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I was in Paris a week ago, and unfortunately did not have time to visit their great film museum. However, I did have some time in Frankfurt and dropped by the German Film Museum. While unfortunately it didn’t stress German films enough and was a bit small, the place was well worth seeing.
The entrance opens to the gift shop and the small cafe. The man working the counter at the cafe was very friendly and the beer selection was excellent…as was my soup. I particularly loved these chairs next to the cafe–you can feel free to sit in them.
The first floor (actually, to us Americans, we call it the second floor) is about the history of inventions that led to what we call movies. Various devices such as stereoscopes, photography, Zoetropes and the early cameras of the Lumiere Brothers and pictures of Edison’s studio fill this very interesting portion. Kids, in particular, will enjoy this section.
The second floor is mostly movie memorabilia as well as a four-screen viewing area. As for the memorabilia, it was great but not really a lot to see. In particular, the great German films are not nearly as well represented as I’d hoped (apart from a script by one of Murnau’s American films, I didn’t see much)–and they should be more prominently represented. The viewing area is nice but the little one with one screen on the first floor I preferred–mostly because I adore the early silents. Below you see the multi-screen one on the 2nd and the single screen of a GREAT little silent (“The Japanese Acrobats”) from the 1st floor.
So, is this a place to rush to see? Probably not if you aren’t in the area. However, a trip to Frankfurt should include this–especially since it’s only a 15 minute walk from the rebuilt old town square (which includes the Cathedral, a modern art gallery, a cartoon museum and quite a few other minor sites).
While my site is about movies, I am going to stretch it a bit here–just because I can. Although everyone knows who Jim Henson was and loves his work, most folks don’t know about his early work. Long before “Sesame Street” and even longer before “The Muppet Show”, and even longer before all the Muppet movies, Henson had many projects–some dating back to when he was going to high school (if you care, it was Northwestern High School in the DC suburbs). Yes, as a young man, he was on TV–or at least his puppets were on TV. Sometimes they were on TV shows like “Sam and Friends” and “Afternoon” but even more often he was seen on television commercials–most of which had very, very weird sensibilities. My favorites among the ads were among his earliest–such as the rather sadistic Wilkens Coffee ads. But, he also made ads for LaChoy, Potato Chips, Kern’s Bread and many, many others.
In addition to making ads, Henson and his employees also made some industrial films–films made for sales meetings and to bolster the employees of various companies. Believe it or not, some of these are the best thing Henson EVER did. Don’t believe me? Try clicking the two links below for Wilson’s Meats. They are INSANE. In addition, there are a couple other links to some of his ads. Try watching them all–you’ll be glad you did.
While this list is not completely current, this is a breakdown of the top reviewers on IMDB. Wow….
So, what do the two photos above have in common. Of course, they are both actresses….but that’s NOT all. Actress Marie Blake (also known as ‘Blossom Rock’) was famous for playing Grandmama on TV’s “The Addams Family” as well as bit roles in various films such as the Dr. Kidare series with Lionel Barrymore. The other lady is Jeanette MacDonald–the operatic singing actress who starred in a bunch of films with Nelson Eddy as well as with Clark Gable in “San Francisco”. She was no bit player and was one of the highest paid and most respected actresses of the 1930s and 40s. She was also, believe it or not, Marie Blake’s younger sister! Really….I am not making this up!