If it’s Labor Day weekend, it’s also time for the 52nd Annual Cinecon Classic Film Festival. So Martine and I invaded Hollywood, parked our chariot at Loew’s Hollywood Hotel, and proceeded to view several newly restored films at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater. These included:
- An episode of a hokey old serial called Jungle Mystery.
- Three Laurel & Hardy rareties, including Berth Marks and Come Clean.
- A silent comedy called More Pay—Less Work from 1926.
- A Columbia film released during World War Two which uniquely accuses the Nazis of atrocities against the Jews: None Shall Escape (1944) starring a radiant Marsha Hunt and directed by Andre de Toth.
Cinecon has thinned out a bit since last year. President Robert S. Birchard, having served in that capacity since 1998, died of a heart attack in May. Many such as my late friends Norman Witty and Lee Sanders had also passed on. Every year, there are more canes and more geriatric ailments in evidence. The pity of it is that Cinecon has difficulties recruiting younger members, who would consider the restored 1920s and 1930s films as ancient history. The organization would have to move more into the 1950s-1970s to get the attention of Generation Xers, not to mention Millennials.
Hollywood itself was filled with young tourists of the tattooed and pierced variety who sashayed up and down the street shooting pictures of the commemorative stars on the sidewalk with their cell phones. On holiday weekends, the Boulevard is a big-time crowd scene, with scores of tour buses taking them to see homes of the rich and famous—or whatever it is they show them. Whenever they accost me for a tour, I offer to give it myself, saying “Hey, I live in this dump!”