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Who the Hell is Joseph McDermott?

So I’ve mentioned that I have the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra 2012 silent film calendar. I hope you do too. If not, I pity the fool (who didn’t have the foresight to purchase one).

Everyday I wake up, sit down at the old Underwood HP Envy, and have a look see at what my amazing and informative calendar has to tell me. Well first, I admire the full page photo that’s at top. As it’s only March 6, I’ve yet to tire of this month’s still, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, and Luke the Dog from Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1918). Fatty has some food on a fork and Luke is staring at the food, but Fatty is all shaking a finger and saying “No, you can’t have it!” It’s hilarious, but I digress. When I’m done chuckling at Fatty and Luke, I check the current day to see what factoid I can share with my devoted readers. I admit, this has made me a bit of a lazy silent film blogger, but interesting none-the-less, right? Right?

Today the silent film calendar notes that on March 6, 1923, Joseph McDermott committed suicide. That sounds like a promising story. I dutifully fire up the Google search engine (I like to think of it as steam powered) and search “Joseph McDermott silent movie.” Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about our tragic hero:

Joseph McDermott (1890 – March 6, 1923), was an American actor of the silent era. He appeared in 76 films between 1912 and 1923.

He died in Los Angeles, California by committing suicide.[citation needed]

And that’s about it. Mr, McDermott’s impressive filmography is listed, and that’s all. I dig a little deeper into the interwebs, and that’s still all I got. Unlike the question, “Who the Hell is Elmo Lincoln?“, this question doesn’t really have an answer.

Turns out, sometimes that’s all these is to say. But of course, silent movies are not about saying, are they? They’re about doing, and Joseph McDermott, whoever he was and whatever tragic circumstances led him to commit suicide, still exists as a flickering shadow in those 76 films.

Need proof. Here he is, playing an Asylum Guard, in D.W. Griffith’s Biograph short, The House of Darkness. Joseph McDermott, we know ye not, yet we salute ye.

Film Friday Weekly Roundup

My sound track for the week is the tick, tick, tick of the clock. Between TIFF screenings, writing about the films, work, and (ahem) the release of NHL 12 for xbox – well I’ve been a busy gal. Good news, though – the Toronto Maples Leafs are 1st in the league! But no matter how busy I am, I always find time to spend hours and hours goofing around on the interwebs. Funny how that works, huh? Here’s the best of the best this week. Happy reading and happy viewing!

  • I really did love Intruders but did a very poor job of reviewing it. Here’s some peeps who did a much job… The Hollywood Reporter, Joblo, CBC
  • The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World examines the humble film projectionist
  • The 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die blog reviews one of my fav flicks of all time, It Happened One Night
  • Mythical Monkey hops in his way back machine to host the 1913 Silent Oscars
  • Classic Film Freak reviews the super luxe Blu-ray release of Citizen Kane
  • The Ottawa Citizen talks to the director of contemporary silent film The Artist
  • If you’re looking for real estate next to a slaughter house and a pickle factory, Charlie Chaplin’s childhood home is for sale
  • And just because… some kind soul has compiled some wacky golf antics featuring Chaplin, Keaton, Arbuckle, and Laurel & Hardy:

Buster Keaton Laughs

Buster Keaton is famous for the deadest of dead pans and we all love him for it. But in Fatty Arbuckle’s 1917 “Coney Island” the script calls for Buster to deliver a big slapstick laugh and he does. He gets a bonk on the head for his trouble, perhaps explaining why he laughs so rarely.

If you want to see what leads up to this rare crack in the stone facade, download the complete “Coney Island” here.

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