Monday, August 14, 2017

Born Today August 14: Horace G. Plympton


Edison studio executive and filmmaker Horace G. Plympton was born on this day in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn.  He was a major studio executive at Edison's Bronx division.  He was also a pioneering cinematographer.  Though not a great deal of biographical material can be found on him, a great deal can be gleaned from his film contracts.  He actually got directly into movie making at the end of Edison's run as a movie studio (only part of it's massive business), which closed down in 1918.  He did have one lone writing credit dating from 1912 for What Happened To Mary (incidentally a film featuring the great Charles Ogle).  He didn't have another writing credit until 1917 (busy as he was the day to day studio workings) and that came with Her Scrambled Ambition.  He was directly involved in cinematography for the first time in 1918 with Why I Would Not Marry , which was actually made for Fox.  It seems that he was signed to a contract at Fox, so this would have been after the movie division of Edison had been phased out.  He directed his first film in 1919 with The Stream Of Life, under the auspices of his own production company, located in his own studio in Yonkers (note: I have no way of verifying this at this time, but it would appear that he may have bought or leased the property from Edison).  As a cinematographer he stayed at Fox through 1922, but as a director he seemed to have been more of a free agent.  The last three films that he is known to have worked on (as a cinematographer) was with companies other than Fox.  His last known or credited film came in 1925 with Play Ball, a serial that was made for Pathé Exchange and filmed at the famed Algonquin Hotel in NYC.  After this, history does not record (for now) what became of Plympton; there is not even so much as a death record for him.  Still he made a mark on the early film industry, especially behind the scenes at Edison, that deserves to some light shown on it.  

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