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My screen name is shannonwong and I wanted to start a group to discuss everything about early recording and film. You can also call me by my real name, Shannon. If you're someone who is curious about the history of film and recording from the late 19th century till today, or you just appreciate the music and films from the early 20th century--please chime in and share!

My story: Ever since I was in high school, I felt that I belonged to a different time, culture, and aesthetic. I've always loved old people, but it was telling when I met an old vaudevillian who had worked with Jimmy Durante and we could talk for hours about the people he knew way back when. This guy was a "stooge" meaning, he was the funny short acts before the main acts would come on. I was always more socially awkward (or maybe just uninterested) with kids my own age and the music and television shows they liked. I had, what Woody Allen calls in his film Midnight in Paris, "golden age thinking," when you always imagine yourself happier in a place, time, and cultural "happening" from the past.

I watched Clara Bow films, and imagined myself as the original "It" girl. I dreamed of Rudolph Valentino serenading me under my balcony, and I had a hot-and-heavy crush on Douglas Fairbanks. I adored Mary Pickford, and saw her as a sort of female Peter Pan (for playing the "child" America's Sweetheart up until she was 30). And I then also had a crush on Buddy Rodgers, who would become Pickford's husband after her and Fairbanks' heartbreaking divorce. (Rodgers was also in Wings, the 1927 epic aviation film with Louise Brooks about WWI.) Rodgers would stay with Pickford as she left Hollywood, up until her death.

I LOVED the love stories of the stars--such as the Pickford and Fairbanks romance. And I also mourned the break ups, and the tragic endings of these affairs and the stars' lives. Harlow died at 26; Valentino died also at 26. Garbo and Pickford both became recluses after leaving Hollywood.

I also became entranced by old "gramophone" and Victor recordings of popular singers from this period. Helen Kane, crooners, and then the great jazz and blues artists of this time period--Ma Rainey being one of them.

When I watch shows from television or most popular films, I can appreciate some of them. But mostly, they feel alien to me. They're at a loss of the newness of these technologies from this time period, and I feel they're missing the innocence of this earlier time. And the ROMANCE!

Of course, the more I read the more I begin to understand the formulaic ways the Hollywood studios began to process or "turn out" stars. And that many people were exploited. But with all of this, I still love these films, this time period, and I think the aesthetic of these films and recordings.

I will be looking into the technology behind the films from this time period. But I'll only discuss that which the community finds interesting or helpful. I'm also interested in the gossip of the stars from this time period, the directors and producers, and the audience's response to these films at the time of their release. But aside from the history, I'd like to talk about the narrative/stories and characters that developed within the course of these films--and the meaning they hold for you. And especially the Relationship you feel you have to these films/music.

**Please share now if you like*** I'd love to hear your thoughts as to what you'd like to get out of the group.

I'll be watching films every week, and posting something here. I'll try my best to find Youtube clips of the films I watch. I'd love to watch them with you! We can pretend we're hanging out watching, munching on popcorn, and then join in the next week to discuss the film.


Until Talkies: Early Film and Recording

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