Friday, April 27, 2012

Vera Cruz & Marilia cinemas in the 30s & 40s

Eikichi Kaneno and Mr. Giovanni Battista Darin at Mr. Darin's backyard on rua Campos Salles, 350.

Giovanni Battista Darin arrives in Marilia in 1927

The Darin family arrived in Marilia in November 1927. They soon found a dwelling place on Avenida Rio Branco. Mr. Giovanni Battista [João Baptista] Darin set up a hardware-dry goods business on the corner of rua Minas Geraes [rua 9 de Julho nowadays] and rua XV de Novembro. Unfortunately, Mr. Darin didn't have much of a clue about selling on credit to people he hardly ever knew.

Mr. Darin had arrived in Brazil in 1888 when he was 16 going on 17 and headed straight to São José do Rio Pardo-SP where he started working on the land - the dream of any Italian immigrant! At first Giovanni worked on his own; later he associated with Giacomo and Giulio Darin [no relation] and went halves on a rural property where they grew coffee and sugar-cane. Giovanni married Erminia Billò in 1896. A girl from Belluno - the same region Giovanni hailed from even though they had not met in the old country.

After a few years, Giovanni Darin bought up his partners' share and became the sole owner of a sizeble piece of land where almost anything was grown. He had more than twenty families living and working under his responsability at Fazenda Apparecida do Rio Verde, which is near where the municipality of Itobi is today.

In 1898, after 10 years in Brazil, Giovanni had bought land, had married and had had two children too. By 1910, Giovanni and Erminia had 8 children who had survived. The first child, called Antonio Americo died in infancy. By 1921, Giovanni and Erminia had 13 children - 12 of them survived to adulthood. That's no mean feat.

By the middle of the 1920s, Giovanni was unhappy about his never-ending work on the land. His male children actually were not very helpful in the task of managing the rural property. I don't know exactly what made Giovanni take the decision to leave behind everything he had built in 30 years, pack up and leave S. José do Rio Pardo in November 1927.

Some say Giovanni Darin heard wonders about Alta Paulista as being the new El Dorado. Well, if that's true he was in for a rude awakening. Marilia [or Alto Cafezal as it was then known] was the 'end of the world'... not only the end of the train line. Most houses were made up of timber instead of brick-and-mortar like in S.Jose do Rio Pardo. Marilia was dusty and dirty.

Mr. Darin set up his hardware-drygoods on the corner of rua Minas Geraes and XV de Novembro but due to his selling on credit to complete strangers he was bankrupt by 1933. Marilienses were not as Riopardenses. Marilienses were desperados who came from every nook and corner after a quick buck. Riopardenses were honest and hard-working people. My dear grandfather learned it the hard way.

Mr. Darin started working as an accountant for other Marilia business people and that's how he came in contact with the Pedutti brothers who had a movie-theatre in Marilia. Giovanni Darin had 4 sons who needed work: Luiz, Octavio, João Baptista Filho and Waldemar. All of them worked some time or other at Empresa Theatral Pedutti.

Cine São Luiz 

Octavio Darin doing his thing in the projecting-booth at Cine São Luiz in Marilia-SP circa 1939.

Octavio Darin managed Cine São Luiz on rua 9 de Julho and after getting married in 1936, he would live in a flat on top of Cine S. Luiz with his wife Sebastiana Macera. Both his children, Adilson and Luiz Octavio were born while Octavio was the cinema's manager.

In 1946 while manning the projector Valdemar Darin met his future wife Maria José da Nóbrega, who went up to the booth to complain that the operator had cut out her favourite song 'Babalu' from the film she was watching.

In January 1947, my cousin Nilza Darin had a coughing fit while attending a matinee at Cine S. Luiz having immediately been rushed to hospital but to no avail. She died within 48 hours.

So, as one can see... the cinema houses stories in Marilia are intertwined with the lives of my close relatives.
Up there at the projecting booth at Cine São Luiz.

Yolanda Darin, my mother, was raised on films by Jeanette McDonald, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and the like. Maybe that's why I also became a movie-buff in the 1960s.

All the paraphernalia my uncles Octavio, João Baptista and Waldemar Darin had to contend with to show a good picture to Marilienses in the 30s and 40s. Octavio Darin and wife Sebastiana Macera plus their two boys lived in a flat on top of Cine São Luiz.
Octavio Darin on the left; on the right João Baptista Darin Filho who worked at Cine São Luiz in the 1930s having left it in 1941 to work as a driver for Sudan Cigarettes.
Octavio Darin on the steps of Cine Vera Cruz; Valdemar Darin worked at Cine São Luiz until 1947 when he got married and resettled in Amparo-SP.

 All the pictures on this page are due to João Baptista having kept them in a safe place. Actually, it was his sister Rosa Darin who kept this treasure through the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s up to 1996 when she died.
Cine São Luiz circa 1940. I tried hard but could not identify the films shown here. 'Cavalleiro de improviso' and 'Amor e Exilio'. It sure is before the 1942 Orthography Reform that dropped double Ls, double Ms, Ys, Ws, Ks and PHs from our Brazilian-Portuguese spelling. I think I could make up the title 'Paíz sem lei' on the poster on the right... a boy was passing just at the moment Kaneno took the picture. That could well be a 1935 John Wayne flick for Republic called 'Lawless Range'.
'Lawless Range' [Paíz sem lei] a 1935 John Wayne flick.
Cine São Luiz showing 'The Adventures of Frank Merriwell' a  Universal 1936 serial. 
'Aventura de Frank, o gladiador', a 12 chapter 1936 Universal serial.

Cine Vera Cruz 

Some time in 1939, Eikichi Kaneno, the Japanese fellow between these guys, took a trip from Marilia to Vera Cruz to photograph Cine Vera Cruz. I don't know if it was a contract work by Pedutti Company or was a pleasure trip. Judging by the photos I guess it was a paid-job. Anyway you see those two guys that flank Kaneno in almost all the pictures taken during that trip to neighbouring Vera Cruz.
Cine Vera Cruz in 1939 showing 'You can't have everything' [1937] with Alice Faye and Don Ameche. See the boy wearing long socks which are still worn in Australia up to date.
Vera Cruz & Marilia were on the cutting edge of 20th century Art in the 1930s; Note British 'Secret Agent' [1936] an Alfred Hitchcock adaptation of Summerset Maugham's novels about British spy Ashden that would be the embryo for Ian Fleming's 007 agent much later.
 Cine Vera Cruz in 1939. One can see the granite cobblestones ready to be laid out. 
1934's 'March of the Wooden Soldiers' (Era uma vez dois valentes) with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy then the most popular US comedians.
Shirley Temple and Gloria Stuart in 'Rebecca of the Sunnybrook Farm'.
1938's Shirley Temple's 'Rebecca of the Sunnybrook Farm' (Sonho de moça) showing at Cine Vera Cruz. Admission price: 600 mil-réis. On the left one can see the poster of 'The Prisoner of Zenda' [Prisioneiro de Zenda] a 1937 David O. Selznick production with Ronald Colman, Mary Astor & Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Hollywood was a well-oiled money-making machine. Photos & posters came straight from Hollywood, California, U.S.A. to be displayed under the hot Vera Cruz sun.
 Same sunny day in Vera Cruz-SP in 1939. My uncle Darin Filho's upside-down signature's on the print.
This is probably Vera Cruz's Main Street where the cinema was located.  See 'Gente do barulho' ('Kelly the second) movie poster on the right-hand side foot-path. The year was 1939.
1937's Charlie Chase's 'Kelly the second' (Gente do barulho) showing at Cine Vera Cruz.
I wish I was right about this particular photo. This is probably a new movie-theatre Pedutti brothers were building on Avenida Sampaio Vidal that would be known as Cine Marilia.
Theatro São Luiz in Marilia circa 1935. Note that the photo depicting a cinema is NOT of Marilia's São Luiz as we all know Cine S.Luiz was an Art-Deco building. Cecil Mille's 'Cleopatra' opened on 16 August 1934 in the USA. It usually took 12 months for a major American production to be released in Brazil, so I suppose this pamphlet was printed circa mid-1935.

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