A very recent discovery is Bert’s cameo role in the 1927 comedy-drama silent movie, ‘Chicago’. Melbourne based Phil Lipshut, Bert’s great great nephew tipped me off to this clue last year, but my searches for either the movie or reference to Bert in the cast proved futile until yesterday. Something seen on TV, tipped me off to look on Youtube and ‘lo and behold’ the full movie is there …
Above is the ‘lobby card’ from the movie. Note the caption under image. In addition to the beautiful, colourful lithographic movie posters, there came a need for photographic images and these were known as ‘Lobby cards’. https://www.walterfilm.com/lobby-cards/
Below is the link to the movie – it was produced by Cecil B. DeMille and directed by Frank Urson. Cecil’s bio on wikipedia is most interesting…..he was from New York, his mother was Jewish, he was on Vaudeville around the same time as Bert and when he moved to Hollywood, he was next door neighbour to Chaplin. (Bert’s close friend)
Phil believes he read somewhere that Bert’s cameo role was added after the scene was shot, and looking at it again, this appears to be so. Scroll through the footage until the 1:11:30 mark to see the courtroom scene. The whole courtroom scene is quite amusing.
Here are two screen shots of Bert in action in the ‘Chicago’ movie and a final screenshot of how Bert’s sketch is used at the very end of the movie. Worth scrolling to the end….
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