of sacrifice, struggle and anguish.  The ambitions of the young United States to survive on its own were regularly thwarted by the superior military force of the United Kingdom.  And then the Battle of Yorktown happened in 1781.  The next three years, negotiations between American and British politicians stopped, started, and stopped again.  Finally, the British agreed to sign the Treaty of Paris acknowledging American independence.  It was on this day in 1784 that the new American Congress ratified the treaty.  There was no going back after that - American legal ties with England were severed.

DUPLICITOUS BIRTHDAY.   No man born on American soil ever proved as heroic and traitorous as Benedict Arnold.  Born today in 1741 in Norwich, Connecticut, Arnold was an early rags to riches story.  Through sheer determination, he made a name for himself as a businessman.  The American Revolution gave him an opportunity for glory - and he was George Washington's right-hand-man for many tumultuous years during the fight.  It can be argued that Arnold's early successes gave the former colonies more hope and inspiration than anything Washington himself did before his victory in Trenton.  Then, Arnold did a bad, bad thing.  He turned traitor, fought with the British against the Americans, and threw away his former glory.  We all make mistakes, his just proved unforgivable.

QUOTE:  Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country - George Washington

ANSWER:  Burgess Meredith, the future Penguin (in the Batman tv series) starred in this drama as Frank Thompson, nee Danny Nearing.