Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

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vitaphone26

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Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostMon Jan 28, 2013 3:51 pm

I have a 35mm nitrate print of a one reel short titled Wild Flowers. It was a musical/advertising film featuring Victor Young and his Orchestra. This film was made for Studebaker featuring the iconic "giant car" From what I could find online this is thought to be a lost film. However, I have heard rumors that UCLA or the LOC may have turned up another print. I would be very interested in working with any archive that wants to preserve it. I have it posted on my YouTube channel (Tim Romano).
Note: The first 90 seconds or so the image is quite unstable due to severe sprocket damage it suffered somewhere along its long life.
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Jack Theakston

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostMon Jan 28, 2013 4:44 pm

Tim,

This short was preserved by Library of Congress and there is a 35mm show print available (we ran it at Capitolfest last year). That being said, you should probably still donate it to LoC in case there's something unique about your print.
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"
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Bor Enots

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostMon Jan 28, 2013 11:45 pm

We will compare the two and see what's up. The LC print is pretty darn complete and really nice looking.
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earlytalkie

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostTue Apr 09, 2013 12:56 pm

vitaphone26 wrote:I have a 35mm nitrate print of a one reel short titled Wild Flowers. It was a musical/advertising film featuring Victor Young and his Orchestra. This film was made for Studebaker featuring the iconic "giant car" From what I could find online this is thought to be a lost film. However, I have heard rumors that UCLA or the LOC may have turned up another print. I would be very interested in working with any archive that wants to preserve it. I have it posted on my YouTube channel (Tim Romano).
Note: The first 90 seconds or so the image is quite unstable due to severe sprocket damage it suffered somewhere along its long life.

I saw this last night and loved it. As a fan of early sound films and of Studebaker cars, this was a delightful 9 minutes. The print was in very good shape, even allowing for the "jitters" for the first 90 seconds. A very clear, well-recorded film. I've a collection of Studebaker films from the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, but I've never even heard of this one. I'll bet if a DVD were offered of this, you could sell quite a few to fans like me. A much more subtle and entertaining way to sell an automobile than what was the norm back then (or even today).
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Jack Theakston

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostWed Apr 10, 2013 1:59 pm

Here are my notes from our screening at Capitolfest last year:

9:30 a.m. Wildflowers (Wilding, 1930)

Directed by Alf Goulding; Screenplay by Jean Goldkette; Musical Conductor, Victor Young; Sound Recording, Snyder. 9 minutes.

Cast: The Studebaker Champion Orchestra (Jean Goldkette Orchestra), Three Shades of Blue (Greta Woodson, Gertrude Matthews, Lucille Matthews).

For what is essentially a one-reel promotional short, Wild Flowers has possibly the most interesting back story of many of the films that will run at Capitolfest this year. Jazz enthusiasts will want to take particular note, as this marks a rare on-screen appearance of the Jean Goldkette Orchestra (conducted here by Victor Young).

During the 1920s, the Studebaker Company was one of the most effectively promoted of all of the many automobile manufacturers of the period. Magazine ads were carefully crafted, and the Studebaker brand quickly became synonymous with quality. Understanding the value of the burgeoning radio market, the Studebaker Company organized a dance music show to be broadcast every Sunday night, coast-to-coast, on the NBC Radio Network commencing in February 1929. To supply music, Studebaker contracted famed jazz conductor Jean Goldkette, whose own dance orchestra was broadcasting from the Drake Hotel on Chicago’s WGN station several times every day, seven days a week.

Goldkette, who organized and represented over twenty orchestras, including McKinley’s Cotton Pickers and Glen Gray’s Casa Loma Orchestra, bolstered his own orchestra with several sidemen and transformed the group into Jean Goldkette’s Studebaker Champions, making reference to the numerous championships Studebaker cars had won across America. The group would even regularly be photographed in white pit crew coveralls to solidify its association with Studebaker. Among its personnel, the Champions included Harold Stokes, conductor and accordion, Pee Wee Hunt and Vernon Brown, trombones; Nat Natoli, Earl Baker and Sterling Bose, trumpets; Bill Short, sousaphone; Volly De Faut, Larry Tice, Jack Cordaro, saxes; Van Fleming, guitar; Paul Mertz, piano; Greta Woodson, Gertrude Matthews and Lucille Matthews (as “Three Shades Of Blue”), vocals.

If radio wasn’t enough, Studebaker continued their advertising plan with regular motion picture promotions. With talking pictures now firmly rooted in theaters across the country, the company contracted Goldkette to produce a promotional short, the focus being in particular its 1931 Model 80 Four Season Roadster. Studebaker contracted Alf Goulding to direct. Goldkette wrote the script in a day, and Wild Flowers is the result.

Goldkette’s tunes are loosely framed around a story of two lovers, culminating in a Model 80 that is built to dwarf the band. The Studebaker experimental body department, under the head of Paul Auman, constructed a pine Model 80 that measured 41 feet long. Every detail of the genuine article was reproduced to near-perfection. The tires were manufactured by Firestone to the exact specification of the original.

The short received wide distribution, particularly on the RKO circuit, likely because of RKO’s affiliation with NBC. Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today were quite impressed by the short:

One of the cleverest, if not the best, advertising reel we have ever seen is one just produced on behalf of the Studebaker automobile...The music is excellent, the treatment is novel, and the sum total is far and away superior to nine out of ten of the short subjects now on the market as legitimate show material.

After the production of the short, the giant car was moved to a spot just outside of the Studebaker proving ground gate. While it was maintained throughout the first part of the 1930s, by 1936, the pine car was beginning to show its age. As part of a publicity stunt to emphasize “out with the old and in with the new,” on May 17, 1936, the car was ceremoniously set ablaze, and was cremated within 30 minutes.

For more information about the giant car and the production of Wild Flowers, read Studebaker historian Richard Quinn’s great article about the filming of the picture at http://www.studebakerdriversclub.com/giant_car.asp" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank. Mr. Quinn was instrumental in having the original print preserved at the Library of Congress, and for your enjoyment today. (LoC) —Jack Theakston
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"
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earlytalkie

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostWed Apr 10, 2013 2:33 pm

Simply fascinating. I have the DVD "Studebaker Story 2005" , a half-hour documentary done to salute the opening of the then all-new Studebaker National Museum. (Moved from an old dealership into a beautiful, brand-new building). Mr. Quinn lends some of his extensive knowledge of the company and it's products in this show. This museum is a beautiful place to spend the day and see a vast array of vehicles from the horse-drawn days to Studebaker's last cars, produced in South Bend in 1963 and in Hamilton, Ontario in 1966. I am in no way connected to the museum, just a fan of it. Again, I am so glad that this cheery short has been saved.
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vitaphone26

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Re: Wild Flowers 1930 "Lost Studebaker" film?

PostSat May 04, 2013 10:19 am

earlytalkie wrote:
vitaphone26 wrote:I have a 35mm nitrate print of a one reel short titled Wild Flowers. It was a musical/advertising film featuring Victor Young and his Orchestra. This film was made for Studebaker featuring the iconic "giant car" From what I could find online this is thought to be a lost film. However, I have heard rumors that UCLA or the LOC may have turned up another print. I would be very interested in working with any archive that wants to preserve it. I have it posted on my YouTube channel (Tim Romano).
Note: The first 90 seconds or so the image is quite unstable due to severe sprocket damage it suffered somewhere along its long life.

I saw this last night and loved it. As a fan of early sound films and of Studebaker cars, this was a delightful 9 minutes. The print was in very good shape, even allowing for the "jitters" for the first 90 seconds. A very clear, well-recorded film. I've a collection of Studebaker films from the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, but I've never even heard of this one. I'll bet if a DVD were offered of this, you could sell quite a few to fans like me. A much more subtle and entertaining way to sell an automobile than what was the norm back then (or even today).

Thank you for your kind words about my transfer of this film. I lost George Willeman's email when I upgraded my OS. If you or anybody out there has It please email me at tim@rgtarchives.com. Thanks!

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