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HISTORY

The scenario was based on the 1925 short story, "The Gay Old Bird" by film critic Virginia Dale. Plans for a screen version from Warner Bros. Pictures were announced in the 15 May 1926 Motion Picture News. Louise Fazenda and Willard Louis were chosen for the lead roles based on their successful teaming in two previous Warner releases, The Love Hour (1925) and The Passionate Quest (1926, see entries). The film was to be director Herman C. Raymaker’s second collaboration with Fazenda and Louis. Charles E. Whittaker was credited as scenarist in the 2 Jun 1926 [Brooklyn, NY] Times Union.
       The project was postponed for several months after Willard Louis died of typhoid fever on 22 July 1926. He was replaced by John T. Murray and production resumed in December 1926, as stated in the 11 December 1926 and 25 December 1926 issues of Motion Picture News. Edward Clark and C. Graham Baker replaced Whittaker.
       Murray told the 9 January 1927 Los Angeles Times that his years in the theater had given him ample opportunity to understand the title character, described as a wealthy older man with a penchant for young chorus girls. The 28 November 1926 edition claimed that Murray had requested the role several months earlier. At the time, he was completing his first screen pairing with Fazenda, Finger Prints (1927, see entry).
       According to the 2 February 1927 [Brooklyn, NY] Home Talk the Item, Raymaker sent out a casting call for three sets of identical twins but got very ...

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The scenario was based on the 1925 short story, "The Gay Old Bird" by film critic Virginia Dale. Plans for a screen version from Warner Bros. Pictures were announced in the 15 May 1926 Motion Picture News. Louise Fazenda and Willard Louis were chosen for the lead roles based on their successful teaming in two previous Warner releases, The Love Hour (1925) and The Passionate Quest (1926, see entries). The film was to be director Herman C. Raymaker’s second collaboration with Fazenda and Louis. Charles E. Whittaker was credited as scenarist in the 2 Jun 1926 [Brooklyn, NY] Times Union.
       The project was postponed for several months after Willard Louis died of typhoid fever on 22 July 1926. He was replaced by John T. Murray and production resumed in December 1926, as stated in the 11 December 1926 and 25 December 1926 issues of Motion Picture News. Edward Clark and C. Graham Baker replaced Whittaker.
       Murray told the 9 January 1927 Los Angeles Times that his years in the theater had given him ample opportunity to understand the title character, described as a wealthy older man with a penchant for young chorus girls. The 28 November 1926 edition claimed that Murray had requested the role several months earlier. At the time, he was completing his first screen pairing with Fazenda, Finger Prints (1927, see entry).
       According to the 2 February 1927 [Brooklyn, NY] Home Talk the Item, Raymaker sent out a casting call for three sets of identical twins but got very few responses. A photograph of the unidentified children appeared in the 26 February 1927 Moving Picture World, revealing two pairs of female toddlers, one black and the one white, and a pair of small, blond-haired boys.
       The close of production was announced in the 29 January 1927 Moving Picture World. Four days later, the 2 February 1927 Variety stated that Murray had quit Warner Bros., claiming the studio had billed him below Louise Fazenda in advertisements for Finger Prints. Murray’s contract specified that he and Fazenda were to share equal billing.
       The Gay Old Bird was released on 26 February 1927, followed by a New York City showing at Loew’s New York Theatre on 21 April 1927.
       On 5 October 1927, Variety reported that an unidentified exhibitor attempted to cancel his contract with Warner Bros. over the substitution of John T. Murray for Willard Louis. The exhibitor argued that the latter’s death was not “an act of God,” and he should therefore be reimbursed for the film rental. However, the contract did not include Louis’s name in connection with the picture and the case was dismissed.
       The National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) included this film on its list of Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films as of February 2021.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
20 Mar 1927
---
Home Talk the Item [Brooklyn, NY]
2 Feb 1927
p. 11
Los Angeles Times
3 Jun 1926
Section A, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
24 Jun 1926
Section A, p. 8
Los Angeles Times
28 Nov 1926
Section C, p. 27
Los Angeles Times
9 Jan 1927
Section C, p. 23
Motion Picture News
15 May 1926
p. 2355
Motion Picture News
12 Jun 1926
p. 2754
Motion Picture News
11 Dec 1926
p. 2242
Motion Picture News
25 Dec 1926
p. 2418
Motion Picture News
7 Jan 1927
p. 48
Moving Picture World
29 Jan 1927
p. 354
Moving Picture World
26 Feb 1927
p. 632
Photoplay
Sep 1927
p. 16
San Francisco Examiner [San Francisco, CA]
20 May 1926
p. 17
Times Union [Brooklyn, NY]
2 Jun 1926
p. 18
Variety
2 Feb 1927
p. 4
Variety
27 Apr 1927
p. 20
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Herman C. Raymaker
Dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
C. Graham Baker
Scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Virgil Miller
Dir of photog
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story, "The Gay Old Bird" by Virginia Dale (Hermona Shirk-Johnstone), first published in the Oct 1925 Red Book Magazine.
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 February 1927
Premiere Information:
New York showing: 21 Apr 1927
Production Date:
Dec 1926--Jan 1927
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
19 February 1927
LP23685
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,284
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Mrs. Cluney, an unreasonable and imperious young woman who always finds fault with her patient and indulgent husband, leaves home with their twins following a quarrel. Mr. Cluney's aunt and uncle, who have not met his wife, arrive unexpectedly. Because the uncle has promised his fortune to Cluney on the condition that he is happily married, the family maid, Sisseretta Simpkins, is instructed to pose as the lady of the house. Mrs. Cluney returns with the twins and is compelled to act the part of a nurse. At bedtime, Cluney and Sisseretta are forced into a compromising situation, and the latter's fiancé, the chauffeur, threatens to shoot them. Once the aunt and uncle depart, everything is satisfactorily ...

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Mrs. Cluney, an unreasonable and imperious young woman who always finds fault with her patient and indulgent husband, leaves home with their twins following a quarrel. Mr. Cluney's aunt and uncle, who have not met his wife, arrive unexpectedly. Because the uncle has promised his fortune to Cluney on the condition that he is happily married, the family maid, Sisseretta Simpkins, is instructed to pose as the lady of the house. Mrs. Cluney returns with the twins and is compelled to act the part of a nurse. At bedtime, Cluney and Sisseretta are forced into a compromising situation, and the latter's fiancé, the chauffeur, threatens to shoot them. Once the aunt and uncle depart, everything is satisfactorily resolved.

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GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Domestic


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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