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.  

For More:

Leave Virtual Flowers @ Find A Grave

No comments:

Post a Comment