Strange Sinema 103: Cinemania - Thur. Aug. 25th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Strange Sinema 103, a monthly evening of newly discovered finds, old favorites and rarities from the stacks of the archive. Drawing on his collection of over 50,000 16mm film prints, Oddball Films director Stephen Parr has compiled his 103rd program of classic, strange, offbeat and unusual films. This installment, Strange Sinema 103: Cinemania, is an offbeat look at the origins and bizarre expressions of cinema through historical inventions, experimental innovations and hand-made films throughout the ages with a blend of documentary, animation, early cinema rarities and even historic smut. We start off with a fascinating documentary The Origins of the Motion Picture (1955) examining cinema history from Leonardo de Vinci to Thomas Edison featuring oddities such as the Thaumatrope, the Phenakistiscope, Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope and more. We follow with the early cinema experiments of Georges Méliès in excerpts from The Inn Where No Man Rests (1903) and The Witch's Revenge (1903) and Tex Avery's Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938) where our duckster editor makes movie mayhem by creating a masterpiece using stock footage to enrage his boss! Lumiere’s First Picture Show (1895-1897) is a compilation of the earliest films ever made by French cinema pioneers the Lumière Brothers as well as a vintage look at the Lumières' patented cinematograph, a combination camera, projector, and film printer. Witness Camera Magic (1943), a rare curio by notorious oddball photographer Arthur “Weegee” Felig demonstrating a variety of camera techniques used to produce special effects. Moving on to the 70s, we take a cue from Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, and other avant-garde film makers in Michael and Mimi Warshaw’s How to Make a Movie Without a Camera (1972) which encourages kids and adults alike to make beautiful movies by scratching and drawing directly on film and animating films using hinged cut-outs, clay, toys, and hand-painted film. Robert Swarthe's Oscar-nominated Kick Me (1975)- painted directly onto the film - cleverly takes its meta-post-modernism to new dimensions. Bombay Movies (1977) is an inside look at the wild and extravagant world of Bollywood films in the 1970s. Hop on board for what some say is America's first hardcore porn, the notorious silent stag film A Free Ride AKA Grass Sandwich (1915) and try not to scream at the world's first pornographic cartoon Eveready Hardon in Buried Treasure (1928).

Date: Thursday, August 25th, 2016 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to or (415) 558-8117


Origins of the Motion Picture  (B+W, 1955, 20 min)
This fascinating documentary describes the events leading to the perfection of motion pictures, and examines the technological development, from the theories of Leonardo Da Vinci to the inventions of Thomas Edison. The film examines reliefs on Indian temple walls, DaVinci’s Camera Obscura, the Magic Lantern, the many facets of moving image inventions from the Thaumatrope, or “wonder turner”, the Phenakistiscope, Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope, the Zoetrope, Edison’s, Kinetograph and many more evolutionary moving image projection devices. Produced by the U.S. Navy in collaboration with The Library of Congress, The Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, Thomas Alva Edison Foundation and the  George Eastman  House of Photography.

 History of the Cinema (Color, 1957, 10 min)
The History of the Cinema is an undeniable classic of animation, very British in its humor and very tied in with its period. With an irrepressibly optimistic narrator and great wit it takes us from the cavemen daubing on the rock, the pinhole camera, through the early silent movie era, and eventually to the rise of television. John Halas' 1957 movie also manages to convey facts in an amusing way. Thus we learn why Hollywood was so good for film-making (sun, dependable sun) and the vital role the censor paid in movie history - essentially he snipped away all the good bits of film and left the audience with the rest - and even the fads designed to withstand the impact of the little box in the home.

Buried Treasure (B+W, 1928, 10 min)
The Granddaddy of pornographic cartoons, persistent rumors suggest that Max Fleischer (Betty Boop and others), Paul Terry (of TerryToons) and Budd Fisher (Mutt & Jeff) were responsible for this bawdy masterpiece.  
The legendary porno cartoon with a boogie woogie piano soundtrack 
depicting the unlikely adventures of the perpetually aroused title character (Eveready Hardon) with, among others, a man, a woman, and a cow. You’ll laugh and the guys may even scream! 

Daffy Duck in Hollywood (B+W, 1938, Tex Avery, 7 min) 
Watch Daffy Duck wreak havoc on a movie set by cutting and splicing together various clips into finished product of a movie contains nothing but newsreel titles and clips surrealist style. An anarchistic and avant garde masterpiece!

Camera Magic (B+W, 1943, 10 min) 
This rare curio by notorious oddball photographer Arthur “Weegee” Felig demonstrates a variety of camera techniques used to produce special effects with an ordinary 16mm motion picture camera without employing special equipment. A man moves to embrace a woman and we watch her vanish. On the beach a woman smiles while her decapitated head lies next to her.  More offbeat scenes demonstrate tips and tricks for the amateur and professional alike. Wacky, weird and nothing like it in the entire Castle film collection this came from! 

Free Ride AKA Grass Sandwich (B+W, 1915, 10 min)
This infamous stag short is touted as being the earliest example of American hardcore pornography, though its actual date of production is still hotly debated.  A motorist stops to pick up a couple of lovely ladies from the side of the road and they embark on the ride of their lives! Silent with added soundtrack.

Lumiere’s First Picture Show (B+W, 1895-1897, 15 min)
A compilation of short silent films by French cinema pioneers the Lumière brothers shot in the early days of cinema. The shorts are accompanied by informative text that gives background information on each film, as well as historical context with regards to filmmaking and the Lumière company. Shorts include the famous "L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat" (1896) ("The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat"), "La sortie des usines Lumière" (1895) ("Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory"), and a vintage look at the Lumières' patented cinematograph, a combination camera, projector, and film printer.
Melange de Méliès! 10 min
The Inn Where No Man Rests (1903, b&w) Devilry with inanimate objects was Melies stock-in-trade. It's bad enough that our weary traveler is tormented out of a peaceful night by his boots, the bed and just about any object with which Melies can play tricks. The ruckus brings the other guests and things really get out of hand. The Witch's Revenge (1903, b&w) In trouble with the king for practicing witchcraft, a sorcerer tries to conjure his way out of trouble. His offer to magic up the woman of the ruler's his dreams by way of wizardry goes absurdly awry.
personal attacks.

How to Make a Movie Without a Camera (Color, 1972, 6 min) 
Taking a cue from Stan Brakhage, Len Lye, and other avant-garde film makers, Michael and Mimi Warshaw encourage kids to make beautiful movies by scratching and drawing directly on film. Using just these simple techniques and a catchy soundtrack, the Warshaws show that it doesn’t take a big studio budget or an all-star cast to craft a movie that makes more sense than Inception
Michael and Mimi Warshaw’s film is a non-stop sampling of the wonders of found footage and hand-made movie techniques.  The film incorporates techniques such as scratching, acetate inks, food coloring, felt tip pens, bleaching, rub-ons, and various stock or found footage elements creating an instructional yet experimental film.  Famed avant garde filmmakers such as Len Lye, Stan Brakhage, and dadist Hans Richter created entire bodies of innovative, abstract cameraless film using direct physical techniques such as these.

Kick Me (Color, 1975, Robert Swarthe, 8 min)

An Oscar-nominated meta-cinema gem gets a lot of mileage (or should we say footage?) out of a mysterious pair of animated legs, an adventure within the frames of celluloid and ultimately its deconstruction of the medium itself. Drawn directly on 35mm film, Kick Me is a stunning example of the “direct animation” technique popularized by Norman McLaren and Stan Brakhage.

Bombay Movies (Color, 1977, 15 min) 
The entire output of the American film industry is the merest trickle in comparison with India, where the original Moguls release many times more films each year than the Americans can ever dream of. Studios in Bombay’s Hollywood, Bollywood, churn out a smorgasbord of musicals and exploitation films on a daily basis, serving the needs of India’s vast moviegoing public. Follow mega-star Vinod Khanna as he introduces American audiences to cinema, Indian-style.

Curator Biography:
Stephen Parr’s programs have explored the erotic underbelly of sex-in-cinema (The Subject is Sex), the offbeat and bizarre (Oddities Beyond Belief), the pervasive effects of propaganda (Historical/Hysterical?) and oddities from his archives (Strange Sinema). He is the director of Oddball Films, a stock film company and the San Francisco Media Archive (, a non-profit archive that preserves culturally significant films. He is a co-founder of Other Cinema DVD and a member of the Association of Moving Archivists (AMIA) where he is a frequent presenter.

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About Oddball Films
San Francisco's strangest film archive and microcinema, Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like The Nice Guys and Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Transparent and Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.