Monday, March 22, 2021

Born Today March 22: Henry Hobart


Silent film producer and studio executive Henry Hobart was born on this day in Brooklyn, New York.  Hobart spent years as the Presidential executive of a studio--Distinctive Productions--long before he had any direct involvement in individual film productions. So when sees that his debut as a producer comes in 1926, it appears that he was late to the film making, which, as it turns out, is simply not the case. By the time he produced Don Juan's 3 Nights under the roof of his own Henry Hobart Productions, he had been in the business for quite a number of years (he also served as the film's "presenter"--which was basically just another function of a producer). Ultimately his company would only produce three films (the other two are: The Crystal Cup and No Place To Go both in 1927) and all of them were distributed by First National. So, it is little surprise that when his company couldn't make an independent go at it, he went work for First National.  He stayed with the company roughly a year (1928), producing a couple of Richard Barthelmess pictures, before moving on to RKO in 1929. At RKO, he became an associate producer. At the new studio, he would immediately go into production on full sound films, the first of which was The Delightful Rogue (1929), utilizing--of course--the RCA Photophone System. He further helped produce two more talkies in late 1929 (Half Marriage & Dance Hall), before the turn of the decade and the coming of sound to almost every other surviving studio in Hollywood. Hobart would go on to be involved in the production of a further thirteen films in 1930 and 1931. Hobart has no active producer credits after the mid-1930's but had always been much more of a behind the scenes kind of executive. He is known to have passed away in the year 1951, probably on the 12th of February, but sources vary as to whether he died in Los Angeles or New York. It is therefore not a surprise that his interment is currently not known. 

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