“The Seven Swans” at the Majestic Theatre

On May 24, 1918, an advertisement was placed in the Corvallis Gazette for the upcoming show, “The Seven Swans,” to be played at the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis, Oregon. This silent film portrayed Marguerite Clark, an actress who was at the height of her fame in the year of 1918. This can be shown by simply just looking at the advertisement and noticing that her name is the largest font on the entire ad. The five reels told a story about characters in a mythical world, where princes can be magically enchanted into swans by the Queen of the Bouncing Ball and eventually returned to their human forms in a dramatic ending through hastily sewn magic robes by Princess Tweedledee.

The film premiered on Christmas Day in 1917, in New York, and was based on the fairy tale, The Seven Swans, by Hans Christian Anderson. The film didn’t reach Corvallis until 5 months after the premiere in December, but given the amount of films that, in this time period, took over a year to reach Oregon, the Majestic was able to get this one pretty quickly.

According to the advertisement, if someone were to attend the film, they would “live in the ‘old days’ over again” when they see this picture which was “staged with the hand of a magician,” and if the characters’ fun names weren’t enough in themselves to get a person to go see the film, the high praise written in the advertisement would be sure to give the potential film-goer the final push.

“The Seven Swans” wasn’t the only entertainment of the night, though. Also according to the ad, there was to be a screen telegram and a “Mutt and Jeff Comedy” as well. A “Mutt and Jeff Comedy,” as it turns out, was a generally short (averaged about a half reel long) comedy film based on the “Mutt and Jeff” comic strips which were very popular in the time period.

 

American Film Institute Catalog, “The Seven Swans.” https://search.proquest.com/docview/1746496105/C8913650F40F4E85PQ/1?accountid=14698

Historic Oregon Newspapers, The Corvallis Gazette, page 2.

“Everywoman” at the Grand Theatre in Salem, Oregon

On September 4, 1920, the Capital Journal in Salem, Oregon, posted an ad for the black and white silent film, Everywoman. The ad portrays pictures of all the actors and actresses, including lead actress Violet Heming at the top center, proclaiming the presentation of the film by Jesse L. Lasky and “A Paramount Artcraft Picture.” According to the American Film Institute Catalog, the film was about 7 reels long, with a publication date of December 1919. The original publication date provides the information that Everywoman took almost a year before reaching the town of Salem for a showing, also shown by the date of the published advertisement.

The Capital Journal ad then describes Everywoman as “The imperishable Story of a Woman’s Heart – The sublime spectacle of lavish beauty. The Picture Beautiful Beyond Words.” Following the film description is a list of prices; 50 cents for the lower floor and balcony, 35 cents for the gallery, and 15 cents for children.

Capital Journal, Sept. 4, 1920, p. 2

This film was to be played in the newly renovated Grand Theatre, previously known as the Grand Opera House, as told in a previous Capital Journal article almost a month prior to the Everywoman newspaper ad. This begs the question, was Everywoman the first film to be shown in the brand new Grand Theatre? The timeline would match up, with the article announcing the renovation published on August 12, 1920, and the ad for Everywoman published on September 4, 1920, giving a little over a month for renovation and enough time to advertise the first feature to be shown. If this theory is correct, then it would also tell us that Everywoman was a relatively successful film, as the owner of the advertisement and newly renovated theatre would want to start off with a popular showing in order to create some excitement in the city and some revenue for the Grand Theatre.