The Law of Contact
 
Comments from a passionate fan of old movies

“Murder on Lenox Avenue” - Black Cinema Situation Adventure
released in 1941
running time 63 minutes

The Actors: Mamie Smith (Hattie), Alberta Perkins (Mercedes, pie seller), Alec Lovejoy (Flivver Johnson, bartender and pianist), Dene Larry (Ola Wilkins), Augustus Smith (Pa Wilkins), Ernie Ransom (Jim Bracton), Edna Mae Harris (Juditha, nightclub singer), Cristola Williams (Rosalia, Hattie's daughter), Sidney Easton (Speed Simmons, orchestra leader), Earl Sydnor (Gregory), Norman Astwood (Mr. Marshall, crooked Better Business League leader), Herman Green (Lomax, Marshall's henchman), George Williams (Montoute), Emily Santos (Emily, showgirl), Flo Lee (Flo, showgirl), Wahneta San (Whaneta, showgirl)

The Loves, Laughs, Life, and Death on Lenox Avenue

Murder on Lenox AvenueOur adventure takes place in and around an apartment building at 119 Lenox Avenue in Harlem. The tenants include a World War One veteran and his young daughter, an aspiring jazz bandleader, a bartender and pianist, three showgirls, a lady who sells pies on the street in front of the building, and a few more vibrant New Yorkers in 1941.

Mamie Smith, as Hattie, will sing at Pa Wilkin’s birthday party, where her pregnant daughter will discover that her baby’s father is going to marry someone else. Mamie Smith was a vaudeville jazz and blues singer who became the first African-American person to record and sell jazz and blues music records. In 1920 her record company was threatened with boycott and violence if they recorded a black singer, but they still produced and sold Mamie Smith’s songs, which became extremely popular, opening the door for black performers to make and sell records. By the time she appeared in this film, she was retired from singing, and would pass five years after appearing in this story.

Sidney Easton, who plays bandleader Speed Simmons, was born in Savannah, Georgia. After playing music for a circus, and later a minstrel show, he formed his own band, and began writing and performing his own music. Ethel Waters and Pearl Baily recorded some of his songs, and he performed and composed music for fifty years. Most of his personal papers, writings and manuscripts now reside in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in the New York Public Library.

Black cinema productions from the first years of motion pictures are very rare, and good quality surviving copies are even more rare, so this peek into Harlem apartment life in 1941 is a veritable historic treasure. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn drizzled with plenty of warm melted butter and enjoy the show.

Have a slow streaming connection or don't have time to watch this movie right now? Download the movie and watch it later offline :~)
The story of White Kernel Popcorn —»

Click Here to Watch “Murder on Lenox Avenue” —»

Return tomorrow to watch a Private Detective Murder Adventure . . .
If you forgot to visit yesterday you missed a Texas Rangers Cowboy Adventure “Guns of the Law” —»

Jimbo
 
 

The question that I am asked most often is whether these movies are really public domain, or am I sharing movies that are still copyrighted and owned by movie studios and independent producers. Some folk believe that I am clever enough to share movies still owned by studios and independent producers without them knowing, but that would not be 'clever' . . . . merely 'stupid.' The first month that I started this web site I uploaded the stack of movies that I had on hand that I believed were public domain. Within days, when only a handful of visitors found my site, a movie studio contacted me and let me know that a couple of their copyrighted movies were among my uploads. I quickly apologized and removed them, and I started learning how to research copyright office records instead of taking the word of movie bloggers. To guarantee that I don't make a mistake, and encourage any studio or producer to correct any mistake that I might make, I do not hide the files with cryptic file names like movie pirates do, and I do not host the movies in a small offshore nation to prevent movie studios from finding either me or the movies. Every movie is named and dated and very easy for motion picture studios to search for and find . . . . . And believe me, they are constantly watching. You may have only discovered this web site recently, but all of the movie studios watch my listings very closely, and have since the very early days. Our legal system makes it very easy for movie studio lawyers to quickly shut down an offending web site located in the U.S., and I am a very cautious person who wants to be around for a while, and have no interest in abusing the rights of others. I am also very easy to find . . . . I am a very public person with my face on every page of the web site, and a contact link on every page of the web site, and if you look at the 'meet Jimbo' page you can even easily discover my cell phone number. The movies that have been here for years now are still here because they are public domain in the U.S. and/or have no current legal owner or legal guardian.

If you find an error or factual mistake, please use the contact page to let me know so that I can correct it for everyone else. This web site attempts to celebrate the efforts of every actor from the first decades of motion pictures - not just the stars - because like a grand stew, every actor adds a unique flavor to the film, and without any of them the movie would not be the same. If you are one of these actors, or a friend or family member of an actor, please send me any anecdotes and stories that you know about any of them, and I will gladly add them to the site to enrich our knowledge about that actor or the movie they played in.