Monday, August 2, 2010

Harold Lloyd Blogathon

 What is there I can say about one of my favorite men?

I guess we can go to the start of my love for Harold.

Silent films used to scare the pants off me. I mean, they were creepy, grainy and the music sounded like something you heard in a funeral home. Well, One night after a car accident when I was 18, I was flipping through the channels. It was about 2 am and nothing was on. I have always been in love with New York, Babe Ruth, and Coney Island. So, when I caught this BEAUTIFUL Black and White image of Coney Island on my TV, I stopped. Is this film really silent? The music was cheerful, the quality was amazing and the actor was not creepy at all! So I watched. I fell in love. The next morning I got up and decided to find more films with this handsome man in horn-rimmed glasses.  I got on the internet and found out he was Harold Lloyd and the best part? He was from Nebraska and better yet, he was from a town only 45 miles from me! What the What?!?

I was beyond excited and thrilled to find a few Harold Lloyd clips on youtube. I contacted my friend Cohen who did a blogtalk radio show on classic films and began to question him on this Lloyd guy. He gave me some info, and send me some films he had and I was blown away. He was funny, and the movies were amazing. After more research, I found that his home in Burchard, Nebraska was still there and better yet had been restored and you could visit the Harold Lloyd Birth Home. We loaded the car on a Sunday afternoon and drove over.

The house was locked up but there was a number to call on the front door. We walked around, looked, and took some photos, and left. We went back a few weeks later with an appointment and got in the house. While it is small, only about three rooms, it was still fun to imagine the Lloyd family in the late 1800’s running through that small Burchard house.

An idea sprung up when the lady who gave us the tour mentioned they hardly have enough money to heat/cool it or even keep it painted. A wonderful group of locals donated time, and money to keep it going but it wasn't enough. So, I called my friend Cohen and the First Annual Harold Lloyd Bash was born.

The first event was great! We had lots of Harold Films Donated by Kino, the Pawnee City Promotional Network donated money for food, and the Harold Lloyd Collection, we had a 4th-grade class come clear across Nebraska to join the fun and when the night hit, we had films on the side of the house. It was pure magic!

We were on cloud nine. The next year, we tried to do the same thing but the turnout was awful. We were very disheartened. We had not made even $100 for the upkeep of the house. We were in a hard spot. Try again or wait a year or two. So, we waited. So, I am asking you, begging you to consider contacting me for info on how to send money to keep the house going. Even if it is $5.00! They need money for the utilities, lawn care, and painting. We have been fighting to keep this place alive for years now and it has become very personal for me. Or better yet, come visit and drop me a line. I would love to give you the tour!

Now, why am I drawn to this man? Take my favorite film of his “Speedy” He is sweet, handsome, and hilarious. “It Smells Like Rain” is a phrase I use often and it makes my husband and I giggle every time. If you have seen the film, when he yells that, that means there is trouble. The Coney Island sequence is one of the greatest in any film and the cameo by Babe Ruth and footage of NYC is just amazing. It is like stepping back in time. (Watch for Harold Flipping himself the bird also) Harold plays a soda jerk who loses his job, he is an avid baseball (Yankee) fan and is taking care of his lady and her “pop."  I won't go into the entire plot but, I think this is a great starter film for Non-Silent fans.

Dr. Jack, this film opens with a little girl calling Dr. Jack (Harold) to come to her house. After some mishaps he makes it to find out his patient is this little girl's Dolly. Sweet and funny all in one.

Another one of my favorites is “For Heaven’s Sake” find it and watch it ASAP! Harold plays a millionaire who falls for a girl (who is poorer than him) and works in her brother's mission. The scene where he is eating her desserts is hilarious!

Safety Last. That is all I need to say. This film is perfect from start to finish!

I have loved nearly every film Harold has done. I have also loved exploring the person he was before the boy in the Horn Rimmed Glasses.

He was a man who married one of his sweetest Co-Stars Mildred Davis.

He was a man who posed with what he thought was a prop bomb, only to have it blow up near his face and nearly blind him, and he lost all but two of his fingers. His prosthetic hand is easy to spot in some of his films.

He was a 3D photographer who worked with women like Marilyn Monroe.

He was a dog lover.

He was a man who lost some of his films in a vault fire on his estate Green Acres.

He was a Shriner, Father, and very devoted grandfather who raised his granddaughter.

He was funny.

He was above all things, the man who welcomed me into Silents and introduced me to my love of Keaton, Chaplin, Chaney, and the silent Garbo, Crawford, and Shearer. He instilled into me a grand love of all things silent! This passion led me to some of my best friends, Cohen,  Angie, Tanya, and Gary, and many other great friends like Trevor, Kellee, Kristen, Bruce, Bill, Annette, and more!

I find that the best way to argue with anyone who says they “HATE” silent films is to give them a good Harold Lloyd film. The crisp picture and storyline will draw them in and they will fall in love. I'm so proud that Harold is our “hometown” boy!

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