Find out what goes on inside the mind of Ben Model before, during and after playing for a silent movie. Hear insider info, live performance recordings, reflections on gigs and films, learn about how a film accompanist prepares…and more, from one of the USA's leading silent film accompanists.
ep. 49: Rudolph Valentino, Ernie Kovacs, Buster Keaton, and the Craft of Supporting Subtleties
In this episode: Ben plays with holding back musically to help an audience of art deco fans connect with Valentino and Nazimova during a show of "Camille" (1921); he and Kerr Lockhart dig in to details about "Oriental Blues", the theme song Ernie Kovacs used for all of his shows from 1951-1962; and Ben discusses the various intricacies of live-scoring Keaton's "The General" in order to help one gag, get out of the way of another, and to create a musical arc for a feature-length comedy that's essentially one very long chase.
Show notes for this episode can be found here.
ep. 48: interview with Rick Benjamin, of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
In this bonus episode, podcast co-host Kerr Lockhart talks with Rick Benjamin, musical director of The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, about mood cues and photoplay music from the silent era.
ep. 47: accompanying The Patsy, The Cameraman, and Gilbert Gottfried
In this episode: Ben trusts his instincts and has a little magic happen during a show of "The Patsy"; makes a decision and tries something new when it comes to using a "characteristic" musical mode in scoring Keaton's "The Cameraman" and "The General"; pays tribute to Gilbert Gottfried and talks about getting to do a comedy bit with him when Ben was a guest on Gilbert's Amazing Colossal Podcast in 2021; pulls back to help the audience zoom in for a tender moment in "The Cameraman"; plus performance clips from shows at St. Francis College and the Oxford Community Center; and a teaser for a bonus episode (no. 48), in which podcast co-host Kerr Lockhart interviews the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra's Rick Benjamin
Show notes for episode 47 can be found here.
ep. 46: Kansas Silent Film Festival…and Other In-Person Shows, plus some new Undercrank Projects
Ben talks about: being a guest accompanist at the 25th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival; playing for Edward Everett Horton in a Cathedral, and the use of a "Bowery waltz"; introducing Marcel Perez to fans at the KSFF; playing for William S. Hart in Brooklyn; being able to turn on a dime in underscoring and have it make sense musically; live-scoring "The Goose Woman" on piano; new Marion Davies Blu-ray and DVD releases from his Undercrank Productions label and the new Kickstarter for Raymond Griffith films; and more.
Episode 46 show notes are available here.
ep. 45: Home Video Releases, Kickstarters, Marion Davies, Wesleyan and MoMA
Ben talks about: the process of scoring "Zander the Great" and "Beverly of Graustark" for home video release; a recent Kickstarter that funded super-quick; Marion Davies's talents as a silent film actor; teaching in-person and on-campus again after two years; accompanying Edward Everett Horton shorts and "The Fire Brigade" at the Museum of Modern Art; various silent film accompaniment techniques; upcoming streams and shows, and more.
Episode 45 show notes are available here.
ep. 08 (re-posted): “A Trip to the Moon” in Tromsø, an Organ in Oslo, live comedy show “Everybody Gets Cake”, Marcel Perez
This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 8, which originally posted on February 4, 2015. Welcome – News from January: composing and performing music for Parallel Exit's "Everybody Gets Cake", running off-Bway thru Feb 8, 2015 – Recording: instrumental from "Cake" show: "A Shakespearean Smoke Break" – the restoration of Georges Melies' "A Trip to the Moon" with narration – recording: live performance piano and narration for "A Trip to the Moon" in Tromsø, Norway – funeral organists workshop in Oslo, Norway – Recording: live accompaniment to DeMille's "King of Kings" on the pipe organ at the Holmen Church in Oslo – Upcoming performances, Egyptian Theatre in Boise, with Boise Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble, release of Marcel Perez DVD, Hal Roach at Silent Clowns, Zorro in Bklyn, Keaton at Wesleyan, and more – Closing.
Somewhere back in 2017 when I absorbed my blog and podcast into my website, episodes 1-8 of the podcast became unexplainably unavailable. Some listeners have inquired about getting to hear these early shows from 2012-2015 and the easiest thing for me to do (tech-wise) was to re-post them. Here's episode 8!
My Favorite Podcast
This is my favorite podcast, blending the love of cinema and music into one. Please also watch Ben Model’s YouTube streams and his fantastic shows in person, they’re wonderful and informative! ✌️❤️
Ben’s efforts to make silent movies just a little less silent is nothing short of amazing. And his dedication to keeping alive this American treasury of film deserves every one of the five stars I gave the podcast, and maybe a few more!
Great Content for Silent Film Lovers
Where can I nominate Ben for Sainthood for what he does with Undercrank Productions???... because we are all seriously indebted to him for his work.