Listen: Aired On Thursday, December 05, 4 PM, On Bay Curious.
"Russia cargo team took me up to the projector room in the back of the theater. This is the original from nineteen thirteen as you can see. And why would it have been tim lined. Because of the nitrate fire hazard. You needed some kind of protection on the woods woods. So that if a fire did start wouldn't burn the whole place down. I think I should mention here. Photographic film is a strip of transparent plastic coated on on one side with a light sensitive. Gelatin emulsion do this with a nitro compound and you've got something so reactive it'll burn even after you submerged aged in water so these days keen roles prints not highly flammable nitrates as they're called but the projectors are from the silent film Myra and he literally cranks the films on Saturday nights here actually not too difficult to do you. Just watch the screen and you're on can put much automatically readjust on the fly while you're looking at the screen to see the image at its proper speed. He's also the guy who repairs and researches the background of footage people send here because they niles is a good home for silent films Samarasinghe. What's out there and still is turning up a family just not too long ago brought us five nitrate films that were under house in Stockton rare films that I've never seen before? And what were they up. There was one film that was shot by the miles brothers in Nineteen Tim. Twelve San Francisco Company at ten Franc Park aviation need some more footage from the San Francisco earthquake aftermath. Nineteen six some pretty amazing Steph Rachel. How long did the silent film era last almost forty years from the eighteen ninety s through the nineteen twenties? But a lot of people didn't take these films seriously back then didn't think anybody in the future would care about about a bit of fluff made for the moment or maybe they did but nitrates fires destroyed a lot of foam history. It's amazing how many many films that were made in that time period thousands and thousands of films only a fraction survive but but because there were so many made that still means that there are still a lot of them around. Fortunately were there any surprises for you doing story. You Know Olivia. I don't think I realized how many women were involved in silent film and not just involved. We talked about Charlie Chaplin. But he wasn't the only big talent of this period take for example Mabel normand with bouncy curls and expressive eyebrows. She was the first actress to be tied to the railroad tracks. She she was also at keystone when Charlie Chaplin arrived and taught him a few things before he moved onto Sa. She directed some of the movies. He was in served as his I leading lady for a stretch ran her own production company eventually just like Chaplin thanks to historians like Keane were rediscovering and treasures hidden in plain sight for close to a century. Now can I just watch some of these films on Youtube in my jammies with my own popcorn. Yes you can't but but I'll tell you I have done a lot of that for this story and a lot of the musical choices. Her awful also the quality of the prints nut so great either plus. There's something to the physical experience of watching a movie in a theater with a live piano player. And what does our question asker her Jose Nunez have to say about your story. I was really blown away by the very insightful. At it just basically gave me more for a history of my hometown. It's not only just a you know a piece of history for Free Monitor the bay area but also all of California. 'cause people think moviemaking. I was born and still lives in a so-called but this as bunches of North Korea as it is anything else so Olivia I just WanNa reemphasize. Something Keen said about us. The most successful silent film company in the Bay Area Jose's parents and it must be said a fair number of bay area. Journalists have suggested Niles was Hollywood boo for Hollywood. But that's really an overstatement. Niles was big for the bay area but it was still an outpost for Chicago Studio and Hollywood deserves. The screen credit gets well. Aren't you the Party pooper. Rachel I'm not saying don't go and feel I love for Niles and silent film. Just keep it real fixed a few weeks ago. We asked you to tell us your favorite favorite big curious episode. Here's a message. We got from Clare in Oakland. Eight favorite be curious episode was the one about how it Sound decibels of the trains. Every time I ride part I might years or like put my ear bud. We're making a playlist with all of your suggestions and it's not too late to get your favorite in the mix. Tell us your favorite voice memo and send it to Bay curious at Kqed.org Committee Dot Org be sure to say your name and the city where you live to be. Curious is made in San Francisco at K. Q.. I'm Alan Price.."