Sylvester Ahola Home Movies

Sylvester Ahola Home Movies

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 4th, 2010, 4:31 pm #1


I learned from Michael S's blog about this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zmxNw26W0U

I remember that home movies of Hooley were up for auction several years ago on ebay. I wonder if this piece comes from the film auctioned at that time.

Hooley was mechanically inclined. A<span>s a 15-year old high school student he obtained his Amateur Wireless Operators License, and two years later, he secured a First Class Commercial License. He was also interested in photography and airplanes. You can see in the film Roosevel Field on Long Island, not far from where Miff Mole was born. Hooley and Phil Wall (pianist for Paul Specht and good friend of Hooley) also used to go to Curtis Airfiled to see famous aviators, Charles Lindbergh, Clarence Chamberlin, Rene Fonkc, etc, take off. In the airfields they ran into Roger Wolfe Khan, another airplane enthusiast. </span>

<span>It is possible that some of the appearance of Adrian Rollini in the film dates from the time of the short-lived New Yorkers band (with Bix and Tram and other Goldkette musicians). You also see ships in the video. At the time he was with the New Yorkers, Hooley lived near Coney Island and used to watch ships leaving New York Harbor on their way to Europe. I read somewhere that Hooley regretted that he did not get any footage of Bix. My recollection is that Hooley said something to the effect that Bix was a late sleeper.</span>

<span></span>Albert
Last edited by ahaim on February 4th, 2010, 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

February 4th, 2010, 6:17 pm #2


The home movie featuring Adrian Rollini was filmed by Hooley while he was a member of the California Ramblers in February-March 1927, during the band's engagement at the Branford Theatre in Newark, New Jersey. The 16 mm movie was shot on the roof of the theatre. The little sketches you see were performed by members of the band in-between numbers. Incidentally, the excellent version of "The Pay Off" as heard on the YouTube video was recorded some time after the Branford Theatre engagement; Spencer Clark is on bass sax.

The home movie footage that Hooley took of the New Yorkers band later on in 1927 didn't include Bix, but it did show Rollini and several other musicians in the band. When Bridget Berman was making her documentary about Bix, she asked Hooley if she could borrow this home movie, plus a large original photo of the New Yorkers Club. These were lent to her on the understanding that they would be sent back as soon as the documentary had been made, but they were never returned despite repeated requests by the Aholas and follow-up letters on their behalf sent by Brian Rust, Dick Hill and myself.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 4th, 2010, 8:52 pm #3


I have no doubt that some of the footage in the film was shot in the Feb-Mar1927: look at the guys wearing heavy overcoats, hats and gloves.

However other shots were taken in warm weather: guys rowing in bathing suits, guys in shirt sleeves, trees with leaves. 

Were the scenes of the guys with striped jackets taken in Feb-Mar 1927? If these were shot outdoors (and it loooks outdoors to me),  from the way the guys are dressed and what can be seen around them, it does not look to me to be winter.  

The scenes with airplanes are not taken in Feb-Mar, but in warmer weather. The scenes where you see ships on a harbor are taken in the winter. Is that New York Harbor?

Albert
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

February 5th, 2010, 10:35 am #4

The section with the California Ramblers in striped jackets has to be February-March 1927 as that was the only period that Hooley was with the band. I have some photos of Hooley in a striped jacket, standing with other members of the band on the roof of the Branford Theater you have one uploaded somewhere in which he is standing with Rollini and Tommy Fellini, which I sent a few years ago. I also have one which shows a large poster for the Branford Theater with Hooley, and I think Bobby Davis, poking their heads out through a hole in the middle of the poster! I have checked the temperature for New Jersey and for March 1927 it averaged 41.4 degrees Fahrenheit, so it must have been chilly standing out on the roof! Other scenes were taken at different times as this video is a compilation of Hooley's home movies, which I think I am right in saying was originally compiled by Scott Philbrick, a good friend of Hooley's (and a fine Boston-based trumpeter I may add), from the original 16 mm footage.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 5th, 2010, 1:48 pm #5


I found this image in the hard disk of my computer, dated May 12, 2004 and labelled RolliniAholaFellini.



So the footage with the guys wearing striped jackets must have been taken between Feb 12, 1927 and March 21, 1927. According to Dick Hill's biography,  Ahola left Paul Specht on Feb 12, 1927 to join the California Ramblers, and left the CR on Mar 21, 1927 to join Bert Lowe in Boston.

Here is a photo of the front of the Branford Theater.



Thanks, Nick.

It is unfortunate that the film shot by Hooley during the New Yorkers period was appropriated by Brigitte Bergman. She borrowed a lot of stuff for her documentary film on Bix and did not return it. My recollection is that Paul Mertz and Tom Pletcher gave Berman permission to use some of their material on Bix, and it was never returned.

Albert
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 5th, 2010, 2:09 pm #6

The section with the California Ramblers in striped jackets has to be February-March 1927 as that was the only period that Hooley was with the band. I have some photos of Hooley in a striped jacket, standing with other members of the band on the roof of the Branford Theater you have one uploaded somewhere in which he is standing with Rollini and Tommy Fellini, which I sent a few years ago. I also have one which shows a large poster for the Branford Theater with Hooley, and I think Bobby Davis, poking their heads out through a hole in the middle of the poster! I have checked the temperature for New Jersey and for March 1927 it averaged 41.4 degrees Fahrenheit, so it must have been chilly standing out on the roof! Other scenes were taken at different times as this video is a compilation of Hooley's home movies, which I think I am right in saying was originally compiled by Scott Philbrick, a good friend of Hooley's (and a fine Boston-based trumpeter I may add), from the original 16 mm footage.
http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1083318892

The Ahola home made film compilation was known years ago and obviously several people had copies of it.

Albert
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

February 5th, 2010, 3:24 pm #7

Yes, the compilation video has been around for a number of years, but was circulated to relatively few people.

By the way, in the scene in which Rollini is playing the guitar, he is actually "serenading" Tommy Fellini (not Bobby Davis, as I wrongly stated in the 2004 post); Jack Russin, playing "the father", then hits Rollini on the head!
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Scott Philbrick
Scott Philbrick

February 5th, 2010, 8:50 pm #8

I have no doubt that some of the footage in the film was shot in the Feb-Mar1927: look at the guys wearing heavy overcoats, hats and gloves.

However other shots were taken in warm weather: guys rowing in bathing suits, guys in shirt sleeves, trees with leaves. 

Were the scenes of the guys with striped jackets taken in Feb-Mar 1927? If these were shot outdoors (and it loooks outdoors to me),  from the way the guys are dressed and what can be seen around them, it does not look to me to be winter.  

The scenes with airplanes are not taken in Feb-Mar, but in warmer weather. The scenes where you see ships on a harbor are taken in the winter. Is that New York Harbor?

Albert
Those movies were transferred by me from the original 16MM films for Hooley and his wife Saima as they hadn't seen them for sixty years! My guess is that the original films may still be at the Ahola house in Lanesville MA. I made a few dubs for people and I guess they made a few dubs and now the films are on Youtube for anyone to watch. I think Hooley would get a kick knowing that he ended up going from cylinder recordings to the internet!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 6th, 2010, 1:04 am #9


Considering Hooley's strong interest in technical subjects -filming, short wave radio transmission, airplanes, musical instruments, maybe others - he would have gone into the internet like a fish in water.

Here is Hooley quoted by Dick Hill, "I had a powerful military receiver and I could change the Bb beep to different pitches by adjusting the BFO [Beat Frequency Oscillator]. I transformed the signal to make the Russian Sputnik play "Yankee Doodle," but it took about forty passes of the satellite over Cape Ann to achieve it."

Albert

 
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