A scene from Charles Hoyt's 'A Milk White Flag': A brass band marches out, led by bandmaster Steele Ayers. When Ayers reaches his position, he turns around and directs the musicians as they take up their own positions.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Frank Baldwin ...
Steele Ayres - the bandmaster
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Storyline

A band leader in full dress and cap, waving a baton, leads a nine-member brass band out onto the stage. Dressed to the nines with high hats, the band forms two rows of four or five chaps across as the band leader turns toward them to direct. As they play, each one swings his instrument and moves his head from side to side in time with the music, while the band leader conducts with both arms spreading widely. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Comedy

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Filmed portion of the play "A Milk White Flag" by Charles Hoyt. See more »

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Featured in Edison: The Invention of the Movies (2005) See more »

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Interesting In Its Historical & Social Context
22 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This is the kind of movie that seems to have little to offer when viewed by itself, without reference to its original context. If it were nothing more than one simple scene of a band at practice, then there are only a couple of details that would be worth noticing, so that it would be of limited interest at best. But it is more interesting when seen with its original setting in mind.

This was one of several features (most of them now lost), filmed by the Edison Company, in which they re-enacted scenes from Charles Hoyt's stage show 'A Milk White Flag'. The now-forgotten Hoyt specialized in plays that that satirized or parodied contemporary attitudes and trends, and/or human nature in general. This scene comes from a musical that in large part poked fun at the military and patriotic spirit that was so widespread in the USA in the 1890s (and which culminated, later in the decade, in the popular demand for war with Spain).

In this short scene, the self-important band-leader leads his players into position, in a parody of the pomp and pride that was associated with the state and local militias of the era. Hoyt's production was designed to deflate them just a bit in the popular mind, not by showing any disrespect for genuine patriotism, but by depicting how some persons saw the military lifestyle simply as a way of promoting themselves socially or politically.

With its historical and social background, the brief movie takes on more significance, in calling attention to social trends that were soon to have their effect on world events.


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