Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I collect records and CDs, but I also have quite an extensive film library — VHS cassettes as well as DVDs.

A movie-loving friend once told me about a '70s song comprised mostly of classic film titles. She thought I should have it since I love both music and movies. Unfortunately, she does not know the artist, title, or all of the films mentioned.

I would like as much information about this record as possible, for which I thank you.
—Jared Eastman, Milwaukee

DEAR JARED: A Top 10 hit in early 1977, this Statler Brothers tribute to Thomas Edison, and one of his most magnificent inventions, is appropriately titled “The Movies” (Mercury 73877).

Intertwined in this number are 50 movie titles, though not all are stated with their exact title. For example, the Statlers refer to “The Wizard of Oz” as “Dorothy's trip to Oz.” Still, we know what they mean.

Added here for your reference is the year of release. When remakes exist, our date will either be of the original or the one most likely intended.

In order mentioned, these are the films: “Sunny Skies” (1930); “The Wolf Man” (1941); “Picnic” (1955); “The Bridge over the River Kwai” (1957); “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946); “Citizen Kane” (1941); “The Caine Mutiny” (1954); “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1935); “The Bounty Hunters” (1954); “The Hunters” (1958); “The Sting” (1973); “Thunder Road” (1958); “Road to Rio” (1947); “Rio Grande” (1950); “Grand Hotel” (1932); “Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here” (1969); “Bride of Frankenstein” (1945); “Shane” (1953); “Dancing Feet” (1936); “Peyton Place” (1957); “The Wizard of Oz” (1939); “Captain Blood” (1935); “Ben” (1972); “Ben Hur” (1959); “The Way We Were” (1973); “True Grit” (1969); “The Music Man” (1962); “Thunderball” (1965); “Walking Tall” (1973); “Jaws” (1975); “Jesse James” (1939); “Dr. No” (1962); “Vertigo” (1958); “Singing in the Rain” (1952); “Blood and Sand” (1941); “Sante Fe” (1951); “The Getaway” (1972); “Mexicali Rose” (1939); “Rose-Marie” (1936); “Blackboard Jungle” (1955); “Jungle Jim” (1948); “Jim Thorpe All American” (1951); “An American in Paris” (1951); “Paris Blues” (1961); “Blue Hawaii” (1961); “Teacher's Pet” (1958); “Ship of Fools” (1965); “The Graduate” (1967); “Twelve O'Clock High” (1949); and “One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest” (1975).

“The Movies” also recognizes six motion picture industry luminaries, some of which are real people:

Tom Mix (actor); David Hedison (actor); Elmer Fudd (inept and frustrated rabbit hunter); Charlie Chan (fabled detective); Faye Dunaway (actress); Roy Rogers (actor), and especially Thomas Edison, inventor in 1888 of the Kinetoscope, the first motion picture projector.

While not mentioned by title in “The Movies,” a noteworthy film is “Edison, the Man.” In this 1940 biography, Spencer Tracy is cast as Edison.

Next in this week's mailbag is a question about another of Thomas Alva Edison's inventions:

DEAR JERRY: Junk store junkie that I am, I have picked up a number of Edison (and other) cylinders. Most are loose but every so often I'll find one with its original cardboard case.

How much does the case affect values?

I do not have a player, but some look quite interesting. Others are obvious dogs (“Yankee Doodle, Hornpipe Medley,” etc.).

In general, which ones are the most desirable?
—Connie Clarke, Chicago.

DEAR CONNIE: Though not the only maker of cylinders, Thomas Edison first fashioned that format, circa-1910, and is so associated with cylinders that even those made by other companies are known as Edison cylinders — much the same as any brand of tissue being called a Kleenex.

From a rather wobbly beginning, the quality of cylinders improved in their first few years, making ones made in the 1920s generally more desirable than earlier efforts.

According to collectors who specialize in this genre, Edison cylinders numbered in the 5,000 series (1924 through 1929) are among the best ones produced.

By 1930, the flat recorded disc format dominated the record market.

Having the original case is a real plus, and can double the value of any cylinder.

IZ ZAT SO? For 100-year-old artifacts, Edison-type cylinders are surprisingly available and inexpensive. In auctions, these relics routinely fetch from $5 to $15.

Cylinder players are also fairly common, with ones in excellent condition usually selling in the $600 to $1,200 range.

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