Hello readers, well, Cinecon has come to a close! My apologies to those who received my latest blog post this morning, for some reason my computer was not uploading things properly and I’m afraid that a faulty post ended up in many of your inboxes. I am still trying to work out some of the logistics of getting my photos and audio interviews uploaded, but once I figure it out, then you will see all of the things that I promised in my last post!
One thing that didn’t make it into my earlier, problematic post was that on Sunday night, we had a great surprise at the Cinecon banquet–Debbie Reynolds showed up to honor Carleton Carpenter. By way of her usual Debbie Reynolds schtick, she made a lovely introduction to a man with whom she appeared in her first film, Two Weeks With Love.
Afterward, I had the great honor to meet Debbie Reynolds, which had long been a dream of mine. She looked beautiful in a white pantsuit with a pink-tinged coat, and was very gracious to her fans. She kept insisting that this event was about Carleton, and not about her, which she was very noble of her to do.
Carleton Carpenter himself looked wonderful for 86 years old. We haven’t seen much of him since he left acting, and I would recognize him anywhere on the street–with his long, lean body and folksy accent, he is still the definition of the characters he portrayed onscreen. Other honorees included Phyllis Coates and Richard L. Bare, and the other attendees included the likes of Julie Newmar, Rose Marie, and Theodore Bikel. I was very impressed with the stature of the audience. Aside from my accidentally blocking the view of one itinerant woman, who took the opportunity to tell me so in no uncertain terms, the evening went smoothly and I was overjoyed to be in the same room as some of the most enduring legends of the business.
Rose Marie as Sally on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Today, the big event was a tribute to Mack Sennett, For an hour and a half, we watched a great number of Mack Sennett shorts, including some rare, never-before-seen, and newly remastered clips. One reel, featuring outtakes from Water Nymphs and Bathing Beauties, was part of a private collection that has never been released, and it was fascinating to see the directors at work and the crowds that gathered to watch Mack Sennett film his movies. Watching crowd scenes in early impromptu filmmaking is something I love to do, because it is always interesting to think about what became of those people, how their lives turned out, when they were born and when they died. I was especially entranced with one child in the crowd during an outtake–the child must have been no more than 2, and was being held by her mother as she watched an actress strut across the stage. This short having been filmed in 1915, that child has now almost certainly lived her life and passed away. We see her shadow on film, a reminder that she was here and that she was once a 2-year-old child.
The final film of the day was called Love Under Fire, starring Loretta Young and Don Ameche. Though the plot was clever in theory, that of a jewel thief (Young) who is courted by a member of Scotland Yard trying to arrest her, it played out in a bit of a hokey way, and I was left with the feeling that the movie was a bit of a cop-out. Still, Loretta Young is always so beautiful to look at, and she and Ameche are both capable in this movie.
And with that, Cinecon ended. I would like to thank Bob Birchard, the president of Cinecon, and the entire Cinecon staff for being present and helpful whenever I had a question. Thank you Marsha Hunt for showing me that you can be 95 and still look better than most people do at 25, and for being so sweet and kind, and thanks to Debbie Reynolds for well…being Debbie Reynolds. And finally, thanks to all with whom I had meaningful discussions and wonderful connections related to classic film. It was quite an event, and I can’t wait for next year!
Thanks for reading!