This year we are welcoming works from 1927 into the public domain in the United States, including books, periodicals, sheet music, and movies.
Big events of 1927 include the first transatlantic phone call from New York to London, the formation of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first successful long distance demonstration of television, the release of the first popular “talkie,” The Jazz Singer, and the first nonstop transatlantic solo airplane flight, from New York to Paris, by Charles Lindbergh.
Despite the popularity of The Jazz Singer, movies were still mostly silent in 1927, including the gorgeous Metropolis by Fritz Lang. Laurel and Hardy’s first film, Putting Pants on Phillip, was released that year, along with an early Gary Cooper Western, Nevada, Joan Crawford in Spring Fever, Mary Pickford in My Best Girl, Clara Bow in Get Your Man, and Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings.
I was particularly taken with No Man’s Land, which gives top billing to a horse (Rex the Wonder Horse, in case you were wondering – if you’d like to follow his career he also starred in The King of Wild Horses and Black Cyclone).
Or we can time travel with Koko the Clown in Koko in 1999 where they apparently thought that at the turn of the last century everything would happen via automation and you’d get a wife from a vending machine for 25 cents.
No new recorded music enters the public domain in the US this year — the next group of recorded music becomes available in 4 years, due to how the music modernization act is written — but we do have some fun new sheet music to explore. The biggies that are most remembered today are probably The Best Things in Life Are Free and I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream. But you should also take some time to play Dream Kisses, The Desert Song, My Ohio Home, and Girl of My Dreams.
Thousands of issues of periodicals from 1927 are entering the public domain, some from titles that are still well known today like:
You may also want to check out copies of The American Girl (published by the Girl Scouts), check up on the financial markets leading up to the Great Depression in the The Financial Times, or research bling in The Jewelers Circular.
The Sherlock Holmes books came to an end in 1927, and with it the release of The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan-Doyle (vol I and vol II). Other biggies include Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and Mosquitoes by William Faulkner.
But as always, the most fun is to be had perusing the books from 1927 for hidden gems. Enjoy the gorgeous art deco designs in Ideas & studies in stencilling & decorating, for instance.
Some other fun titles include
- Insect-musicians and cricket champions of China
- Aunt Sammy’s radio recipes
- Distinctive houses of Indiana limestone
- Complete history of southern Illinois’ gang war
- The home movie scenario book
Celebrate Public Domain Day
You can join us to celebrate public domain day two ways this year, virtually or in person.
We are having a virtual party on January 19, 2023 at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern. REGISTER FOR THE VIRTUAL EVENT HERE!
And the next day we will have an in-person Film Remix Contest Screening Party on January 20, 2023 at 6pm at 300 Funston Ave in San Francisco, to watch this year’s Public Domain Day Remix Contest winning entries. REGISTER FOR THE IN-PERSON PARTY IN SAN FRANCISCO HERE!