Glenn Diamond | Shadows From the Past

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Shadows From the Past

by Glenn Diamond

This song is a tribute to silent film, and silent film stars. Much of it is based on my own experiences in Hollywood, when I was able to actually step on, and walk and see, the sound stages at the old studios, before they were torn down, or replaced.
Genre: Easy Listening: Ballads
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
You can see the video at this link: http://www.youtube.com/glenndiamond

This song is a tribute to silent film, and silent film stars. Much of it is based on my own experiences in Hollywood, when I was able to actually step on, and walk and see, the sound stages at the old studios, before they were torn down, or replaced.

By the time I arrived in Hollywood, it was the end of the big studio era. At the time major studios like MGM were shuttered, and were no longer functioning studios. And, at the other major studios -- which were still working entities -- they still had many sound stages, props, and vast stores of old stuff -- the kind of stuff that was at that time considered "junk", but today would be thought of a "memorabilia". I was able to walk through some of the grand old studios and sound stages, many of which were barely standing.

I spent many a day wandering around these old Hollywood studio lots, peeking into nooks and crannies, and storage houses, and so on. It was great! I saw lots of great things, and stuff, and today I wish I would have realized that this was a one-of-a-kind experience, and that such things, and such a time, would never be repeated again. But at the time, I just didn't think like that. And neither did anyone else, for that matter, not even those who owned the studios at that time. Many of these things were eventually bulldozed, and trashed, and tossed out, and new sound stages built -- or the old ones refurbished, and so on. I remember walking through the sound stage at MGM where the Wizard of Oz was filmed. At that time it was a very dilapidated stage. It was empty, full of junk, rotting wood, old sets, dust, and so on. It was a mess. The studio was then completely closed, and I was on that day the only person on the entire lot. I just walked around, and wandered through everything -- it was fantastic!

I was also able to find a lot of wardrobe, and clothing, and so on. Western Costume was at that time also an old place, and while it was still a functioning wardrobe house, it wasn't anything like the grand place it is today. Back then it was still as it had been in the days of Old Hollywood -- the staircase at the front entrance was musty and creaky, and old "box office" and "office" still had the glass and facade of the 1920's, and up stairs there were literarily rows upon rows of costumes, hats, swords, helmets, buckles, boots -- well, you name it, it was there. And all of it from one movie after another. I used to go there and just spend the whole day rummaging through everything.

At that time you could just walk in, and for $2 look around all you want. I found the vest worn by Rudolph Valentino in his most famous role of "The Sheik". I also found the bowler hats, coats and pants worn by Laurel & Hardy. They still had the tags inside them. On The Shiek, it said: Mr. Valentino. On the coats and hats worn by Stan and Olie, it said: O. Hardy and S. Laurel. There were cowboy hats from Tom Mix -- the great Silent Film cowboy star -- swords from Robin Hood, many different pieces of costume from so many great old stars -- it was just fascinating. At the time I could have bought any of these constumes for a few bucks. Now, some of them are being sold at memorabilia auctions for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ah, well -- such is the folly of youth. Today, I wish I was more "clued-in" about the value of it all, but back then it was all just -- well -- part of every day life. It wasn't "novel" or "unusual" at all. I saw it all almost every day.

And so back to this song -- I thought for a long time how to capture this spirit. What could I do to show to people today what it was like. The old silent stars are long dead and gone, and so are the studios where they once worked, and where those great films were once made. Yes, many of the grand old studio names still exist, and are still working -- but they are not the same.

MGM is now Sony Pictures Studios. Paramount -- where I spent a lot of time -- is still there, under its own name, but the studio itself is not the old one I saw when I was there. It has been renovated, just like everything else in Hollywood. And the same goes for the other studios: Warner Brothers -- both the old studio in Hollywood and the current one in Burbank -- Columbia, Fox on Pico with it's back-lot now being Century City, Universal, and so on. Gone are the Lasky Studios, Mack Sennett, L.B. Mayer Pictures, Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Studios, and the many others who used to make these great old silent films. But Charlie Chaplin's Studio is still there -- it's called A &M Records (at least that's what it was the last time I saw it, some 28 years ago).

Well, that's how this song came to be. Here are the lyrics:

Shadows From The Past

Images and shadows
From the silver screen
Are all that we have left now
From that greatest dream,

I walked among the sidewalks
In a land where time stood still,
And I wonder,
If we will,

Will we ever see again
More stars on the screen
Then there are in the sky
So the saying goes,

I walked among the shadows
Of a land that once was Oz,
And I wonder
Where it went;

Ageless shadows flickering
From the silent screen,
They seem to be beckoning
Looking to be seen,

They once were the people
We all hoped to be,
And now they’re just the silent
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past;

Images and shadows
From the silver screen
Are all that we have left now
From that greatest dream,

I walked among the loneliness
Of that empty stage
And I wonder
Who will know,

Who will bear a witness
To those silent stars,
Voices that once long ago
Spoke only with their eyes,

I walked among those very streets
Before they were gone,
And I wonder
Where they went;

Ageless shadows flickering
From the silent screen,
They seem to be beckoning
Looking to be seen,

They once were the people
We all hoped to be,
And now they’re just the silent
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past;

Images of laughter
From the silver screen,
Sometimes also sadness
As the hero left the scene,

I walked among the remnants
Of that silver dream,
And I wonder
Who will see;

Who will see the funny man
The fat man and the clown,
Who will see the sweet young girl
Who never wore a frown,

Who will be their champion
Now that they’re all gone,
And I wonder
Who will hear;

Ageless shadows flickering
From the silent screen,
They seem to be beckoning
Looking to be seen,

They once were the people
We all hoped to be,
And now they’re just the silent
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past,
Shadows from the past;

Shadows from the past

© Copyright 2010 by Victor H Royer. All rights reserved. Property of GSR Holdings Inc., Las Vegas, NV, USA.


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