The Great Lloyd-Chaplin Popularity Contest of 1923

When silent film aficionados sit down in fine leather wing-back chairs to discuss silent comedy while indulging in fine brandy and cigars, the two contenders for greatest clown are invariably Chaplin and Keaton. But in April, 1923, Famous Players asked movie-goers to vote between Chaplin and another titan of comedy, Harold Lloyd. The results, posted below, show that Lloyd’s comedies were a force to be reckoned with. Here are the results, published in the Toronto Daily…

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The Unholy Three visits TIFF Bell Lightbox

An archival 35mm print of Tod Browning’s The Unholy Three (1925), an early mingling of the underworld with the macabre, visits TIFF Bell Lightbox on Saturday, June 25 at 8pm, with piano accompaniment by Laura Silberberg. The film, which stars Lon Chaney, premiered in Toronto on August 4, 1925, at Shea’s Hippodrome. It was preceded by a travelogue showing a “bevy of bathing beauties” at Coney Island and a short comedy starring Harry Langdon. Shea’s…

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Gloria Swanson in Toronto

Perhaps not the close-up Gloria Swanson had in mind when she called out her famous line in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, the above photo was taken during the silent star’s visit to Toronto in July of 1950 —  one of the 34 stops in her publicity tour for Paramount’s Sunset Boulevard. Although the film would not premiere in Toronto until the following month, Swanson’s two-day stop was a busy one. On Monday, July 3, she…

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Buster Keaton 1895-1966

Buster Keaton died forty-five years ago today, and Silent Toronto would like to offer posthumous thanks for all the laughter that has filled (and continues to fill) Toronto cinemas. Seven Chances premiered at the former Shea’s Hippodrome in October, 1925. Last year I was fortunate to attend a screening at Casa Loma where the film was accompanied by Clark Wilson at the helm of the mighty, rumbling Wurlitzer organ. As I wrote in the Toronto…

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