Monday, November 17, 2008

Gary Cooper in Beau Sabreur

I love finding programs like this one in flea markets or antique stores that stock tons of old paper. It documents the early days of Hollywood and Gary Cooper's film career (1928). Here's what I found on

This silent romantic adventure is set in the Sahara desert, and purports to be a sequel to the successful Beau Geste. Like the first, it is based on a story by Christopher Wren and features members from the original cast. The story begins as three Legionnaires do not return promptly from furlough and end up in the poky. There, the hero duels with a traitor and wins, causing him to gain the designation "Beau Sabreur." Later he is sent into the desert to learn the ways of the Arabs and to help forge a peace treaty. There he encounters a lovely American journalist. Meanwhile the defeated traitor tries to stop the treaty from going through. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

Anyone who loves movies can identify with the impulse to save this kind of souvenir (I have similar flyers and programs from memorable movies I saw as a child, such as Romeo and Juliet in 1968 and the re-release of Gone with the Wind in Radio City Music Hall around the same time).

There is another reason I like this piece of ephemera: The Pershing is long gone from 125th St. and Amsterdam Ave., but this program conjures up images of what Harlem must have been like during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance--a flowering of the arts and intellectual inquiry within the historic black community.

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