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Comments on old movies from an old and passionate guy

“The Perils of Pauline” - Biographical Movie Star Action Adventure
released in July 4, 1947
running time 1 hour and 34 minutes

The Actors: Betty Hutton (Pearl White), John Lund (Michael Farrington), William Demarest (George 'Mac' McGuire), Billy De Wolfe (Mr. Timmy Timmons), Constance Collier (Julia Gibbs), Frank Faylen (Mr. Joe Gurt), William Farnum (Western Saloon set hero), Chester Conklin (comic chef), Paul Panzer (the drawing room gentleman), 'Snub' Pollard (Western Saloon set prop man), James Finlayson (comic chef), Creighton Hale (Marcelled leading man), Hank Man (comic chef), Francis McDonald (Western Saloon set heavy), Bert Roach (Western Saloon set bartender), Heinie Conklin (studio cop), Jean Acker (switchboard operator), Ernie Adams (Western Saloon set cowboy), Eric Alden (officer), Bea Allen (Farrington player), Florence Allen (switchboard operator)

Sassy and Brassy Betty

Betty HuttonBetty Hutton's mother tried to raise her two girls without the help of a man. Prohibition, which made all forms of alcohol illegal, had begun in the U.S., and with mama's fondness for a nip now and then, she decided to operate a speak-easy saloon serving illegal alcohol to the thirsty neighborhood. With the cops shutting her down every few months, she and her girls moved around the Detroit area fairly often, opening a saloon in a different neighborhood until the cops discovered them again.To provide a bit of entertainment for her customers she and her daughters sang songs, and the career of Elizabeth June Thornburg, or Betty Hutton, began.

Her unique sassy, brassy personality and voice made her an unforgettable motion picture star, if not beloved by the actors she worked with. We are fortunate that this movie slipped through the copyright cracks and entered public domain earlier than most Paramount pictures because it features Betty Hutton at the peak of her career.

In this adventure Betty Hutton plays the part of a real-life silent movie star, Pearl White. During the first years of motion pictures the weekly serial was created as a way to get movie fans to go to their local theater every week . . . Before the main feature film a short episode of an action adventure would be shown, and the Perils of Pauline was the runaway favorite in 1914, starring Pearl White.

Pauline was a damsel in distress who got into a death-defying position just as the weekly episode ended . . . As the screen faded to black, the audience would be convinced that poor Pauline would never survive this crises . . . . Next week when the audience returned to watch the doom of Pauline, they would see her miraculously escape the doom that seemed inevitable the week before . . . . And then she would progress into another death-defying crises at the end of this week's chapter.

Pearl White did all of her own stunts, many of which were really dangerous. The scene with the runaway hot air balloon really happened, almost killing the actress. What did NOT ever happen in a Perils of Pauline episode was any scene with Pauline tied to a railroad track and a monster train speeding down the tracks toward her. That scene was in another silent movie that you can watch here called Barney Oldfield's Race for a Life, filmed a year before The Perils of Pauline was created. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.

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The story of White Kernel Popcorn —»

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Return tomorrow to watch a Sherlock Holmes Mystery . . .
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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 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.