Sunday, September 17, 2017

Born Today September 17: Frank C. Griffin

Griffin is the man sitting on the signing desk.


Silent film director Frank Charles Griffin was born on this day in Norfolk, Virginia.  Griffin started out as an actor in 1911 with a role in Susceptible Dad made for Solax and released as split reel with another comedic short Nearly A Hero.  In 1913, a scenario he penned was produced into a film at Biograph; the comedic short Mr. Spriggs Buys A Dog was directed by Dell Henderson.  The first film that he directed was A Brewerytown Romance a year later, it was made at Lubin Manufacturing, and was yet another comedy short that Griffin wrote.  Between 1914 and 1924, the year of his retirement, he had directed close to 30 films; most of these were what we consider "shorts" today.  In fact, the last film that he directed in the silent era, and before he hung up the director's chair, was his only full length film, and it was co-directed with Charles Hines.  Conductor 1492 was a comedy about a young Irish immigrant played by Johnny Hines, brother of Charles. Griffin did continue to writer for the pictures and contributed to the writing on Ella Cinders (1926).  He has two producer credits to his name from 1927, one of which was a George Archainbaud film.  He returned to directing in the early 1930's, taking up two shorts that he wrote, both starring Chester Conklin.  They represent his only work in direction in sound films.  He continued to write, and was a bit of an early script doctor, up through the mid-1930's.  The last film that he contributed to was Man On The Flying Trapeze (1935), a W. C. Fields film.   He seems to have retired completely after the year 1935; he died in Hollywood on the 17th of March 1953 at the age of 66.  There is no information as his memorial.

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