Jerry Lewis Honored at Chinese Theatre

After what seemed to be an excessively long wait considering his lengthy career, comedy icon Jerry Lewis was honored today with a cement imprint in the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theater (née Grauman), where his newly pressed hand and footprints will join the likes of everyone from Joe E. Brown to Marilyn Monroe. The short ceremony, held in the shadow of the famous Chinese facade, featured introductions from TCM’s own Robert Osborne and director Quentin Tarantino, who expressed an entire generation’s worth of respect for the star.  Lewis took the stage last, sharp as ever, cracking loving jokes at the expense of the staff, fans, and photographers, and getting his hands and feet caked in cement for the sake of Hollywood immortality. He was also a special hero for the crowd of mostly fans in the bleacher area, repeatedly asking his personal friends in the front rows to sit down so the adoring crowd could see him. What a guy!

Patricia Ward Kelly on Gene Kelly: The Legacy

Patricia Ward Kelly starts her one-woman show, “Gene Kelly: The Legacy,” by addressing a few pertinent questions about her late husband: he was 5′ 8″; he got his distinctive facial scar from a tricycle accident as a kid; and they met while filming a TV documentary series about the Smithsonian. She also candidly addresses the question perhaps most on the mind of curious audience members expecting to see a frail, 90-year-old woman, instead of the vibrant young speaker before them: when they met, she was 26 and Gene was 73.

D.W. Griffith’s Biograph Films at the Egyptian

American Cinematheque’s Retroformat began its series of early D.W. Griffith works at the Egyptian Theatre this past weekend with a handful of the films he produced for Biograph Films. This series will continue over the next few months and ultimately showcase more than 100 of Griffith’s films from 1908 to 1913, with this first night focusing on the period between 1908 and 1909.

Upcoming: Cinefamily Celebrates the Tramp at 100

The Little Tramp, the enduring, mustachioed character brought to life by Charlie Chaplin, is celebrating one heck of a birthday this year: 100. The character first appeared in a Keystone comedy short called “Kid Auto Races at Venice” in 1914, where he plays a bumbling spectator constantly getting in the way of the camera’s attempts to focus on the action. Another film, “Mabel Behind the Wheel,” was technically the first Tramp film shot, but “Kid Auto Races” was released first, so it gets the permanent claim to fame. Of course, this being 1914, that difference is only a matter of days, so it’s really only a distinction for the record books. Both films are very charming and recognizably set up the many iterations of the character that were to follow–and not just in costume, but the Tramp’s personality that we’d come to know as well.