Fencing and Film

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In 1921, Rufus B. von KleinSmid became the fifth president in the budding history of the University of Southern California.  How does Dr. Von, as he was affectionately called, still come up today?

Two quick stories...

Uyttenhove.jpgOn June 30 at the Anaheim Convention Center, Henri Uyttenhove will be inducted into the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame.  Uyttenhove, a Belgian import, was President von KleinSmid's fencing instructor at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Dr. Von would then task Uyttenhove (pictured right) with starting the USC fencing team, which still exists as a club sport at Troy.  The early years of the program were wildly successful as Uyttenhove's Trojans won 14 Pacific Coast Intercollegiate titles in the first 15 seasons.

And transitioning into USC's other great passion, the film industry, Uyttenhove was the choreographer for classic movies like The Mark of Zorro, Scaramouche and The Prisoner of Zenda.

President von KleinSmid's interest in cinema was featured in an LA Times article today about the first motion pictures with talking actors ("talkies").  USC's speech department was at the forefront of the experiment as our professors taught Hollywood's famous silent stars to project and enunciate.

Here is a great photo from the LA Times archive of movie star Anita Page being filmed with von KleinSmid behind her...


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