I’m interrupting my posts on Henry Hathaway to post from Columbus, Ohio, where the 42nd Cinevent is about to begin. If you don’t know about Cinevent, you certainly should, especially if you live within convenient travel distance of Columbus (and after all, I come in all the way from Sacramento). It’s a “classic film convention” held every Memorial Day Weekend in Columbus; from Friday through Monday there are movies all day and deep into the night. The years of vintage range roughly from 1914 to 1950, with the program breaking down to about two-thirds talking pictures and one-third silents with live piano accompaniment, by either Dr. Philip Carli or David Drazin, two of the foremost silent film accompanists in America today. In addition to the movies, there are the dealers’ rooms, where any manner of memorabilia are available to collectors; you’ve already seen some of it here.
I’d been hearing about Cinevent for decades because my uncle — who lives in Muncie, Indiana, not too far from Columbus — has been coming here since the 1960s. Whenever he spoke of it, I’d think, “One of these years…” Well, one of those years finally came in 1998, and I haven’t missed a Cinevent since then; I have a standing commitment for Memorial Day from now on.
This year, there are some unusual — almost eerie — touches of synchronicity with this blog. One of the first features this afternoon is the 1924 silent Open All Night, on which none other than Henry Hathaway himself served as assistant under director Paul Bern (the great Howard Hawks also served as production manager). And Cinevent’s annual Saturday Morning Animation Festival will include a 1917 short by Willis O’Brien, the special effects pioneer who hired Marcel Delgado to build the models for The Lost World and King Kong. The title is certainly intriguing: Prehistoric Poultry.
For now, however, I have to free up the hotel’s computer. Stay tuned, and I’ll try to post more as the weekend progresses. No promises, though; the days are full and pass quickly here.