Name Your 1920s Smash Movie Hit

Because I’m constantly searching for greater and more extravagant forms of stimulation, lately I’ve moved away from pre-Code movies and have been watching more part-talkies, and am reminded (as I so often am when I watch anything from even the late 1920s) that what I think of as prolific today has absolutely nothing on 20s-era directors, most of whom seem to have completed a movie a week. There’s something about the titles that always stays with me — I think it’s got something to do with the ways in which the 1920s feel like the first ‘modern’ decade while also retaining something of the 19th century (the memories of the Gay Nineties, the complexity of the Biblical allusions still understood to be commonplace, the adaptation of Victorian- and Edwardian-era plays) that’s totally baffling and alien. Titles like:

  • Jim of the Pacific

  • So This Is What They Call Midnight

  • Laundry Beggars, Incorporated

  • Old Chicago Hotfoot

  • Ole Makes A Pancake

  • Lupe Greatheart

  • The Great Nickel Fiasco

  • Lady Boulevardier

  • Get-Rich-Quick Harold Does The Mistake Minuet

  • Captain Happenstance and the Hard-Luck Bombers

  • 42nd Street Frannie’s Last-Ever Case

  • Take Pneumonia To The Devil

  • Basilisk of the Heart

  • Romeo Drives A Car

  • Another Box Office For Buster

  • Flower of the Upper Hudson

  • Hurry No Longer

  • Triple-Decker From Stamboul

  • The Old Alma Mater

  • I Ain’t Norma Shearer

  • They Knew She Was Fast

  • Ole Swenson’s Pancake Trouble

  • Our Pilot Daughters

  • The Rio Grande Is A Woman

  • Paris Creations

Anyhow, if you’re bored and at home, and you’d like to direct your own part-talkie, here’s a title generator to get you started!

Your Birth Month

January: Our(s)

February: The Buttonwood Agreement

March: Babylon

April: Remember Me To

May: No More

June: Bosky and His

July: Just A Red-Headed

August: The Strivers’ Row Boys

September: They Learned About

October: Only A Polo Player

November: The

December: Scandal City

Day of the week you were born:

Sunday: Brazen It Out

Monday: Go To Court

Tuesday: And the Hotsy-Totsy Woman

Wednesday: No More

Thursday: And the Dinette Set

Friday: Favors the Bold

Saturday: Dancin’ Honeymoon

Bonus phrases if you need help stringing together a complete title:

Sinnin’, Living Room Trouble, Mistaken Gentry, Reckless, Fathers, And The Scarlet Voter, The Happiest Times, The Charm School, Forgets About The, Must, To, Vs., After All, Under The, Hurrah For, The Typing Pool, Bad Little, Without, Angel-Face Montez, The Fortune-Hunters, Barbiturates And, Let Us Be, We Were, When The West Forgets, I Never, The Great, Dance-Mad, Would You Believe, Kid Superstitious, Floppo.