Thursday, August 14, 2014

That's entertainment!

A month ago, I looked at my Comcast bill. There were some surprises. I was being charged $8 a month for a router. I also was being charged for two digital adapters at two bucks each per month. These were for TV sets that I don't even have. I rummaged around and found these contraptions. One of them was still in the box. The other looked like something that I had taken out of the box and not knowing what it was, shoved in a drawer.

So I cancelled our cable television. This will save us about $130 a month. I just bought a cable modem and must wade into the world of Comcast technical support to get that hooked up. I don't think there is anyway around it. Have to say that, to Comcast's credit, cancelling cable TV was easy. The service rep seemed giddy to do it.

We have Netflix and Amazon Prime and I have added Hulu Plus for $8 a month. So far, Hulu has been really good. Basically providing us with the same shows we would have DVR'd anyway. The only missing piece is local programming. I purchased an HDTV antenna from Radio Shack which only brought in one channel. I returned it. Now, I have an outdoor antenna being shipped, and we will see how that goes.

I have been really enjoying movies from the silent film era on YouTube. Spokane was a major hub of movie making during this time. In fact, Minnehaha Park was the home of Playter Studios. One of the main buildings of the studio was used by the Parks Department to store picnic tables until it burned down, I think, about eight years ago. Nell Shipman was a silent film star who helped put Spokane's Playter Studios on the map. She is more famously remembered as establishing her own studio on Priest Lake. A great read is Lionhead Lodge by Lloyd Peters. I picked this book up back in the early 80s. Mr. Peters owned Lloyds Hobbies and was a silent screen actor who worked with Shipman in Spokane and Priest Lake.

One reason I have an affinity for old movies is that a second cousin of my dad's was Chester Conklin. He was one of the Keystone Cops. Here he is seen with his pal Charlie Chaplin:

When I was seven or so, my dad made the call to Chester that we were going to visit him at his Hollywood actors old folks home. Chester was excited to have some visitors. Dad, mom and six kids (packed in a station wagon) drove around southern California for hours and never found the place. Sorry Chester.

Probably one of the most famous movies filmed at Playter Studios was Nell Shipman's The Grub-Stake.  And while most of her movies have been lost, you can watch The Grub-Stake here. I did. If you give it a half hour or so, you may really like it.

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