Posts Tagged ‘flea markets’

Lost and Found

January 26, 2012

Not too long ago, I learned that an animated version of The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolken’s prequel to Lord of the Ring was found. This version is over 11 minutes long and dates from 1966. It was designed by Czech illustrator Adolf Born and was written and directed by Tom and Jerry animator Gene Deitch and you can watch it here:

As you can guess, this discovery got me thinking about other lost and found films. There are many films, most from the early days of motion pictures that have become lost, either through neglect, accident or the nitrates ate away at the film and there is nothing left to watch. There are also many films that were, and still are, languishing in a closet somewhere, only to be found when someone knocks something over or lifts up a box.  So, I have put together a list of some films that are lost and some films that were found.

Lost
The Story of the Kelly Gang
(1906)
This film tells the tale of Australia’s most famous criminal or “bushranger” Ned Kelly. Directed by Melbourne native Charles Tait, the film was a popular and critical success and lead to a succession of bushranger films. Soon these type of films were banned in several Australian states because they romanticized crime and criminals. Unfortunately, at the turn of the 20th century, studios didn’t realize the historical significance of saving a film, like The Story of the Kelly Gang. So, there was no procedure put in place to preserve these films for future generations, hence it became lost. Still, the film has not entirely disappeared. Nine minutes of footage was found in a deserted house in 1979 and just before the film’s 100th anniversary, Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive contacted archives around the world in regards to the film. As it turned out, the British Film Institute had an incomplete film labeled “Kelly Gang,” and it contained more footage of the film. While, it is far from complete, there was enough footage to get a feel for the film and that was added to a DVD of the film.

Humorisk (or Humor Risk) (1920s)
Would you believe that the Marx Brothers made a silent film? Yes, it is true. In fact, it was their first film and they played different characters to the ones that they became famous for. Reports are that Groucho didn’t like this film, so he purchased it and destroyed all prints and negatives. Ouch! That’s taking the killing of your darlings to extremes.

Catch My Soul (1974)
Conventional wisdom states that most of the films that became lost were from the early years of the 20th century. For the most part that’s true, the exception is Catch My Soul. This is a rock opera based on Shakespeare’s Othello and has folk singer Richie Haven as the lead. The film was directed by Patrick McGoohan, who was the lead actor in the famous television show of the 1960’s The Prisoner. The film got poor reviews and one critic said that it was “pricelessly funny” without meaning to be, since it was dramatic film. Wait, it gets worse. According to McGoohan, one of the producers found religion and added 15 minutes of religious material to the film. McGoohan didn’t like that and tried to have his name removed from the credits. The next year it was re-titled as Santa Fe Satan and then it disappeared. So, check your closets and attics, keep an eye open at flea markets and while checking out stuff on eBay, because a print of this film might show up in those places.

Found
Cléopâtre
  (1899)
No, this is not the one with Liz and Dick. This is a French film and the earliest horror film made. This film deals with the re-animated mummy of Cleopatra and the havoc she creates. It was thought to be lost until 2005 when a print of the film was found. So, now the French film canon includes more than just chain smokers who discuss the meaning of life in sidewalk cafes.

Richard III (1912)
This is a film adaptation of the Shakespeare play of the same name and is considered the oldest American feature film in existence. It featured the, then, famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. This film was thought lost until 1996 when a high quality print was found.

Metropolis  (1927)
This film wasn’t lost like the other films mentioned. Rather, after it’s premiere in Berlin, the film was cut from its original 153 minutes to 90 minutes. Restoration was done in 2001 with combined footage from several archives and that brought the film up to 124 minutes. That version was considered to be the most complete version until 2008 when a 16 mm negative was found in, of all places, Buenos Aires. This negative contained 25 minutes of lost footage. This footage was integrated with the 2001 version in 2010 and now the film is as close to director Fritz Lang’s original version of the film as possible.

The lost and found films mentioned in this blog entry demonstrate the importance of archiving films. After all, whether a film becomes a classic or a flop, it is part of the historical record of the studio that made it, so it needs to be saved for future generations. It also demonstrates the importance of keeping track of your own stuff. After all, if you lose your stamp, coin or baseball card collection, do you think the Smithsonian Institute will help you find it?

Of course, it you have any information about the lost films mentioned in this blog entry, please contact the following film archives: 

Australia
National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
McCoy Circuit, Acton ACT 2601
GPO Box 2002,Canberra ACT 2601
Email: enquiries@nfsa.gov.au
http://nfsa.gov.au

USA
National Film Preservation Board
Library of Congress (4690)
Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20540
Attn: Steve Leggett, Staff Coordinator
Email: sleg@loc.gov
http://www.loc.gov/film/

The author would like to thank Gene Deitch for his assistance with this blog entry.

Sources:
http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-hobbit-long-lost-animated-short-discovered

http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-lists/9-famous-lost-films-that-have-been-rediscovered/

http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/70351

http://www.kino.com/metropolis/restoration.html#rest

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Don’t Blame Mom That You’re Not A Millionaire

October 13, 2011

A recent story in USA Today dealt with how people are turning to collectibles and antiques as investment vehicles. Since the stock market tanked in 2008 and has yet to fully recover, many people taking their money and buying old comic books, movie posters and similar items in the hope that they will get a better ROI* than their 401K**.

Of course, what sets a collectible apart is that it is an actual thing that people can hold in their hand or hang on their wall and admire. After all, when was the last time you looked at your quarterly statements and thought “What a thing of beauty all those numbers are.” Yet, the trouble with articles like the one in USA Today is that it encourages people to go out and buy lots of stuff in the hopes it will be “worth lots of money someday.” Yes, there are items for sale at thrift stores, flea markets and on eBay that are being sold for a faction of their true value. Conversely, there are items that are only worth what someone paid for them in 1998 and it’s not even close enough to make a person quit his or her job and live a life of ease. With all this stuff floating around, how can a person tell what’s valuable and what’s not.

Educating yourself before buying anything helps. No one wants to learn the hard way that the original that they paid $$$$ for is a fake worth $. Read books. Go online and find out the going price for the item in question. Terapeak.com is a website where a person can learn how much an item sells for on eBay. If the item a person wants to buy is more expensive than a Beanie Baby or Power Ranger action figure, it helps to buy from an established auction house. The appraisers at the auction house did their due diligence, so a person can rest easy knowing that the item he or she wants to buy is the real thing.

It also helps to realize that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. The Internet makes it very easy for fly by night types to fly by and take your money. So, it is a good idea for a person not to suspend his or her skepticism just because a good deal comes along. Of course, despite what experts will say, my advice remains to purchase a movie poster or other item of pop culture for enjoyment purposes, not for investment purposes. In addition to all the fakes being sold as the real thing, there’s the problem of no one knowing which item from 2011 will be worth lots of money and which item won’t be worth much.

As for all the comic books your Mom threw out that turned out to be worth lots of money, don’t get mad at her. If you had taken better care of them and not left them lying around on the floor in your room, she would not have thrown them out. In time, you could have sold them for a pretty penny (and dollar too) and ended up living a life of ease. Okay not really, I was just exaggerating. Still, if you take care of your comic books or other doo-dads, you will get more enjoyment out of them and that’s something even a recession can’t take away.

Note: The mention of Terapeak.com was done for informational purposes. It was not an endorsement of the service.

*ROI—Return on investment. For example if you buy a stock at $10 a share and you later sell it for $15 a share, your ROI was $5 a share.

**401K—This is a defined contribution plan set up by companies in the U.S. in place of a pension where an employee can have a portion of his or her pay set aside for retirement before taxes are taken out. Sometimes companies can match the employee’s contribution dollar for dollar. What makes the 401K attractive is that if an employee goes to another company, he or she can bring the 401K to the new company and he or she loses nothing. Pensions don’t have that portability. (/www.investorwords.com/11/401k_plan.html)

Sources:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/waggon/story/2011-09-01/Gold-in-the-attic-Furniture-coins-and-hellip-Ninja-Turtles/50224150/1

Hunter, Lisa. “Author Q & A Internet has Broadened the Art and Collectibles Market for the Better” Heritage Magazine, Spring 2008, pg 68-69

A DeLorean and Loads of 3.75 Inch Action Figures, Just To Name A Few

October 6, 2011

Paul Fraser of Paul Fraser Collectibles recently wrote on his website about two auctions of movie memorabilia. One auction is for one of Deloreans used in the Back to the Future films. (Seven cars were used in the films and of those only three are still around.) While an auction estimate for the car has been set for $400,000-600,000, it will most likely to hit the low end of the estimate. In November 2010 a DeLorean replica sold for only $112,920. A portion of the proceeds from this auction will go to Parkinson’s Disease charities.

The other auction Paul Fraser wrote about will take place on eBay and the items being auctioned off are Star Wars memorabilia from all six films. These items range from screen used items like Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter from the 1977 Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope to loads of Star Wars 3.75 inch action figures, and other pieces of Star Wars memorabilia. All the proceeds from this auction will go to Stand Up To Cancer for its work in cutting edge cancer research.

Still, the question remains what is it about movie memorabilia that causes people to flock to auctions, flea markets and eBay? While I could wax poetic about childhood and teen memories that many of these items helped to create and I did in my entry of November 5, 2009 titled Flea Market Finds and Miscellaneous Discoveries. There’s more to this phenomena, such as the “Looky at the new toy that I got.” factor that hasn’t been explored. There are loads of people out there who would love nothing more than to own something that is related to their favorite movie and brag about it. The most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) of memorabilia collectors are Star Wars and Star Trek fans.  I entered the words “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”  in  eBay’s search box and it came up with 300,929 results for Star Wars and 120,920 results for Star Trek. Yes, there a lot of action figures, models and other do-dads out there just waiting to be bought by fanboys and girls. Which of course, leads to the Bill Gates factor as in “Be nice to the nerd, because that person could be your boss one day.” Many movie memorabilia items sell for four figures and up. Nerds, while they aren’t known for their winsome personalities, are known to have a singular focus on something. It is this singular focus that leads to them starting their own businesses and they end up doing very well financially.  So, when they get large amounts of discretionary income, what do you think they will spend it on? If you answered movie memorabilia, you are right.

So, the next time you scoff at someone spending thousands of dollars for a car or model used in a movie, consider this:  For all you know, it could have been that kid you knew growing up who wore the pocket protector and thick glasses and is now a multi-billionare who just happens to be your boss.

Sources:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/Video-of-the-Week-Marty-McFly’s-DeLorean-could-arrive-at-auction-in-the-near-future/8185.page?catid=78

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/’A-Force-for-good’…-eBay-prepares-massive-charity-Star-Wars-auction/8157.page?catid=78

Most Often Its Insignificant Yesterday and Today

April 7, 2011

An article in the Paul Fraser Collectibles website mentions how a dress made by Charlotte Todd sold for £78,000 or over $124,000. Who is Charlotte Todd, you ask? She is a friend of Kate Middleton, the fiancé of Prince William. Todd made this dress that Kate wore for a university fashion show and sold it at auction.

Well, it’s nice that the dress pulled in that kind of money. Yet, there’s more. An episode of the Antiques Roadshow featured someone with a Tiffany tea screen from the 1900’s. The appraiser on the show wasn’t sure if was a real Tiffany or a fake. If it was a real Tiffany, it would be worth $15,000 to $20,000. If it was a fake, it would only be worth $1,000.  Well, the owner contacted a Tiffany expert and it was proven to be a real Tiffany.

Thankfully for those two, their items proved to be worth something. The trouble comes when people hear about these stories and it encourages them to buy things in the hopes that “…it will be worth something one day.” There’s a lot of stuff (i.e. junk) being sold at flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops and the like. Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily mean it is “worth” something, as in enough money for me to quit my job and move to Florida.

If you are going to buy something with the hopes of it appreciating in value keep these things in mind:

Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the item you want to purchase. Find out the difference between a real and a fake/reproduction, what the signs of wear and age are and what the true going prices are.

If something is too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of fakes and fly-by-night sellers of collectibles. So, ask questions. If you don’t like the answers or aren’t getting any, don’t deal with the person.

My advice remains not to buy a collectible for investment value, rather to buy for enjoyment value.

Something to think about the next time you are browsing at a flea market.

Source:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=179&docid=6354

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter/#from=GBP;to=USD;amt=78000

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/fts/dallas_200802A43.html