Give It The Ol' Goat Gland Job.
December 22, 2008 3:37 PM   Subscribe

"Goat Gland" referred to a completed silent film in which one or more talking sequences/musical numbers were added in an attempt to make the film more marketable to talkie-crazed filmgoers.

Hollywood's Defensive Strategies - Remakes and “Goat Glands"
One expedient for making a sound film was to recycle former silent box-office hits as newly made talkies. Warner Bros. redid THE GREEN GODDESS (1930) and THE GOLD DIGGERS (as GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY, 1929). First National’s successes THE ISLE OF LOST SHIPS (1929) was revived as a sound remake. Paramount chose GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE. REDEMPTION (1930) and ANNA CHRISTIE (1930) raised Irving Thalberg’s hope for second-time success at MGM. Universal joined the remake bandwagon with a new version of the studio’s all-time top moneymaker, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1930). For this film, members of the cast of the 1925 original reassembled, including Mary Philbin. Lon Chaney refused to participate because he was holding out for a huge speaking bonus at MGM; it is unlikely that Thalberg would have lent him to Universal anyway. In order to be able to reuse Chaney’s performance, the studio interpolated new dialogue footage into the old silent film.
posted by flipyourwig (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
See also Singin' in the Rain.

I think this whole talkie craze is just a flash in the pan, myself. It'll pass in time, these fads always do.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:45 PM on December 22, 2008

I think we may have a new name for bullshit unnecessary elements added for "marketability" when doing a remake or adaptation.
posted by Artw at 3:52 PM on December 22, 2008

flipyourwig! Why didn't you link to the YouTube clip of Nick Lucas singing the fabulous "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" from Gold Diggers of Broadway 1929? Just hearing this song (with lyrics by Al Dubin, who also wrote the lyrics for 42nd Street and I Only Have Eye For You, etc.) will shiver your timbers. I, for one, am having an accident just linking to it! And while you're at it, look at all the other numbers from that exemplary goat glander on that page. Waughhhhh!
posted by Faze at 4:00 PM on December 22, 2008

I've often thought that someone should re-edit old silent films with subtitles. I think the cards slow down a lot of movies, at least for this modern viewer.
posted by roll truck roll at 4:03 PM on December 22, 2008

artw, that's a great point. From now on, the stupid, unnecessary, client required gateway flash movies on all my websites will be referred to as goat glanding pages.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2008

Put in false colour and a Queen soundtrack while you;re at it, why don't you.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

The crazy man these types of movies were named after, John R. Brinkley, moved his radio station to Mexico when he lost his license in the US. There he kept up his gland speech and political rants, but most importantly, he had many country music stars of the day singing on his station, including the Carter Family and other depression-era acts.

Interesting find, flipyourwig.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:05 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

That's how I found this goat gland film thing, I was looking up Brinkley. Man that guy is interesting.
posted by flipyourwig at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2008

An informative book about Dr. John "Goat Gland" Brinkley. Brinkley was not only a quack medicine superstar but a pirate radio pioneer operating a 500,000 Watt radio station just south of the Tex-Mex border (XERA) that broadcast all the way Canada and was the inspiration for the ZZ Top song "Heard It on the X".

We can all thank doctor b
Who stepped across the line.
With lots of watts he took control,
The first one of its kind.

posted by MikeMc at 4:13 PM on December 22, 2008

> I've often thought that someone should re-edit old silent films with subtitles.

On the contrary. Hollywood should re-edit modern hit comedies and action films to remove all the dialogue, leaving only an instrumental soundtrack and occasional title cards.

"I just threw up in my mouth a little" would be a whole lot funnier if you couldn't hear Christine Taylor say it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]

The name "goat gland" comes from the quack medical practice of replacing mens' testicles with goat testicles. John R. Brinkley was its most famous proponent.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:56 PM on December 22, 2008

Ahaha, that's actually in the first link. I'm dumb.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:59 PM on December 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

During his medical career, more than 16,000 people were victims of needless insertion of goat testicles, intended to restore energy and virility levels.

Those poor schmucks.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:56 PM on December 22, 2008

The first two Mickey Mouse cartoons, Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho were both goat gland films.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:04 PM on December 22, 2008

I had been planning to do a post on John R. Brinkley someday, glad to see he came up here. I learned about him while reading a biography of the Carter Family.
posted by marxchivist at 8:49 PM on December 22, 2008

I'm reading a book about the Carter Family ('Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?'), and there is quite a lot of material on Brinkley in there. Crazy quack, that guy, but really interesting to know that kind of thing went on. I feel sorry for all the people who got taken in by him.

I had no idea about this 'talkie grafting' thing, though. Thanks.
posted by Pecinpah at 10:11 PM on December 22, 2008

Pecinpah - if you like that old timey stuff you might dig this.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on December 22, 2008

Brinkley and goat glands previously on MetaFilter (only seven comments? where were all the goat-gland fans back in 2003?).
posted by languagehat at 7:53 AM on December 23, 2008

Brinkley and goat glands previously on MetaFilter

It would be worth it to do a new post just to see what deletion reason cortex comes up with.
posted by marxchivist at 7:59 AM on December 23, 2008

« Older The Coraline Boxes   |   The veiled sound of a secretive world Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments