“Massacre” Lantern Slide

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 14

I bought this Massacre lantern slide early on in my collecting days, probably around 1998 or ’99. It was an eBay purchase, and I remember being really excited when I won it, because at the time I didn’t own anything from the film. Mind you, I had no idea exactly what I was purchasing. I just knew it was an object with Ann Dvorak made up like a Native American, and that was good enough for me.

Then the package came in the mail, and I was dumbfounded to find a small piece of glass mounted in cardboard frame. This was my first encounter with a lantern slide and in my naive youth could not figure out what this thing was, or what it was used for.

Lantern slides first showed up in the mid-19th century as a way to project photographic images to a large audience. They were used a variety of ways, like to illustrate songs for sing-alongs or the presentations of stories. If I am not mistaken, Charles Dickens would use lantern slide illustrations while reciting some of his works to audiences. Some of the “magic” lantern projectors were so sophisticated they could make the slides seem animated. Once the movies came to prominence, the slides would be used to promote coming attractions, which is the purpose of the Massacre slide.

These slides stuck around a long time as an advertising medium. In the years since I was first exposed to them, I have purchased around twenty from Ann Dvorak films. The earliest I have is from the 1917 feature The Man Hater, which includes a six-year-old Ann (sorry, I’m saving that one for the book), and the latest is from 1950’s Mrs. O’Malley and Mr. Malone.  


  1. artman2112 January 14, 2013

    nifty little item! thats kinda funny you bought it not even really knowing what it was! ah the naive early collecting days *sigh* how i miss them sometimes!

  2. admin January 15, 2013

    Yeah, I miss them too. I especially miss going to the Collector’s Show at the Beverly Garland Hotel. Always found great stuff there. Now, I’m a hardened, cynical collector!

  3. DickP January 15, 2013

    Massacre..Another good showcase of Ann’s ability to play characters so well in a believable manner. I guess I’m an Ann Dvorak fan mostly because I love to watch her perform actions and dialog presentations in a way that are almost always real life like, not forced or “over the top” as many actresses like to do. Which is understandable on their part because it’s the over enthusiastic actress that gets the Oscar’s (and the best contracts from the studios).

    In this movie you see another good actress of the time; Claire Dodd, who has also had some excellent roles in her career; but performed them in a manner that is different from the manner that Ann Dvorak would have done. While I think that Ann could play many of Dodd’s best roles as well as Dodd, I doubt that Dodd could start to play many of Ann’s roles very effectively. And, to me, therein lies the fascination of Ann Dvorak. A real life like person that you would enjoy having in your circle of friends because of her honest approach to life.

  4. artman2112 January 15, 2013

    i agree with DickP…what Ann always gives to a role is honesty. Olivia DeHavilland is another that comes to mind in that regard. nothing phony about either of them. even with the most trite and 2 dimensional roles they always brought something to make them flesh and blood characters.

    i love claire dodd, one of WB “friendly faces” to me. there are so many!

  5. artman2112 January 15, 2013

    the last trade show i was at i was so appalled at the ridiculously high prices i doubt i’ll ever go to another one.

  6. admin January 15, 2013

    Speaking of Claire Dodd, one of my least favorite Ann films is “I Sell Anything” with Part O’Brien. Ann is completely wasted, but Claire Dodd has a decent role as a con artist. Too bad Ann didn’t get that part!

  7. artman2112 January 17, 2013

    i havent seen that one yet 🙁

    Claire Dodd, Genovieve Tobin, Aline MacMahon, Ruth Donnelly, Glenda Farrell…WB had some great character actresses that’s for sure.

  8. admin January 17, 2013

    I Sell Anything is pretty bad, so you’re not missing out.

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