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266 8 Bootlegging The Clandestine Traffic in Fight Pictures, 1916–1940 Fight film suppression keeps a person dizzy. The pictures can’t be seen for love or money. One judges Mr. Dempsey’s friends are busy— Or can it be the friends of Mr. Tunney? l.h.r., “These Days,” New York Times, October 16, 1927 Following the legal suppression of prizefight films in 1915, ring promoters continued to record big matches, but fight pictures were never again inte- grated into the mainstream American film industry. Hollywood loved box- ing and star boxers, but the major producer

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Exhibition and White Suppression, 1908–1910 195 7. jack johnson’s decline: The Prizefight Film Ban, 1911–1915 239 8. bootlegging: The Clandestine Traffic in Fight Pictures, 1916–1940 266 Filmography 291 Notes 305 Index 369 Contents This page intentionally left blank

x i x I was born, quite inappropriately, in Nassau, Bahamas. My father was engaged in bootlegging at the time. My parents are both Scottish and my father’s father was head forester on a Scottish estate. While still small I was sent home to boarding school in Scotland, but then my father, having lost all his money orange farming in Florida, returned to Scotland, and I went to live with my parents in Glasgow. When the war began in 1939 I was evacuated to the country, and this was the end of my formal education; I spent most of my time fishing in wee burns

., 50, 87, 127 Barrel Fighters (film; 1903), 98 baseball, 11 Battle of Jeffries and Sharkey for Championship of the World, The (bootleg film; 1899), 106 Battle of San Juan Hill (film; 1899), 136 Baynes, George McLeod, 270 Beach, Rex, 220 Bean, Roy, 57 Behan, Hugh, 42 Berger, Louis J., 233 Bertho, Paul, 241 Betts, John Rickards, 10 Beyond the Ring (Sammons), 11 Big Fights, Inc., 2 Bill as a Boxer (film; 1910), 241 Billy Edwards and Warwick (film; 1895), 23 Billy Edwards Boxing (film; 1895), 41 Biograph. See American Mutoscope & Biograph Company Biograph Bulletin, 159

sprouted. Real estate was needed for the hordes swarming in to settle in the city and its environs at the rate of more than 350 per day.The population of LosAngeles grew from nine hundred thou- sand in 1920 to more than two million a decade later.8 Along with the throngs, Prohibition had arrived, and nightspots be- gan to open where fun seekers, many of them employed by the nearby Culver City motion picture studios—Ince, Goldwyn, Hal Roach—gath- ered after work to dance, dine, and drink bootleg liquor. Because it had a lax police department and a location close enough to

among North American consumers: the exhibition of prerecorded feature motion pictures. From VHS to DVD and online media, most video with which we interact was recorded and distributed by someone else. Other video scholars have writ- ten admirable studies of time-shifting (recording television broadcasts for later viewing), bootlegging, amateur videography, and video art, but the fact remains: for most US video users since the mid-1980s, video has been synonymous with the movies.11 That association has changed the motion picture industry, but the video

include a huge number of movies and television programs that never got a commercial home video release; the value of these texts derives more from their (video) scarcity than it does aesthetic accomplishment or cultural renown. A vast number of these are movies figure 19. This zany mural distinguishes Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee from the sprawl of the San Fernando Valley. Video Capitals / 105 that the owners recorded off of television, and many others are recordings of classic television, referred to as “loaners” but effectively bootlegs. The store

, edited by Linda Dittmar and Gene Michaud, 175–88. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990. Higley, Sarah, and Jeffrey Weinstock, eds. Nothing That Is: Millennial Cinema and the ‘Blair Witch’ Controversies. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2002. Hilderbrand, Lucas. “The Art of Distribution: Video on Demand.” Film Quarterly 64, no. 2 (winter 2010): 24–28. ———. “Cinematic Promiscuity: Cinephilia after Video.” Framework 50, nos. 1–2 (2009): 214–17. ———. “Grainy Days and Mondays: Superstar and Bootleg Aesthetics.” Camera Obscura 19:3, no. 57 (2004): 56