Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Matinee: The Phantom Creeps, Chapter Three (Parts 2 & 3)

Last week, I was astonishingly cruel to Dorothy Arnold. I want to redress the balance this week... by being astonishingly cruel to her co-star, Robert Kent. Born Douglas Blackley, Jr., he was a prizefighter before making a lateral career move and pummeling people into unconsciousness with his acting instead.

Amazingly enough, according to IMDb, The Phantom Creeps' Bob West was his 27th screen role, and 44 followed. Very few of the films he was in are familiar to me, so I don't know if this serial marks the apex of his acting career. However, he does seem to have a lot of items on his resumé like these:

One Hour Late (1934) (uncredited) .... Soda Jerk
Love in Bloom (1935) (uncredited) .... Man who buys song
Love Before Breakfast (1936) (uncredited) .... First College Boy
The 13th Man (1937) (uncredited) .... Jack Winslow (Stella's boyfriend)
A Chump at Oxford (1940) (uncredited) .... Bit Role
Niagara Falls (1941) (uncredited) .... Hotel Guest
The Forest Rangers (1942) (uncredited) .... Lookout
Northern Pursuit (1943) (uncredited) .... Soldier
The Skipper Surprised His Wife (1950) (uncredited) .... Radio technician

That's not to say that he usually went uncredited. Why, he also played "A Switchman" in The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), and in an episode of The Adventures of Superman, he essayed the role of "Safe Mover Who Speaks."

All right, all right. IMDb claims in its Mini Biography of Kent that "[h]is career consisted mostly of playing leads in 'B' pictures." Which just goes to show that wood does, indeed, float to the top on occasion.

This week's chapter features two brief bits from Feature MPEG, one to cover a film break (Part 3, 1:50), and one to cover a bit of analog video instability (Part 3, 3:17). In both cases, I replaced the entire shot*, because cutting away in mid-shot was just too distracting. A film break and patch with no frames lost (Part 3, 1:40) wasn't bad enough to replace with the much lower-quality Feature MPEG. I did fix the sound pop with Feature MPEG's soundtrack, however.

The end music cut off in Serial MPEG and AVI, so I faded it to the complete music from Chapter Two. Incidentally, the recurring opening credits of all three chapters have come from Chapter Two so far, because Chapters One and Three had a film break.

*- In the first case, the "shot" I replaced was the transition piece. You may have noticed in old films that there's frequently an obvious jump or change in image quality just before and after a wipe or dissolve. That's because they were created on an optical printer. Besides that the result was a generation removed, being a copy of the original footage, optical printers of the time usually created a noticeably inferior picture. The film editor would therefore only cut in the actual transition... which is sort of robbing Peter to pay Paul, because it makes the transition piece stand out like a sore thumb. If producers had the time/money to use top-quality equipment and, if necessary, have it done over and over until the framing and contrast were right, the join could be almost invisible. But of course, The Phantom Creeps was a serial, which had neither.

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