Old clocks in the movies / erroneous props

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Thyme, Nov 13, 2007.

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  1. sir_swatch

    sir_swatch Registered User

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    Re: Clocks in the Movies

    I was watching a couple of episodes of St. Elsewhere and noticed that when each scene opens with the blue digital time in the bottom corner, it usually doesn't match the time on the wall clocks that should appear later in the scene.
     
  2. Joe Hollen

    Joe Hollen Registered User
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    Re: Clocks in the Movies

    Here's a couple...

    The HBO mini-series John Adams was "Historically accurate" from what I could see. John Adams had a "correct looking" Tall Clock in his Boston home in the early scenes, but just before he goes to the second Continental Congress from his Farm in Braintree a correct-looking wag on the wall" clock behind him is NOT ticking... Later on in the mini-series - toward the end of his Presidency a scene shows a Banjo Clock. I can't remember the scene, or the exact timeframe, but it's well within the realm of possibility that a Banjo would be there... So, kudos to the "Historical advisers" in the John Adams mini-series... (BTW, it is an *excellent* American history lesson! )...

    The movie "The Patriot" was mentioned earlier in another thread. In the scene just before their house is torched they pan in on a "Riley Whiting" Tall Clock. THAT was not researched well at all !

    Joe
     
  3. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Re: Clocks in the Movies

    I just re-watched "Gigi," the 1950s musical with Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor, and Maurice Chevalier. There on the mantel in Gigi's apartment is an Ansonia "La Vera" china clock. The period is right, but I wonder if Ansonia china clocks were ever imported to Paris?
     
  4. Dch48

    Dch48 Registered User

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    Since the OP left the discussion open to erroneous things other than clocks in movies, I was reminded of one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a movie. The movie was one of those B movie black and white Sci-Fi films from the 50's. I can't remember the name but it was about a trip to Mars. The intrepid voyagers get caught in a hail of meteors like in many other similar films. As the ship, and it's crew are being tossed around while trying to avoid collisions, a shot of the main instrument panel of the ship is shown. The central navigational instrument in the panel is------ think about it----- a compass !
     
  5. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    #55 Jeremy Woodoff, Jun 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
    The Charles Chaplin movie "Limelight" was released in 1952 and set in London 1914. There are a number of clocks in the film. The one that gets the most screen time is on the mantel of Chaplin's character's apartment. It is a porcelain (china) clock. It's similar to an Ansonia "La Clede," but I don't think it is. That's the closest model I can find. For the most part, the time shown on this clock is kept accurate to the story line, except for once when the time moves backward during a scene. There is a fancy French clock in the Empire Theater producer's office. And towards the end of the movie, in the stage manager's station backstage at the theater is a Seth Thomas double-dial Parlor No. 3 hanging on the wall. Several clocks appear in the scene in the theater's property room, including a couple of American "black" shelf clocks. Though set in London, the movie was filmed in California.
     
  6. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    The old Twilight Zone series had a couple of good clock cameos.
    One was the one where the clockmaker fears his death if his (beautiful) grandfather clock stops:

    Ninety Years Without Slumbering
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734601/
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/440781

    The other one includes lots of shots of and references to a JUF Louvre (bandstand) clock:
    (There's a long closeup of it in the end credits)

    The Lateness of the Hour
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734654/
    http://www.hulu.com/watch/440801

    And the BBC series, "Downton Abbey" has lots of clocks, all of which seem to be running and keeping correct time.
    It's nice to hear them ticking away in the background.
    If you binge watch the episodes, you get to where you can tell when one is in a different room than it was previously.
    There is even an episode where one of the butlers is working on one.
     
  7. Ontime

    Ontime Registered User

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  8. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i inherited a jefferson golden hour clock from an old friend of the family who had received it as an award. i still remember the day i was watching the rockford files and the camera panned back from the room... and through the face of a jefferson golden hour clock! very thrilling to see 'my clock' on the rockford files!
     
  9. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Anybody who didn't know what the interior of a tower clock room looked like would come away with a very distorted view if they saw the movie Hugo! I am constantly amused at the liberties taken in some movies in the pocket watches shown in some scenes. Many 19th and early 20th century era productions show cheap Chinese made hunter cased pocket watches with sweep seconds hand! Obviously quartz.
     
  10. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I was watching one of the old "Colombo" TV movie series a few weeks ago. The ticking of a big clock was used to create suspence in many of the scenes. They never showed the clock so I thought the sound might be dubbed in. I kept looking for a clock and finally they showed a big high grade jewelers regulator ticking away. It was hanging high on the wall directly behind the characters. The ticking was in beat and in sync with the pendulum. I'm pretty sure that the clock had it's own mic.
    I wasn't disapointed.
    Willie X
     
  11. The Treasured Clock

    The Treasured Clock Registered User
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    Hi Guys,
    Nice to have this discussion of old clocks in the movies. I wonder if they have done their research/homework on those clocks to see if they are of the period. Also, I have never heard about a sundial telling time at night!?!
    Jonathan Lee Jones
     
  12. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    The British Lovejoy series had numerous clocks in it's episodes. I believe at least one of the episodes was clock centric. The Lovejoy video series was adapted from a book series of the same character, an antique dealer, crime solver, rogue, good guy.... just like us.

    Ralph
     
  13. John Arrowood

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    Recently I watched a series of videos from Netflix that are adaptations of some of Agatha Christie short stories, some of her lesser known characters. One of the stories has a young man who practices his golf game early in the morning and suddenly starts hearing a woman screaming bloody murder at 7:30am. His wrist watch is shown several times in the story and it appears to be a gold square Waltham with USA on the dial best I could make out. The watch looks period correct mid 1920's the mid `1930's. It's a British adaptation and they do great work with her stories.
    And one of the characters in "Downton Abbey" is supposed to be the son of a clock maker and is shown winding clocks and working on another in some of the episodes.
     
  14. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    This is about a movie,and not a clock, but a watch. I was approached several years ago by a production company about borrowing some old time clock maker's tools and clocks which were needed for a scene in a movie called "Legends of the Fall" which was being filmed near here, in Alberta's Kananaskis Country. It starred (among others) Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. The props people also wanted a period correct watch for a WW 1 battle in the movie. I showed them my Rolex from 1915, Sterling case. I was reluctant to lend it, but they said the only way it would work for them would be if they bought it in case something happened to it. :excited: They would sell it back to me after the movie was finished! :excited: Needless to say, a transaction did NOT occur. As I recall, they never did show a wrist watch in the movie, correct or otherwise. And from the battle scenes that were shown the watch would not have survived in any event! I still have the watch!
     
  15. tok-tokkie

    tok-tokkie Registered User

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    What strikes me about clocks in movies is that most times the pendulum is not swinging. I have been on a long running project to view well rated movies so, having an interest in pendulum clocks, I always pay attention to them. The movies tend to be dramas, mysteries or thrillers from mid 50s to early 2000s
     
  16. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    This evening, I watched a bit of a movie on TCM which was from 1949. It was a horrible BATMAN movie. I only watched about 15-minutes of it. But I did watch enough of it to see Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson (aka Batman and Robin) in street clothes entering the Bat cave for a change of clothing. He entered the Bat cave through the glass front door of a grandfather clock! The best part of the movie was the 1949 Mercury convertible he and Robin used for a Batmobile! This was one of a series of 15 Batman movies cranked out within a short period of time. So you can imagine how bad it was!
     
  17. harold bain

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    I saw that, Doug. Had to be an electric clock to get as much pendulum swing as it had before they came through it.
     
  18. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    here's a shot of the grandfather clock. the wall clock was in a lot of scenes... i think they just moved it from set to set...


    Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.24.37 PM.jpg Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 12.28.41 PM.jpg
     
  19. MartinM

    MartinM Registered User

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    I think the second one is a thermometer/barometer combination.
     
  20. stewey

    stewey Registered User

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    In the Canadian detective series "Murdoch Mysteries" themed in late Victorian Toronto, there is a scene in which Murdoch is explaining to his boss the time of death of the victim. Apparently the victim had been shot, and the bullet had passed through him and hit a clock. Murdoch is showing his boss a rack and snail movement from the shot clock, and telling him the time of death of the victim, within 1/2hr, by the position of the rack.
     
  21. novicetimekeeper

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    yes, banjo barometer.

    Watched person of interest this evening and they were in a removals truck with a longcase that had not been dismantled for transport.
     
  22. bruce linde

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    that is so bloody cool.
     
  23. Bruce Alexander

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    Imagine that! I suppose the position of the big and little hands was too obvious or pedestrian for Murdoch? :cyclops:

    Of course, one must assume that the deceased operated a well maintained clock in the first place.
     
  24. stewey

    stewey Registered User

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    Murdoch told me, Bruce, that when the dastardly deed was done, the entire dial and hands were devastatingly destroyed; and that the clock owner kept his clock in perfect working order by the application of copious amounts of bacon grease.
     
  25. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    The clock in question was a count wheel strike type. Hence no rack and snail. Spoiler alert!
     
  26. bruce linde

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    yes... but someone still knew enough about clocks to make a rack and snail part of the plot...
     
  27. stewey

    stewey Registered User

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    Are you sure about that, Doug? I'd like to see the episode again...I am sure it was a rack and snail.
     
  28. tok-tokkie

    tok-tokkie Registered User

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    I remember a plot of a radio play from my youth where the murderer turned the hands of a grandfather clock back an hour to give himself an alibi. His problem was the detective knew his clocks, suspected what had been done and waited for the clock to strike the next hour - it struck an hour later than the clock displayed. Could actually have been Agatha Christie.
     
  29. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    I have probably seen that episode a dozen or so times, and I think I am correct. Couldn't find the clip on You Tube. I'll record it next time, and check again.
     
  30. stewey

    stewey Registered User

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    Hi, Doug. I guess if you've seen it that many times you're probably correct. It would be great if you could play a clip on here: I'd like to see it again too.
     
  31. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i watched 'the gunfighter' with gregory peck the other night.

    he spends a lot of time waiting in a bar... with this double-wind weight-driven clock ticking prominently throughout... slightly out of beat.

    when they finally showed a closeup of it, the pendulum bob had a definite wobble to it.

    IMG_0376.jpg IMG_0379.jpg
     
  32. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    I just watched that particular program again. The case on the clock appeared to be a typical black lacquered Connecticut clock which would most likely have had the count wheel strike movement. The fleeting image of the movement supposedly having been removed from that case appeared to me to be a balance wheel,type cheap,alarm clock movement which had neither a count wheel or rack and snail mechanism. Spoiler alert!
     
  33. clock kid

    clock kid Registered User

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    I don't know if it in this thread but in I Love Lucy they have a banjo clock on the wall.
     
  34. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i found two...


    lucy2.jpg lucy1.jpg
     
  35. novicetimekeeper

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    Isn't the first one a barometer?
     
  36. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    do barometers have two hands?
     
  37. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    They have a hand attached to the mechanism to show current barometric pressure, and another that you rotate to show the pressure when you last took a reading. It is more about rate and direction of change than just the actual reading.
     
  38. Walt Wallgren

    Walt Wallgren Registered User
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    The can. One is the set point and the other is the actual measurement hand. That way you can tell what the pressure is doing, going up or down.

    Walt
     
  39. cj133

    cj133 Registered User

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    How about Life With Father from 1947?
    I don't have a good shot of it, but there's a floor clock he's constantly adjusting.

    I believe it was to show he was overly picky about things, but I see it as someone that needs to adjust their pendulum.
     
  40. cj133

    cj133 Registered User

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    Speaking of Back To The Future.
    If anyone knows what this clock is, I'd love one of them. I've been looking for a while and have turned up absolutely nothing.
     

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  41. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    If you mean the clock with the fellow leaning against the lamppost, they turn up on E-Bay quite often. Most of them were made in Germany - not sure if there were similar clocks made in US.

    JTD
     
  42. prideofmatchingham

    prideofmatchingham Registered User

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    The guy is leaning against the stem of the clock, as it were, not the lamp post.

    Though circular top looks very similar to Gravity clock, I dont think this clock descends downwards! But certainly one of the novelty clocks.
     
  43. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    You are right, I should have written clock, not lamppost (though there are some where he is leaning on the lamppost). No, it doesn't descend like a gravity clock.

    JTD
     
  44. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    Google, "drunk mantle clock" (no quotes; use image search) or search the Irish version of the famous auction site for "lamp" (no quotes) under antique clocks.
     
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  45. stewey

    stewey Registered User

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  46. Jeremy Woodoff

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    There is a Timby Solar Clock in the second scene of the 1931 movie "Arrowsmith" with Ronald Colman and Helen Hayes, based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis.
     
  47. Jeremy Woodoff

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    Time to refresh this thread, though there may be another that is more recent. There are lots of threads revealed searching for "movies" or "clocks in movies." I just watched "Mildred Pierce," a nice noir film with a young Joan Crawford and Eve Arden. In the detective's office near the beginning is an Ansonia General. It is running, the sound of ticking is synchronized with the pendulum, and the time accurately advances over a couple of hours in accordance with the movie scene.
     
  48. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i found this photo... might just be a perspective thing but it looks a little small for a general (i’m staring at one from where i just finished dinner)... even though it sure looks like one. you probably saw much better angles than this one shot....


    84496769-3D1C-4B44-8CA9-7059CAAF8EB4.jpeg
     
  49. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    It's a big room and the picture shows it at a distance. I don't know what else it could be, though I, unfortunately, don't have one in my house to compare it to.
     
  50. bruce linde

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    here’s a photo of mine and one that’s not mine, for reference... they’re pretty big. i wonder if they made a smaller brother? i don’t have an ansonia book.

    718B6C2D-0B6E-44FD-895E-BA8F780F425F.jpeg 905D8F0A-D4A9-414D-A92C-1D453922AA49.jpeg
     

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