CineSavant Column

Saturday September 25, 2021



Any interest in old-time radio out there?  Gary Teetzel knows what lurks in the hearts of men, and sends along this 2006 National Public Radio Interview with Musician Rosa Rio, the late radio and movie organist (who also provided music scores for hundreds of silent films for Video Yesteryear.

Hosted by Scott Simon, the show was recorded at the Tampa Theater in Tampa Florida, with Ms. Rio seated at the theater’s massive organ. She talks about playing accompaniment for the radio show The Shadow when Orson Welles was the star, and we hear a bite from that program. She describes the theater organ for Simon, a ‘three-manual, fifteen-rank instrument with everything on it.’ She reminisces about Welles, and gives us a demonstration of the various sounds her organ can make.

The radio show reminds me of the famed movie organists that accompanied silent movies for our UCLA screenings. Chauncey Haines had played in huge theaters in the 1920s; his authentic music knocked us out, both for Harold Lloyd comedies and dramatic features like Griffith’s Orphans of the Storm. For Lloyd’s The Kid Brother in UCLA’s Royce Hall, Haines had to play at full volume to be heard above the audience laughter. The psychological effect was strong enough to cure anyone of depression.



Checking out my clumsy pasteup job on a still from Planet of the Vampires last Tuesday, valued CineSavant connection Edward Sullivan directed my attention to this ‘MakerBot Thingiverse’ page by Cory ‘ShadowCory’ Collins. I haven’t figured it out fully but it appears to showcase of selections of items, some movie related, that he’s fabricated with a home 3-D printer…. plus what look to be some post-forming modeling and painting skills.

Some space cadets from the Mario Bava space film are there, along with our beloved Devil Girl from Mars. Also catching our eye is a nifty maquette setup from Invaders from Mars.  So market these things already!  The two Myoo-tants bracing the Alien Intelligence make me want to whisper in a certain major film collector’s ear:  “You are getting sleepy … sleepy … release it in 4K … 4k … 4k!



The Warner Archive Collection announced last Tuesday the balance of their Halloween Blu-rays for this year, two more surprise favorites. In addition to the already publicized 1935 Peter Lorre horror item Mad Love we’ll be offered the Deborah Kerr terror-in-French-wine-country shocker Eye of the Devil with David Niven, David Hemmings and Sharon Tate. Then there’s the follow-up feature to Village of the Damned, 1963’s Children of the Damned . It’s a non-invasion rethink in which the rotten ‘establishment’ is evil, and the misunderstood international selection of ‘X-Men’- like kids are innocent.

Oh yes, the WAC is also giving us the MGM classic Dinner at Eight (which I should have seen 40 years ago) and the odd but interesting Blu-ray selection Mary Stevens, M.D.. It’s a good Warners pre-Code picture, perhaps chosen for its frankness about the difficulties of professional women… a theme that mostly disappeared with the enforcement of the Production Code.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson