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Archive for October, 2009

TWELVE MONTHS OF FILM FUN

The Douglas Fairbanks Museum is pleased to announce the new 2010 Douglas Fairbanks Wall Calendars are now available in the museum gift shop. Pick one up for the silent film fanatic on your holiday shopping list!

These lovely wall calendars each feature 12 classic images of Douglas Fairbanks from our extensive archives, and are available in three different sizes this year: 8.5×11 (horizontal), 11×17 (horizontal) and 11×17 (vertical).

Douglas Fairbanks 2009 Small Wall Calendar

Douglas Fairbanks 2010 Small (8.5×11) Wall Calendar $16.99

Douglas Fairbanks 2009 Wall Calendar

Douglas Fairbanks 2010 Large (11×17 Vertical) Wall Calendar $19.99

Douglas Fairbanks 2009 Oversized Wall Calendar

Douglas Fairbanks 2010 Oversized (11×17 Horizontal) Wall Calendar $20.99

No two are alike; each calendar design features a variety of twelve distinct and rare images spanning Mr. Fairbanks’ entire career in film, from the 1910s to the 1930s. Classic film posters, movie stills, portraits, and candid images of Fairbanks with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, in b&w and color.

We also still have the popular one-page calendar design, with all 12 months on a single 11×17 page for only $5.99:

Douglas Fairbanks 2009 Wall Calendar

Douglas Fairbanks 2010 One-Page Wall Calendar $5.99

The full price of each sale goes to fund the continuing preservation and educational work of the Douglas Fairbanks Museum. Get these great-looking calendars for your home or office wall NOW and save 20% while they last!

Each year, we issue a completely new variety of calendar designs, so these will be collector’s items and are limited editions available for one year only. The 2010 calendars are on sale through Oct. 31, 2010, and after that, they’re gone forever…like the silent films of yesteryear.

VISIT OUR GIFT SHOP AND PICK UP COOL GOODIES FOR THE FAIRBANKS FANS ON YOUR LIST!

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THE MUSEUM’S FALL 2009 DONATION DRIVE RUNS THROUGH OCT. 31

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WHY A MUSEUM FOR AN OLD SILENT FILM STAR, ANYWAY?

Donation Drives for the Douglas Fairbanks Museum’s relocation effort have been considerably more difficult since the American economy went into a recession. Like all small nonprofits; libraries, museums and performing arts/cultural organizations, we’re faced with dramatic drops in funding sources and donations. Right now we need your help more than ever in order to meet our goal of securing a suitable new building to house and exhibit our collections.

In these turbulent economic times, we sometimes hear people say: “but why does an old silent movie star need a museum? And why should taxpayers foot the bill?”

We’ll tackle the second part of the question first: throughout the entire 11-year history of the Douglas Fairbanks Museum, we have never asked for nor accepted any public funding.

Our operating costs have always been funded by donations from private individuals, businesses and foundation grants, in addition to our own funds raised though film screenings, events, workshops, publications, admission fees, licensing/loan fees and sales from our gift shop. We strongly believe that small museums like ours should not be a drain on our taxpayers or our government, and that if silent film lovers and the local community believe that we provide a valuable service, they will contribute financially.

Now – for the most important part of that question: why should people care about an old silent movie star, anyway?

Let us pause for a moment to consider a world without “Doug”.

If it weren’t for Douglas Fairbanks, the history of cinema may have been written very differently indeed.

  • We have Mr. Fairbanks to thank for giving independent film producers power over the production and distribution of their own films with the creation of United Artists in 1919.
  • We can give our thanks to him for ensuring long-term health care and housing for elderly members of the industry with the Motion Picture Relief Fund and Hospital in 1921.
  • Thanks to Fairbanks’ efforts to found the nation’s first film school at USC in 1929, young and aspiring filmmakers can learn their craft in universities around the world today.
  • We can also thank him for helping to found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who have brought us the Oscars every year since 1927.
  • And above all, we have to thank him for giving us all those wonderful films which continue to inspire and influence us.

Now, let us stop for a moment to consider a world without the Douglas Fairbanks Museum (perish the thought!):

Had it not been for the Douglas Fairbanks Museum over these past 11 years, Doug’s fans, cinema scholars, and silent film enthusiasts would have no other place on earth to learn about his immense contribution to movie history.

Anyone looking for biographical information, research materials, photographs, copies of his films, or answers to questions about Mr. Fairbanks have come here to find what they were looking for. Our educational programs, workshops, lectures, film screenings, free web resources and virtual online galleries, news blog, books and other publications all provide a valuable service to the community of movie lovers everywhere.

We hope to continue providing these services in the future, but we can’t do it without your financial support.

With the economy as it is, small museums like ours rely mostly on donations from people like you to survive. Nonprofits, educational institutions, libraries and museums across America are seeing our annual donations plummet to record lows, and many of us are being forced to cut back on programs and staff or face permanent closure.

The Douglas Fairbanks Museum has been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis, as we are still trying to recover from the flood damage which forced us to close our doors last year. Over the past three quarters, the amount of financial contributions from individuals and businesses who have been our strongest supporters has dropped significantly due to the unstable economy, but we are hoping to get a much-needed boost from our fall donation drive this year.

Please don’t forget that our dedicated staff and volunteers make it all possible. Without their efforts, we would not have been able to make it through the storm (literally!), nor would we be able to continue making our collections available to the public while our doors remain temporarily closed.

Without YOU, a new library and exhibit space may not be in our future. We really do need your help now as we continue to raise funding for a new location. Please show your support for silent film, as well as your appreciation for Douglas Fairbanks and the many dedicated individuals who keep his museum going with a financial contribution today!

Your financial support helps us achieve our mission, enables us to acquire new artifacts, and to provide the very best care and conservation for our existing collections. As these items are now approaching or over 100 years of age, they need increasing amounts of attention and preservation.

You can make a donation quickly, easily, and safely through PayPal using a credit card, debit card or bank account below.Every donation, small or large – even just dropping $5.00 in our Virtual Donation Box – brings us one step closer to accomplishing our mission. That goal is establishing a permanent place in history for Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., to ensure that film historians and fans have his work, his extraordinary life and legacy to study and enjoy for many generations to come.

Make a financial gift through safe, secure Pay Pal International below:

 

 

 

 

Thank You.

 

 

(*) – Donations may not be tax-deductible.

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From our "Legend of Zorro" exhibit

From our "Legend of Zorro" exhibit

MUSEUM FACES FUNDING OBSTACLES TO RELOCATION

As our fall Donation Drive kicks off October 5th, we wanted to update you on the current challenges we face and what the museum’s goals are for the coming year.

Since our building suffered extensive flood damage last year, we were forced to close our doors and move the collections to safe climate-controlled storage offsite. After obtaining repair estimates, the building’s owner (whom we had been leasing the space from) decided to sell the property, leaving the museum “high and dry” without a home.

The museum remains closed and our staff is working out of temporary office space. However, we have made our best efforts to keep the majority of our collections online for viewing and research at no cost to the public, and continue to carry on the business day-to-day despite having very limited staff and resources.

Our search for a new building site has led us to several suitable properties around the Austin/Central Texas area, but moving the collections and preparing any building to house a museum/gallery/theatre will be extremely costly. At the time when we need extra funding the most, we have watched donation levels plummet over the past year as the American economy went into a deep recession.

All nonprofits, museums, libraries and cultural institutions have faced a struggle for survival in 2008/09 as sources of funding we normally rely on have either reduced the amount of grants/assistance given in previous years, while other sources have run out of funding altogether. The sad truth is that many nonprofits are now faced with permanent closure if they cannot be saved through donations by private individuals, businesses and foundations.

Right now, the board of the Fairbanks Museum is extremely concerned that we too may be shuttered permanently if we are unable to raise the necessary funds for operational costs and moving expenses over the next year. We have already scaled back our staff from full-time to part-time employees and are trying to fill out the rest of the necessary workload with volunteers. We’ve currently put a freeze on new acquisitions while putting every penny raised above basic expenses towards the preservation and storage of our current collections.

Our #1 goal for 2010 is to find a new home for the museum that will be affordable and suitable, and that is the focus of this year’s Fall Donation Drive.

This is the time of year when we ask Fairbanks fans and silent film enthusiasts around the world to assist us in keeping Doug’s legacy alive. Please take a moment out of your day to make a financial contribution here.

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* We thought this review was too clever and wanted to share it with all of you!

THE SUNDAY INTERTITLE

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A MODERN MUSKETEER, directed by the redoubtable Allan Dwan and starring the insuperable Douglas Fairbanks, is the first Fairbanks I’ve seen that really delivers on the stuntwork with the kind of excess and largesse I’ve been hoping for. Although I’ve enjoyed the hell out of all the Fairbankses I’ve seen. THE MOLLYCODDLE has that great fight at the end, and a moment early on where Doug carries an unconscious thug under one arm — and his walk is not the walk of a man carrying a heavy thing, let a lone a man carrying a heavy thing on one side — he walks normally.

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Yeah, I know, we’ve all THOUGHT about doing this, but Doug DOES IT.

This is key to the Fairbanks style: he does everything with apparent ease, and actual pleasure. Dwan reports that they’d build the sets just so, measured to Fairbanks’s physical capabilities. If he had to leap from one wall to another, the walls would be built far enough apart for DF to display his impressive leaping ability, but not so far that he had to strain. So everything he does is graceful and near-weightless.

Doug himself is, as ever, Captain Gusto, which A MODERN MUSKETEER exploits for comic effect — the movie almost acknowledges that a fellow like that might become a wee bit annoying if you knew him personally. Here he is, beating up ten thugs on a whim, or climbing a church steeple just to burn off a bit of excess enthusiasm. It’s a bit much.

Dwan contributes spectacular scenic spreads of the Grand Canyon and environs for the film’s climax — the best dramatic use of that landscape I’ve ever scene, with complex depth staging (tiny figures in extreme distance, big figures close up) and a dazzling array of surprising and spectacular compositions. It’s 1917 and yet the film seems completely modern in style, if not in attitude. (Fear of miscegenation forms one part of a plot strand, although Doug’s strenuous objection to the abduction of his sweetheart is fair enough, really. As in THE MOLLYCODDLE, there are sympathetic Indian characters, but the tone is a bit more condescending than one would ideally like.)

Apart from action-adventure setpieces, the picture is a positive goldmine of intertitles, with nearly every card boasting some snazzy bit of 92-year-old wit or attitude. And cheap jokes. “How,” says an American Indian. “Scrambled,” says Doug, after a slight pause.

Also ~

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And this last one, which I think is just mind-blowingly good, the intertitle that intertitles were invented for ~

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Douglas Fairbanks: A Modern Musketeer (His Picture in the Papers / The Mystery of the Leaping Fish / Flirting With Fate / The Matrimaniac / Wild and Woolly … Mollycoddle / The Mark of Zorro / The Nut)

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