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  • So many of the names and faces shown in this short narrated by Jimmy Fidler are completely unknown to today's film fans. Only the more prominent will be recognized immediately.

    Among the more recognizable: Charlie Chaplin, Wallace Beery, Harold Lloyd, Mary Pickford, Lewis Stone, Ronald Colman (shown in 1923!), Conrad Nagel, Dolores Del Rio, Harry Carey, William Boyd, Rin Tin Tin.

    Already gone at the time of this '38 short: Thelma Todd, Mabel Normand, Lon Chaney, Valentino, Will Rogers, Marie Dressler and Jean Harlow.

    Talk about name dropping!

    Summing up: Nostalgia for anyone interested in the earliest film stars.
  • Personality Parade (1938)

    *** (out of 4)

    MGM short with Jimmy Fidler paying tribute to silent cinema and silent stars. The documentary gives updates on where some of the biggest and most popular stars are today (1938). We also get clips of those who have died since appearing in silents. This is a nice little history lesson, although Fatty Arbuckle is left out and even MGM's biggest star John Gilbert is overlooked but I guess this is due to Fatty's controversy and the fact that the studio hated Gilbert.

    As of now this film isn't available on DVD so if you'd like to see it your best shot is on Turner Classic Movies.
  • The footage is invaluable. This is a tribute to Hollywood stars from the silent era to the present (1938). Some of the stars - especially the silent ones - will not be recognized by modern audiences. Heck, I bet some of them were not recognized in 1938 when this short was made.

    Since it was made by MGM, there is an emphasis on MGM's stars, and in the case where a star has died, their death is also mentioned. If they had a career of tremendous ups and downs, such as in the case of Wally Beery, that is mentioned too.

    If I have one criticism it is that there is "silent film style" music accompanying all of the film clips, even the ones that had sound. For example, if I didn't know better I'd think "Dinner at Eight" was a silent film since there is no dialogue shown in these clips, just the musical accompaniment.

    Jean Harlow is singled out at the end, mentioning her accomplishments and the fact that she had died young, with the last scene being a bit over the top and consisting of a close up with her face with what looks like sun rays radiating from it. This is probably because she did die so suddenly and young, and this was made only one year after her death.

    If you do like looking at rare film footage I would say this one is worth looking at.
  • The 20-minutes is a mother lode glimpse of silent era stars, some still well-known, others not. Nonetheless, it's a treasure trove for old movie fans. True, they unroll like a parade of snapshots, some of which I wished would stay. But at least some unknowns happily linger now as knowns. Check out IMDb's cast list for names, both familiar and not. Stars like Chaplin and Lloyd are glimpsed in movies of the time, while others, like Beery, are shown in every day surroundings. Most look as if they're having a good time wherever they are, and catch Chaney in his Hunchback outfit it looks like he's having trouble with. Fidler was a popular gossip columnist for several decades especially on radio. Fortunately, he's left us with a distinguished line-up of names from a long ago era that amounts to a rare historical document.