Thursday, June 22, 2017

Born Today June 22: Edgar Lewis


Silent actor turned director Edgar Lewis was born on this day in Holden, Missouri.  He started out on the stage and graduated to film acting in 1911 when he appeared in The Violin Maker Of Nuremberg.  Though he started directing just two years later, he never stopped taking jobs in front of the camera.  His directorial debut came with Hiawatha (1913), though he is uncredited.  His first credited directing job came with his next film in a short western in which he directed himself: The Sheriff (1913).  In 1915 he added scenario writer to his list of credits with A Gilded Fool, a film that he also directed, which was made at Fox.  And in 1919 he got into that most silent film form of promotion, becoming a "presenter" on Caliber 38 (1919), which he directed under his newly founded Edgar Lewis Productions.  The following year he and his company got into full production mode on Lahoma (1920), a western that he directed and was set in his home state of Missouri.  His first sound film, a DeForest Phonofilm,  was Unmasked in 1929; he directed this now lost film.  The last film that he directed came in 1930 with the comedy Ladies In Love; though he continued to act.  The last film that he appeared in was a small uncredited role in Riding Wild; a Tim McCoy western released in 1935.  This was just three years prior to his death on the 21st of May 1938 in Los Angeles. He was 68.  He is buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017


List Of Partially Lost Films


Condition:  Only reels 3-6 and 9-12 are known to absolutely survive, it is possible that reel 8 may be incomplete.  All of the surviving bits of the film are silent.  Housed at the Library of Congress.


Condition:  Most episodes have been recovered and remastered. 

Born Today June 21: Aubrey M. Kennedy


Silent film writer, director, independent studio founder, and major studio executive Aubrey M. Kennedy was born on this day in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Kennedy, along with his partner Elmer Bosoeke, founded the Santa Barbara Motion Picture Co.; Kennedy would go on to found his own production company The Aubrey Kennedy Pictures Corp. which only produced one film in 1932.  The first film that he made was wholly his project alone, he both wrote and directed The Yellow Menace in 1916--it was a serial.  Though a life long studio executive, Kennedy was only active in direct film making from the years 1916 to 1933.  He definitely wrote or adapted three of the four films or serials that he directed; it is probable that he also wrote Liquid Gold (1919).  In all, he wrote or adapted works for six films or serials.  One of them, The Masked Rider, was a very violent 15 part serial that represents the earliest known surviving appearance on film by Boris Karloff, playing a Mexican.  The film was presumed lost until an almost complete print was found in the home of a former projectionist in Pennsylvania in 2003; one part was beyond repair and due to editing from the projectionist himself, other parts were simply missing.  Still quite the find!  The last film that he directed came in 1920 with Sky-Eye.  The last film that he wrote for was his first production credit and the first sound film that he had worked on; The Face On The Barroom Floor was released by Kennedy's own company in 1932.  The film that he worked on directly was Playthings Of Desire in 1933, which he produced.  He was then hired by Goldwyn to be their studio manager.  Kennedy died on the 20th of October 1953 in Alameda County, California at the age of 66.  There is no information as to his burial or cremation.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017


List Of Lost Films (All Films--Silents Prominently Marked)


Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Crime/Horror
Studio: Julius Hagen Productions
Release Date: 30 May 1932
Director:  Walter Forde
First Billed: Arthur Wontner
Sound: Mono (RCA Photophone)
Black & White
Aspect Ratio:  1:20:1
Technicals:  35mm Spherical (8 reels)
Running Time:  75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes)
Notes:  Back in the early 1990's the British Film Institute started a search for lost British films, they found a cut print of this in France, dubbed into French.  As far as I know, there have been no restoration efforts or plans to release it for home viewing.  The print is not complete, but the film is still basically intact.
Added: 21 June 2017


Country:  USA
Genre: Fantasy
Studio: Universal
Release Date: 25 April 1914
Director: Herbert Benon
First Billed:  Annette Kellerman
Black & White
Filming Locations: IMDb
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1
Technicals: 35mm Spherical (7 Reels)
Running Time: 70 minutes (1 Hour 10 Minutes)
Notes: There are two lengthy fragments that have been confirmed to survive, both were held in foreign films vaults (one in Australia and one in Russia), that may now be in private hands domestically.
Added: 20 June 2017



Country: USA
Genre:  Mystery
Studio:  Weiss Brothers Artclass Pictures
Release Date:  15 December 1929
Director:  Edgar Lewis
First Billed: Robert Warwick
Sound: De Forest Phonofilm
Black & White
Filming Location: New York City
Aspect Ratio: 1:33:1
Technicals: 35mm Spherical (6 Reels)
Running Time: 62 minutes (1 Hour 2 Minutes)
Added: 22 June 2017

Born Today June 20: Leah Baird


Early silver screen star turned screenwriter Leah Baird was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois. Like nearly all of her acting contemporaries of the time, she got her start on the stage.  First as a very young woman on summer stages; and later in traveling companies.  At one point she was acting across from Douglas Fairbanks in a touring show.  This got her noticed by filmmakers, with Vitagraph signing her to a contract.  Her first film was Jean And The Waif in 1910.  She actually began her screenwriting earlier than most suppose, given her later work on Clara Bow films in the 1920's.  Her first writing credit came in 1912 in The Dawning; the scenario was wholly original to her, and she also starred int the film. With her contract up at the end of 1913, she worked at the Independent Moving Picture Company of America, before landing at Universal.  The first film that she made for them was Neptune's Daughter (1914), which is a lost film.  She was popular enough to be featured in Universal's one-reel promotional The Great Universal Mystery featuring the studio's current stars.  After making just the one film for them, she went back to Independent (I'm guessing Universal wouldn't allow her to write--just a guess).  By late 1914, she was back at Vitagraph.  From 1916, she was making films with various studios, including a few back at Universal.  She added a production credit to her name in 1920, serving as the executive producer on Cynthia Of The Minute, a film she helped pen and also starred in.  The film was made in concert with her recently founded Leah Baird Productions and Gibraltar Pictures.  She continued to work in the business through 1927, when she took a break.  The last film that she wrote for in the 1920's came with her adaptation and screenplay for The Return Of Boston Blackie (1927), the film was made at Chadwick.  Her last acting  job in the silent era cam in the short King Harold (1927).  She returned to pen Jungle Bride, an Anita Page talkie, in 1933.  She did not return to acting until the 1940's.  Her appearance in Bullets For O'Hara in 1941 marked her first acting job in a sound picture.  Her last acting job came in 1957 in an uncredited role in The Hard Man, a western.  She then retired for good.  She died in Hollywood in 1971 at the age of 88 on October 3rd from acute anemia.  Her ashes are interred at the famed Hollywood Forever Cemetery in the Haven of Worship located inside the Abbey of Psalms.  Baird was married to film producer Arthur F. Beck.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Born Today June 19: William A. Brady


Early studio exec, silent film presenter and all-round successful promoter William Aloysius Brady was born on this date in San Francisco, California. His early life was marked with his having been kidnapped by his reporter father and taken to New York where is father had been hired as a newspaper writer.  When his father died, a 15 year Brady hitched his way back to the city of his birth.  He got a start on the live stage soon after his return there (1882).  He worked his way up the rung and eventually was given an opportunity to produce a show, but it was a failure.  Not letting this stop him, he single handily secured the rights to another play and produced it, the show became a hit and was given a debut date back in New York City.  This got him off into the world of promoting and he continued in the world of the theater. He became somewhat of a legend on Broadway.  It at this time that he sort of accidentally became a boxing promoter--having introduced one of his well built actors into the the world of boxing.  He had such a role in this during his lifetime, that he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.  This is what lead him into the world of motion pictures--a medium that he had little respect for in terms of narrative story telling--a stage man through and through.  But as a production tool for boxing, the medium, he thought, held great promise.  His first production credit dates from 1897 with The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight, produced by the Veriscope Company and remarkable for it's 20 minutes in time length!  He would not produce another film until 1913, which was another boxing film.  He did make an appearance in a film as a boxing promoter in 1899 in Jefferies-Sharkey Contest. He then formed his own production company in William A . Brady Picture Plays.  The first film made by the company, which he produced, was The Dollar Mark (1914).  In 1914, he became one of the founders, along with Louis J. Selznick and others, of World Film Company.  He served principally as the company's promoter, true to his talents.  In fact he made the company world famous. He stayed with the company until 1918 or 1919 when he left the film business.  He was there long after Selznick had been forced out and took on the role at the company that Selznick carved out for himself later on in Hollywood, as "Presenter"--a promotional technique that Brady basically invented and Selznick copied.  His production company continued to operate on it's own, but he did bring some of the talent he had hired to World Film.  He first cottoned on the idea of the "presenter" when working on a Maurice Tourneur film for the Shubert Film Corp.: A Butterfly On The Wheel (1915).  In 1917, he added director to his list of credits in Beloved Adventuress, a joint production of Peerless and World Film. And, in 1918, he added writer to that list as well with Stolen Orders, one of his "Brady-World" films--a picture co-directed by Harley Knoles.  The last film that he "presented" was Phil-for-Short in 1919.  The last film that he had anything to do with came in 1920 with Life, a Brady-World production that he produced and shadow directed (he also adapted the screenplay for the original play).  By the time of his death on the 6th of January 1950 at the age of 86, he had relocated back to New York City.  He is buried in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (same place as famed writer Washington Irving of Sleepy Hollow fame).  Brady was the father of actress Alice Brady.  

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Born Today June 18: Alfred H. Moses Jr.


Silent film cinematographer Alfred H. Moses Jr. was born on this day in Louisville, Kentucky.  Though mostly known as an early cinematographer of some considerable merit at the Thanhouser Co., and on IMDb only his work at Thanhouser is listed under his name as his earliest jobs on the set; other sources credibly cite that his film career actually started in 1907, though the nature of this work remains unclear.  It is thought that The Arab's Bride (1912) was his first film for Thanhouser.  While there, he earned a reputation for being a very capable general cinematographer with practical early innovations on how to properly shoot a motion picture.  He stayed at the production studio until 1916.  The first film that he made after his contract was up was The Social Secretary (1916) [see poster above] at the Fine Arts Film Co.  He would go on to work at several studios until the end of his career in 1919.  He worked with big and small; everyone from Columbia (Life's Shadows (1916)) to the U.S. Amusement Co. (Whoso Findeth A Wife (1916)).  Interesting, one of the films he made during this time was a Norma Talmadge's Production Co. with By Right Of Purchase (1918)--which, of course, starred Norma Talmadge.  The last film that he shot was The Quickening Flame (1919), produced by World Film.  Strangely, there is no information on his death at all.  No year, no date.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Born Today June 17: Adolphe d'Ennery


French playwright Adolphe Phillippe d'Ennery (sometimes spelled Dennery) was born on this day in Paris.  Though writing before finding success, his first successful drama was published in 1831 and was actually co-penned with another author: Charles Desnoyer.  It would be the first of several successful co-authorships for him (more than a 100 actually).  He was also a novelist (oddly many of his novels were adaptations of his own plays), but it is his plays that he is remembered for today.  The first time his work was used for the basis of a film scenario came in 1902 with the UK produced short A Duel With Knives, ironically based on one of his novels (the film is that not to have survived).  The first time one of his plays was used for film material came just 2 years later with The Voyage Across The Impossible (1904), a film made by none other than Melies.  Probably the most famous silent film to use his writing for a script was D.W. Griffith's own personal adaptation of one d'Ennery's co-authored novels in Orphans Of The Storm (1921), a 2 1/3 hour long epic starring the Gish sisters.  The first sound film to be produced from his work came in 1932 with It Happened In Paris.  One of his plays was first adapted for a television movie in 1957 in the Soviet Union in Don Sezar de Bazan.  The most recent use came in 2011, again made for television; this time a stage performance of an opera that he and Louis Gallet wrote the libretto for.  Le Cid was a French production.  He died in the city of his birth of the 25th of January 1899 at the age of 87.  He is buried in Pare Lachaise.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Born Today June 16: Elaine Hammerstein


Silent film actress Elaine Hammerstein was born on this day in Philadelphia.  She was the granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein; and her father Arthur was a prominent opera producer.  She made her Broadway premiere in 1913 at the age of 17.  Two years later she made her film debut in World Film's The Moonstone, based on the Wilkie Collins book of the same name.  Before she appeared in a film role, she had appeared to two filmed appearances as herself in 1914.  She was active during the years 1915-1926 in the film industry.  She married for the second time in 1926 and retired from acting because of that (she as previously been married to Alan Crosland).  The last film that she appeared in was Ladies Of Leisure (1926), a Columbia Pictures film.  Tragically, she was killed just outside of Tijuana Mexico in a horrible car crash on August 13 along with her husband and their three passengers.  Her and her husband were both buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles at the same time.  She was 51 years of age, her husband was 66. Curiously, her gravestone is not marked with the birthday that appears on her birth certificate.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Born Today June 15: Guy Coombs


Silent film actor Guy Coombs was born on this day in Washington D.C. Coombs got his start on the stage, as did most of the early silent film actors.  Although he would go under contract to Kalem, Coombs actually got his start at the Edison Company.  The first film that he appeared in was Nell's Last Deal in 1911.  By 1912, he was firmly ensconced at Kalem, with The Express Envelope (1911) being the first film that he acted in for them.  His first films for Kalem were largely under the direction of in-house director Kenean Buel.  In 1914 he added director to his credits with A Diamond In The Rough, which he directed for Kalem.  In all he directed 5 films between 1914 and 1915.  He stayed with Kalem until the middle of 1916, when he became a sort of free agent (though he had been acting in a few independent gigs before his departure).  In 1917 he met up with another Edison alumnus, when he acted in Bab's Diary, which was directed by J. Searle Dawley and produced by Famous Players.  The last film that he acted in was in the 1922 That Woman.  After this, he retired.  Coombs remained in his new found home of Los Angeles until his death on the 29th of December 1947 at the age of 65.  He is buried in The Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.  For a very brief period in 1916 he was married to silent film actress Anna Q. Nilsson.  

Shared grave at The Evergreens in Brooklyn. Coombs inscription hidden in grass growth.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Born Today June 14 (Not So Silent Edition) : Cliff Edwards


Clifton Avon Edwards, who would later be known as "Ukulele Ike" was born in Hannibal, Missouri to a family with much means.  Edwards left school at the age of 14 and moved first to St. Louis and then to St. Charles, Missouri.  In both places he worked to make ends meet by performing as a singer in saloons.  Since many of these places either had broken pianos, or none at all, he taught himself to play the Ukulele to have accompaniment to his singing.  This is when he was dubbed and billed at "Ukulele Ike" by a club owner.  He began to float into the realm vaudeville, and soon found himself on the stages of New York, via Chicago, with headlining acts.  There he also performed with the famous and wildly successful Ziegfeld Follies.  In 1919, he made his first phonograph recording.  From there on, he consistently made further phonograph recordings, some that focused on scat jazz singing.  This led to a contract with Pathe Records, a music division of one of the first companies to enter the motion picture industry.  During the 1920's he gained more and more popularity.  His first film appearance came in 1929 in Marianne a fully mono early talkie with sound provided by Western Electric.  He made 1 additional film in 1929 with full sound provided by Western Electric.  He also became a major voice on radio.  During the 1920's he had amassed a small fortune. After his film debut, he had a long appearance in film, mostly in shorts throughout the rest of his career.  In the mid-1950's he got into television voice work as the voice of Disney's Jiminy Cricket, which was the character that would dominate the rest of his career.  Suffering from substance abuse, including extremely heavy smoking, along with the squandering of his money, by the early 1960's he found himself in real straits.  He was said to have hung around the Walt Disney studios hoping to find work during this period of time.  By the time of his death on the 17th of July from cardiac arrest brought on by heart disease, he was living penniless in a convalescent hospital--he was 76.  Sadly his body went unclaimed and was donated to science at UCLA.  When the Disney corp. found out about this, they put a plan in place to pay to have his body released to them for burial.  In the end, this was paid for by the Actor's Fund of America and Disney paid for the burial marker.  He was then buried in Valhalla Memorial Park.  Disney was careful to include his vaudeville nickname on the marker.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Born Today June 13: Basil Rathbone


British cinema sensation Philip St. John Basil Rathbone was born on this date in Johannesburg, South Africa.  He was born to British parents: his mother a violinist and his father a mining engineer--a member of the Liverpool Rathbone family.  When he was just three years old, the family was forced to flee the country for Great Britain because his father had been accused his father Edgar was accused by the Boers of being a spy. In England, Rathbone attended Repton school, which was located in Derbyshire from the year 1906 to 1910.  Though, despite his father's wishes that he take up a traditional career--and he did work for a time in the insurance industry--he was too enamored of the stage to keep to that plan long.  He made his stage debut in July of 1911 in Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew.  The production was undertaken by the company of his cousin Frank Benson.  The company of contracted to tour the U.S. performing various works by Shakespeare in 1912 and Basil Rathbone went with them.  Upon his return to Britain, he acted in both the Savoy and the Shaftesbury Theater, again Shakespeare plays.  After this he again toured with Benson's company, this time in the U.K.  At the outbreak of World War I, he was called up as a private to serve in London Scottish Regiment of the Army in 1915.  In 1916, after completing basic training, he received a commission with ranking of lieutenant.  He served as an intelligence officer, not at first seeing much action, but after his younger brother was killed in action, he undertook very dangerous and delicate recon excursions to map enemy positions.  He eventually attained the ranking of Captain.  He returned to the stage in 1919 in Straford-upon-Avon and then at the Queen's Theater in London.  By 1920, he was back at the Savoy.  Rathbone made his first film appearance in 1921 with Innocent, produced by the UK company Stoll.  He quickly followed that with another Stoll film The Fruitful Vine (1921).  He made two more silent films in England (The School For ScandalThe Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots--both in 1923), before leaving for the United States.  By October of 1923, he was appearing on the stage in New York; almost immediately he became a Broadway sensation.  By 1925, he was once again touring in the U.S.  He appeared in his first film states-side in 1924 with Trouping With Ellen.  He made two more silent films in U.S. (The Masked Bride (1925) & The Great Deception (1926)) before making his first sound film in 1929--The Last Of Mrs. Cheyney, a Norma Shearer dramady.  Though, he started to become more recognizable in films during the 1930's, playing in a variety of genres from swashbucklers to horror, he also continued his stage career as well.  He returned to the UK in the early 1930's for this express purpose.  What he is by far and away remembered most for is his role in a series of Sherlock Holmes films the first of which was The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1939, with Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.  He also did some voice over work during his lifetime, famously voicing the Policeman and providing the narration in the "Mr. Toad" section of The Adventures Of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949).  Rathbone made his television debut that same year on the series The Ford Theatre Hour in the episode "On Borrowed Time".  From then, he was seen frequently in guest appearances on television throughout the 1950's.  The last film that he appeared in during his lifetime was the horror/comedy spoof Hillbillys In A Haunted House, released in May 1967.  The last film that he appeared in was released after his death; Autopsia de un fantasma, a Mexican horror/comedy monster film was released in November 1968.  Rathbone died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 75 on the 21st of July 1967 in New York.  He is interred in a crypt in the Shrine of Memories mausoleum at Ferncliff Cemetery with is located in Hartsdale, New York (Judy Garland is interred near by).  As a point of trivia: Rathbone was a cousin of Major Henry Rathbone, who was present at the shooting of President Abraham Lincoln; Major Rathbone was seriously wounded in the attack in a vain attempt to stop John Wilkes Booth.  Basil Rathbone was twice nominated for an Oscar.  

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Born Today June 12: Roi Cooper Megrue


Broadway mover and shaker Roi Cooper Megrue was born on this day in New York City.  He started out as a writer specializing in dramatic plays.  As many of his plays were staged, he got deeper into the world of Broadway, becoming a producer and a director (usually as a co-director)--often getting his newest plays on the street as soon as they were finished.  His years active on Broadway spanned between 1912 and 1921.  Eventually the successes of the staged plays lead to interest in the film business to use his plays for scenarios in motion pictures. The first of these came in 1916 with Under Cover, produced by the Famous Players.  In all, 5 films using his work for screenplays were made during the silent era.  The first sound film to use his work came in 1931 with It Pays To Advertise.  The most recent film to use his work is The Bachelor in 1999.  Megrue died young in his birth city of New York on the 27th of February 1927 at the age of 44.  He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx next to his mother.

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Born Today June 11: Mrs. Humphrey Ward


Austrailio/British writer Mary Augusta Ward (nee Arnold), who published under her married name of Mrs. Humphrey Ward, was born on this date in Hobart, Australia (located on the island of Tasmania).  Her family was heavily peopled with both writers and teachers.  In 1856, her father converted to Roman Catholicism, which made him deeply unpopular locally and unwelcome in the school that he worked in, so the family was forced to relocate to England.  Mary herself was educated in a serious of boarding schools in the United Kingdom.  She was also self-educated, especially in languages.   In 1872, she married Humphrey Ward, and for the first nine years of their marriage they lived in Oxford.  Her first forays into writing came in 1877, when she wrote a series of biographies of early Spanish ecclesiastics; by 1885, she added translation to her list of talents.  Her first publications came in a series of articles that she wrote for Macmillan's Magazine.  At the same time she went to work writing a book for children.  At this point in her life, she began writing novels--which tended to be high on Victorian morals.  Before long she was famous in her adopted country, and it did not take much more time for her fame to spread to the United States.  One of the things that she was known for was adamant stance against women gaining the vote in the UK and she was one the most high profile woman in the Anti-Suffrage movement.  Curiously, during World War I, then President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt asked to undertake writing a series of articles aimed at informing the citizens of this country what was going in her country.  This resulted in three books.  Only four films have been made of her work and all of them were in the silent era.  Her morality soon fell out of fashion and, along with it, so did her novels.  The first film made her work came in 1916 with The Marriage Of William Ashe from her novel of the same name--the film was produced by Hepworth in the UK.  The next film made from her work was Missing (1918) and was based on one of her novels set during World War I; it was the first film of her work produced states-side.  The third film made from her work was Lady Rose's Daughter and was produced by the Famous Players-Lasky Corp. and came out in 1920.  The last film (so far) to use one of her novels as script material was an American remake of The Marriage Of William Ashe produced by the Metro Pictures Corp. and was released in 1921.   Ward died in London, England on the 26th of March 1920 at 68 years of age.  She was interred in St. John The Baptist churchyard in a small village in Hertfordshire, near her beloved country estate.  

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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Born Today June 10: George Loane Tucker


All round early silent "do it all" George Loane Tucker was born on this day in Chicago; his mother was a well known stage actress there, so the "business" was pretty much in his blood.  Despite this, he attended and graduated from the University of Chicago and went to work for the railroad, working as a clerk.  He was eventually promoted to Contracting Freight Agent--he was in his early 20's at the time, making him the youngest person to be promoted to that position.  He quit the job though after his first wife died in childbirth.  Due to the influence of his mother's career and the fact that motion pictures were beginning to be viewed as a form of mass entertainment, he decided to try his hand at acting.  The first film he acted in was The Awakening Of Bess in 1909.  He then got into scenario writing, his first script was produced in Their First Misunderstandings (1911), a film that he also shadow directed, and starred Mary Pickford.  The film became a hit--one the first so-called "blockbusters."  The first film that he directed on his own also came in 1911 with Dangerous Lines.  By far and away his most important film was Traffic In Souls (1913), a film dealing with the subject of white slavery (sex slavery); which was also his first feature length film.  The film became a runaway hit, earning well over a million dollars in profit.  This firmly established his prowess as a film maker and crafter.  He was hired by the London Film Company to be their director general, so he relocated to England.  While there, he met his second wife, British actress Elisabeth Risdon.  For that house, he directed the very first film adaptation of the novel The Manxman (1916), filmed on location on the Isle Of Man (the film would later be remade in 1929 by Alfred Hitchcock--one his last silent films).  It was one of the first British film to have distribution in the United States, and once again, Tucker found himself with another hit on his hands.  He returned to the U.S. in 1916 and became the director general for Goldwyn Pictures.  His 1917 The Cinderella Man, which became that studios most profitable film of that year.  Continuing on with success after success, his most well remembered film (and his most profitable) was made in 1919; The Miracle Man starred Lon Chaney Sr. He had by this time relocated to Hollywood. The last film that he made was Ladies Must Live (1921) (Tucker also had a credit each as editor and producer to his name from the late 1910's).  Tucker died at the very young age of 41 on June, 20 1921, after some sort of long undisclosed illness.  He is buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery.  In all, he had directed nearly 70 films.  

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Born Today June 9: Marion Leonard


American stage and very early film actress Marion Leonard was born on this day in Cincinnati, Ohio.  And it was in Cincinnati that she began her stage career.  She eventually wound up working in the New York area and was signed to a contract with the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company in 1908 at the age of 27.  She made her film debut that same year in At The Crossroads Of Life, a film written by soon to be directing sensation D. W. Griffith.  One of the films that she appeared in that is most remembered today in D. W. Griffith's 1909 The Sealed Room, basically Griffith's only horror film.  With her contract up in 1910, she went to work with Reliance Films; most probably the first film that she made for them was The Gray Of The Dawn (1910).  She did return to work at Biograph for a time, because she had begun a relationship with one of their most important behind-the-scenes writers and over-all mover and shaker Stanner E. V. Taylor.  By 1914, the now married couple had started their own production house in the Marion Leonard Film Company; The Rose Of Yesteryear (1914) appears to be their first film.  The last film that she appeared in before retiring from regular acting was directed by her husband; The Dragon's Claw was released in 1915.  As far as Internet Movie Database in concerned, this is where her film appearances ended, but she was persuaded--in her mid-40's--to return to make at least one (possibly more) appearance in a 1926 Mack Sennett film.  She died on the 9th of January 1956 at the Motion Picture and Television Country House & Hospital  in Woodland Hills, California.  Sadly there is no information as to her burial or cremation. 

In Griffith's The Sealed Room

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Born Today June 8: Charles Reade


Enlgish novelist and playwright Charles Reade was born on this date in Ipsden, England (located in Oxfordshire).  When at university age, he studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, earning a B.A. in 1835.  Immediately following this, he became a fellow of his college.  He subsequently became dean of arts and vice-president of the college, all the while studying the law at the same time.  In 1847 he took a degree of D.C.L. (a legal degree) and was then called to the bar in 1843.  Though he kept his fellowship at Magdalen College for the remainder of his life, he did not live in Oxford; his practice at the bar necessitated that he live in the environs of London.  When Reade began to write, he started writing for the stage, though he did also get into writing novels, he always preferred to write for the live action of the theater.  Reade's works were wildly popular in his lifetime, and he was one of the highest paid writers of his time, but was considered to be a writer of "indecent pulp" by critics and libraries.  He also had obvious character flaws in his private life as well.  He disowned his adopted daughter when she ran away with an actor--someone she likely would never had met if not for her father--when she was 16 years of age.  The relationship quickly dissolved, but he refused to ever acknowledge her again.  She herself became a stage actress, acting in stage adaptation of one her father's novels hundreds of times, but eventually wound up destitute and living in a workhouse, which is how her life ended.  By the early twentieth century his work was falling seriously out of fashion;  and almost all of the films made from his work were made during the silent era, with only three made in the 1930's and none after 1937. The first film was the short Peg Woffington (1910), an Edison film, directed by Edwin S. Porter.  In all, 21 films were made from his work between 1910 and 1922, with the last of these being a kind of "mash-up"--Tense Moments From Great Plays was a film from the United Kingdom.  The first sound film using his writing as source material came in 1931 with The Lyons Mail.  The last film made from his work (so far...) is one of my personal favorite Tod Slaughter films; It's Never Too Late To Mend (1937), which is based on his novel of the same name (though it had long been adapted for the stage); it remains one Reade's only real work of social commentary.  Reade died in London on the 11th of April 1884 almost one month to the day from his 70th birthday.  He is buried in St. Mary Churchyard in Willesden, which is in the great London area.  On his burial monument he had all of his life accomplishments listed, making sure that "dramatist" was listed first.

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