Years and years ago, around 1980 I think, CBC television ran a documentary series called Hollywood. It was narrated by James Mason and was all about the silent film era. To teenage me, it was fascinating television, and I made it a point to watch as many episodes of it as I could. Chapters would be about early comedians such as Keaton, Chaplin, and Lloyd; popular directors of the day; and the early Western actors like Tom Mix and Harry Carey.
Many years later, I managed to acquire a vhs version of the series. Copying it to dvd was impossible due to whatever process prevents that. Others had defeated the copy protection and had made ersatz copies of the show. I sold off the vhs set for about as much as I had paid for it.
I do not support the idea of copying software of tv shows or music. I believe that artists should be compensated for their work. But "Hollywood" has never been released on dvd, and due to complicated reasons I will never comprehend, it likely never will be. These inappropriate dvd copies will have to sustain us.
Youtube has portions of this most excellent series. If you to youtube.com and search for "1920's Silent Hollywood", you'll see what it has to offer. To whet your appetite, here's a piece of the Western episode, discussing Harry Carey and a very interesting anecdote from John Wayne. It's an in joke, a tribute that you wouldn't catch unless you were a fan of early Hollywood cinema.
Wayne discusses "The Searchers". It's based on a book of the same name, recently re-released in paperback, and it's a book I want to read. The film also influenced Buddy Holly. How? Well, Wayne's character says throughout the film, "That'll be the day". Holly thought it might make a good song title. Wonder what he ever did with it? :-)
More in a bit. Yes, 3 posts in one day!!