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Still image from Happy Days via Northeast Historic Film.

Identifier:

  • 2747.0001-.0002 (Source: oldfilm.org)
  • 1973.308.2 (Source: Rhode Island Historical Society)

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

Roger Clapp

Production credits:

Languages:

English

Length:

450 ft (20 minutes 1 second)

Format:

16mm

Colour:

B&W

Sound Notes:

Silent

Awards/Recognition:

Northeast Historic Film list of titled amateur films

Description:

"Period piece of 1920's starring Roger Clapp and Dorothy Stebbins." Northeast Historic Film.

Resources:

This film is a part of the Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Collection held by Northeast Historic Film. A copy of the film is also held by the Rhode Island Historical Society.

The film is included in the Woman Behind the Camera project.

Locations:

  • Massachusetts, United States (Filming)

Relevant Locations

Subjects:

Genre:

Form:

Tags:

Repository:

Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Collection, Northeast Historic Film

Viewing Notes:

"Reel 1 – Happy days pt. 1 “The Clappian Studios Present”, “A Greater Discrepancy entitled…..”, “Happy Days”, “or The Piccolo Player’s Pitiful Plight”, “Conceived in the Spirit of Liberty.” Man holding a large champagne glass. A server fills his cup and he drinks it. “And Dedicated to the Spirit of Prohibition.” Man in a top hat gives a toast and drinks. “Under the personal direction of that paragon of producers.” CU of a hand signing the name “Roger T. Clapp.” Shot of Roger Clapp. “Our Hero Percy Piccolo.” Percy (played by Watson Smith) on a horse and then a close up of him smiling. “Was the last of a distinguished line of Merry Gentlemen.” Smith dressed as a caveman in a picture frame. He wildly drinks from a wooden bowl. Smith dressed as a Roman Centurion drinks deeply from a stein. Now dressed in armor he drinks from a stein. Dressed as a Shakespearean man drinking in the picture frame. Now as a monk, he prays, does the sign of the cross and then drinks from a mug. Dressed as an English king in the picture frame drinking from a chalice. Dressed in an 1800’s suit drinking. “Even his proud father occasionally raised the elbow.” Percy’s father drinking from a large glass and smiles. “Romping through the carefree days of sheltered childhood” “with his little boyhood sweetheart.” Percy and sweetheart skipping and feeding each other, playing in the grass “Grown to stalwart manhood – gripped by wanderlust – as yet untainted by his heritage of rum” “Percy Piccolo fares forth into the world…” Percy walks away from the house with a sack on a pole and waves goodbye, he walks in to the sunset. “and becomes a Vagabond Piccolo Player.” Percy playing the piccolo in a field with flowers in his hair. “Darkly at night a band of bootleggers were plying their wicked trade.” Men on a dock at night with binoculars signal to men in a canoe. The canoe arrives at the pier and they unload crates and carry them to a car. The men load the car and drive off. “Speeding home – minds fixed on rum alone – they fail until too late to note” “the wandering piccoloafer.” Percy, walking down the road, is hit by the bootlegger’s car. The bootleggers pick him up and load him and his piccolo into the car and drive off. “Meanwhile his father – the secret backer of the liquor gang – followed the market.” Percy’s father, in a top hat and smoking a cigar, looks at ticker tape and updates a chalk board with another man. “Conferring when necessary with the rum-tasters’ business agent” Percy’s father and female bootlegger (played by Dorothy Stebbins Bowles) smile together under a parasol. “The tender ministrations of the ‘legger maiden restore our hero’s health…” “…But only to awaken his ancestral appetite for rum.” Percy lies on a cot with bandages around his head while Bowles nurses him. She kisses him and he wakes up. She gives him a wooden spoon of rum. “Back home a snake in the grass rears its ugly head.” A man sits on a bench with Percy’s childhood sweetheart and pleads with her, while she refuses. “The memory of her childhood sweetheart fades before the eager pleadings of her suave and smooth new suitor.” She sits under a tree and the man joins her and holds her hand. They kiss and he gives her a ring. She takes it, puts it on, and kisses him again. “But a little bird our hero had befriended in his happy childhood…” Percy pets and feeds a small bird. “…saw all…” The bird looks down at the couple sitting under the tree “…and winged o’er land and sea to carry the sad tidings to his boyhood friend.” Shot of a bird flying, bird on rock hopping around as Percy leans close listening. Percy puts his head in his hands and cries. “Our hero arrives home just in time…” Childhood sweetheart walks down the aisle at an outdoor wedding. A priest comes out and the couple kneels before him. He performs the ceremony and the couple kiss and walk back down the aisle. Percy comes out from behind a bush and cries. “Broken with sorrow – his inhibitions gone – Percy casts his lot in with the bootleg crew.” Percy sits in the grass and punches his hand. Shot of Percy and Bowles sitting in the doorway of a house. Percy plays the piccolo and Bowles drinks, sharing the bottle with Percy, they smile at each other and fall back into the house. Shot of Percy playing the piccolo with flowers in this hair. “A traitor in the liquor ranks betrays their stronghold to an undercover woman.” A woman in a fur coat walks past a man holding a rifle. She drops a handkerchief and he grabs it and brings it to her. They sit on the porch, with his arm around her, talking, and the man draws her a map. “At first the revenooers expeditions were foiled” “Some…. By… brute force.” A man scans the horizon with binoculars, he sees something and calls to Percy and Bowles to join him. A man below them creeps up the rocks. The three bootleggers throw rocks down at the man from the top of the cliff. The man fires a gun and sneaks closer until he is hit with a rock and falls. “Some were lined with lead.” A man walks up to a shack and knocks, a bootlegger comes to the door and they talk, another bootlegger sneaks around the corner and shoots the man who knocked. They carry the body into the woods and one man makes a notch in the side of his cabin to count the kill. “still other agents were entrapped by guile” An agent in uniform creeps down the road with a gun, he puzzles over a road sign and map and continues down the road. Two bootleggers peek around a house. “The day was hot – remembering that a sparkling stream lay on the revenooer’s route” The bootleggers go to a stream and dump gin in it. The officer comes to the stream and stops for a drink [End of Reel] Reel 2 – Happy Days pt. 2 [Continuation of reel 1, could be spliced together] The agent drinks from the stream and then stumbles away drunk. The bootleggers laugh at him from a distance. The agent stumbles toward them and eventually collapses. The bootleggers approach him laughing and one takes his hat and they carry him off. Cut to the female agent at Prohibition HQ, sitting at a desk working and swatting flies. Two men bring her the unconscious drunk agent and she gives them orders. “Unable to brook this final insult Mrs. Tommybrandt orders out the Army.” Mrs. Tommybrandt makes a phone call and an agent comes and takes written orders from her. “And Major Oswald commanding his famed battalion takes the field…” Major Oswald shouts orders at the camera. Big guns are brought in and soldiers fire them at the bootleggers shack. “Percy volunteers for aerial observation.” Percy gets into a basket that is connected to a balloon. It rises into the air, he looks through binoculars. Shot of mountains and landscape from the air. An airplane takes off, shots of the plane in the air intercut with shots of a balloon. A parachute in the air, cut to Percy stuck in a tree with a parachute. He uses a whistle to call for help. “Uncle Sam once more triumphs o’er the hordes of sin.” Men firing cannons at the bootlegger shack, bootleggers shoot back. Shot through the Major’s binoculars at the bootleggers. The bootleggers in a small shack shoot guns out at the army. The Major signals and the shack is blown to pieces. The men try to crawl out from under the ruble. “Percy and his ‘legger maiden are blown to …” “heaven.” Bowles and Percy trapped in a shack, shoot out the windows at the army. An army agent puts a grenade in the window and they run out. The army approaches on horses. Men fire at Percy and Bowles as they run for cover. Cut to shots of Percy and Bowles dressed like angels strumming harps. They walk through a snowy wood holding hand and then point at a white columned building. A bearded angel and female angel playing the harp spot them. “But the Pearly Gates are closed.” The beaded angel points at them and shakes his head, the female and bearded angels walk away. Bowles and Percy walk back toward the woods crestfallen and still holding hands. They sit on a stump and sadly strumming their harps. Percy then pulls out a bottle and the mood changes. They happily drink and play their harps and sing. The devil jumps out from behind a tree laughing. “The liquor market crashes bringing ruin to Percy’s papa.” Percy’s dad sits at the table franticly looking at the stock ticker and the numbers on his blackboard. He takes off his hat and frets. “The vengeance of the Law is visited on the lone survivors of the gang.” Two bootleggers are dressed in chain gang stripes breaking rocks as a guard watches them. “And law and order are once more triumphant” “That’s all” [End of reel]," via Northeast Historic Film.

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