Saturday, December 19, 2009

On Chang

If you attended last Saturday's San Francisco Silent Film Festival Winter Event, then chances are you saw and enjoyed the day's first film, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927). It proved to be one of the highlights of the Winter Event.

Introducing the film was New York Times bestselling author Mark Cotta Vaz, whose Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong stands as the definitive biography of the filmmaker. Vaz's remarks were both entertaining and interesting.

Earlier this week, our film blogging friends at The Evening Class posted Vaz's introductory remarks. They are well worth reading if you missed the film - and they are well worth considering again if you were in attendance. Vaz's remarks can be found at

Accompanying this blog is a scan of a vintage newspaper advertisement for Chang. The ad dates from 1928. The Star Theater was located in Sonora, California "opposite the post office," as the ad indicates. (Double-click on the image to see a slightly bigger version.) Little is known about this theater, and seemingly there is no entry for it on the Cinema Treasures website. What we do know is that the  theater screened Chang in January, 1928. And its screening, like the Winter Event, made new fans for the film.


  1. Sonoma’s Star Theater was located on the East side of South Washington Street between Jackson and Bradford, about a block from the County Courthouse. Records seem to indicate the street number has changed three times. Now listed as 13 South Washington, the address was listed as 108, followed by 715 in the 1929 – 1941 Sanborn Fire Atlas. The structure at this address today appears to have ungone extensive remodeling. Tuolumne County Assessor’s records, which are only available in person or by mail, would confirm the build date and establish if this is the surviving theater building or a newer construction.

  2. Er, that would be Sonora, not Sonoma.