THE START OF THE ACADEMY

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially welcomes more than 250 new members into its fold this week, we look back at the earliest days of our organization.

On January 11, 1927, thirty-six of Hollywood’s most prominent figures, including Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pickford, Sid Grauman, Jesse Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, Cedric Gibbons and Irving Thalberg, met to discuss the establishment of an honorary membership organization...
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DESIGNING YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

Young Frankenstein is a loving send up of Universal horror movies of the 1930s.  While remaining faithful to some tropes such as the use of stitches, makeup designer William Tuttle played off of modern audiences’ knowledge of the Boris Karloff classic by replacing the familiar neck bolts with zippers.

Tuttle’s illustrations convey his plans for the character’s makeup that are not obvious in the final film. Although the fil...
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WILLIAM CASTLE’S HOMICIDAL HORRORS

Once described by John Waters as “the greatest showman of our time,” director William Castle best embodied that title with Homicidal, his 1961 classic that introduced the first-ever “Fright Break” — a 45-second opportunity before the film’s climactic ending for too-terrified audience members to leave for the lobby and have their admission refunded. Castle later added a “Coward’s Corner” to discourage viewers from taking him up on his offer.

From the world’s premier collection of coming attractions at the Academy Film Archive comes the original theatrical trailer for Homicidal, featuring Castle himself offering his infamous money back guarantee. Experience the “Fright Break” (or maybe even the “Coward’s Corner”) for yourself this month when the Academy presents “Let There Be Fright: William Castle Scare Classics.” The four-night series offers a chance to see six of Castle’s horror hits, kicking off September 5th with The Tingler and culminating with Homicidal on September 26th.

The Packard Humanities Institute Collection is the largest known acquisition of theatrical trailers on film, deposited at the Archive by David Packard in 2009. This historically significant collection contains over 60,000 media items and has transformed the Academy Film Archive into the world’s foremost repository of motion picture trailers.




CUE THE MUSIC: CELEBRATING THE BLACK MOVIE SOUNDTRACK

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Next month, the Academy is celebrating The Black Movie Soundtrack at the Hollywood Bowl on September 3rd at 8pm with special guest performances and screen clips honoring the multidimensional influence of music and movies. To celebrate this event, we have highlights of some select recordings from the Margaret Herrick Library’s ...
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AN EYE FOR THE MOVIES

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A pioneering and inventive artist who helped craft the visual language of film, Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe contributed a wide variety of valuable material from his career to the Academy. His journey in Hollywood began as a janitor in Hollywood, cleaning out the camera room at Lasky Studios in 1917.

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He remained active until 1975, earning Academy Award...
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GRAF ZEPPELIN’S HISTORIC 1929 FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD

In August 1929 the Graf Zeppelin made its historic circumnavigation of the globe. The enormous airship, measuring 776 feet in length, took off from Lakehurst, New Jersey and flew to Germany, then Tokyo, on to Los Angeles, and back to New Jersey. The trip around the globe took 21 days, including the three stops, with a flight time of 12 ½ days. Enthusiastic amateur filmmaker Newcomb Condee joined over 100,000 people who flocked to see the Graf Zeppelin while it was moored for refueling at Mines Field in Los Angeles, now the site of Los Angeles International Airport. While most of the spectators had to content themselves with distant views of the airship, Mr. Condee managed to obtain a press badge, which allowed him to walk right up to the zeppelin and film this impressive silent footage with his 16mm home movie camera. Mr. Condee, a lawyer who would eventually become a judge in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, can first be seen in the footage joking with armed National Guardsmen patrolling the airfield.

As we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Graf Zeppelin’s remarkable feat of aviation, the Academy presents the four-evening series “Hollywood Takes to the Air.” The Academy’s celebration of cinema and aviation kicks off with “Illusions of Flight: Behind the Scenes of Hollywood’s Aviation Classics”, with program hosts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt. The celebration will continue with screenings of aviation-themed films, featuring short introductions about the making of the films by hosts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt. Airplane miniatures and other production materials from classic aviation films will be on display in the theater lobby throughout the weekend.

The Newcomb Condee Collection at the Academy Film Archive comprises 95 home movies, shot between 1926 and 1974. The films document the Condee family, their travels, and the changing landscape of Southern California, where they made their home. This footage of the Graf Zeppelin was preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2012.


TAKE TO THE SKIES

Producer Darryl F. Zanuck was intent on signing Gregory Peck for the lead in the film Twelve O’Clock High even before the novel on which the film was based hit bookstores. “From the very beginning,” Zanuck wrote the actor in 1947, “we have all visualized you in the role.” As an added incentive, Zanuck pointed out that Clark Gable, who at the time was set to star in another war-themed film, MGM’s Command Decision, preferred Twelve O’Clock High...
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HOME MOVIES OF BEVERLY HILLS, CIRCA 1935-1947

The Academy Film Archive, home to over 160,000 items, houses thousands of reels of home movies. From documentation of daily life, birthdays, and holidays, to unique behind the scenes footage of Hollywood films, the Archive’s home movie collection provides a rare look into the lives of its subjects – from the ordinary to the unusual. In celebration of the centennial of Beverly Hills, the Academy presents some special moments from the home movie collection, featuring silent clips of Beverly Hills landmarks and Hollywood figures at play including Ginger Rogers, George and Ira Gershwin, and Errol Flynn.

Star-Studded Stomping Ground, a new Academy exhibition of photographs in celebration of the Beverly Hills Centennial taking place throughout the city this year, is now open at the Margaret Herrick Library. This exhibit of more than 40 photographs explores the growth of Beverly Hills and the connection between the city and the motion picture industry, which have been intertwined since the earliest days of the city’s incorporation in 1914.


BEAU AND JEFF BRIDGES: BROTHERLY LOVE

Actors with a long history in Hollywood, brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges are known for a close, supportive relationship that’s existed throughout their lives, even during the earlier part of their careers when both were actively trying to make names for themselves in the same profession as their father, Lloyd. Here, we take a look at early magazine articles that introduced the pair to the public.

In December 10, 1973, Newsweek featured Beau and Jeff Bridges in an art...
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10 FAVORITE BICYCLE POSTERS FROM THE LIBRARY'S COLLECTION

In honor of the Tour de France, we’re donning the yellow jersey for a look at some film posters from our collection. The films all include bicycles as their central motif and in the international spirit of the event, we have examples from a number of different countries.

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The earliest known example in our collection is this American three-sheet poster for a silent serial featuring the character Patsy Bolivar. Bolivar was...
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