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September 12 @ 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm

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Thursday, September 12, 2019 
8:00 pm 
Admission: FREE 

The Rotunda 
4014 Walnut Street 

On Thursday, September 12, The Secret Cinema will return to the Rotunda 
with another chapter of our ongoing series, ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES: UNSEEN 
a mélange of fascinating short films from the past. As we go through our 
collection, reel by reel, we continually find films that don’t 
necessarily lend themselves to fitting into a themed group, yet are too 
interesting, or fun, or funny to not share. None have been shown in 
previous Secret Cinema programs. Indeed, few of these films are likely 
to have been seen ANYWHERE in recent years. 

While the program as a whole has no dedicated theme, there will be a 
special look at the fascinating “Technocracy” movement of the twentieth 
century, it being the subject of TWO longer (and very rare) shorts that 
we’ll show. 

There will be one complete show at 8:00 pm. Admission is free. 

As always — still — Secret Cinema programs are shown using 16mm (not 
video, not digital) FILM projected on a giant screen. 

A few highlights from this new edition of ARCHIVE DISCOVERIES… include: 

BROOKLYN GOES TO HONG KONG (1958) – Those who have viewed another 
favorite Secret Cinema film, BROOKLYN GOES TO PHILADELPHIA, will have an 
idea of the tone of this series, in which a Brooklyn-accented wise guy 
makes fun of various travel destinations. Meanwhile, we get a nice look 
at the then-independent city of Hong Kong, and its neon-lit 
nightlife…and a cameo appearance of Burgess Meredith? 

MYSTERY OF THE RIVER BOAT, CHAPTER 4 (1944) – A typical episode of a 
1940s cliffhanger serial, this one involving stolen maps, murder, 
dynamite and hidden oil deposits in a Louisiana swamp. 

THE STORY OF ENGLISH INNS (1932) – This vintage topical short from 
Paramount takes an entertaining look at traditional lodging around the 
British countryside, ranging from modern (as of 1932) to inns hundreds 
of years old. 

Operation Columbia (1947) – Technocracy was a word on everyone’s lips in 
the 1930s. It described a philosophy that the world should be controlled 
by technical experts rather than elected bureaucrats. That’s the short 
version, and its espousers spun off a lot of complicated theories about 
world economies, productivity versus consumption, and “an energy theory 
of value,” which many found confusing. Nonetheless, their ideas gained 
considerable traction during the great depression — especially after 
Howard Scott founded a publicity-savvy organization called Technocracy 
Incorporated. Their officials wore grey uniforms with “monad” logos on 
the lapels, and members reportedly saluted Scott in public. While 
membership declined after New Deal policies restored some faith in more 
traditional methods of governance, interest in the movement continued, 
as documented in this remarkable film. It offers no explanation of the 
group’s beliefs, but instead chronicles a huge motorcade from Los 
Angeles to Vancouver, a show of strength that also promoted a series of 
lectures Scott delivered in cities along the way. The convoy included 
hundreds of members’ automobiles — each one dutifully repainted in 
official Technocracy grey with large, red Technocracy Inc. logo decals 
applied to the sides. Surprisingly, Technocracy Inc. exists to the 
present day, though in greatly diminished form. 

Techno-Crazy (1933) – While technocracy got a lot of press coverage in 
its early-1930s heyday, it also suffered a fair amount of lampooning in 
the media, as seen in this delightful two-reel comedy starring slapstick 
veterans Monty Collins and Billy Bevan. As was typical in criticism of 
technocracy, much of the humor centered on followers not being able to 
effectively explain what technocracy was. 1933 was the year of peak 
parody for the movement; at least one other comedy short about the 
movement was released then, YOUR TECHNOCRACY AND MINE, starring famous 
humorist Robert Benchley. Animator Ub Iwerks made the 1933 cartoon 
TECHNO-CRACKED, but limited any satire to its title. 

Plus much, much more! 


September 12
8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Event Category:


The Rotunda
4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA United States
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