Four actors in costume pose on a horse-drawn trailer promoting The Ten Commandments in 1925

Hollywood in Australia: Part 2

Franklyn Barrett tours The Ten Commandments
 Jeannette Delamoir

This is the second in a three-part series. Read Part one and Part three.

Hollywood, local filmmakers and regional Australia intersect in the story of Franklyn Barrett’s touring of a live prologue to Cecil B DeMille’s The Ten Commandments in Far North Queensland, 1925.

Jeannette Delamoir researched the NFSA Franklyn Barrett Collection as part of her Scholars and Artists in Residence Fellowship at the NFSA in May 2011.


Before the show
The Ten Commandments advertisement, reflecting the ancient and modern stories. Brisbane Courier, 3 August 1925, p 2. Newspaper article found in Trove reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Australia

In Australia, The Ten Commandments opened two new and important cinemas: the Walter Burley Griffin-designed Capitol in Melbourne (8 November 1924), and the Prince Edward in Sydney (22 November 1924). Extra publicity was created by the arrival in Sydney of conductor Will Prior, previously of Grauman’s Metropolitan Theatre in Los Angeles(32), to lead the Prince Edward’s 21-piece orchestra.(33)Eddie Horton, recruited from the Californian Theatre in San Francisco34, performed on the Prince Edward’s £10,000 Wurlitzer organ.(35)

Audiences in Melbourne and Sydney enjoyed lengthy musical programs before the film screening itself, in addition to the live prologue. The impact of the prologue – and its elaborate nature – is evident in this Adelaide review:

The prologue was of equal importance to the pictorial narrative, and deeply impressed the gathering. The superb acting … and the beauty of the musical score – so accurately timed to harmonise with the whole scena – created an atmosphere of reality that made the immediately following story seem equally ‘alive’ … Life-sized representations of the god [Osiris] and of the Sphinx occupied either side of the hall, and a marvellous vista drew the eyes down the avenue to view the desert framed in the open doorway. The subsequent coloured view of the Nile, lit by a crescent moon, was indeed a poem of beauty. The crescendo and diminuendo of the elaborate scheme of lighting intensified the artistry of the prologue, and the incense, burning in the braziers, added to the realism of the atmosphere.(36)

Live prologues were associated with luxurious picture palaces built during the 1920s. Samuel L Rothafel instigated the practice at New York’s Regent Theatre(37), but they were just one of many ways that live performance was combined with film entertainment. In part, the prologues contributed to the sense of grand occasion, and helped differentiate movie-going from lower-class amusements. Another motivation was a fear that films, on their own, couldn’t attract audience numbers needed to support expanding industry expenses. Variety editorialised in 1920: ‘The stability of the pictures as a supporting entertainment of its own right looks as though it might be questioned before long … Vaudeville maintains itself …’(38)

Publix, the vertically integrated company of which Paramount was a part, by 1927 ‘employed more musicians and vaudeville performers than any other theatrical organization’ in the United States. Control over their 16 touring prologue companies, which performed in movie theatres nationwide, was maintained by training their troupes in a central location, Paramount’s studio at Long Island.(39) Similarly, during the 1920s, the Queensland theatre chain Birch, Carroll and Coyle ran ‘the largest provincial vaudeville circuit in Australia’.(40) Advertisements placed in Everyones magazine in the mid-1920s describe the company as ‘Theatrical Managers and Picture Theatre Proprietors’, handling tours of ‘High-Class Vaudeville Artists’.(41)

Furthermore, in 1924, Union Theatres, JC Williamson and Tivoli Theatres joined forces to form a new, extended vaudeville circuit. As a result, the Union Theatres cinema circuit theatres were considered ‘the principal vaudeville theatres inside Australia outside Fullers’, able to offer artists six- or even 12-month contracts.(42) Union Theatres’ close associations with Birch, Carroll and Coyle(43) facilitated linking with that company’s Queensland circuits. This level of industrial organisation laid the groundwork for the roadshow journeys that accompanied ‘super films’ like The Ten Commandments.
The set for the live prologue, Strand Theatre in Hobart, 1925. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 359830


Nationwide, 11 roadshow companies toured to promote The Ten Commandments in regional Australia, although Barrett’s was the only one in Queensland.(44) His route frequently doubled back on itself, following some sort of commercial logic that isn’t immediately apparent.

The arrival of The Ten Commandments in towns was considered a big event, heralded by items in the local newspapers at least a week before the film opened. Articles and advertisements emphasised the presentation of the film in large city theatres.


Nine days before the opening in Rockhampton, a small newspaper piece said: ‘Elaborate preparations for a magnificent prologue have been made, which will be presented on the same scale as it was at the Capitol Theatre, Melbourne, and Prince Edward Theatre, Sydney.’(45)

In this publicity, there was no mention that Barrett was, himself, a filmmaker, even though his films had previously been shown at many theatres in Queensland. Clearly, the focus on Paramount and its film overshadowed Barrett.

Preview screenings were held for councillors, pastors, police magistrates, and school principals in the larger communities.(46) When Barrett arrived in one particular Far North Queensland town, however, his arrival went completely unnoticed. Barrett continued in his memoir, A Town a Week:

I had written asking the Exhibitor to secure accommodation for me at the best Hotel, and received his reply that all was OK. On entering the Hotel, I looked around for the Office but could see nothing that resembled this useful adjunct. I approached the barmaid who went to find out if I was entitled to sleeping space. During her absence a man singled himself out from the rest of the Bar. He was minus collar, tie, vest, or coat. Planting himself in front of me he waited. Thinking that he was the usual crank to be found in these surroundings, I turned away.

‘What do you want?’, he asked.

‘My urgent desire,’ I replied, ‘is for a room that has been engaged for me by your Picture Theatre Proprietor.’

‘What’s your name?’

I told him.

‘What line are you in?’

‘I am in charge of The Ten Commandments … Are you by any means attached to this hotel?’

‘Well, I happen to own it. Take your luggage upstairs and see the girl up there.’

It was a laborious trip, for I had previously met with an accident, and my left hand was refusing duty.(47)

Barrett had burned his hands in Innisfail when preparations for a stage effect went wrong. As Todds Barrett tells it:

He was a hell of a mess … At one stage he was being bathed and shaved and one thing and the other. And he’d take a letter from the doctor from one town to the next town.(48)
His Majesty’s Theatre in Warwick, Queensland, 1925. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764030

Barrett’s 1925 diary reveals the regular purchase of saltpetre (potassium nitrate), and another document mentions the use of ‘touch paper’(49), made by soaking tissue paper in a saltpetre solution.(50)Touch paper can be used as a fuse for fireworks, and in the prologue was possibly used to create smoke billowing from incense burners.

The accident happened on Sunday 13 December and, since no performances took place on Sundays, he was probably preparing materials for future shows. His diary notes that he took a taxi to the hospital, and the considerable expense of the £7 fare suggests he may have travelled to Cairns, 52 miles away, to be treated. The diary also has a notation, ‘Stage Assist. Cripple Assist’, revealing his wry sense of humour.(51)

In spite of Barrett’s obvious tenacity, one surprising letter in the NFSA collection unveils a moment of vulnerability. Early in his tour, Barrett had apparently written to a colleague within the Paramount organisation, expressing uncertainty about ongoing employment. The warm and reassuring response, on elaborate Paramount letterhead, reads in part:

As regards to the future I cannot see how you have any cause to worry. You are apparently pleasing our Home Office executive with your work and if they are satisfied you should not worry over anyone else … I have never heard of Paramount putting a man ‘off’ because of lack of work. Our difficulty always is to secure sufficient men of good calibre for our needs.(52)

The letter writer – who signs himself ‘Douglas H’ or ‘Douglas L’ – also refers to Barrett’s concerns about low audience numbers in Warwick, remarking that Barrett’s audiences had broken records and were therefore impressive in a town well known as a ‘showman’s graveyard’.


Setting up

Meanwhile, in North Queensland, Barrett was finally shown his room at the hotel, only to find that it had no windows: ‘Truly a black hole in this steamy climate’. He bribed the ‘girl’ and secured a better room. Looking forward to showering off travel dust, he found to his disappointment that, due to drought, he had no more than a pint jug of water for his ablutions. Only partially refreshed, he got to work:

I went in search of the Picture Palace. Not a soul about the place. Enquiries at the inevitable café-soft drink-smallgoods shop next door elicited the fact that the proprietor of the pictures was a cane farmer living about five miles away … My Dago informant assured me that the Bar of the Hotel would be the proprietors [sic.] first port of call. At half-past four a few daybills appeared on the board in front of the Hotel announcing that a special attraction Did she fall or was she pushed would be presented that night – a typical Northern Exhibitor. Still, I welcomed that announcement for it indicated that someone would be at the Theatre soon and I would be able to get my scenery under cover, and also to get at my office box.(53)
Page on Rockhampton from Barrett’s notebook, showing information of great importance to a travelling exploiteer. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 763937


Barrett’s reference to the ‘Dago’ informant provides a rare indication in these documents of North Queensland’s large Italian population (about 5.7 per cent of the population of Johnstone Shire around Innisfail, for instance(54)). Barrett also makes a joke at the expense of the country exhibitor by indicating that the ‘special attraction’ for that night is an old-fashioned melodrama.

For Barrett on tour in North Queensland, however, the local attitude of ‘she’ll be right mate’ undid all the careful pre-planning evidenced in his notebooks and diaries. One notebook lists important details about each town, including the name of the theatre and its manager; the town’s population; the types of seating in the theatre, and prices for each category; the make of projector; the variety of stage lights and how they are operated. Many theatres were powered by generators, and 240-volt town power was far from standard.(55)



Widely different stage set-ups must have caused headaches. For instance, a Rockhampton newspaper reported that the two ‘gods’ painted on the backdrop were 35 feet in height.(56) That was fine at the splendid Rockhampton Wintergarden, where the grid was 70 feet above the stage, but how did Barrett adjust the backdrop for, say, the Mount Morgan Olympia Theatre, where the grid was only 20 feet high?

Possibly he travelled with several versions of the sets, designed to adapt to all situations. Comparison of photographs showing backdrops in place in different theatres also points to a canny way to adapt to different size stages: the ‘gods’ are on pedestals and can therefore be arranged to suit the stage width and depth.

Expenditure detailed in the diaries revealed the daily telegraphs and telephone calls crucial for a tour like this. Only with such communications technologies could Barrett wire ahead to the next town, or update head office about audience numbers. But even these methods of communicating were not enough to overcome Northern Queensland conditions. In the unnamed town that Barrett wrote about in ‘A Town A Week’, things went from bad to worse:

At ten past eight the proprietor-operator-manager strolled in. I introduced myself and asked if he had received my wire telling him that I was arriving that day. He explained that he had not received it, it was probably lying in his letter box at the Post Office, there being no telegraphic delivery to his farm, nor telephone communication. He was too busy to talk to me as he had to start his show.

‘When are you going away?’, he asked.

I explained that I was to stay until the season ended.

‘Oh! Well, there is plenty of time. We don’t show the Commandments until Thursday, three days yet.’

I retorted that there was not plenty of time; that there were a lot of things to discuss in reference to music, prologue, advertising, etc. He finally agreed to come to the Hotel for me on the following day at one o’clock.

One o’clock. Mr Carler was due.

He did not arrive. I remained in the Hotel for him all the afternoon but still he did not come

After a repetition of the routine of the previous night I managed to get a word with Mr Carler. On my side the dialogue was tinged with annoyance and disgust. Carler explained his neglect by pointing out that he simply had to get his sugarcane to the Mill. I pointed out that I was not a scrap interested in sugar production, but if he would only get down to details he could go on getting his cane to the Mill and I would attend to The Ten Commandments. I accompanied him to the operating booth where we discussed details. No musicians were available to play the special music that accompanies the picture. A Player-Piano was all that could be provided. He disclaimed all knowledge or intent to use anything else. When it was pointed out to him that he had agreed to supply a small orchestra he admitted that it was possible and he would try to get four players to rehearse on Sunday, this being the only time they could get away from their businesses. After further argument he also decided to find ‘Artists’ for the Prologue.

On the question of posting daybills and Lithos, he was adamant, claiming that as he was showing on the night prior to the commencement of ‘The Ten Commandments’ season, he was not going to have any advertisements around that would induce his patrons to hold off in favour of the big picture.

The discussions were heated in more ways than one in that hot booth on a hot night. Carler had the best of it for he had stripped to the waist, while my collar had fainted and streams of perspiration were coursing down every portion of my body.(57)

The Ten Commandments prologue stage setting, location unknown. Franklyn Barrett stands to the immediate right of the piano. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764857

Clearly, Carler demonstrated ‘the grim resistance of many small-town Australian exhibitors to the American gospel of intensive advertising’. Diane Collins’ 1987 study of Australian filmgoing notes that independent exhibitors ‘steadfastly opposed the distributor’s demands that they spend money on promotion … As a consequence, the distributor’s promotional literature constantly caricatured the small exhibitor as an ignorant and stupid hick …’(58)

Independent Queensland exhibitors had an opportunity to explain their side of the story when they gave evidence two years later, at the Royal Commission into the Australian Moving Picture Industry. Many used the example of The Ten Commandments to illustrate their belief that, although happy with the consistent quality of Hollywood films, Australian exhibitors suffered unfair treatment at the hands of American distributors.

A frequent complaint was the distributors’ share of theatre takings. Paramount, for instance, demanded 70-75 per cent of gross box-office takings for The Ten Commandments. From the remaining 25-30 per cent, exhibitors had to pay their usual running expenses and wages, plus the costs of additional advertising, musicians, and ‘actors’. And those expenses were on top of the rent the exhibitors were still obliged to pay for the regular film that was already block-booked but not shown – because The Ten Commandments had replaced it. So in Mackay, where the film ran for a record-breaking six nights, £450 was earned by Paramount, while the exhibitor was left with less than £30.(59)

Some exhibitors also complained of ‘sharp practices’ by Paramount salespeople who, they claimed, played exhibitors off against each other to obtain more lucrative contracts. The Picture Showman’s Federation apparently boycotted the company ‘for charging too big a price for some of their pictures’.(60) Barrett was not a salesman, and the objectionable contracts had been signed months earlier. However, one challenge of his job can be understood as exhibitor relations – that of leaving the theatre managers and proprietors feeling that the expense was worth it.

At the projection booth in Far North Queensland, Barrett recounts how, thinking laterally, he was able to get around Carler’s recalcitrance:

Exploitation became a serious problem, as the town could not boast of a newspaper, the residents mostly reading Brisbane dailies three days old.

There was one baker in the town whose three delivery carts visited almost every house within a radius of three miles. I got in touch with the carters, who, after sundry drinks (an indispensable aid to business in the North) and for a cash consideration agreed to put out ‘couriers’ over the entire district. A search around town and I was able to get up more than half my lithos and daybills. The balance went out on the morning of our opening night.(61)

The circulation of the promotional literature for a film was crucial. Paramount’s formula meant that, for a town with a population of 3000, the exploiteers were expected to deliver 3000 couriers (‘small booklets … with details of an attraction’(62)) and 200 posters, frequently designed and printed in the US(63), another example of the companies’ desire to centralise control, standardise product and minimise costs. Other mysterious-sounding promotional items distributed by Barrett included ‘aeroplanes’ and ‘X-word puzzle’.(64)


Five actors in period dress perform a prologue on stage before a screening of The Ten Commandments in Far North Queensland in 1925
The Ten Commandments prologue stage setting, location unknown (click to enlarge). From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764861


But even after he had distributed the literature, Barrett still had more to do:

Sunday arrived and with it the ‘Orchestra’. Carler had used every argument to induce me to dispense with the music, and even at the last he hoped that I would be so disgusted with their playing that I would discharge the lot and so save him the added expense. However, by dint of a patience that would make Job look like a ‘piker’, and the indispensable ‘spot’ all round, half way through the rehearsal, I knocked some sort of an interpretation out of the combination.(65)

As he toured Queensland, Barrett no doubt encountered wide variations in the quality of musicans as well as the size of the ‘orchestra’. In Brisbane, he conducted the Majestic Orchestra at the Majestic Theatre(66); in Rockhampton, the music was performed by the Wintergarden Orchestra(67); in Cairns, it was Wilesmith’s Palace Symphony Orchestra(68); in Malanda, the Malanda Band undertook the task, and ‘played very nicely in front of the theatre prior to the pictures’.(69) In Gladstone, population 2500, only a piano and cornet were available.(70)

Barrett was well qualified to conduct musicians, having begun his own career in show business as a teenage string player. An anonymous audience member – someone who knew Barrett when both were members of the Bland Hold theatrical company – describes Barrett’s conducting during a Rockhampton preview:

I looked down and looked again, for there was old Frank squatting down behind the Orchestra curtain with a stick in his hand actually conducting the band, but as usual, keeping himself in the background. As I looked I could see his lips talking to the drummer; he wanted more noise to represent the thunderings of God as the Commandments flashed on the screen …(71)

The score for The Ten Commandments – incorporating classical pieces such as ‘Felicien David’s symphonic cantata La Desert, the solemn Hebrew melody Kol Nidrei … and graceful dance-themes’(72) – cannot have been simple to play.

Composer Hugo Riesenfeld was an Austrian-born violinist who had studied with Gustav Mahler. Before the US showman SL Rothapfel (‘Roxy’) hired him as conductor for New York’s Rialto Theatre, he had been concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera.(73) Riesenfeld believed that cinema music was a means of cultural uplift, writing in 1925: ‘Classical music has established itself firmly in the motion picture theatre. The indifference with which the average American once listened to it has changed to warm appreciation.’(74)
The Ten Commandments prologue stage setting, location unknown. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764030

After Barrett encouraged the Far North Queensland ‘orchestra’ into shape, it was the turn of the actors. Hiring locals as prologue performers was no doubt convenient and cheap. But sometimes the amateurs provided inadvertent humour, writes Diane Collins:

Pharaoh overcame his stage fright although cries of ‘Blimey, look at Snow’ greeted the lad playing the slave, and in the middle of the performance Pharaoh’s ‘dead’ son could not resist brushing a fly from his nose.(75)

Barrett describes his experience in Far North Queensland:

Later in the day I coached the Prologue ‘Artists’ in their work. Pharaoh was the local house painter, very earnest in his work – The Slave was a new arrival from Ireland, employed as a cleaner and general utility at the Theatre. When asked to play the part, he answered that he had been ‘a slave all me loife. Oi should play the part well’, and he did.(76)

This minimal version of the prologue involved two, or possibly three, people, in comparison with 100 people on stage during the prologue at Grauman’s Egyptian theatre in Los Angeles.(77) And, in contrast to the earnest house painter in Far North Queensland, Pharaoh at Melbourne’s Capitol, Brisbane’s Wintergarden, and Adelaide’s Wondergraph(78), was played by someone with real stage presence: Paul Verdayne, previously a member of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.(79)

For Barrett – his daybills and couriers distributed, his ‘orchestra’ and ‘artists’ trained – the final obstacle was the pessimistic attitude of the theatre proprietor:

Mr Carler now figured that we were all ready for the show barring a cyclone. I elicited from him that the last cyclone was away back in 1908 but that they were due for one this year; anyway it would probably rain. In passing it might be as well to remark that this item has been mentioned in every town that I have visited in North Queensland.(80)

Even though the area was in drought, Far North Queensland enjoys famously high rainfall, and Barrett toured during what was usually the rainy season. When it rained, screenings in open-air theatres had to be cancelled, and unsealed roads quickly became unpassable – both of which meant the proprietor lost money. As it turned out, the rain held off.

Temporary promotional stage outdoors with ancient Egyptian theme

Promoting The Ten Commandments in Brisbane From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764372


Opening night – packed house – SRO sign up – complaints by regular patrons that strangers had jumped the seats they usually occupied – Arguments at the Ticket Box – people who had driven in 30 miles could not get a seat, Carler refusing to reserve seats ahead, because, as it was a three-night season in a town that never played an attraction more than one night, there would be plenty of room for all likely patrons.(81)

With the playing of ‘God Save the King’ at 11:15 pm, the crowds left and the theatre closed.

Carler, dripping perspiration, came down the ladder leading to the operating booth.

‘Well! Mr Barrett, they caught us napping tonight. People who have never seen pictures before came tonight. What a great picture! … That Prologue was great, didn’t they do it well? If I had thought that it was like that I could have got Jin Creen to play Pharaoh, he wanted ten shillings more but he would have done it better – if possible. There is a better cornet player here and I’m sorry I did not pay his shift money and get him off from the Mill.’

I am not keen on the ‘I told you so’ business, so a tired smile was all I could manage.(82)

The success of the film in this town, in spite of everything, was typical. Cinema proprietors sent Barrett grateful letters, now in the NFSA’s Franklyn Barrett Collection.(83) ‘From the moment you arrived and started erecting the scene’, wrote Bernard W Cook of the Chelmer season:

I knew you quite understood the business and not the smallest detail escaped your watchful eyes … The whole audience applauded the Prologue for some minutes. If this is a sample of the methods the Exploitation Dept intend to adopt to help showmen ‘put over’ Big Pictures, then its success is assured.(84)


A horse and carriage outside an old building in Brisbane with a sign on the carriage promoting the film The Ten Commandments
Promoting The Ten Commandments in Brisbane. From the Franklyn Barrett Collection. NFSA: 764372

Barrett had departed Sydney on 6 April 1925 to embark on his tour and, with only one return trip to Sydney in March 1926, the tour did not finish until the middle of the following year.(85) He spent Christmas 1925 at Babinda. In sweltering heat, he dined in the first-class dining room of the State-owned Babinda Hotel, sharing the numerous traditional courses with the only other guest, an engineer from the sugar mill.(86) His 1926 diary shows that Barcaldine in western Queensland was his final Queensland screening with The Ten Commandments on 2 June 1926, after which it seems he was recalled suddenly to Sydney to prepare for his next tour.

Barrett travelled with several more Hollywood films: Scaramouche (Rex Ingram, 1923), The Vanishing Race (George B Seitz, 1925) and Beau Geste (Herbert Brenon, 1926). However, the managing director of Greater Union, Stuart Doyle, on returning from a 1927 trip to the US, told Film Weekly that ‘the general public are tired of the mediocre prologue … it is a significant fact, to me, that most of the long-run pictures have no prologues or presentation whatsoever …’(87)

This is the second in a three-part series. Read Part one and Part three.


Endnotes for part two

32‘Prince Edward Theatre’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1924, p 5. A brief, badly deteriorated newsreel section shows Prior’s arrival in Sydney: Paramount Australian Gazette, c1924, NFSA: 329817.
33‘Amusements: Prince Edward Theatre Opens’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 November 1924, p 20.
34‘New Theatre: The Prince Edward: Opening Night’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1924, p 6.
35‘The Prince Edward Theatre’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 October 1924, p 6.
36‘The Ten Commandments’, The Register (Adelaide), 4 July 1925, p 13.
37Rick Altman, 2004, Silent Film Sound, New York: Columbia University Press, p 387.
38‘Vaudeville and Pictures’, Variety, 14 May 1920, p 11.
39Gomery, p 128. It is not clear at this stage where Paramount’s Australian prologue companies were based. Further research into Paramount publications and the Australian film trade press may resolve this question.
40Collins, p 101.
41Advertisement, Everyones, 19 July 1926, p 20.
42‘Union Theatres, Ltd and JC Williamson, Ltd Big Vaudeville Compact’, Everyones, 24 September 1924, p 33.
43This relationship had many facets. EJ and Dan Carroll established Carroll Musgrove Theatres in 1920, entering into partnership with Harry Musgrove, a managing director of Union Theatres and Australasian Films, to build the Prince Edward Theatre in Sydney. Stuart Doyle, of Union Theatres, and Dan Carroll were the managing directors of the Brisbane Wintergarden, which opened in 1924. Although the flagship of the Birch, Carroll and Coyle chain, it was not owned by that company. In 1927, Union Theatres owned shares in Birch, Carroll and Coyle and two of seven company directors were from Union Theatres. Australian Government, 1927, Commonwealth of Australia: Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry: Minutes of Evidence, Canberra: Government Printer, Witness: William Winterflood, pp 186, 187.
44Letter to Franklyn Barrett from ‘Douglas L’ or ‘Douglas H’, Famous Lasky Film Services/Paramount Pictures, Perth, 11 August 1925. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
45‘The Ten Commandments’, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 9 May 1925, p 2. This was nine days before the Rockhampton opening.
46‘The Ten Commandments’, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 16 May 1925, p 7; also Townsville Daily Bulletin, 17 June 1925, p 4.
47Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
48Todds Barrett: Interviewed by Graham Shirley, 1983: Oral History. NFSA: 375239.
49‘An Appreciation’, not dated, not signed, carbon copy of type-written manuscript. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
50‘Touchpaper’, 2007, Pyroguide,, viewed 5 June 2011.
51Franklyn Barrett, 1925 Diary in Set of 24 Diaries from 1903-1955, Franklyn Barrett Collection, NFSA: 765779.
52Letter to Franklyn Barrett from ‘Douglas L’ or ‘Douglas H’, Famous Lasky Film Services/Paramount Pictures, Perth, 11 August 1925. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
53Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
54Calculated from figures in Australian Government, 1921, Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, Part XII Queensland. Population of Local Government Areas, Melbourne: Government Printer.
55See catalogue entry, NFSA: 763937.
56‘The Ten Commandments’, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 2 May 1925, p 6.
57Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
58Collins, pp 161-162.
59Australian Government, 1927, Commonwealth of Australia: Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry: Minutes of Evidence, Canberra: Government Printer. Witness: Walter George Ridley, p 260.
60Ibid. Witness: Walter George Ridley, pp 262, 263.
61Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
62Collins, p 159.
63Australian Government, 1927, Commonwealth of Australia: Royal Commission on the Moving Picture Industry: Minutes of Evidence, Canberra: Government Printer. Witness: William John Winterflood, p 189.
64These are included in a list at the back of his notebook. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Six Financial Notebooks. NFSA: 763937.
65Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
66‘The Ten Commandments’, Brisbane Courier, 5 August 1925, p 16.
67‘The Ten Commandments’, Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton), 7 May 1925, p 7.
68‘The Ten Commandments’, Cairns Post, 14 December 1925, p 3.
69‘Malanda Notes’, Cairns Post, 6 April 1926, p 9; ‘Malanda News’, Cairns Post, 24 November 1926, p 14. Note the dates of these two items; The Ten Commandments must have made a return visit to Malanda in November 1926 after the first screening in April.
70Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Six Financial Notebooks. NFSA: 763937.
71‘An Appreciation’, not dated, not signed, carbon copy of type-written manuscript. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
72‘New Theatre: The Prince Edward: Opening Night’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 November 1924, p 6.
73Altman, p 291.
74Hugo Riesenfeld, 1925, ‘The Advancement in Motion Picture Music: Remarkable Development of Popular Programs Blending with the Classical’, The American Hebrew, 3 April, p 632,, viewed April 22 2011.
75Collins, p 161.
76Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
77‘Talking Pictures: Cinema Inventions: Colour Photography’, Brisbane Courier, 17 July 1924, p 13.
78Capitol and Wintergarden: ‘The Ten Commandments’, Brisbane Courier, 17 April 1925, p 19; Wondergraph: ‘The Ten Commandments’, Register (Adelaide), 30 June 1925, p 15.
79Advertisement for ‘New Comet’ Costume Comedy Company, Gippsland Times, 20 March 1924, p 4.
80Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
81Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
82Franklyn Barrett, ‘A Town a Week’.
83See letters: Letter to Barrett from C Lane [?], ‘Qld Mgr’, Haymarket Theatres Ltd, 5 September 1925; Bernard William Cook, Chelmer, 5 October 1925; and Grace Colclough, Broadway Pictures, 15 October 1925. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
84Letter from Bernard William Cook, Chelmer, 5 October 1925. Franklyn Barrett Collection: The Ten Commandments Tour: Assorted Papers, NFSA: 763988.
85Franklyn Barrett, 1926 Diary in Set of 24 Diaries from 1903-1955, Franklyn Barrett Collection, NFSA: 765779.
86Franklyn Barrett, 1951, ‘My Most Memorable Xmas’, The Showman, November, p 11. Barrett does not identify the place or the hotel as being in Babinda, but in spite of plans to build more, there only ever was one government-owned hotel. It was built to provide accommodation for workers in the cane industry, and today caters for tourists.
87‘Editorial Viewfinder: A Comparison in Presentation between American Picture Theatres and Those of Australia To-Day’, Film Weekly, 9 June 1927.