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Tinsel The Town

Thursday, Dec 3, 2009 ,  7PM-8:30PM

The Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington
Chicago, Illinois

Admissions: Free (Donations always welcome!)


As highly-anticipated and all-around delightful as your annual visit
from Santa Claus (or the Scrooge), the Chicago Film Archives returns to the Chicago Cultural Center on December 3rd with a program of cinematic treats and treasures. Escape from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and return to that crazy feeling of excitement, wonder, and amazement you experienced this time of year as a child.

THE BIG DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS (1962, 9min, from the Sharp Collection)
THE BIG DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS is a charming, and oh-so-Chicago, story of a boy who gets lost in the lights and smells of downtown Chicago at Christmas time. He is taken in by the famous holiday windows at Marshall Fields and various other downtown department stores on State Street and Michigan Avenue, and Sharp captures all of the creativity, craftsmanship, and mechanical spookiness of these animatronic displays. In a split-second conclusion, the boy discovers the meaning of the season and finds his parents, leaving us only with the echo of his sweet Mid-Western nasality.
Directed by Charles D. Sharp, narrated by Burton Moore, sound by Jay Kaufman, the boy played by Eric Bettelheim, produced by Cameras International, Chicago.

CRAFTMASTER TOY (1970-71, 4 min, from the Goldsholl Collection)
A real gem from the world of corporate advertising, this commercial for CRAFTMASTER TOY (yes folks, they are the “people who made paint by numbers a national past-time!”) is a mind-bending montage of groovy music and craft projects that all seem to have magic somewhere in their name or description. Did you know that with the Magic Paper “Art-Maker,” you too can make a great work of art?!?!? The Goldsholl studios really took on a challenge when they committed to trying to make these craft projects seem unique – but, hey, there is a whole lot of magic going on with their sharp editing and product animation. And I think my Mom’s going to love “Quick Color Embroidery”!!!

A compilation of home movies from the Berolzheimer (1930s), Maugans (1960s-70s), Baker (1950s) and Gromer (1949) Collections, accompanied by Vince Guaraldi’s “Skating”.

GLOVE LOVE (late 1960s / early 1970s, 4 min, from the Goldsholl Collection)
This totally odd-ball and surprisingly sweet love story between two gloves is one of a series of fantastically inventive commercials Morton and Millie Goldsholl made for Kleenex Tissues. Chicago filmmakers Larry Janiak and Wayne Boyer worked for the Goldsholls during this period and for the Kleenex campaign, and, well, this might just be the best Kleenex ad ever.

THE LITTLE KING BY SOGLOW (1933, 8min, from the Conneely Collection)
Set on Christmas Eve, this early animation follows the Little King as he befriends two bums outside a Christmas shop window and invites them back to the castle. There is something really odd about the king and the bums shared bath and bed, and the recurring popping bubble and accompanying sound effect. It’s great fun to watch Santa grow a Christmas tree from seed and to see the king and bum-best-buddies wreak havoc on the mansion with their new toys.
An Official Film Release.

This compilation of home movies comes exclusively from the Gromer Collection. From 1938 to 1976 Julian Gromer produced over twenty travelogues and presented them to audiences across the United States and Canada. According to the University of Iowa Library, Julian not only narrated his travelogues during his lecture circuit, but also accompanied them with records on his own dual turntable! In 2007 CFA acquired over twenty-five of his travelogue films. Hidden amongst such titles as SUNNY CUBA, THE MIGHTY AMAZON and AFRICAN PRINCE were two very large reels of 16mm. personal home movies. This compilation of home movies comes from one such reel. accompanied by St. Nick and the St. Aloysius Elves’ “Have a Very Merry Christmas”.

INTERGALACTIC ZOO (late 1960s / early 1970s, 4 min, from the Goldsholl Collection)
Dedicated to the men, women and children of Mars, this fantastical animation uses the simplest of elements: solid backgrounds, block letters, and a length of metal chain. The creatures created are the kind of strange and other-worldy beings that thrive only in children’s dreams and play. This is yet another astonishing product from the creative geniuses at the Goldsholl Studios.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1946, 8 min, from the Conneely Collection)
On first glance this short film seems like the same old telling of the classic Christmas Eve tale we’ve heard time and time again, but this sure isn’t the way I remember it looking . . . this version makes the CFA staff feel very, very, uncomfortable. Where to start . . . the taxidermy mouse used to illustrate the infinite stillness of “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? Or, the CREEPIEST SANTA ever?!?!?!? This uber-creepy Santa can’t stop laughing, and his ho-ho-ho is, well, so awkward, ceaseless, and forced, that it makes us want to ask him to get back on that sleigh as soon as possible.

A compilation of home movies from the Gromer (1950s-70s), Berolzheimer (1930s-40s), and Maugans (1950s-60s) Collections, accompanied by Bert Kaempfert’s “On a Day Like Christmas”.

CHRISTMAS TIME – A HAPPY TIME (1974, 10 min, from the Chicago Public Library Collection)
CHRISTMAS TIME – A HAPPY TIME is narrated by a series of little kids from our friendly Northern neighbor, Canada, and focuses on the delight and wonder felt by kids during the holiday season. While they profess the real meaning of the Christmas season to be about good feelings and people and things, they aren’t completely without consumer desires. A wonderful segment in a department store’s “Toyland” recalls the seriousness with which we all chose that perfect gift to ask Santa for. Ultimately the message of CHRISTMAS TIME is that Christmas gifts are gifts of love and we shouldn’t wait until the holidays to take care of others — “someday it will be like Christmas all the time”!!!
An Oxford Films Release: a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures Corporation.


Film program by Michelle Puetz & Anne Wells

The Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington
Chicago, Illinois
Admissions:Free (Donations always welcome!)