Edna Purviance's bio

June 6, 2018 - Re-editing Edna Purviance's family biography 2nd Draft. Photo: Leading Ladies © used by ednapurviance.org

Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon Jump

I have no interest in motorcycles, but it wasn't a motorcycle that jumped the Snake River Canyon in September 1974, but a rocket on a launch pad. I know, because I was at the great Evel Knievel jump over the Snake River Canyon.

The famous motorcycle stunt rider, notorious for jumping autos and Caesar's Palace water fountains, decided to take on a canyon. It put Twin Falls, Idaho on the map, exposure that most locals didn't want.

Our little farm town of Twin Falls, Idaho, never was so crowded. A town of 15,000 exploded into a population of hundred thousand in one day (actually, exact figures were not known.) But what took normally 10 minutes to drive took 2 1/2 hours! Traffic was at a standstill right after the event. The airport was so full of small jets, they had to tow them into the fields to park them.

It was a September weekend, when the jump occurred. My father's boss decided to have a company picnic on land next to the Perrine Bridge, which had a clear view of the jump. All I can remember about the picnic was making a Jello salad with carrots. (Don't ask me why, just something we did in the 70s.)

ABC Wide World of Sports was on hand to record the event for later viewing on their weekly Saturday sports program (I believe Jim McKay did the honors as presenter).

The day of the event was sort of like preparing for a horse race. The pre-show lasted for hours, but the actual rocket flight event took only a few minutes. We were told to arrive before 11AM, so to be parked, before the heavier crowds poured in by noon. The event was 3PM, I believe.

Everyone was looking toward the launch, wondering if it would launch at the time scheduled. Suddenly, a white rocket shot up into the air, and a parachute soon appeared, causing the rocket to change course and drift down into the canyon.

As the rocket bike parachuted into the rocks near the banks of the Snake River, onlookers didn't know if he was alive or not, unless they were listening to the radio broadcast. But the parachute landed him safely (alive that is), and it became known as the failed attempt.

A few days later, after the event, we got to visit the jump site. The special jump pad was actually on the back of one of my relatives' farms. Because of this event, I met those family members for the first time.

Evel Knievel's launch brought all types of people to the area. They told us stories of the thousands of people camping out in the canyon for a full week, staking out their view for the jump. It was very close to Shoshone Falls, a falls higher than Niagara.

They let us walk into the property. It was littered with trash and even a burned-up car, still struck in the now dry mud. There was a huge party after the event that the police watched from a distance, and let play out. The only thing left from the jump was the launch pad used to shoot 'the rocket bike' into the sky.

This one event brought many international reporters and celebrities to town. One, William Conrad, even came back soon after the jump and filmed the TV series Cannon in a neighboring town called Kimberly, Idaho. (It was called Kimberly, Texas in the show.) I got to meet Mr. Conrad having lunch at the Holiday Inn.

But as fall turned into winter, that was the end of the event, except for the ABC's Wide World of Sports broadcast. Odd to see your town on national television.

Some locals enjoyed the Knievel event, but most didn't. They were just glad the show was over. As for Mr. Knievel, he continued to do more jumps and stunts in the coming years.

Evel Knievel died today at the age of 69, in Clearwater, Florida.

UPDATE - November 2008: Knievel would have probably loved seeing this, a daredevil crossed the Royal Gorge in Colorado with only a JetPack on this back. Here is a link to the UK Times Online about the crossing. Includes video of the crossing.


Nothing new to report on The Sea Gull, as we are still waiting for the final proof books to be printed and sent. Meanwhile, preparing the new ednapurviance.com site. When the proof books do arrive and everything checks out, things will move pretty fast.

Just so you know, we are planning a paperback and hard cover edition to be available. All the options will be explained on the new site. Also, a couple of other items will be available on this new site for all things Edna.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mary Pickford by Katie Melua

Mary Pickford - An enjoyable song and video by British singer and song writer Katie Melua, from her CD Pictures. Song available as a single at iTunes. (Problems seeing it? Try on Firefox or Netscape browsers.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

For a researcher nothing is outdated

I was reading a review recently about a film from the 1940s as being outdated. The film showed a variety of footage, and while the style is outdated, the material is not.

For a researcher, any material that shows our past can become a 'gold mine' of information that can lead to new discoveries.

In one of these 'outdated' films, I think I found yet another piece to help with the project.

So the next time you think something is outdated, it just might be 'a piece of gold' for someone else.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Edna's Seventh Year on the web!

Today starts ednapurviance.org seventh year on the web. Thank you for your continued support and watch for our first book project, The Sea Gull. Release date coming soon...

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Charlie Chaplin Christmas

December 7 - January 6, 2008
A Charlie Chaplin Christmas
Studio Theater - Chicago Cultural Center

"A whimsical tale of the lovable tramp and his protegé and the bittersweet moments they share during the holiday season. Based on the beloved Chaplin character, Silent Theatre presents this production in its Vaudevillian style that is appropriate for children and entertaining for adults. A story for those who never want to grow up." Chicago Cultural Center

Check this link for more details.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To our US visitors: Happy Thanksgiving!

And for our vegetable lovers, move over yams, peas and corn...
Have a safe and pleasant holiday!
(It is called a Romanesco, I am told.)

The play CHAPLIN is having an English run

November 21-24, 2007 - Guildford, England
The Bellairs Playhouse

"This trans-Atlantic workshop has given us a chance to begin exploring the original version of the musical where the link between Chaplin and the commedia tradition is a bolder part of the story," composer Anderson, who has been in residence in Guildford for rehearsals, said.

The Guildford audience is expected to include industry professionals looking to see if Chaplin might have a wider life in the U.K."
- Playbill

Check out GSA's listing of current and past shows for more.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Silent Lives by Lon Davis

Silent Lives
100 Biographies of The Silent Film Era
by Lon Davis
Foreward by Kevin Brownlow

Published and available at BearManor Media
FREE Bonus DVD for everyone who buys directly
through the BearManor site called:
"Classic Moments"
containing two hours of rare footage with Lon Davis.

“If you ever wondered who created the movies, this fascinating book will provide the answer.” —Kevin Brownlow

“It is a truly delightful, interesting and informative volume—with a nice (and very mixed) choice of subjects.” —Anthony Slide

“This is a well-written, illustrated and comprehensive collection of biographies. It is also that rarest of shorthand guides, a genuinely reliable reference tool. A ‘must-have’ book for fans and serious researchers alike.” —Diana Serra Cary

Silent Lives took me a while to complete
almost forty years, in fact.
"I began taking mental notes for it when I first discovered silent films. That occurred in 1968 when I was nine years old. Despite the turmoil of world events, it was a simple time to be a kid in America. There were no personal computers, no home video theaters; there was no Internet.

There was television, thankfully, and on our black and white screens it was not uncommon to see silent movies, accompanied by cartoonish music and sound effects. For the hobbyists there were 8mm clips of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Felix the Cat. Those grainy films were my portal to a much broader world, a world of slapstick and hilarity, of drama and Shakespearean tragedy. Once I entered it, I never wanted to leave." - Lon Davis

"The greats of the silent era may have passed away, but here they live! Within this book you will meet the famous (Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian Gish) as well as the lesser known (Billy Bevan, Larry Semon, Eric Campbell). You will be privy to the secrets of the stars (Norma Shearer, Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro), directors and studio heads (Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith, Lois Weber, Irving Thalberg), and those irreplaceable creative forces behind the scenes (H.M. "Beanie" Walker, Willis O'Brien, Billy Bitzer, Clyde Bruckman).

SILENT LIVES is illustrated with 200 rare photographs and original line-art advertisements and includes the free bonus DVD, "Classic Screen Moments," which contains two hours of outstanding clips, covering the entire silent era. (The DVD can only be obtained by ordering the book through BearManor Media)

One of the few surviving stars of the silent era, Diana Serra Cary (the former child star known as "Baby Peggy") describes SILENT LIVES as "a well-written, illustrated and comprehensive collection of biographies. It is also that rarest of shorthand guides, a genuinely reliable
reference tool. This is a must-have book for fans and serious researchers alike." - Ben Ohmart

I am looking forward to seeing Silent Lives in 2008. Also, if you order the book through BearManor Media you will receive a special 2-hour DVD created for the book. Contract BearManor for details. There is also a limited edition hardbound version too.

Check the BearManor site for other books about the classic film era, including one called The Keystone Krowd, by Stuart Oderman. (About Keystone Films)

UPDATE: Silent Lives was released February 28, 2008. I have added it to our Silent Books list on Edna's site.

Also, check this link about the recent Oregon news story about the book.

UPDATE APRIL 7, 2008 - Article about Lon Davis Silent Lives from The Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon) - more>

May 7, 2008 - I found this syndicated clip from April 9th of Lon Davis interview with Kelli Warner. Secrets of the silent movie stars>

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2009 - Lon Davis newest book about Bushman

Follow up: I have really enjoyed my copy of Silent Lives and highly recommend it for your film library collection. It is loaded with rare photos and bios of many of the top silent film stars, as well as some of the silent stars somewhat forgotten today. Great book for any library collection, as well. - LW

May 20th, 2008 - Monday I received the DVD 'Silent Lives: Classic Screen Moments' with Lon Davis. The DVD is free only if you order the book 'Silent Lives' by Lon Davis from his publisher Bear Manor Media. The DVD is about two hours long. You can watch normally like a silent film, or with running comments by Mr. Davis.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 18, 2009 - Lon Davis interview with Kelli Warner is available on YouTube. Check it out!

I actually watched it without comments the first time and enjoyed it! Later, I listened to selections with comments, and found it quite informative. Excellent for new fans to silent films. It has a mixture of films I have seen, but also very rare clips, I haven't.

The pair makes a great combination gift to introduce someone to silent films. So I would highly recommend buying the book and getting the free DVD from Bear Manor Media, and skipping any of the book discounters out there.

So, you don't get free shipping and couple of dollars off, but you get far more with this combination for only about $7 more. You would be hard pressed to find a DVD package out there with so many clips, at that price. LINK

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shopping for a Chaplin fan this Christmas?

Holiday Shopping?
If you are shopping for a Charlie Chaplin fan this Christmas and like to have some ideas on what is available, do check out Edna's guides for Chaplin movies, music and books located at ednapurviance.org.

If you are located in the UK, check out Garen Ewing's Charlie Chaplin UK DVD and Video Guide.

Links to Chaplin Guides:
Chaplin Library
Charlie Chaplin Music Guide USA
Charlie Chaplin DVD and Video Guide USA
Garen's Charlie Chaplin UK DVD and Video Guide

Any items purchased through Edna does help support the website at no extra cost to you. Thank-you... Linda

Also, when visiting Garen's site do check out The Rainbow Orchid. This highly acclaimed comic has become a worldwide fan favorite. The Rainbow Orchid is a favorite of my and I am highly looking forward to its future release. The story takes place in the 1920s, with silent film star Lily Lawrence as one of the lead characters. (And one of Lily's best pals includes Miss Edna Purviance.) Sales off the UK video site does help support the on going work on this beautifully drawn, but massive project. We here at Edna's sent our very best to Garen for all the work he has ahead, and hope you will check it out and show your support as well!

Awaiting the hardbound proof of Sea Gull

UPDATE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 27, 2007 - After checking out our time schedule and the printers schedule for December, it was decided to send in for the final proof edition for the paperback today. We are still waiting for the hardback version, but Thanksgiving last week has slowed things down. We will continue to get ednapurviance.com ready in the meantime.

Hardbound Edition: After doing additions and edits we are now waiting for the hardbound proof of The Sea Gull. We will be updating the paperback version as well, as we wait for a few final items to return. Barring any printing issues on the hardbound, I plan to make a release date announcement soon afterwards for the book.

The drawing for the free Sea Gull book will end without notice anytime now. If you have entered, but updated your email address since entering, please let me know. Good luck on the drawing and watch for our Sea Gull release date coming very soon.

Follow-up: If everything stays on schedule we are looking at a December release date. Actual day of release to be announced. Thanks for your continued interest and support. Stay tuned...

P.S. - Sunday, November 25, 2007, Edna's site will start the seventh year on the web. Our biggest celebration will be the coming of The Sea Gull.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is Thanksgiving time again in the US. Some of you may have the full week off as others might have just the holiday (Thursday, November 22nd) off, but whatever the case, we wish you a joyful holiday!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Art of Charlie Chaplin by Kyp Harness

The Art of Charlie Chaplin
By Kyp Harness

Author of "The Art of Laurel and Hardy"

Release November 2007
Published by McFarland

"...traces his acting career chronologically, from his initial appearance in 1914's Making a Living to his final starring role in 1957's A King in New York. Emphasizing Chaplin's technique and the steady evolution of his Tramp character..." - Amazon

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Sea Gull is NOT the biography on Edna

Just a little reminder to our readers who have been writing in. The Sea Gull is not the biography on Edna Purviance, but a book about her lost 1926 film production. It will have a short introduction about Edna, with information never published before.

Edna's biography is the next book we are working on, and work on it will start fully again, after the launch of The Sea Gull.

As for the launch of The Sea Gull, we are working on new edits and additions right now, especially after new information has been located from the family collection and helpful new info from our review readers.

I know it seems like along time for you, but we are getting very close now... Thanks for your support and stay tune...

Stolen Moments Forever Lulu

November 9, 2007
Stolen Moments 19
Forever Lulu

Part One of a planned three part series. more>

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back from a week of researching and visiting, which includes a few more updates for The Sea Gull. Will be pressing on with the hardback test now...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture

By Peter Kodel
Foreward by Kevin Brownlow
Preface by Martin Scorcese

Published by the Library of Congress

"Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture," Peter Kobel has created the definitive visual history of silent film. Published this month by the Library of Congress in association with Little, Brown & Co., this richly illustrated work draws on the Library’s extraordinary collection of posters, paper prints, film stills and memorabilia—most of which has never been in print. More than 400 images capture the birth of film and the rise of such icons as Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clara Bow and Rudolph Valentino." - Library of Congress

November 2007 - Available now

Los Angeles Times - Richard Schickel Review (note this review may only be up for a short while.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sea Gull Update

Okay, lots of you have been emailing about Sea Gull. Looking at a week filled with the project, as we head into the final stages and launching our first edition. Thanks very much for staying tune. Getting closer now...

Charlie Chaplin Archive new web site

The Charlie Chaplin Archive has their new web site up! Both in English and Italy. More...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Underworld almost stayed on the shelf

After the non-release of the 1926 "A Woman of the Sea," it took a while before Josef von Sternberg had another chance with a film project. In 1927, "Underworld" became that breakout film, but it had to make it off the shelf first.

Paramount thought the film would be a 'flop' and only released it at one New York theater, after cooling in the film vault for a while. The film's "expressionistic" style was just too modern for the times, but that one showing in that New York theater give the film its chance, as it found its audience and became a hit. It won Ben Hecht his first Oscar for original screen story.

In this article about the film it says: "Sternberg's obsession with love triangles (reaching apotheosis in his later pix with Marlene Dietrich) manifests itself here first."

If Chaplin released "A Woman of the Sea," von Sternberg's "obsession with love triangles" would have been seen in this picture. While there were four people involved in the main story, there was a love triangle formed around the two sisters and the rich writer from the city.

In studying this film, "A Woman of the Sea" was not the best title, since the story is more about two sisters wanting a life other than being a fisherman's wife.

"Underworld" has been given a new live musical score. Check film festival listings for future showings. Link to a November 4th showing.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Paul Merton's Silent Clowns UK Tour & BBC 5 interview

November-December 2007 - Paul Merton's Silent Clowns UK Tour - Paul "screens extracts from the very best silent comedians in some of their funniest films." Live music by Neil Brand. Check the list for location near you.

November 1, 2007 - Radio BBC 5 Live - Daily Mayo - Interview with Paul Merton about his new book "Silent Comedy" and his Silent Clowns UK Tour. - Show can be downloaded at this link. - 32 minutes.

In the BBC 5 Live Radio interview it is mentioned about Paul talking to someone who doesn't like silent films. Here is a video of Paul Merton talking to co-presenter Ian Hislop, who doesn't like silent films. (Music by Neil Brand.) Check YouTube for more Paul Merton videos.