El Brendel in "Wings" (1927)

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Stacia

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Dec 3, 2007, 3:16:29 AM12/3/07
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Strange question: I recently watched "Wings" (1927). El Brendel
played a Swedish comic relief character named "Herman Schwimpf".
However, today I was reading Anthony Slide's book Eccentrics of Comedy
and noticed he claimed Brendel played "Patrick O'Brien", an Irish-
American.
Anyhow, I looked it up online and found several references to
Brendel's character being called "Patrick O'Brien". There's more
sites which say Brendel played O'Brien than there are sites which say
he played Schwimpf. (There are no sites with all 3 names, however...
am I the first person online to notice this difference?)
People who claim to have seen the movie call Brendel's character
"O'Brien" yet the IMDb says "Herman Schwimpf", though, and so does my
copy of the movie.
Does anyone know anything about this discrepancy?

Stacia

sirmichaelcat

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Dec 3, 2007, 3:49:18 AM12/3/07
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various foreign versions would have been exported and this may be the
explanation

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 3, 2007, 6:34:16 AM12/3/07
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I have some material on the original music for this film. In the
original cue sheet, the only reference I can find for the character is
one cue: "Rube hands umbrella to sergeant." The word "rube," of
course, was just a generic term for a country-bumpkin character, and
cue sheets would not refer to bit-part players by name -- the
musicians were too busy keeping track of music to keep track of
character names other than (in this cue sheet) Jack, David, Sylvia and
Mary.

In the original piano/conductor part for the score, cue 38 starts at
"Comedian seen bending," then there's an eleven bar cue. Internal cues
read: "Sargeant" [sic], "H2O in face," and "D. hits Herman." Which
goes with your Herman Schwimpf name. Does David hit him?

From when I saw the film I seem to remember the character being
German, because there's a point made that German-Americans can indeed
fight for America against Germany. But I haven't seen the film for
years.

Rodney Sauer
Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 3, 2007, 6:38:44 AM12/3/07
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On Dec 3, 4:34 am, "rod...@mont-alto.com" <rod...@mont-alto.com>
wrote:

> In the original piano/conductor part for the score, cue 38 starts at
> "Comedian seen bending," then there's an eleven bar cue. Internal cues
> read: "Sargeant" [sic], "H2O in face," and "D. hits Herman." Which
> goes with your Herman Schwimpf name. Does David hit him?

Oops. It's been a while since I've looked over these scores -- D.
doesn't mean David. The written cues are preceded either by letter "T"
which means "Title," as in, you'll see these words on the screen; or
"D" which means the cue describes an action (I have no idea what "D"
stands for).

Rodney

Stacia

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Dec 3, 2007, 6:46:41 AM12/3/07
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"rod...@mont-alto.com" <rod...@mont-alto.com> writes:

>In the original piano/conductor part for the score, cue 38 starts at
>"Comedian seen bending," then there's an eleven bar cue. Internal cues
>read: "Sargeant" [sic], "H2O in face," and "D. hits Herman." Which
>goes with your Herman Schwimpf name. Does David hit him?

Yes, he hits him. I'd have to go back and look to see who hits Herman,
though. I think it's the Sargent, but it may have been a nearby soldier.
Herman gets hit a few times because of his name, which I assumed was
Swedish but now I realize it's probably German; either way, when he goes
to enlist in the armed forces for WWI, his patriotism is questioned
because of his name, so your memory is correct there.
That's amazing that you have an original score. Are the notes printed
in the score or are they notations a previous musician made?
Now I wonder where the Patrick O'Brien credit came from. It's repeated
so often that there has to be a relatively reliable original source.

Stacia


--
Visit my blog at http://www.shebloggedbynight.com

Stacia

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Dec 3, 2007, 6:59:35 AM12/3/07
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sta...@xmission.com (Stacia) writes:

> Now I wonder where the Patrick O'Brien credit came from. It's repeated
>so often that there has to be a relatively reliable original source.

After checking some sites that list this Patrick O'Brien credit for
El Brendel's role, I think I may have found the source: Kevin Brownlow's
book _The Parade's Gone By_. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the
book so I can't tell for sure, but I'll dig up a copy and find out.

Tinted Nitrate

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Dec 3, 2007, 9:36:41 AM12/3/07
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scene in recruiting office --

Brendel shows his papers to Sgt, who says:
title: "Herman Schwimpf?? That's a fine name to fight the Kaiser
with."
Brendel gestures at papers and nods. Sgt says:
title: "If I had my way, I'd throw all you Dutchmen in the coop till
the end o' the war."
Brendel proves he is as patriotic as anyone, and takes off his coat.
Sgt moves toward him to hit him, but sees Brendel's American flag
tattoo and stops.

Ben

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 3, 2007, 9:41:54 AM12/3/07
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Since I had put some information on J.S. Zamecnik on the web, someone
found me who had an original hand-written full orchestra score for
Wings -- or, at least, the parts that weren't compiled from other
sources. I got him to make me a copy, and donate the original to UCLA,
so it should be there now.

I also obtained a published piano/conductor part from an archive to
try to make sense of the full orchestra version, but not having
anywhere to perform the score, I ran out of steam on that project. The
full orchestra score doesn't have cues (it was for making instrumental
parts, and the instrumentalists are supposed to watch the conductor,
not the movie). The published piano/conductor part has written cues
showing you what to watch for, so you'll know whether you're going too
fast or too slow.

These piano/conductor scores were published from time to time. I also
have copies of the FOOLISH WIVES score (which is interesting, as it
scores some scenes now missing from the film), which I performed for
the Kino release, and THE BLACK PIRATE, which I haven't really looked
at in any detail since I already had my own compiled score.

Stacia

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Dec 3, 2007, 11:09:41 AM12/3/07
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"rod...@mont-alto.com" <rod...@mont-alto.com> writes:

>Since I had put some information on J.S. Zamecnik on the web, someone
>found me who had an original hand-written full orchestra score for
>Wings -- or, at least, the parts that weren't compiled from other
>sources. I got him to make me a copy, and donate the original to UCLA,
>so it should be there now.

That is just incredible. Sounds like a hefty project to get it all
sorted out though.
Would you mind if I cited you briefly on my blog? I'll be talking about
this Herman Schwimpf situation in a day or two.

Stacia

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Dec 3, 2007, 11:13:42 AM12/3/07
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Tinted Nitrate <under...@gmail.com> writes:

>Brendel shows his papers to Sgt, who says:
>title: "Herman Schwimpf?? That's a fine name to fight the Kaiser
>with."
>Brendel gestures at papers and nods. Sgt says:
>title: "If I had my way, I'd throw all you Dutchmen in the coop till
>the end o' the war."
>Brendel proves he is as patriotic as anyone, and takes off his coat.
>Sgt moves toward him to hit him, but sees Brendel's American flag
>tattoo and stops.

Thanks for the summary. So Herman didn't get punched, and he's Dutch.
So much for my memory.

dr.giraud

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Dec 3, 2007, 11:20:28 AM12/3/07
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On Dec 3, 11:13 am, sta...@xmission.com (Stacia) wrote:

> Tinted Nitrate <undercr...@gmail.com> writes:

<snip>

> >title: "Herman Schwimpf?? That's a fine name to fight the Kaiser
> >with."
> >Brendel gestures at papers and nods. Sgt says:
> >title: "If I had my way, I'd throw all you Dutchmen in the coop till
> >the end o' the war."

<snip>

>
> Thanks for the summary. So Herman didn't get punched, and he's Dutch.
> So much for my memory.
>
> Stacia

I think in this case (and at that time), "Dutchmen" is slang for
German. As for the other character name reference, check the AFI
Catalog. It's an invaluable reference source, but it's also peppered
with errors like that.

Dr. Giraud


rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 3, 2007, 11:38:25 AM12/3/07
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Not a problem. Though the score does say that someone hits El Brendel,
and the post above says he didn't... I thought I remembered him
getting decked and THEN showing off his American Flag tattoo, but as I
said, it's been years...

I can at least agree that "Dutch" used to be a reference to Germans
(in the German language, German is "Deutsch," Germany is
"Deutschland"), and as another example, the Pennsylvania Dutch came
from Germany, not Holland. But national borders were quite fluid in
that part of Europe for hundreds of years, while people mostly stayed
put, and the Dutch might also have been Deutsch at one time for all I
know.

That said, I've never encountered "Schwimpf" as a German name. Perhaps
one of the German correspondents can chip in. Daniela?

Silent Film Concerts

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Dec 3, 2007, 11:55:32 AM12/3/07
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Rodney writes:

"D" which means the cue describes an action (I have no idea what "D"
stands for).


Hi Rodney-

The capitalized large D. in the original scores stands for Description

Sorry to miss seeing you in San Francisco this weekend- all had a
marvelous time and the audience was at its usual high attendance and
vociferous best!

Dennis
SILENT FILM CONCERTS

Daniela C

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Dec 3, 2007, 12:09:09 PM12/3/07
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Well,okay.I don't know anybody by the name of "Schwimpf" and there is no one
in the telephone directory of the area, but on the other hand it looks
pretty German, I'd even say it looks more German than Dutch. Since I'm
living on the Dutch border and two of my greatgrandfathers were Dutch, I've
got a fairly good idea what Dutch names look like. The strongest hint that
the character is of German origin is his first name "Herman", what could be
more German than the name of the man who drove the Romans out of
Germany,well, at least the part right of the river Rhine?!LOL!
On the other hand my own surname is Cox, and the surname of my parent's
neighbours is-no kidding!-Sauer.

Daniela

<rod...@mont-alto.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:53c00c18-4960-422c...@s8g2000prg.googlegroups.com...

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 3, 2007, 1:38:18 PM12/3/07
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On Dec 3, 9:55 am, Silent Film Concerts <mus...@aol.com> wrote:
> Rodney writes:
>
> "D" which means the cue describes an action (I have no idea what "D"
> stands for).
>
> Hi Rodney-
>
> The capitalized large D. in the original scores stands for Description
>
> Dennis
> SILENT FILM CONCERTS

Thanks, Dennis. DId you play Intolerance? You must have Buns of
Steel!

I suspected "Description," but wasn't sure enough to even guess. In
the cue sheets it's often T for Title and A for Action. On my cue
sheets I usually simplify -- if it's a title I put it in quotes, if
it's an action I don't.

Rodney

Tinted Nitrate

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Dec 3, 2007, 2:59:11 PM12/3/07
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On Dec 3, 12:09 pm, "Daniela C" <tito-the-cl...@giovanni-severi.com>
wrote:

> Well,okay.I don't know anybody by the name of "Schwimpf" and there is no one
> in the telephone directory of the area, but on the other hand it looks
> pretty German, I'd even say it looks more German than Dutch. Since I'm
> living on the Dutch border and two of my greatgrandfathers were Dutch, I've
> got a fairly good idea what Dutch names look like. The strongest hint that
> the character is of German origin is his first name "Herman", what could be
> more German than the name of the man who drove the Romans out of
> Germany,well, at least the part right of the river Rhine?!LOL!
> On the other hand my own surname is Cox, and the surname of my parent's
> neighbours is-no kidding!-Sauer.
>
> Daniela
>
> <rod...@mont-alto.com> schrieb im Newsbeitragnews:53c00c18-4960-422c...@s8g2000prg.googlegroups.com...

In a scene following the recruitment office sequence, the same thing
happens all over again with a sergeant and Schwimpf, only this time
the Sgt. DOES punch Brendel, and then when he sees the flag tattoo,
says (not in a title...I lip-read this) "Well I'll be damned! I'm
sorry!" and helps him up. This second sequence makes no reference to
Schwimpf's nationality.

Ben Model (who accompanied this three weeks ago)
www.silentfilmmusic.com

William Ferry

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Dec 3, 2007, 3:42:21 PM12/3/07
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Could you be thinking of the scene in THE FIGHTING 69TH when a Jewish
soldier (played by a Sidney Miller-type actor) is lined up with the other
troops, and is using an Irish alias. Cagney blows his cover by speaking
Yiddish to him. He confesses to Alan Hale that he used an irish name because
he wanted to join the 69th.

--
Yours for bigger and better silents,

William D. Ferry
"Stacia" <sta...@xmission.com> wrote in message
news:fj19vm$a3n$2...@news.xmission.com...

Stacia

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Dec 4, 2007, 2:12:28 AM12/4/07
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"Daniela C" <tito-th...@giovanni-severi.com> writes:

>Well,okay.I don't know anybody by the name of "Schwimpf" and there is no one
>in the telephone directory of the area, but on the other hand it looks
>pretty German, I'd even say it looks more German than Dutch.

Could it be a "joke" name? I assumed it was something designed to sound
funny to Americans. My mom's side of the family is German and "Schwimpf"
didn't sound like a real name to me, but it's been a long time since I
really knew much about German. (And I didn't know "Dutchman" meant
"German", so my knowledge is iffy.)
Herman Schwimpf being German makes sense, because he is always
questioned as to his American patriotism.

Stacia

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Dec 4, 2007, 2:15:50 AM12/4/07
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Tinted Nitrate <under...@gmail.com> writes:

>In a scene following the recruitment office sequence, the same thing
>happens all over again with a sergeant and Schwimpf, only this time
>the Sgt. DOES punch Brendel, and then when he sees the flag tattoo,
>says (not in a title...I lip-read this) "Well I'll be damned! I'm
>sorry!" and helps him up. This second sequence makes no reference to
>Schwimpf's nationality.

Ah, that's it! I knew Herman got knocked down. The first time he takes
off his coat, they think he's doing it to get ready for a fistfight, but
then shows his American flag tattoo and everyone decides he's all right.
The second time is when he gets punched.
I love lip-reading what's not in the title cards. I recall Clara Bow
really letting loose in "It".

David Totheroh

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Dec 4, 2007, 2:30:48 AM12/4/07
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Isn't that old convention used only in pre-codes? (It's a joke, get
it?) ;-)

sirmichaelcat

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Dec 4, 2007, 2:58:47 AM12/4/07
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On Dec 4, 5:15 pm, sta...@xmission.com (Stacia) wrote:

Has anyone done a complete lip-reading version of a silent feature
movie??It could be fascinating..

Neil Midkiff

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Dec 4, 2007, 4:03:50 AM12/4/07
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Stacia wrote:
> sta...@xmission.com (Stacia) writes:
>
>> Now I wonder where the Patrick O'Brien credit came from. It's repeated
>> so often that there has to be a relatively reliable original source.
>
> After checking some sites that list this Patrick O'Brien credit for
> El Brendel's role, I think I may have found the source: Kevin Brownlow's
> book _The Parade's Gone By_. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the
> book so I can't tell for sure, but I'll dig up a copy and find out.

Nobody has mentioned checking _The Parade's Gone By_ all day, so I did;
according to the index, there's only one mention of Brendel in Brownlow's book,
in the photo caption on p. 170. It mentions Brendel and Arlen as being seated
at the dining table in the Cafe de Paris scene, beneath the special camera boom
which is the main subject of the image. No mention anywhere nearby of the name
of Brendel's character.

The "O'Brien" character name mention must have come from somewhere else.
Anybody have the big books of New York Times reviews? Those sometimes listed
character names. The _Variety Movie Guide_ doesn't mention any character names
in their excerpt of Variety's _Wings_ review.

-Neil Midkiff

Daniela C

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Dec 4, 2007, 5:24:09 AM12/4/07
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"Stacia" <sta...@xmission.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:fj2uks$quh$1...@news.xmission.com...

Dear Stacia,

It certainly is a joke name, because when I told it to my hauband and my
daughter they bursted out laughing because even in German it sounds funny,
though it could not be easily linked to any German word, maybe something
like Schimpf (dishonour) or Pimpf (little rascal). The combination of schw-
with something ending on -mpf is very unusual.

Greetings,

Daniela


Stacia

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Dec 4, 2007, 5:59:50 AM12/4/07
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Neil Midkiff <nmid...@earthlink.net> writes:

>Nobody has mentioned checking _The Parade's Gone By_ all day, so I did;
>according to the index, there's only one mention of Brendel in Brownlow's book,
>in the photo caption on p. 170. It mentions Brendel and Arlen as being seated
>at the dining table in the Cafe de Paris scene, beneath the special camera boom
>which is the main subject of the image. No mention anywhere nearby of the name
>of Brendel's character.

Thanks for checking that for me. I brought it up originally because
both silentsaregolden.com and silentera.com say the character's name is
O'Brien, and they both list _The Parade's Gone By_ as a source. But not
as *the* source, and since I don't have a copy of the book yet, I could
only speculate.
The Silent Era site seems to claim that the film credits are from
viewing the film, although they do list a whole bunch of other sources.
Silents Are Golden only had 3 sources, although the author of the essay
does appear to have seen the film. The only book source that was common
to both Silent Era and Silents Are Golden was _The Parade's Gone By_.
The IMDb doesn't list any character named Patrick O'Brien in any film
near 1927 except "Sweet Daddies", so I doubt that it was simply confusion
between two similar films. I should take the list of books from those two
websites to the library and look through as many of them as I can find,
and see if I can pinpoint the origin of this error.

Stacia

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Dec 4, 2007, 6:01:45 AM12/4/07
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"Daniela C" <tito-th...@giovanni-severi.com> writes:

>It certainly is a joke name, because when I told it to my hauband and my
>daughter they bursted out laughing because even in German it sounds funny,
>though it could not be easily linked to any German word, maybe something
>like Schimpf (dishonour) or Pimpf (little rascal).

Interesting that it's so close to the German word for "dishonour". I
think you've hit on something there. This is great stuff, thanks!

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 4, 2007, 9:30:03 AM12/4/07
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I've done an exhaustive analysis of cue sheets, and the ratio of T to
A is high in the early teens, decreases during the flapper era, then
gradually increases again until about 1970.

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 4, 2007, 9:37:50 AM12/4/07
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On Dec 4, 3:24 am, "Daniela C" <tito-the-cl...@giovanni-severi.com>
wrote:
> "Stacia" <sta...@xmission.com> schrieb im Newsbeitragnews:fj2uks$quh$1...@news.xmission.com...

>
>
>
> > "Daniela C" <tito-the-cl...@giovanni-severi.com> writes:
>
> >>Well,okay.I don't know anybody by the name of "Schwimpf" and there is no
> >>one
> >>in the telephone directory of the area, but on the other hand it looks
> >>pretty German, I'd even say it looks more German than Dutch.
>
> > Could it be a "joke" name? I assumed it was something designed to sound
> > funny to Americans. My mom's side of the family is German and "Schwimpf"
> > didn't sound like a real name to me, but it's been a long time since I
> > really knew much about German. (And I didn't know "Dutchman" meant
> > "German", so my knowledge is iffy.)
> > Herman Schwimpf being German makes sense, because he is always
> > questioned as to his American patriotism.
>
> > Stacia
>
> > --
> > Visit my blog athttp://www.shebloggedbynight.com

>
> Dear Stacia,
>
> It certainly is a joke name, because when I told it to my hauband and my
> daughter they bursted out laughing because even in German it sounds funny,
> though it could not be easily linked to any German word, maybe something
> like Schimpf (dishonour) or Pimpf (little rascal). The combination of schw-
> with something ending on -mpf is very unusual.

It reminded me of "Schtroumpf," which is the French (!) name for the
little blue cartoon characters known as "smurfs" in English. The
schtroumpfs originally showed up in a vaguely German context in a
different comic book series, so the intent there was also intended to
be comic German nonsense.

But now I'm REALLY drifting off topic.

Daniela C

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Dec 4, 2007, 11:38:04 AM12/4/07
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<rod...@mont-alto.com> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
news:02f40595-0a1f-4c4e...@d4g2000prg.googlegroups.com...

Very off topic in German they are called "Schlumpf", plural "Schlümpfe",
there is an interesting story about the name'sorigin on wikipedia .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smurfs.

David Totheroh

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Dec 4, 2007, 11:42:16 AM12/4/07
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It's a good thing you stopped your analysis at the 70s. After that
things got artificially inflated.

Jim Beaver

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Dec 4, 2007, 11:45:03 AM12/4/07
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"Neil Midkiff" <nmid...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:13la5vn...@corp.supernews.com...

The New York Times review does not mention Brendel's character. A newspaper
database search shows no articles whatsoever mentioning El Brendel, Patrick
O'Brien, and Wings in the same context.

I'm starting to think it might be a misapprehension of a typo or such like
somewhere that got repeated. There are various examples of such things.
I'm guilty of one myself. In Gene Ringgold's and DeWitt Bodeen's THE FILMS
OF CECIL B. DeMILLE, a listing of Lux Radio Theatre broadcasts accidentally
let the cast list drop down adjacent to the title of the following episode,
making it appear that John Garfield had been in the dramatization of
PINOCCHIO, when he'd really been part of the cast of the previous week's
FOUR DAUGHTERS. I fell for the typo and listed Garfield's PINOCCHIO in my
book, and 25 years later, it shows up again in Robert Nott's book on
Garfield.

And a typo in the publicity department at Paramount led to a publicity
release listing Alan Ladd in the cast of the John Wayne Western BORN TO THE
WEST/HELL TOWN in a role he actually played in HOLD 'EM NAVY. That one
showed up in Ladd's credits for decades. Years later, the film fell into PD
and a number of video companies released it, often with the box label
reading "Starring John Wayne and Alan Ladd." The All Movie Guide apparently
still has it wrong, and Boyd Magers' book WESTERN WOMEN even quotes Marsha
Hunt as having "noticed Ladd in a bit part recently" when she re-viewed the
film (in which she co-starred). Pretty good eyes, if she (or Magers)
spotted Ladd in a film he's not in.

Anyway, I can find no newspaper sources, reviews or otherwise, for the
Patrick O'Brien WINGS conundrum. That said, the database lists no examples
of "Schwimpf" whatsoever, with or without Brendel.

Jim Beaver

Stacia

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Dec 5, 2007, 5:36:26 AM12/5/07
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On Dec 4, 10:45 am, "Jim Beaver" <jumble...@prodigy.spam> wrote:

> Anyway, I can find no newspaper sources, reviews or otherwise, for the
> Patrick O'Brien WINGS conundrum. That said, the database lists no examples
> of "Schwimpf" whatsoever, with or without Brendel.

That's the trouble I'm having with this research, too. What gets me
is that the guy who wrote the "Wings" commentary on Silents Are Golden
obviously saw the film, yet he uses the name "Patrick O'Brien". I
suspect he used a reference source to remind him of character names
when he wrote the commentary, and the reference source is what had it
wrong. I'm so curious now that I won't rest until I find the source
of this. We must ensure El Brendel's legacy remains pure! Or
something.
As I said, I'll try the local library (it'll be a while, we've got
an ice storm coming in and I don't plan on leaving the house for a few
days). If that doesn't work I'll write Anthony Slide to ask him what
his source was. The book _Eccentrics of Comedy_ is quite good, but it
has no bibliography, which is frustrating.

Stacia

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 5, 2007, 8:32:10 AM12/5/07
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On Dec 5, 3:36 am, Stacia <glitterni...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Dec 4, 10:45 am, "Jim Beaver" <jumble...@prodigy.spam> wrote:
>
> > Anyway, I can find no newspaper sources, reviews or otherwise, for the
> > Patrick O'Brien WINGS conundrum. That said, the database lists no examples
> > of "Schwimpf" whatsoever, with or without Brendel.
>
> That's the trouble I'm having with this research, too. What gets me
> is that the guy who wrote the "Wings" commentary on Silents Are Golden
> obviously saw the film, yet he uses the name "Patrick O'Brien". I
> suspect he used a reference source to remind him of character names
> when he wrote the commentary, and the reference source is what had it
> wrong.

Have you written to the Silents are Golden fellow?

Rodney

Louie

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Dec 5, 2007, 11:08:12 AM12/5/07
to
I have an original copy of the "Wings" program and in the credits
section (written as "Dramatis Personae") El Brendel's character is
listed as "Patrick O'Brien".

In the "Personalities" section giving a brief history of each main
player in the film it says this under El's listing: "As the German-
American in "Wings" he furnishes some rollicking comic relief to the
tense drama of this super-picture." What I think probably is
happening here is that being of German origin during the First World
War, fighting for the US, he may have wanted to change his name to
something a little more "American" sounding.

BTW, if anyone has ANY articles, photos, or other stuff of Brendel's
please contact me off list. Thanks.

Louie

Stacia

unread,
Dec 5, 2007, 10:47:26 PM12/5/07
to
Louie <lou...@charter.net> writes:

>In the "Personalities" section giving a brief history of each main
>player in the film it says this under El's listing: "As the German-
>American in "Wings" he furnishes some rollicking comic relief to the
>tense drama of this super-picture." What I think probably is
>happening here is that being of German origin during the First World
>War, fighting for the US, he may have wanted to change his name to
>something a little more "American" sounding.

How odd. His name is clearly Herman Schwimpf in the movie itself, so
changing the name in the program only wouldn't do anything to Americanize
his image. But there's an eBay auction right now with a movie program and
it *does* show El Brendel as being Patrick O'Brien. Weird! There must
have been a name change in the movie after promo materials were printed
up.
Good grief, how would I even go about researching *that*?

R H Draney

unread,
Dec 6, 2007, 3:06:27 AM12/6/07
to
Stacia filted:

I don't know, but it'd make *somebody* a nice change of pace from trying to
solve the William Desmond Taylor case....r


--
"He come in the night when one sleep on a bed.
With a hand he have the basket and foods."
- David Sedaris explains the Easter rabbit

Jim Beaver

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Dec 6, 2007, 5:04:09 AM12/6/07
to

"R H Draney" <dado...@spamcop.net> wrote in message
news:fj8ai...@drn.newsguy.com...

> Stacia filted:
>>
>>Louie <lou...@charter.net> writes:
>>
>>>In the "Personalities" section giving a brief history of each main
>>>player in the film it says this under El's listing: "As the German-
>>>American in "Wings" he furnishes some rollicking comic relief to the
>>>tense drama of this super-picture." What I think probably is
>>>happening here is that being of German origin during the First World
>>>War, fighting for the US, he may have wanted to change his name to
>>>something a little more "American" sounding.
>>
>> How odd. His name is clearly Herman Schwimpf in the movie itself, so
>>changing the name in the program only wouldn't do anything to Americanize
>>his image. But there's an eBay auction right now with a movie program and
>>it *does* show El Brendel as being Patrick O'Brien. Weird! There must
>>have been a name change in the movie after promo materials were printed
>>up.
>> Good grief, how would I even go about researching *that*?
>
> I don't know, but it'd make *somebody* a nice change of pace from trying
> to
> solve the William Desmond Taylor case....r

Wait a minute, El Brendel was involved in the William Desmond Taylor case?
Gosh, you learn somethin' every day.

BTW, here's a question: was William Desmond Taylor known generally as
William Desmond Taylor, or is that just how his name got sent down to us
because of his murder, re police reports, etc., the way some people were
just Lee Oswald or Bonnie Bakley until they killed or got killed and their
middle names got emblazoned forever in their public identities?

Jim Beaver
Jim Beaver


Stacia

unread,
Dec 6, 2007, 7:19:50 AM12/6/07
to
"Jim Beaver" <jumb...@prodigy.spam> writes:

>Wait a minute, El Brendel was involved in the William Desmond Taylor case?

That would explain a lot.

I think Taylor was usually credited with the 3 names, although the IMDb
says he was credited as "William D. Taylor" sometimes. If you're
researching Taylor, I wish you well. The combinations of names you'd have
to search for would be astounding. (Will Taylor, William Taylor, Bill
Taylor, W.D. Taylor, etc.)

Tina...@gmail.com

unread,
Dec 6, 2007, 7:27:57 AM12/6/07
to

Yes, that is the "Wings" program I have.

Louie

rod...@mont-alto.com

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Dec 6, 2007, 8:58:38 AM12/6/07
to

We don't usually have much evidence of last-minute changes, but in
this case we've got an interview in Metronome magazine with J.S.
Zamecnik, who was commissioned to do the score (for more of the
interview, see my website under Photoplay Music, Zamecnik):

"I wrote the score of Wings in four weeks, which was less time than I
would have liked to do the job in. Originally, I was scheduled to have
eight weeks and it was my intention to compose an entirely original
score for the picture. However, the opening date was put forward four
weeks and I had to do the best I could in half the time I calculated
on having.

"I immediately saw that I would not be able to write a complete
original score, so I chose those episodes which most imperatively
called for original music and used other compositions for those parts
of the film which they fitted. Then I came to New York to put the
finishing touches to the music.

"It was necessary to do some cutting of the picture and of course, the
orchestra had to be rehearsed. I would see the cuts that were made and
fit the music to the altered action. This took a good deal of time and
much work but I am happy to see that the score has been accepted as a
suitable accompaniment to this very great picture."

So we know that the release date was pushed up four weeks, and that
cuts and changes were being made in the last few weeks before opening
night (presumably nothing like NAPOLEON's director-induced opening-
night fiasco). My impression of 1920s color printing technology is
that it wasn't too flexible, so they probably had to commit to the
text weeks before opening date.

What I can't answer is: was the character originally O'Brien in the
script, and changed to Schwimpf at the last minute because careful
research showed that O'Brien is an Irish name, not German; or was the
name originally Schtroumpf, changed to O'Brien to avoid lawsuits by
the ancestors of the Smurf dynasty, and then changed to Schwimpf when
it was ascertained that no past, living, or future person would have
the name "Schwimpf"?

I'm pretty sure that the scores I have were finalized AFTER the
premiere, so the character being "Herman" in the score reflects the
state of the release prints.

Stacia

unread,
Dec 6, 2007, 10:17:54 PM12/6/07
to
"rod...@mont-alto.com" <rod...@mont-alto.com> writes:

>So we know that the release date was pushed up four weeks, and that
>cuts and changes were being made in the last few weeks before opening
>night (presumably nothing like NAPOLEON's director-induced opening-
>night fiasco). My impression of 1920s color printing technology is
>that it wasn't too flexible, so they probably had to commit to the
>text weeks before opening date.

Thanks for the info. I should peruse all the stuff you have under your
composer profiles, I confess I forget it's there at times. And I think
you're exactly right about the titles.

>What I can't answer is: was the character originally O'Brien in the
>script, and changed to Schwimpf at the last minute because careful
>research showed that O'Brien is an Irish name, not German

Heh. "Careful research". The character doesn't make any sense as
anything but German, so I have to think the Patrick O'Brien name was
simply an error. I'd like to know if a lot of promo material went out
with the incorrect name, though. Probably some contemporary reviews would
answer that.
Last night I was watching the William Wellman interview (from 1973) on
TCM and I was wishing for a time machine so I could ask him "What the hell
with the Patrick O'Brien, dude?" Although I came away with the impression
that he might not know things like the names of the characters.

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