I don't know if this belongs on the "Things Not T&F" or another board and will leave it to GH to decide.
I was looking at the TCM listings for last Thursday Night and they were showing an evening of silent movie shorts by Max Sennett. I was startled to see one titled "Run, Girl, Run" from 1928 starring a twenty-year old Carole Lombard ( a.k.a. Mrs. Clark Gable). The comedy film is only about 22 minutes long and amusing.
I had never heard about a track & field film before the 1932 movie "Million Dollar Legs" starring W.C. Fields so I stayed up to midnight to watch "Run, Girl, Run. The plot has Carole Lombard as the star of a women's college team but she seems more interested in seeing her boyfriend than competing. Of course, the film has a few double entendres (this was before the "code" was created in the 1930s). And Max Sennett was known for his bathing beauties, so skimpy track outfits were a natural.
There are three scenes.
First they are having a practice including hurdling/ high jumping over a stick. At the end of the practice, the male dean gives the female coach an ultimatum to win the big meet the next day or be fired.
The second scene is about the coach trying to prevent Carole Lombard from sneaking out of the dorm to see her boyfriend at night.
The third scene is at the big track & field meet. They show a race labeled as a half mile (but with a down start) , the discus, and another race (with a couple hurdles) at the end. They also show a women pole vaulting (which caught me by surprise considering the year) either at the practice or the meet, I cannot recall which. Going into the final race, the scoreboard shows the score tied 50-50.
Of course, I know there was no NCAA-sanctioned women's competition in 1928. However, could there have been any women's college competition such as this at all? And what events? Women had the 100m, 800m, 4x100, HJ, and Discus at the 1928 Olympics and added the 80m hurdles and Javelin while dropping the 800m in 1932. And are there any other early track & field movies?
Last edited by Halfmiler2 on Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:17 pm, edited 4 times in total.
My mom went to Mt Holyoke (women's college) and won events in the Field Day in the 1930s. Vassar has had it since 1895. Track events were on the programs:
On a rather cold, rainy November 9, 1895, Vassar became the first women's college in the United States to hold a field day. Approximately seventeen girls, supervised by the Classics professor L. J. Moore, participated in five track events: the hundred-yard dash, the running broad jump, the running high jump, and the two-hundred-and-twenty-yard dash.
That was really stupid.. I wish my parents were alive so I could ask them if they enjoyed these ridiculous old movies when they were young.
I think I have a good sense of humor but apparently something is missing in my funny bone DNA. I have never been amused by Charlie Chaplin, Abbott and Costello, Three Stooges or any kind of slapstick..
As to the question about other early track & field movies (pre-1932), I found in my bookcase a book that I forgot I had: "Sports FIlms" which is a scholarly work by Harvey Zucker and Lawrence Babich published by McFarland in 1987.
The book claims to include only movie shorts of particular interest and does not include 'Run, Girl, Run." However, it does include among others several silent movie shorts done by Charles Paddock after 1924, and one Our Gang short entitled "Olympic Games."
As for talking track & field movies, the only one that seems to pre-date "Million Dollar Legs" is "Local Boy Makes Good" with comedian Joe E. Lewis who would go on to make a trilogy of baseball movies that are better known.