Joseph Urban and Cosmopolitan Films

The Great White Way

"The Great White Way" was Cosmopolitan Productions Number 49 and is now lost.

It was directed by E. Mason Hopper, and is based on a short story "Cain and Mabel" by Harry Charles Witwer who played himself in the film, along with many other famous writers and cartoonists of the day including Irvin Cobb, Damon Runyon, Fay King, Winsor McCay and George Mc Manus.

For the New York world premiere on January 3, 1924, Victor Herbert composed and conducted an overture for the film.

In 1936 the film was remade as "Cain and Mabel" by Warner Brothers as a talking picture starring Marion Davies and Clark Gable.

From the TCM website: Jack Murray (T. Roy Barner), a press agent, tries to make popular his two clients — Joe Cain (Oscar Shaw), a prizefighter, and Mabel Vandergrift (Anita Stewart), a Ziegfeld Follies dancer — by linking their names romantically. His plan succeeds when they actually fall in love.

However, Morton (Hal Forde), the jealous owner of the show, threatens to close it if Mabel does not renounce Joe. To save the show and his own reputation, Joe buys out Morton by agreeing to fight the English boxing champion (Pete Hartley). All ends well when Joe wins the title. The show is saved, and Mabel and Joe return to the West with Joe's father.

Shown here are various sets for Mabel's Room, all including quite a number of Joseph Urban designed furniture.

The Newspaper Office scene includes quite a number of 1924 telephones as well as pneumatic tubes.

Urban had already designed a Tea Room for "Enchantment." This one also includes many of his Wiener Werkstätte of America designs for the walls.

In addition to this Theater scene, Urban's Scrapbook Number 5 includes photographs of the sets for the theater's backstage area, and stage entrance, as well as a coffee shop, women's dress department of a store, shipping department of a store, Joe's Room in a hotel, and Morton's dining room.

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