|Lionel Barrymore, 1913--not looking VERY reticent|
I began this trip because I wanted to look at his performance as Dr. Leonard B. Gillespie in the "Dr. Kildare" series of films begun in 1938, when he was beginning to appear in films in his wheelchair. From 1938 onward, Barrymore was rarely seen in a film in anything else but his wheelchair, with the occasional use of crutches now and then. I have a personal interest in disability studies myself, and noticing John Barrymore's brother used a wheelchair in films...and that he did this for over a dozen years...call me intrigued.
Having embarked on the research by determining how to best "code" the Kildare/Gillespie films for usable academic content for an article on how the films' success may have helped change public attitudes about people in wheelchairs, then by getting all the films, I set out to watch them and code. I discovered much more than I expected, so of course, I began researching Lionel Barrymore--a LOT.
So, here we are: another blog so my blog on multiple sclerosis doesn't get bogged down with Barrymorish thoughts, regardless of how much people might like to be reminded being in a wheelchair does not mean the end, destruction, woe, etc., etc. I know when I have had to use wheelchairs (thanks to puckish and missing brain synapses in my motor cortex area), it has been an exercise in realizing how depressingly similar human reactions are to the disabled. The cane I used for two years was bad enough!
In this blog you will find not only my own musings, but some pretty well-researched information on all Lionel Barrymore's films, derived from online and other sources, and sometimes verified by my own viewing of his films. Neither AFI nor Wikipedia has a perfect filmography, but I've tried to correct some of the more egregious errors on Wiki. There is a page, right-side menu, of his filmography as best I can determine right now. I will also add a very brief bio, as not only was Mr. Barrymore reticent with information, he had no problem changing facts or dates for whatever reason. His own "autobiography", We Barrymores, written with Cameron Shipp and a student/stenographer via long conversations, is only middling to fairly faithful to known facts--he gives April 12, 1878 for his birthdate, for example, when his birth certificate and WWI draft card indicate:
|Lionel Barrymore's draft card; note birthdate given|
Things I plan on developing as I go along: a filmography with at least one photo of each film; a "check-off" list for my few readers to follow along when I see a Lionel Barrymore film I had not seen before; some academic musings on LB's importance to disability imaging in WWII era-America; links to media such as mp3s of Barrymore's compositions and radio work; and hopefully some revelatory moments, of which there could be a few or none at all, if I don't get moving.
Please bear with me as I work out the kinks and links! I'm blogging as fast as I can...
|My LB tattoo, from original through process to completed tat. Thx Matt at Dandyland, San Antonio!|