The Era of Vaudeville Volume 2 (Containing 29 films) on CD

$14.97     Qty:

SKU: B127

The Era of Vaudeville is comprised of a total of 60 motion pictures. This auction is for Volume 2, which contains 29 films. These motion pictures present a rare animated record of vaudeville acts from the turn of the century. Although not actually filmed on a theatrical stage, they sought to recreate the atmosphere of a theater performance by showing the types of vaudeville acts and performers that were popular at the time.

Product Details

The Era of Vaudeville is comprised of a total of 60 motion pictures. This auction is for Volume 2, which contains 29 films. Films include animal acts, burlesque, dance, comic sketches, dramatic excerpts, dramatic sketches, physical culture acts, and tableaus. Many of the films were produced from 1897 to 1920. The remaining films were produced by Hans A. Spanuth in Chicago from 1919 to 1920 for the series "Spanuth's Original Vod-A-Vil Movies." These motion pictures present a rare animated record of vaudeville acts from the turn of the century. Although not actually filmed on a theatrical stage, they sought to recreate the atmosphere of a theater performance by showing the types of vaudeville acts and performers that were popular at the time.

Below are sample clips from four of the films on this CD

Here is a description of each film on this CD

Betsy Ross dance

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY Opens on a bare stage with a painted backdrop of an interior theater wall and pillar. From screen right, a woman twirls onstage and performs an enthusiastic dance. It appears she is a woman dressed to look like a little girl, in a short, ruffled dress and sash, tights, and ballet slippers, with long, dark hair worn in curls. Her movements include some with an apparent ballet influence, such as pirouettes and walking on pointe. She also performs various feet and leg movements, leg kicks both to the front and side, spins, and twirls, all the while flouncing and lifting her skirt and smiling coquettishly. She ends by throwing a kiss to the camera as she twirls offstage.

Cake walk

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY Five African Americans--three men and two women--perform a cakewalk, a dance featuring fancy strutting that was named after the prize awarded in the original contests. The dancers wear rather formal attire, with the men in dark suits and black tie and the women in full-length, high-collared dark dresses; one woman carries a small American flag. As they step in place against a light background, the center male--holding up a top hat and twirling a cane--moves toward the camera and briefly performs some fancy steps. As he moves back, the man at the left end of the line does a quick twirling step and links arms with his partner. The other two dancers also pair off as the center male leads them in a strutting movement around the stage. When they return to the original line, all five step towards the camera with the center man slightly ahead of the others. The film ends just as they stop the cakewalk.

Charity ball

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1897.

SUMMARY A man in formal dinner clothes and a woman in a white ruffled dress with a flower corsage and white shoes execute various dance steps designed as exhibition dancing. The set is bare, without backdrops or props. The couple's feet are not evident at times in the frame, and the dance appears to have been shot in relatively slow motion.

Comedy cake walk

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY Five African Americans--three men and two women--perform an exaggerated cakewalk in fancy evening clothes. Two of the men wear formal black tie in tuxedos with tails, while the third wears a gray tux of shiny material with an extremely long overcoat and exaggerated cuffs. All have matching top hats and canes. The women wear highly decorated hats and tight-fitting, frilly dresses of only mid-calf length, with one hand on their hip pulling up that side of the skirt. Two couples step in time against a white background as the third, center man prances forward and executes a comedic, wobbly-kneed step. He then moves back to lead the others in the strutting around the stage, all the time spinning and prancing among them. As the couple to stage left jaunt past the camera, the woman pauses to hitch up her stocking. The man in the gray suit on the right twirls his cane and struts toward the camera with his partner; they then pause on opposite sides of the frame. The woman kisses a handkerchief she is holding in one hand and flirtatiously throws it on the ground. As the man smiles knowingly and reaches for it, however, the woman yanks the fabric back to her on a string. Both laugh and continue strutting. All five dancers then return to a line and start a fancy step towards the camera.

Crissie Sheridan

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1897.

SUMMARY A woman in a white gown performs a skirt dance, using her arms to produce circles and other patterns within the folds of her costume. Her legs and feet appear to be bare.

Dance, Franchonetti Sisters

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY Three young women with dark, curly hair stand on a stage with a black background and patterned carpet or tile underfoot. They wear tights, ballet shoes, and frilly dresses to the knee with multiple petticoats and ruffled drawers. They begin by raising their right legs up by their heads, and then perform a dance with a variety of kicks and leg movements, their hands either in the air or pulling up their skirts. The sisters also grab their right legs again and hop in a circle, then do cartwheels and land on the floor in the splits. Jumping back to their feet, the women twirl in circles and around each other in circles in what appears to be a type of pirouette, while holding up their skirts and showing their bloomers in a manner similar to the cancan.


CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, [1899?]

SUMMARY Opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of what appears to be clouds [K.R. Niver sees the background as rolling waves]. From the left of the frame enters Eugenie Foug?re in a strutting type of leg movement, shot in profile but with her face turned toward the camera. She wears a dress with a dark, lace-patterned, low-cut bodice, striped sleeves, and a frilly white skirt to the knees; multiple dark petticoats and white bloomers to the knees; stockings; heeled shoes; and an tri-corner hat with a feather. Other dance movements include a backwards shuffle step, clutching her bosom and then cupping her ear as if listening with a skipping foot movement, and a sideways step across the stage. For most of the dance she lifts her skirt high in a manner similar to a cancan. She closes by kneeling in a brief curtsy with her hand tucked at her chin, and then exits the stage.

Foxy Grandpa and Polly in a little hilarity

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1902.

SUMMARY Opens on a stage with a stone fence and a painted backdrop of a forest or garden. Husband and wife team of Hart and DeMar as cartoon characters Foxy Grandpa and Polly enter hand-in-hand from behind the fence. Grandpa has a bald pate with bushy white hair on the sides, a big bulbous nose, and a potbelly, dressed in a light-colored suit with a vest and spats and carrying a bowler in his left hand. Polly wears a ruffled, light-colored dress with dark trim that goes to her ankles, a bedecked bonnet, white stockings, heeled shoes, and a choker around her neck. Both are smiling broadly as they reach center stage and begin their vaudeville-style dance, with tap, soft shoe, and other synchronized leg movements and twirls in what appears to be a ragtime rhythm.

A nymph of the waves

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, [1900?]

SUMMARY Superimposition of a woman dancing over footage of crashing waves from the rapids of Niagara Falls. The woman wears a frilly, perhaps feather-trimmed, white dress with a low-cut bodice, a matching feathered hat, white stockings, and white ballet slippers. She holds up her skirt through the entire dance, revealing her ankles and lower legs as well as a flash of a garter above the knee on her left leg. Her movements appear to be a mixture of ballet and variety-style dancing such as a cancan, including spins and toesteps on pointe. She closes with a flourish of her skirt as she executes a curtsy on pointe with one foot.

A tough dance

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1902.

SUMMARY From either side of a white, apparently outdoors, setting enter a man and woman, both wearing ragged street clothes and caps. As they approach center stage, the man grabs the woman's arm and pulls her to him, then slaps her. Still holding her arm, the man and his partner cockily strut towards the camera. The man grabs the woman in a crouched, bear-hug type of hold and they perform a rough little dance that almost seems a parody of a waltz. In a jerky type of jitterbug, the man twirls the woman out of his hold and back again, a movement which is repeated often within their spinning dance. They finally fall to the ground, still clutching each other, and roll around.

Duel scene, "By right of sword"

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1904.

SUMMARY Opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a lake surrounded by forest. A bearded man wrapped in a dark cloak and wearing a dark fur shako--apparently the novel's character of Major Devinsky--stands stage left. Behind him, a group of three soldiers move about impatiently, watching for someone offstage. According to Marchmont's story, the men should be late 19th century Russian soldiers, but in the film they wear military uniforms that seem French in design instead, with light-colored breeches sporting embroidered designs, dark buttoned jackets with another coat slung over one shoulder, dark fur shakos with plumes, and shiny black boots to the knee. From stage right enters the story's main character of Hamylton Tregethner, masquerading as infantryman Alexis Petrovitch in a similar uniform and cloak. The duelers remove their cloaks and jackets, roll up their shirtsleeves, and accept their swords from the soldier acting as "second." The portion of the book where Tregethner tries to persuade Devinsky to abandon the duel is presented on film as a pantomimed discussion, then the two opponents face each other and the duel is started. During the swordfight, Tregethner is brought to his knees at one point, but prevails and ends the duel by cutting Devinsky on the arm. As the loser storms off the stage, one of the soldiers salutes the victor.

A ballroom tragedy

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905.

SUMMARY Opens on a set of a sitting room, apparently off a ballroom where dancers occasionally can be glimpsed through a curtained entrance stage right. Near the entrance, a young couple in formal attire talk--perhaps angrily--as another couple exit the dancing. The second man introduces his companion--a striking woman in a risqu? white gown with a low-cut bodice and bare shoulders--to the other man and then reenters the dance hall. The young man apparently excues his female companion, who is plainer in comparison with the new arrival, and invites the woman in white to join him on a settee. The two talk closely and affectionately, as the spurned woman returns with a knife in her hand and hides in the curtain behind the sitting couple. When the two kiss, she reaches out and stabs her rival in the back. The injured woman jumps up in pain and then collapses on the floor, apparently dead. The murderess runs away as the young man rushes to hold the fallen woman.

Fights of nations

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1907.

SUMMARY Part 1: In "Mexico and Spain," a man dressed as a Mexican peasant spies on a happy young woman and her suitor, who wears a fancy Spanish, matador-style outfit. The woman dances for her companion, then the couple embrace and sit on a stone bench, holding hands. The jealous peasant rises from his hiding place to stab his rival, but the woman grabs his arm and stops him. The two men engage in a fierce knife fight, with the woman at one point helping her suitor regain his lost weapon. The Spaniard finally disarms his opponent, but consents to the woman's begging and spares the peasant's life. -- "Our Hebrew Friends" opens to a street set with a painted backdrop of storefronts. A man apparently identified as Jewish through his dark hair and full beard argues with a Jewish necktie peddler. The argument soon escalates into a shoving match, through which a portly gentleman tries to pass. A third man, also apparently Jewish, happens upon the scene and soon joins the fight. The three men turn in a circle kicking each other until a policeman arrives and breaks them apart. The third man draws the officer aside with an offer of a bribe, which the policeman happily accepts. The money, however, is apparently taken back secretly when the two shake hands, and the three men rejoice after the policeman walks off.

Part 2: "'Hoot mon!' A Scottish Combat" opens with the end of a duel between two uniformed men in kilts as one falls to the ground wounded. A third kilted man enters and sees the fallen man, and in turn fights with the victor with swords and shields. The third man ultimately disarms his opponent and stands victorious with his foot upon the man's chest. -- "Sunny Africa, Eighth Avenue, New York" takes place in an African-American dance hall. After a dance number, a young man in a cap and striped shirt sits for a drink with his female companion. He is soon induced, however, to perform an energetic tap dance as the other patrons watch and clap. When he is motioned outside after the dance, an older suited gentleman notices his absence and introduces himself to the young woman, who invites him to sit down. They have a drink and are dancing a lively cakewalk when the young man returns and angrily breaks them apart. The two men draw large knives and fight, until the woman and a waiter finally separate them. Smiling, the young man and his lady cakewalk out the door.

Part 3: "Sons of the Ould Sod" opens on a set of a two-story tenement. A woman hangs clothes on a line from an upper window as her husband returns home with a pail of beer. The man next door--who, like the husband, is balding with full sideburns and a beard--sits on a bench in front of the building and reads a newspaper. The woman accidentally drops a wet sheet on the neighbor's head, prompting a battle of words and shaken fists between the angry man on the street and her husband in the window above. When the husband dumps what appears to be sawdust, the neighbor retaliates by drenching him with a hose until the woman breaks a barrel over his head. The husband comes downstairs and the fight becomes a brawl between the two men. The woman finally ends the battle by bringing out a bucket of beer and pouring drinks for the weary men, who laugh and toast each other. -- Closes with "America, The Land of the Free," on a set of a grand staircase decorated with various flags and the American eagle, and two large U.S. flags draped on either side. In pairs, different characters descend the staircase and happily introduce themselves: a dark-haired man in uniform and a woman in black lace (perhaps representing the French), a bearded man in a different uniform and a woman in a white gown (perhaps representing Russia), a very stout older gentleman bearing the British flag on his shirt, and the Spaniard and Mexican from the earlier scene. A young Native American woman hurries down the stairs and kneels center stage with her head bowed. Closes with two young U.S. soldiers flanking the entrance of Uncle Sam, who is cheered by all.

The society raffles

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905.

SUMMARY Opens on a set of a nicely-decorated living room, with a door stage left and a settee in front of an open window in the foreground. A middle-aged man with greying hair and a mustache, wearing formal evening clothes, enters the room, looks around, and seems relieved to find it empty. He crosses to the window and signals, and a roughly-dressed "tough" appears. The two men talk, apparently making plans, and then the bandit ducks out of sight as a couple enter the room. A younger man, also in a tuxedo, introduces a woman in a white gown and jeweled tiara, then leaves. The older man invites the woman to sit. As he takes her hand and appears to court her, he cleverly slips the tiara off her head and hands it out the window to his waiting accomplice. The thief kisses her on the cheek, then checks his pocketwatch, rises, and excuses himself. The woman follows him to the door, but as she walks back to the settee she sees the tough at the window examining the tiara. She clutches her head and screams, then swoons in a faint on the sofa as the bandit runs away.

Arabian gun twirler

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1899.

SUMMARY A bearded man performs a rifle twirling act on a stage with a painted backdrop of a city street corner. He wears a white turban and a dark two-piece costume of tunic and baggy pants that narrow at the knees; perhaps the costume of an Arab infantryman. The tricks he performs include throwing the spinning rifle in the air and catching it; twirling the gun in front of him, above his head, behind his back, to the side of his torso, and under his leg; and twirling the rifle as he switches hands.

Bicycle trick riding

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1899.

SUMMARY Opens with a man riding a bicycle in a backwards circle, on a stage with a painted backdrop of a city street. He dismounts, then remounts the cycle and rides in a forwards circle, pausing and balancing for a moment as he rears up and spins the front wheel. Continuing in the circle, the man moves in front of the handlebars and continues pedaling briefly. For his next trick, the cyclist makes one circle and then pauses center stage as he does a balancing act to the left side of the bike, with his left leg on the pedal and his right on the front wheel. Ends after he remounts but continues to hold the bicycle motionless.

Expert bag punching

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903.

SUMMARY A man stands on a stage with a painted backdrop of a forest, as if performing a vaudeville act. To the right of the frame is a sign on an easel identifying him as "Gus Keller, Novelty Bag Puncher, New Polo A.A." To the left of the frame is a rack of various punching bags, topped by American flags and a sign identifying the particular skill being exhibited. Keller stands near a large metal frame for the suspended bag being worked, which is also topped with waving American flags. Rather than sporting attire, Keller wears light-colored slacks, shirt, and shoes, with a dark tie tucked in his shirt front and a pair of gloves tucked at his waist. He proceeds to demonstrate seven types of exhibition bag punching, each in separate scenes as described below that are edited together with dissolves.

Gordon Sisters boxing

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1901.

SUMMARY Two women on a stage approach from either side of the painted backdrop of a garden and engage in a boxing match. Both the boxing gloves and the hits exchanged between the women seem genuine. One woman wears a modest white dress with long sleeves and a skirt to mid-calf, dark stockings, and laced boots. The other woman--taller, thinner, and perhaps younger--sports a shorter, dark, sleeveless dress and the same dark stockings and boots.

Japanese acrobats

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1904.

SUMMARY An Oriental man and boy walk on a stage with a painted backdrop of a garden or park, give a slight bow to the camera as if it were an audience member, and remove their silk jackets. Both wear dark tights and leotards with light-colored slippers; the man also wears grey trunks, and the boy sports a white cloth around his middle. Lying on his back on a fitted mat, the man juggles and spins the boy with his feet. The boy's acrobatic movements include spinning in a tucked ball-like position, flipping lengthwise in a prone position, flipping from a standing position to a shoulder-stand, somersaulting from a standing to a sitting position, repeated flips involving both the hands and feet of the man, and other series of somersaults and turns. After finishing the act, the acrobats take a slight bow and run off the stage, then return for another bow before finally exiting.

Latina, contortionist

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905.

SUMMARY A woman wearing a light-colored leotard, gathered at the waist, and tights stands against a black background. Although she is filmed in a long shot, her feet are cut off in the frame. She opens with a flourish of her arms and faces the camera. First stretching up with her arms, Latina then bends in half at the waist, steps into a metal ring or hoop, and places her head in the ring as well. Still bent at the waist, she moves the hoop up past one shoulder and then the other, past her waist, and over her buttocks, finishing with her body completely free of the ring now held up behind her back. Latina repeats the contortion act in reverse, passing the ring down her doubled-up body and past her shoulders to the ground. She steps out of the hoop and gestures with her arm. Turning to face screen left, with her left side in profile, Latina places her hands behind her neck, bends at the waist until her head touches her legs, steps into the ring on the floor, and repeats her contortionist trick as above, first from the ground up and then back down. She faces the camera when finished, throws the audience a kiss, and gives a small bow. The film then cuts to a medium shot of Latina, from the bust up. She interlaces her fingers and holds out her arms in front of her with palms towards the camera, so that her elbows point out. In that position, she raises her arms over and behind her head, and then down her back, dislocating her shoulders in order to achieve that motion. The film ends as she turns her back to the camera.

Latina, dislocation act

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905.

SUMMARY Opens with a repeat of the last scene in "Latina, contortionist." In a medium shot from the bust up, Latina faces the camera and interlaces her fingers with her arms held out in front of her, palms towards the camera and elbows pointed out. In that position, she raises her arms over and behind her head and then down her back, dislocating her shoulders in order to achieve that motion. She then turns her back to the camera, with her hands still locked behind her, and slowly brings her locked arms up and over her head; the viewer can clearly see her shoulder joints dislocate in the process. She turns back to face the camera as her arms continue to return to their starting position in front of her. Latina closes by unlacing her fingers and spreading her arms with a flourish.


CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : [American Mutoscope Company, 1896?]

SUMMARY Strong-man Eugene (Eugen) Sandow poses in a long shot on a bare stage against a black background, wearing only tight trunks and laced sandals. He begins with his arms folded against his chest, looking off screen left, then strikes a variety of poses that accentuate his muscular development. These positions include flexing his right arm with the fist to his head and face to shoulder; turning his back to the camera and flexing his upper arms and shoulder muscles; and, with his back still to the camera, stretching out and up with one arm at a time. Sandow then turns back to face the camera and performs a standing backflip. He closes in the same pose with which he opened.

Kawana Trio

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Commonwealth Pictures Corp., c1919.

SUMMARY Opening title identifies the Kawana Trio as "artistic foot jugglers." The camera iris opens to reveal three Asians--two men and a woman--dressed in kimonos and looking down. They raise their heads and look at the camera, smiling, as the iris closes. Another iris effect opens to a stage with a dark background and a decorated, cushioned platform center stage. The men now wear white leotards with sashes tied at their waists. One of the two men reclines on the platform with his buttocks raised and supported by the cushion and his legs up in the air. The woman, dressed in a white leotard with a camisole-type top, enters and is helped up onto the reclining man's feet by the other partner. Starting on her stomach, the woman is juggled first to a sitting and then a side-reclining position. The film cuts to a closeup of the woman's body and the juggler's feet as he flips her into various positions, and then back to the long shot as she is juggled on her knees, feet, and stomach; somersaulted to a sitting position; and somersaulted to her back and spun. The trio then take a bow to the camera from the stage.

Three acrobats

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1899.

SUMMARY Vaudeville stage act of two male and one female clown-acrobats who make use of a constructed "break-away" wall of spring-hinged windows and doors. Begins with a male clown in dark tights and leotard with a white clown collar tumbling through the set's upper window, as a second male in a light suitcoat over dark tights and leotard tumbles out the bottom window. Both men have painted faces and wild clown hair. As they chase each other in and around the wall's doors, a dark-haired woman in light tights and leotard, without greasepaint, surreptitiously hits one of the male clowns with a board. That man thinks it is the other male who has struck him, and the chase continues. This business is repeated with a bucket. As the first male clown kicks the other, however, the woman is spotted and blamed for the incident, resulting in a chase between all three "acrobats" in and out of the set's doors.

Treloar and Miss Marshall, prize winners at the Physical Culture Show in Madison Square Garden

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1904.

SUMMARY Opens with a woman posing on a pedestal, dressed in a white body leotard with a sash tied at her hips. Marshall continues with various feminine poses, reminiscent of classic Greek statuary, to accentuate her figure. Film cuts to Treloar posed on the bare stage without a pedestal. He wears brief leopard-skin trunks or short tunic, wrist bands, and Roman-looking laced sandals. His poses accentuate the muscular development of his upper body, particularly that of his arms, and include movements that make the muscles jump. Treloar finishes with a slight nod to the camera.

Kruger and Ward

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : [Commonwealth Pictures Corp., 1919 or 1920?]

SUMMARY Opening title introduces "Kruger and Ward, the tall and short of it." The camera iris opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a canyon and waterfall. Two clowns walk across the stage: a dwarf with a fake bald pate dressed in evening clothes and a top hat, and a tall, thin clown dressed as a woman. The dwarf follows the "woman" with a handkerchief, trying to get her attention, as the woman circles and appears to be looking for something on the ground. She finally notices her little suitor, but responds by kicking him down and then giggling. Undaunted, the dwarf gets back up, motions to the tall woman to bend down, and whispers in her ear. She giggles again and the two flirt.

Cont.: Film then cuts to the same stage and backdrop, now with a hanging trapeze bar and two rings. Onto the stage walks the tall clown, now dressed in a sleeveless shirt and satiny, ruffled bloomers to mid-calf with tights. Following him is the dwarf, no longer in facepaint or wearing the fake pate. The clown mounts the bar and assumes a contortionist position that demonstrates his limberness by apparently folding his torso in half: anchored by his ankles, he sits up so that he looks at the camera with his head over the bar and his arms beneath it and through his legs. From that position, the clown lifts the dwarf off the ground with a rope which the small acrobat grasps in his teeth. As he hangs by his mouth, the dwarf sheds his tuxedo to reveal a satiny sleeveless shirt and pants to the knee with tights. The camera pans down to follow him as he releases the mouth grip and gestures to the camera. Cuts to a closeup of the dwarf, now shirtless, from the back as he contorts and perhaps dislocates his shoulders. He turns around and continues contorting and flexing his upper muscles.

Cont.: Then cuts to the clown jumping on a table placed center stage. He lays on his back with his legs in the air, then brings his legs down behind him and to the side as he sits up with his upper torso. He returns to a normal sitting position facing the camera, and then assumes a variety of pretzel-like positions with his legs. Cuts to a similar shot of the stage with hanging rings but no table. With a boost from the clown, the dwarf hangs from the rings and performs a series of flips that force his apparently dislocated shoulders behind his torso. Again from the hanging position, he then rotates and dislocates his shoulders one by one, and repeats the actions several times. Cuts to the dwarf helped on to the hanging bar, from which he swings by the back of his neck only. Cuts to the clown mounting the bar, hanging by one arm as he wraps his legs around his middle torso, and rotating the arm so that his contorted body spins. The clown then hangs from the bar with both hands and wraps his legs around his body so that his feet are behind his head. In that position, he rotates his body through his legs and up and over his shoulders. The clown briefly sits on the dwarf's shoulders and spreads his arms in a gesture for the camera.

Three jumping Tommies

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : Commonwealth Pictures Corp., c1920.

SUMMARY Opening title introduces "Three jumping Tommies in their original acrobatic stunts," with "Tommies" apparently referring to the performers' British military uniform costumes of caps, shirts and ties, knickers to the knees, tights, and short boots. Cuts to a long shot of a stage with a painted backdrop of a garden with fountains. From stage right march three young men; a short boy flanked by two taller men. As they reach center stage, the three turn to the camera and salute, then toss off their caps. The three acrobats perform a variety of acrobatic and gymnastic stunts, including backflips from another's handhold, cartwheels and somersaults where no hands touch the floor, leaping spins similar to cartwheels but with the upper torso parallel to the floor, and a lively shuffle dance interspersed with cartwheels, spins, and twirls. One of the taller boys also performs a series of slow, somewhat comic backwards somersaults, then does a series of handsprings in place at center stage as the other two perform kicks from handstands on either side. Film cuts to another shot of the stage, which now features a tower made of four stacked tables and supported by two of the acrobats and a fourth man. On top of the tower in a chair sits one of the taller acrobats. This boy then does a backflip off the tower, at no time leaving the seat of his chair which lands upright on the stage. The three "Tommies" move downstage, the smaller boy takes a bow from center stage, and the camera lens closes in an iris effect.

Toto Brothers

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : [Commonwealth Pictures Corp., 1919 or 1920?]

SUMMARY Opening title identifies this as a "balancing and iron jaw novelty act." Cuts to a long shot of a stage with a carpet and dark curtains as a backdrop, in front of which stand four chairs and a table. From stage left enters a man wearing dark leotards with a single-shouldered top, a waist belt, and dark high-top shoes with a white border. From stage right tumbles a male clown dressed in a white sailor suit and cap. The two engage in a slap-and-tumble novelty turn. The man then carefully positions two chairs facing each other on the carpet, but as he attends to one the clown sits in the other laughing, until it is yanked out from under him by his impatient "brother." This bit is repeated with the other chair. Finally, the two chairs are positioned correctly and the man performs a balancing act across them, with one arm on one chair and his feet on the other. Behind him, the clown grabs another chair and unsuccessfully attempts his own balancing act. His balancing brother, in the meantime, lowers himself as if doing a one-handed pushup, grabs in his mouth a handkerchief placed on the chair, and raises back up. He then encourages the clown to attempt the same act, with the expected humorous result that the chairs are pushed apart and the clown falls to the ground between them. The clown is picked up by his brother and tossed out of the way. While his brother lays on the carpet and balances two stacked chairs in one hand as he moves about, the clown tries to balance some sort of stick in his mouth. Cut to intertitle: "You will notice I do all the work, but a double act gets more money, so I carry the brother with me." Cuts back to the man still balancing the stacked chairs from reclining, standing, and sitting positions, as the clown first tries a headstand and then balances his midsection on the back of a chair and scuttles it across the floor. The brothers then move the table to center stage. Cuts to intertitle: "You must have lock-jaw to do this." Cuts back to a closer shot as the man places a chair on top of the table and two others to either side of him, kneels down, grabs the corner of the table in his mouth, and slowly rises to his feet with the table in his teeth and a chair held high in each hand. In the background, the clown fails at a balancing act with a single chair. His brother then lowers the furniture back to the ground and gestures to the camera. Cuts to intertitle: "To fully appreciate this stunt, try it on your kitchen table when you get home." Cuts to the man placing a chair on the edge of the table, on which the clown sits. The iron-jaw brother then grabs a rung of the chair in his mouth and its front legs in his hands, and begins to lift the chair and clown in his teeth. Film ends abruptly.

Spirit of '76

CREATED/PUBLISHED United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1905.

SUMMARY Dramatic recreation of the ca. 1875 painting "The spirit of '76" by Archibald M. Willard. Film opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a battlefield and stage props of dirt, stones, and a broken wagon wheel. From stage left marches a trio of Revolutionary soldiers in a fife and drum corps. As in the painting, the center drummer is a tall, older, white-haired man in a white shirt and dark vest. On his left, the other drummer is a young boy dressed in a uniform with a tricorner hat and boots to the knee. On the right marches a dark-haired fife player with a bandaged head, dressed in an unbuttoned uniform. When they reach center stage, the three march in place and play a tune as smoke from the battlefield drifts behind them. The soldiers then turn around, march towards the backdrop, and off stage right. A flash of smoke on stage simulates canon fire, after which the drummers and fife player march back onstage, still playing. After they have performed briefly, a man in a uniform and tricorner hat enters behind them, waving a large American flag. The corps continues to march in place and play as the flag waves.

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