Unidentified slapstick comedy ca. 1925

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rogerskarsten

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Unidentified slapstick comedy ca. 1925

PostSun Aug 01, 2010 3:45 pm

The Danish Film Institute has posted on their website a 19-minute unidentified fragment of an American film, featuring a very physical comedic performance by a lovely young woman (also unidentified). The title cards are in Danish, but the lead character is called "Miss Peggy."

The film actually looks like something Marion Davies's SHOW PEOPLE character "Peggy Pepper" would have made!

It's an entertaining little piece of anarchy, and maybe someone here will be able to identify this real life "Peggy Pepper."

Note: the headline "Express Wedding" makes it seem like the film's title has already been identified, but I don't think that's the case. One comment suggests that the actress is Pearl White, but given the mid-twenties time frame, that's unlikely, and I don't know that Pearl White ever did comedy like this girl does.

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FrankFay

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PostSun Aug 01, 2010 4:11 pm

What ever it is, it's fascinating. I agree, that's not Pearl White- no resemblance and White was older looking and somewhat fuller figured at the time.
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LouieD

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PostSun Aug 01, 2010 4:40 pm

I don't know what film it is but it sure is a lot of fun!
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Rob Farr

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PostSun Aug 01, 2010 4:46 pm

Looks like Dorothy DeVore to me. And looking over her filmography, could this be One Stormy Night (1922)? Don't you hate it when lightning bolts fly in your mouth and out your ears?
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Richard M Roberts

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PostSun Aug 01, 2010 5:07 pm

Rob Farr wrote:Looks like Dorothy DeVore to me. And looking over her filmography, could this be One Stormy Night (1922)? Don't you hate it when lightning bolts fly in your mouth and out your ears?


No, it's Wanda Wiley, and I believe this is YEARNING FOR LOVE (Universal Century Comedy released March 24, 1926) starring Wiley and Charles King, Directed by Edward Ludwig.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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westegg

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 7:37 am

If this is a short (according to the IMDb), then it seems pretty much intact and more than just a fragment? Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist? This one is certainly clever and energetic. Too bad there doesn't seem to be any detailed info on Wiley on the IMDb.
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rogerskarsten

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 9:16 am

westegg wrote:If this is a short (according to the IMDb), then it seems pretty much intact and more than just a fragment? Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist? This one is certainly clever and energetic. Too bad there doesn't seem to be any detailed info on Wiley on the IMDb.


I was thinking the same thing. Apart from a few missing minutes at the beginning, the film is probably very nearly complete -- the end of the surviving footage seems only seconds away from the end of the whole film, doesn't it?

Richard, have you submitted this information to the DFI?
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Tommie Hicks

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 9:21 am

There is an unidentified second reel at the LOC of Wanda and Earl McCarthy. She is much discussed among silent comedy scholars as being a lost gem. The biggest mystery is what eventually happened to her. The current rumor is that she married a wealthy businessman and retired from the screen.
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Richard M Roberts

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 12:08 pm

rogerskarsten wrote:
westegg wrote:If this is a short (according to the IMDb), then it seems pretty much intact and more than just a fragment? Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist? This one is certainly clever and energetic. Too bad there doesn't seem to be any detailed info on Wiley on the IMDb.


I was thinking the same thing. Apart from a few missing minutes at the beginning, the film is probably very nearly complete -- the end of the surviving footage seems only seconds away from the end of the whole film, doesn't it?

Richard, have you submitted this information to the DFI?


Yep.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 12:47 pm

westegg wrote:Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist?


I second these two questions. I bet Richard knows.
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Richard M Roberts

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 2:47 pm

WaverBoy wrote:
westegg wrote:Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist?


I second these two questions. I bet Richard knows.


Wanda Wiley worked for Universal. Universal dumped all of their silent negs in the Pacific in the 40's. Universal comedy product is rare indeed. I have only seen one or two other films with Wanda Wiley. Yep, its a rare title.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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rogerskarsten

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 9:45 pm

So now that I've had the chance to see her in this film, I'm officially a Wanda Wiley fan. I found some pictures of the lovely comedienne here, and a search of the FIAF database turned up the following leads on some more of her films:

EVEN UP (1927) - George Eastman House (Rochester)
HIS TAKING WAYS (ca. 1925) - Library of Congress (Washington), 35 mm; New Zealand Film Archive (Wellington); note: not listed in the IMDb.
JANE'S TROUBLES (1926) - Library of Congress (Washington), 35 mm; Deutsches Filminstitut-DIF (Wiesbaden)
LOST IN A PULLMAN (1927) - Museum of Modern Art (New York)
PUNCHES AND PERFUME (1926) - George Eastman House (Rochester); Museum of Modern Art (New York); UCLA Film and Television Archive (Los Angeles), 35 mm nitrate positive
THE SPEED HOUND (1927) - Library of Congress (Washington), 35 mm, 16 mm
A THRILLING ROMANCE (1926) - Library of Congress (Washington), 35 mm; National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Canberra), 35 mm, 16 mm
[UNIDENTIFIED CENTURY COMEDY] (US, 1924-1925) - Museum of Modern Art (New York)
uncertain: The Academy Film Archive (Beverly Hills) has a 16 mm print of a film called WEAK KNEES. No further information is given in the FIAF database, and the IMDb lists two silent-era films with this title. One of them (1927) featured Wanda Wiley; the other one (1925) did not.

This title is not in FIAF, but apparently CUSTARD'S LAST STAND (1927) also exists.
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Rick Lanham

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PostMon Aug 02, 2010 10:25 pm

While looking for info on the above-mentioned His Taking Ways film, I found several newspaper articles (on Ancestry) that say that Wanda narrowly escaped death from a fire. I did not see any follow-up articles on her health:

Here is the text from one-

/////
Oakland Tribune (Oakland California) May 27, 1927
By United Press
Dallas, Tex. May 27- Wanda Wiley, film actress, narrowly escaped death in her home today. Charles Hilton, disabled fireman, who saw flames eating their way through an adjoining residence, she might have been trapped by the flames. (sic)

Disregarding a fractured arm sustained in an explosion which took a toll of six dead several days ago, Hilton entered the smoke-filled dwelling and carried Miss Wiley to safety.

/////

This could have affected her career, if she did not already retire - I haven't checked when her last film came out.

Rick
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Jim Gettys

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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 12:03 am

Here is some basic info on Wanda Wiley, from a variety of sources:

She was born in Iowa on 26 Oct 1889 to Earnest and Anna Bachman. The family is found in the 1900 Census in Marshall Co, IA.

In 1909 she married Roy Wiley in South Dakota. They had a son named Royal Henry on 6 March 1911. (He died in 1947.) The Wileys are found in the 1910 Census in Moody Co, SD.

In 1920 the Wileys were in Sioux Falls, SD, and in 1930 they're found in Los Angeles Co, CA.

Wanda Wiley died in March 1983 at age 93, probably in Glendale, AZ.


>>> Update: A far better candidate has emerged. See Rick Lanham's entries, below.


Jim Gettys
Last edited by Jim Gettys on Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 4:28 am

Jim, I think you have found a different Wanda Wiley, a very easy thing to do.
I only say this because of the following articles.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The following articles are located on Ancestry.com and are all from the newspaper called:

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas)

/////
April 19, 1933

Wanda Wiley, who used to be a Hollywood comedy star back in the old silent days, is making San Antonio her temporary home, business unstated.

/////
May 14, 1933

Wanda Wiley To Get New Contract

Miss Wanda Wiley, picture actress, who has been the guest of her sister here, Mrs. Hugh H. Perry (or Parry, hard to read), 146 East Agarita Avenue, is leaving for New York Monday, where she will sign with either UFA of Berlin or INS? (?hard to read) of Mexico City, probably the former for some pictures.

Miss Wiley is erstwhile Universal featured player. San Antonio is her home town, and she went to St. Mary’s hall here. After her days with Universal she played with Ann Harding in The Trial of Mary Dugan. (on stage)

/////
October 13, 1933

Wanda Wiley, formerly of Hollywood and who has been in San Antonio several months, is talking of going to Berlin for the Christmas Holidays. She has a film lined up.

/////
March 17, 1937

Cupid Clicks
Ex-Film Star Weds S. A. Doctor

Wanda Wiley, former motion picture star, became the bride of Dr. Donald T. Atkinson of San Antonio last week in a ceremony near Pearsall, it was learned Wednesday.

The marriage culminated (?hard to read) an acquaintance of 25 years.

The actress gave her age as 37 and her residence as Dallas. She is a native of Texarkana.

Previous to her marriage Mrs. Atkinson spent a part of this winter as the guest of Mrs. J.E. King, 415 McCullough Avenue.

As Wanda Wiley, Mrs. Atkinson was starred in Universal films from 1927 to 1931. She appeared in “Smiling Through,” “Paris Bound” and many other outstanding pictures.

Since 1931, she has lived mostly in New York where she appeared for one year with Ann Harding in “The Trial of Mary Dugan.” Following this appearance, she studied dramatic art in the Fourteenth Street Theater under the direction of Eve La Gallienne. She has appeared in numerous foreign films.

At present Doctor and Mrs. Atkinson are supervising the building of a new home on Huebner road, northwest of the city.
/////

Rick
Last edited by Rick Lanham on Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 5:17 am

I'm not sure the two Wanda Wileys are mutually exclusive. We lose track of Jim's Wanda in 1930. It is very possible that she may have divorced Mr. Wiley sometime after 1930 and relocated to San Antonio in '33. If Jim's Wanda is our Wanda...damn! I just missed her. Lived in Glendale AZ from 1984-88.
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 6:29 am

Dr. Atkinson was a surgeon of some note, and divorced a prior wife the year before he married Wanda.
This Google books search:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe ... =&gs_rfai=

Gives the following information:

He was married in Pearsall, Tex., Mar. 6, 1937, to Wanda, daughter of James Alexander Wiley of Dallas, Tex., an architect. Donald T. Atkinson died without issue in San Antonio, Tex.. Mar. 20, 1959

This is from a book called The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1967.

/////
Also:
San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) August 14, 1941

WILEY-James Alexander Wiley Sr., 85, residence Huebner Road, died Wednesday, August 13. Survived by daughters, Mrs. John Sellers, Mrs. Harold Evans, Mrs. William Gossa (?hard to read), Mrs. Mae Deering and Mrs. D.T. Atkinson; sons, Horace G., Edwing F. and James A. Wiley Jr. Eighteen grandchildren and five greatgrandchildren. Funeral service and interment will be held Thursday at Dallas. Arrangements by Zizk-Kearns (?sp) Funeral Home.
/////

Rick
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 10:30 am

It looks like Rick's Wanda is a far better (and younger?) candidate. Those newspaper citations are compelling.

Jim Gettys
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 12:05 pm

Kudos to you chaps for all of the cyber-gumshoe-ing.
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 12:13 pm

The Wanda Wiley in San Antonio/Dallas, etc. is either the actress or a great hoaxer.

She also seems to have had an earlier marriage to a Robert P. Knopp. This was in 1920, but after the census was taken. In the 1930 census he's still in Fredericksburg, TX, but no Wanda is with him; his marital status is WD for widowed. I have seen this done before in order to obscure a divorce. (or perhaps some neighbor didn't know the facts.) This 1920 marriage Wanda is Wanda Prestin Wiley.

The child of Wanda's age in the 1910 census of James Wiley's family is called Bobey, so that didn't help.

Need some photos to be sure.

Rick
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 1:16 pm

Richard M Roberts wrote:
WaverBoy wrote:
westegg wrote:Is this considered an otherwise previously lost short? Do any more of Wiley's short comedies exist?


I second these two questions. I bet Richard knows.


Wanda Wiley worked for Universal. Universal dumped all of their silent negs in the Pacific in the 40's. Universal comedy product is rare indeed. I have only seen one or two other films with Wanda Wiley. Yep, its a rare title.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


Thank you sir!
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Rick Lanham

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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 5:24 pm

Here is Dr. Atkinson's obituary. Wanda Wiley, silent film star, is mentioned in the final paragraph. The year of their marriage is given wrong according to the other newspaper items:

http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.obits/56695/mb.ashx


I also sent out an email to someone who said they are a granddaughter of Wanda's brother, Horace. But I don't know if they'll answer of course.

Rick
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 5:43 pm

:D This film is a Hoot! What precious footage. Has anyone informed them as to the film? :?
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 7:50 pm

Wanted to mention that week before last I took a look at the unidentified Wanda Wiley short at LOC that's listed as HIS TAKING WAYS, and it fits a plot synopsis for QUEEN OF ACES (5/13/1925) that I found in the 5/16/1925 Moving Picture World. It was directed by William Watson, and Wanda's supported by Al Alt, Dorothy Vernon and the Century Follies Girls.
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PostTue Aug 03, 2010 10:27 pm

Richard M Roberts wrote:No, it's Wanda Wiley, and I believe this is YEARNING FOR LOVE (Universal Century Comedy released March 24, 1926) starring Wiley and Charles King, Directed by Edward Ludwig.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


Since the gist of the film seems to involve Wanda getting someplace by a five o'clock deadline, could it be JUST IN TIME, which was released in New York (according to the Brooklyn Eagle) on August 9, 1925?

I rarely laugh out loud when watching something on the 'net, but I sure did this time! My son looked over my shoulder during the "wind storm" sequence and said, "All that's missing is Larry Semon."

Michael
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PostWed Aug 04, 2010 2:12 am

MikeH0714 wrote:
Richard M Roberts wrote:No, it's Wanda Wiley, and I believe this is YEARNING FOR LOVE (Universal Century Comedy released March 24, 1926) starring Wiley and Charles King, Directed by Edward Ludwig.

RICHARD M ROBERTS


Since the gist of the film seems to involve Wanda getting someplace by a five o'clock deadline, could it be JUST IN TIME, which was released in New York (according to the Brooklyn Eagle) on August 9, 1925?

I rarely laugh out loud when watching something on the 'net, but I sure did this time! My son looked over my shoulder during the "wind storm" sequence and said, "All that's missing is Larry Semon."

Michael


I looked into this one as well, but Charles King does not appear to have appeared in it, and he's definitely in the surviving film.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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PostWed Aug 04, 2010 3:50 am

On IMDB, "Sweet Dreams" does not seem to list the plot. In case it is of use, I copied this description from a newspaper of the time:

San Antonio Express (San Antonio, Texas) December 21, 1924

After describing "The Fifth Horseman" showing at the Rialto:

"The comedy for the current week is entitled "Sweet Dreams" with that extremely clever comedienne Wanda Wiley cast as a country girl who envisions herself in all kinds of funny adventures in a large city. As the leading lady of a New York play Wanda is said to be a scream while her dream of herself in the role of a designing vampire is said to be as comical as any characterization she has ever appeared in."

/////

Another paper listed a title "The Treasure Hunt" showing in April 1927. I don't see that title on the IMDB. I found thirteen other titles, but they were all on the database.

Rick
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PostWed Aug 04, 2010 9:21 am

Hi guys
I found this review in the 11/14/1925 Motion Picture News (pg. 2364):

"A SPEEDY MARRIAGE (Universal-Century - Two Reels)
This is a typical Wanda Wiley vehicle with a world of action, none of which, however, has not been seen many times before. They have taken the action out of about three oft-repeated comedy tales and crowded it into these two reels. Miss Wiley certainly is a lively young lady and a glutton for punishment. She takes many a hard fall and an equal number of hard knocks. She is also capable of better material than she is given to exploit in this one.

The Cast - The Girl.........................Wanda Wiley

The Story - Wanda, prospective heiress to millions is aroused by an electrical storm. She is hit by a flash of lightning and the electric spark, after going through her chases after all the other occupants of the house, causing general bedlam. At the height of all her troubles her lawyer phones her that she must be married by 5 o'clock that afternoon in order to inherit the estate of her wealthy uncle. She makes a date to meet her fiancee in ample time for performing the ceremony but is detained by a detail of traffic cops whom she leads on a merry chase, but finally eludes after many humorous and trying difficulties. She finally goes through with the contract just on the stroke of five.

Summary - This is a fast moving comedy with plenty of action, but both the story and the action have been used many times before. It gives Miss Wiley ample opportunity to display her talents, thought they could probably be displayed to better advantage in a vehicle that was not quite so hackneyed."

The info I have on the short is:

A SPEEDY MARRIAGE (11/18/1925) Century Comedy. Dir: Edward Luddy (a.ka. Edward Ludwig). 2 reels. Cast: Wanda Wiley, Charles King (her fiancee), Joe Bonner (blackface porter frightened by wind-up animals).

Steve
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Richard M Roberts

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PostWed Aug 04, 2010 11:36 am

Steve Massa wrote:Hi guys
I found this review in the 11/14/1925 Motion Picture News (pg. 2364):

"A SPEEDY MARRIAGE (Universal-Century - Two Reels)
This is a typical Wanda Wiley vehicle with a world of action, none of which, however, has not been seen many times before. They have taken the action out of about three oft-repeated comedy tales and crowded it into these two reels. Miss Wiley certainly is a lively young lady and a glutton for punishment. She takes many a hard fall and an equal number of hard knocks. She is also capable of better material than she is given to exploit in this one.

The Cast - The Girl.........................Wanda Wiley

The Story - Wanda, prospective heiress to millions is aroused by an electrical storm. She is hit by a flash of lightning and the electric spark, after going through her chases after all the other occupants of the house, causing general bedlam. At the height of all her troubles her lawyer phones her that she must be married by 5 o'clock that afternoon in order to inherit the estate of her wealthy uncle. She makes a date to meet her fiancee in ample time for performing the ceremony but is detained by a detail of traffic cops whom she leads on a merry chase, but finally eludes after many humorous and trying difficulties. She finally goes through with the contract just on the stroke of five.

Summary - This is a fast moving comedy with plenty of action, but both the story and the action have been used many times before. It gives Miss Wiley ample opportunity to display her talents, thought they could probably be displayed to better advantage in a vehicle that was not quite so hackneyed."

The info I have on the short is:

A SPEEDY MARRIAGE (11/18/1925) Century Comedy. Dir: Edward Luddy (a.ka. Edward Ludwig). 2 reels. Cast: Wanda Wiley, Charles King (her fiancee), Joe Bonner (blackface porter frightened by wind-up animals).

Steve


Atta Boy Steve! Definitely helps to have the New York Public Library at your fingertips.

RICHARD M ROBERTS
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rogerskarsten

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PostWed Aug 04, 2010 11:50 am

Ah! So the title given to this clip by the DFI ("Express Wedding") wasn't so far off after all. The original title must have been translated into Danish and then back into English.
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