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David Drazin Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2005-10
Repository
CFA
Extent of collection
The first accession consists of 15 16mm commercial film prints. The second accession contains 10 reels of 16mm home movies shot at the Holy Family Academy from 1939-46. 25 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 12,819 feet.
Inclusive Dates
1933 - 1961
Abstract
The David Drazin Collection contains both commercial prints that were created for the home market and home movies that were made at the Holy Family Academy school in Chicago between 1939 and 1946. The commercial films include educational films, a Dick Tracy cartoon, and Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 short “Behind the Screen.” The Holy Family Academy was an all-girls Catholic school on Chicago’s north side, and the home movies document nuns and young girls playing outside and on various outings in and around Chicago, as well as seasonal dance recitals.
Description

The David Drazin Collection contains both commercial prints that were created for the home market and home movies that were made at the Holy Family Academy in Chicago between 1939 and 1946.

The commercial films include educational films, a Dick Tracy cartoon, and Charlie Chaplin’s 1916 short “Behind the Screen.”

The Holy Family Academy was a Catholic girls school and the home movies document the nuns and young girls playing outside and on various outings in and around Chicago. They also include footage shot on school field trips to other locations in the region (Slocum Lake and Park Ridge, among other) and Washington, D.C. There are some home movies of a “Sister’s Convention” as well as what appears to be an amateur film made by the students. The majority of the footage documents choreographed dances by the students on the school’s auditorium stage. Footage of the dances (filmed from the auditorium balcony) is intercut with shots of calendars to record the date of the dance. The girls wear elaborate costumes and the dances are thematic – reflecting the months of the year, seasons and holidays. One of the dances centers around the wedding of two young children.

Creator
Drazin, David (created by)
David Drazin is composer and pianist specializing in jazz and the accompaniment of silent cinema and ballet. Recognized for his unique incorporation of 1920s jazz and blues styles into his live improvisations, Drazin has performed at silent film screenings throughout the United States and at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto) in Italy.

He has been a staff accompanist at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago since 1985 where he has created original music for films directed by Yasujirō Ozu, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Joseph von Sternberg, Alexander Dovzhenko, and Oscar Micheaux, in addition to the classic silent comedies of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. He has performed for the Cinevent Film Festival (Columbus, Ohio) and the Silent Film Society of Chicago, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Cinematheque, the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the National Archives (Washington, D.C.), and (just once!) on Charlie Chaplin’s piano in Vevey, Switzerland.

As of this writing, Drazin plays every Friday with J. J. and the Jazz Masters at the Ramada in Hyde Park, Chicago. In 2007, he performed in the band backing R&B saxophone legend Big Jay McNeely on the main stage at the Chicago Blues Festival. Drazin has worked extensively accompanying ballet and modern dance classes at schools and studios including the Evanston School of Ballet, Northwestern University, Gus Giordanos, Foster Dance, InaSide, and the summer intensive sessions at the Joffrey Ballet.

Drazin’s recordings include both modern and traditional jazz, ballet improvisations, original comedy songs with vocals and piano accompaniment, and a live nightclub performance featuring Chicago blues guitar legend Floyd McDaniel. Additionally, he has composed and recorded for video releases by Milestone Cinema, Kino International, Laughsmith, Allday, and Unknown Video of San Francisco.

Drazin was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1956. His love of music started at the age of four when his father taught him how to handle 78 rpm records and use the phonograph player. Around the age of 11 he began collecting films and shooting 8mm film using a Brownie camera that had previously belonged to his father. He moved on to shooting Super 8 film, initially sharing a camera with his father, and has continued to make films on 16mm and Super 8 ever since. Early experiences ranging from projecting the “noon movie” in high school on a 35mm arc lamp projector to seeing Buster Keaton on the big screen at the Cleveland Museum of Art solidified Drazin’s life-long passion for cinema.

Drazin began playing in bands in 1972 and received his bachelor’s degree in music, specializing in jazz, from Ohio State University in 1978. He has played in and led numerous bands in Ohio and Chicago, including The Ambassadors at the Illiana Club of Traditional Jazz. A diverse and accomplished performer, Drazin’s repertory includes jazz, classical, blues, and boogie-woogie styles, Harlem stride piano, and original novelty works.

Drazin has made several short films and maintains a personal collection of 8mm and 16mm silent and sound films, vintage newspapers and sheet music, and 78 rpm records. He collects primarily short films, although he does have a number of feature length films in both 8mm and 16mm. He is particularly drawn to home movies and prints that were made in the 1930s-60s for the home market. Drazin lives in Evanston with his wife Carol Seymour.

http://www.kendavies.net/daviddrazin/ http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=28488 http://www.reverbnation.com/#!/daviddrazin
Custodial History
The films in both of the two acquisitions belonged to David Drazin and were a part of his personal collection before he donated them to CFA. The commercial films were purchased over a period of time from a variety of sources. The Holy Family Academy Films were purchased from a library sale at the Holy Family Academy (presumably when they closed in 1988) in the 1980s.
Language of Materials
English
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
CFA owns rights to the Holy Family Academy home movies. CFA does not have the rights to the commercial titles.
General Note
The Holy Family Academy was founded by Mother Mary Frances Siedliska of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth order in 1887 and closed in 1988. The Holy Family Academy was a Catholic school for girls, and taught elementary grades as well as junior high and high school. It was located at 1444 West Division Street in Chicago, IL. The high school building is still standing and currently houses the Near North Montessori School. More information can be found at: http://www.illinoishsglorydays.com/id787.html or by contacting Illinois High School Glory Days 6439 North Neva Chicago, IL 60631 Alumni from the period in which the films were shot include: Theresa Wazny (1943-1947) Mary Skwarek Renee Lynn Wyszynska (attended 1940-1944 and is on classmates.com) Rosemarie Lewandowski (1941-1945) Irene Witkowski (1942-1946)
Collection Item
American Adventures of Surelock Homes, The
Art and the Artist: Covered Jars
Barbershop, The
Behind the Screen
Colorado River, The