Sunday, November 23, 2014

Berowne's 247

(Looks like a virus has got hold of my blog.  I hope you'll be tolerant; I apologize if it looks screwed-up this week.)
    The Original Team: the Four “A”s
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "T" is for "Team")

No quiz this week.  Berowne is back with another bit of personal history.

For those of you who have had the dubious pleasure of following this blog over the past year or two may know, I used to work in the film business.

As a cinematographer I was destined never to be listed among the great names in the history of moom pitchas, but I managed to get by.

I began, as so many do in this field, with little film jobs for business: training movies, employee-relations, safety films, technical instruction, top executives issuing vital – or kinda vital – messages , and of course the potential gold mine for the struggling cinematographer: Public Relations films.

Every business of any size in this land seems to need a PR film to distribute to an eagerly waiting world.  They aren’t hard to write and produce since they’re pretty much all the same.

The message they put across is that we’re better than the other companies, losers mostly, who are in the same field.  We have better products, better customer relations, better business philosophy, und so weiter.

But what distinguishes our outfit - what makes us the leader – is our key ingredient…

(Here we should have music: cymbals crashing or something similar,)

Our people!

Yes, it’s the people who work here who have made us the envy of the entire industry.  (Presumably those other outfits have orangutans).

Well, after some years of this, I hopefully wanted to try something else.  I made a film on my own, no sponsor - someone I'd have to distrust - to deal with.  To my surprise, it turned out well and a top film company, United Artists, took it for national distribution.

I went to meet the folks at UA.  They introduced me around and then asked if I’d like to see a bit of history.

I said of course.  They showed me an office that looked as though it had seen many years of service.  This, they explained, is where the team, the original four artists, signed the papers that formed the new company back in 1919.

That was a bit of a shock.  Because I knew enough about that outfit to know who those four folks were.  They were united and no question, they were artists.  There’s a picture of them at the beginning of this post.

That’s Doug Fairbanks there on the left, then Mary Pickford.  Next to her is the one and only Charlie Chaplin, with D W Griffith on the right.

They were the “A” in “UA.”

I’m well aware that a large portion of our younger population today may not have heard of all of them, but for older types like me those were some of the founding virtuosi of the art of the cinema.  Standing in that office, I had the feeling that their spirits lived on.


Roger Owen Green said...

I don't know why, but I had forgotten DWG was one of the four. But I'm old enough to know all four of them.

Dina said...

It's nice to read YOUR history.

Kathe W. said...

I love your personal history mixed with the likes of these four! What was the title of your movie? Have a great day and Happy Thanksgiving too!

Tess Kincaid said...

That is so cool...I enjoy hearing about your experiences Mr.B...

rel said...

I remember these artists only peripherally; before my time. But what a thrill for you to be on the other side of the camera with historical fame. Enjoying your reminiscences.

Berowne said...

"I enjoy hearing about your experiences Mr.B..."
And I enjoy your Magpies, Tess.

i b arora said...

i like the smoothness of your writing,and great last line

Silent Otto said...

Did you just stand there and say blankly
"War is peace
Freedom is slavery
Ignorance is strength
Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia "
What did they say ?
I bet Charlie gave you the silent treatment !
Just kidding mate

21 Wits said...

One of our greatest moments in life, is recalling the memory of those gone yet relived gain. It's often the little unnoticed or untold stories and actions of others that often goes without thanks, and yet we hope they stand back in awe of what they've/we've done, knowing someone somewhere was grateful that they/we did what they/we did. Those are our golden moments we carry around forever. Recycle, reuse, relive.

humbird said...

Awesome story as usual. Charly was always there at the screens of my childhood....thanks for sharing, Berowne x

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for sharing. I definitely know Charlie Chaplin, and I've heard of the other names. They helped build film as we know it today.

Anita Sabat said...

Very interesting, Berowne.
UA indeed!
Thanks for sharing!

growing wild on waverly lane said...

Everyone's history is significant and yours sounds like a goldmine. Tell more when you can. I didn't recognize Doug Fairbanks without the hair on his lip, Pickford and Chaplin were easy, and Griffith only by name.

Trubes said...

I know of Messrs Fairbanks and Chaplain and Ms Pickford but not of Mr Grifiths.

My father was a great fan of Charlie Chaplain, I was a bit too young to appreciate his movies.
You must have had talent to be involved with such famous stars!
Missed the quiz this week but it's good to learn about your background, you seem to have had a most interesting and fulfilling life!

Best wishes,
Di x

Hildred said...

Great post and hese little snippets of your history are always welcome and interesting Berowne Not only do I know all these names, I recognized them without reading then, - oh, all except DWG.

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

Wow! It must of been amazing to stand in an office that had witnessed so much cinematography history. Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Truedessa said...

Wow, that was interesting thanks for sharing a piece of yourself. I was expecting a quiz, but I so enjoyed reading about your journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gattina said...

Looks perfect, not screwed up at all !
ABC Wednesday Team

Sheilagh Lee said...

that is such an interesting piece of personal history thank you for sharing but I'd love to know the name of your movie

Berowne said...

Sheilagh: I don't mean to withhold information but I made twelve movies for major film companies, all in the 60s, so I'm no longer sure just which went where. I do believe, however, it was the featurette titled "People of Provence."

Tempest Nightingale LeTrope said...

What an interesting career! Sorry about your bloggy virus. Hope all is healed soon!

Lmkazmierczak said...

Wonderful write-up...have a terrific Thanksgiving weekend and keep those anecdotes coming♪

rallentanda said...

I would like to see your movie.Is it on youtube? I saw A Year In Provence and read the book by Peter Mayle. That was pretty good.

Berowne said...

Rallentanda: That movie was made half a century ago and I have no idea where it might be now. It was in theatrical wide-screen format and you'd have to rent a movie theatre to see it. [And it wasn't that great. :-)]

Anonymous said...

tolerant...that is the word...!

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