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On this date: Birthdays for Mabel Normand and Joel McCrea, Lon Chaney as a Marine, more

On this date in Hollywood history -- November edition: Lon Chaney stars as a tough Marine sergeant, birthdays for Joel McCrea and Mabel Normand, "The Big Parade" premieres and more ... 

Discover what happened on days throughout November in Hollywood history, from historic film premieres and industry milestones to anniversaries of birthdays/deaths of beloved Old Hollywood figures, and more. (And explore previous months)

This story will be updated throughout the month

November 10 (or 9!)

Silent comedy pioneer Mabel Normand realizes she has a lion – not a dog – behind her in this scene from “Extra Girl,” a 1923 comedy about a woman who runs away from marriage (and a lion) and travels to Hollywood to try to make it in the movies. It would be her last full-length movie. 

According to various sources, the lion lunged at Normand during one take, and the animal wrangler tried to corral the animal with a pitchfork but stabbed Normand instead. 

I’m sure animal safety (for both humans and the animals) was a horror 100 years ago :/ but Normand's physical comedy is still entertaining a century later!

To mark Normand's birthday (various sources report November 9 and 10), watch the entire movie (free!) "Extra Girl" (1923)

November 10

Mark the United States Marine Corps Birthday (November 10) with a watch of the still entertaining silent classic "Tell It to the Marines."

Lon Chaney stars as the Marine sergeant who whips a spoiled kid into shape in the 1926 hit, one of his most successful movies and reportedly one of his favorites. 

Chaney was known as “The Man of a Thousand Faces” for transforming himself with makeup and other techniques for horror movies such as “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925) and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1923). In “Tell It To The Marines,” it’s all Chaney, no disguises needed!

November 5

“The Big Parade,” released November 5, 1925, was one of the biggest box office hits of the 1920s and influenced most war movies that followed for generations.

Starring John Gilbert, the silent movie was made just seven years after World War I (1914-1918) ended, and, in fact, was written by a WWI veteran. The realistic depiction of troop camaraderie and trench warfare, some of the first seen on screen, won the hearts and minds of a mass public still dealing with – and a generation being defined by – The Great War.

“The Big Parade,” with its deft weaving together of comedic scenes, romantic moments and battle sequences, is still entertaining to watch today.

Watch the full movie (free)

November 5

“With a little sex in it” – My favorite actor Joel McCrea in one of my favorite movies “Sullivan’s Travels” (1942), just in time for McCrea’s birthday (November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990).

Writer-director Preston Sturges pokes fun at the movie industry with this ode to the power of comedy. The 1942 classic features McCrea as director John Sullivan, who after years of comedy hits, wants to make an “important” picture. (One studio head urges, “But with a little sex in it.”) He embarks on a journey to get to know the downtrodden, with the inimitable Veronica Lake along as “The Girl.”

“Sullivan’s Travels” may include some of the best fictitious titles on screen: the characters talk about previous flicks including “Ants in Your Pants of 1939,” “So Long Sarong” and “Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft.” And the title of the “important” picture? “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

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