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W.H. Tilley Collection, no. 4 - 1950s

Susan T. Solomon

Silent | 1952 | 1954 | 1950s

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    Index of Intertitles
    •  Band Day, November 8, 1952 
    •  Congress Avenue at Night 
    •  Santa Rita No. 1 
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    • About the video
    • Wesley Hope and Pau... Wesley Hope and Paul Tilley
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    This collection of 16mm clips was originally shot and compiled in the 1950s by W.H. Tilley. It begins with several minutes of a Band Day parade up Congress Avenue (1952, with numerous marching bands and floats). The film also includes images of UT students in Littlefield Fountain and views from Mount Bonnell. A series of "Snap Shots Around U.S.A." featuring W.H. and his wife Helen ensues, mixing travel photos (San Francisco cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, New Orleans's French Quarter and Jackson Square, downtown Chicago) with live footage of Daytona Beach and Denver (The Natural History Museum and Capitol building). More Austin shots follow: a nighttime scene along Congress Avenue, the Santa Rita oil well, the Tilley's home (from the street), an historic train engine, a gathering of Shriners, and a Shriner marching band in a Congress Avenue parade. The collection concludes with brief footage of Harry S. Truman, speaking and playing piano (along with labor leader James Petrillo on trumpet) at a Milwaukee union convention in 1954.

    Brothers Wesley Hope and Paul Tilley can be counted among Texas' pioneering filmmakers. Their movie work extends at least as far back as 1910.

    In addition to their short subjects (as for-hire filmmakers) and early documentary movies of Texas, the Austin-based Tilleys made cartoons, titles, slides, advertisements, newsreels, and comedy features. The brothers were also involved in the turn-of-the-century amusement business as carnival music producers and for-hire projectionists.

    The Tilley brothers are best known, however, for their three commercial narrative features: Mexican Conspiracy Outgeneralled, Their Lives By a Slender Thread and The Kentucky Feud. These films were produced in 1913 around central Texas (as well as Mexico) under the auspices of their Satex production company and film lab, one of the first of its kind in Texas.

    W. Hope Tilley eventually pursued his music-related activities full-time, remaining in Austin. Paul Tilley later worked with another fellow Texan in Hollywood, film director King Vidor.