Thursday, June 9, 2022

By Jove! I think we've got 'It' (1927) on Friday, June 10 at Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro, Vt.

A poster promoting Clara Bow in 'It' (1927).

It's one of the shortest titles ever! (Except perhaps for Fritz Lang's 'M.') 

Up next, it's Clara Bow in 'It' (1927) on Friday, June 10 at Epsilon Spires in Brattleboro, Vt., accompanied by me on the venue's Estey pipe organ.

Showtime is 8 p.m. and hope to see you there! Plenty more info is in the press release below.

First, a few thoughts on my annual pilgrimage to Antrim (N.H.) Town Hall, where each June I do an end-of-the-school-year silent film program for kids at Great Brook School, which enrolls Grades 5-8.

This year it was yesterday, and here's what it looks like:

It's all organized by teacher Maryanne Cullinan (seen above), who uses the occasion to call each graduating 8th grader up and offer personal recollections and remembrances in front of their peers.

Wow! This is very different from my own experience attending Spring Street Jr. High in Nashua, N.H. At the end of the school year, the closest thing we got to this was when the bullies in "smoker's row" would pull my friends and me aside for one final beating before classes let out for the summer. 

We've been doing this for more than 10 years now, and over time the kids have made it clear that their preferred silent film star is Buster Keaton. 

So yesterday's program included the classic Keaton short comedy 'One Week' (a perennial favorite) followed by the full-length 'Go West' (1925), which we'd never showed before. 

 Prior to the film, I tried to pique their curiosity by saying it included one of the strangest love stories of the silent era. (That being the relationship between Buster and Brown Eyes the cow.)

I could tell they were growing a little restless during the feature. But interest perked up starting with the gunfight over the cattle-carrying train, and then the stampede through the streets of Los Angeles. 

The film's ending produced an avalanche of adolescent applause, with one kid yelling out "That was the best movie I ever saw, even though I slept through the first two-thirds of it!" which earned him a scolding for being rude.  

But I really enjoy this annual cannonball into the middle school swimming pool. Thanks to Ms. Cullinan and everyone at Great Brook School for inviting me once again and keeping this fine tradition going.

Later that day, I headed up to Plymouth, N.H. to do music for Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in 'The Black Pirate" (1926) at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center.

(The picture at left was taken just as I looked the receipt for a tank of gas.)

About 40 people turned out for this granddaddy of all pirate films, which we programmed as part of our series of 1926 films that just recently entered the public domain. 

A good time was has by all, except those in the movie terrorized by pirates. And for once, no one brought up the fact that sundials (featured prominently in the movie) don't work on a boat at sea.

And now, let's get on with 'It!' Please join me on Friday, June 10 at 8 p.m. for this iconic Jazz Age comedy. The press release is below!

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Clara Bow and would-be beau Antonio Moreno in 'It' (1927).

Contact Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 •

Come and get 'It' with Clara Bow at Epsilon Spires on Friday, June 10

Performance venue to screen Jazz Age silent romantic comedy with live organ accompaniment

BRATTLEBORO, Vt.—A film that helped define an era returns to the big screen in June at Epsilon Spires.

'It' (1927), a romantic comedy that came to epitomize the Jazz Age of the 1920s, will be screened with live music on Friday, June 10 at 8 p.m. at Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St., Brattleboro, Vt.

Admission is $15 per person. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or at the door.

The screening will feature live accompaniment on the venue's Estey pipe organ by Jeff Rapsis, a New Hampshire-based silent film musician.

'It' tells the story of a shop girl who sets her sights on the handsome and wealthy boss of the department store where she works. The two are from completely different parts of society, but will attraction be strong enough to bridge the gap in their backgrounds?

The film made actress Clara Bow a major star, earning her the nickname of the 'It' girl. Released at the height of the Jazz Age, the movie was a hit with audiences all over the U.S., breaking box office records.

'It' is based on a novella written by Elinor Glyn and originally serialized in Cosmopolitan magazine. Glyn, whose writings popularized the concept of 'It' as a quality of attractiveness, has a cameo role as herself in the film.

'It' is also an early example of product placement, as Cosmopolitan magazine is featured prominently in a scene where a character reads Glyn's story and introduces it to the audience.

The picture was considered lost for many years, but a copy was found in Prague in the 1960s. In 2001, 'It' was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

To accompany 'It,' Rapsis will improvise a score created live in real time as the movie is screened, in the tradition of theatre organists during the silent era.

Rather than focus on authentic music of the period, Rapsis creates new music for silent films that draws from movie scoring techniques that today's audiences expect from the cinema.

The non-profit Epsilon Spires, housed in Brattleboro's former Baptist church, builds connections between art and science by offering provocative performances and events, interactive art installations, and opportunities to engage in civil discourse by addressing current topics through the integration of diverse forms of expression.

'It' (1927) will be screened with live music on Friday, June 10 at 8 p.m. at Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St., Brattleboro, Vt. Admission is $15 per person. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or at the door.

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