Anticipating Prohibition: Week of May 24th, 1919

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LA Times’ front page, July 1, 1919

One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley wrote about one possible side effect of Prohibition:

Now we learn what is to become of all the erstwhile liquor men after July 1! * They’re going to turn into picture exhibitors! And I suppose the bar-keepers will be ticket-takers. At least so it would appear from the reports from every part of the country. This would seem to be a good occupation for the liquor men to fall into, inasmuch as they are following their customers, who have been deserting the saloons for pictures anyhow.

Theater owners were full of optimism at that time. Kingsley noted “the tendency all over the country is toward enlarging the picture exhibiting fields, whether due to prohibition or not.” Trade papers published articles collecting the opinions of people about the future of the film business, and they were looking forward to a windfall because potential customers would have lots of money that they weren’t spending on alcohol.

It looks like the idea of saloonkeepers going in to film exhibition came from Carl Laemmle in Moving Picture Weekly. He told them that ten years earlier when he wanted to expand his film exchange in Illinois, the state prohibited alcohol sales so he convinced 200 bar owners to make over their establishments into theaters and both sides prospered. Of course, it was much easier to turn a bar into a nickelodeon than it would have been to convert one into the sort of posh theater that filmgoers were becoming accustomed to by 1919. In the same article, S.L. Rothapfel, manager of several New York theaters, agreed with him, saying “many people who are in the liquor business are getting out of it and going into the movies instead. The liquor business is absolutely dead.” So perhaps some of them did become exhibitors.

Both men were absolutely certain about what would happen next. Laemmle said “there is no question that the closing of the saloons will increase patronage at moving picture theaters. Men seek amusement when the day’s work is done. Many now find it in the saloon and in the companionship which they find in the saloon. When the saloons close on July 1 they will naturally go to the Movies.” Rothapfel was equally optimistic: “the big future of the motion picture is being made all the bigger by prohibition…It is plainly true that wherever other places of entertainment are closed the motion picture theater profits; and this is especially the case in the matter of the saloon.”

Wid’s Year Book for 1919 included a round up of opinions, and many film producers were similarly looking forward to increased profits. Isidore Bernstein said, “there is no question in my mind that fifty per cent of the money spent on booze will find its way into the box office of the moving picture theater.” Samuel Goldwyn contributed “regardless of what attitude one may have towards prohibition, it is certain that an impartial observation of the fact must show that the immense amount formerly spent in liquor will be in large proportion hereafter go to amusement enterprises.” However, D.W. Griffith had a warning: “effects of prohibition fine at present, but would not chortle too soon as reformers released from that job will be busy with other alleged reforms that may include a censorship on motion pictures.”

Despite their hopes, Prohibition didn’t cause massive movie profits according to historian Michael Lerner on Ken Burns’ Prohibition site. Other expected results that didn’t happen included big increases in clothing, household goods, chewing gum, grape juice and soft drink sales, nor did real estate values near the closed saloons go up.

It’s kind of sweet: people in the film business had so much faith in law-abiding citizens as well as law enforcement that they didn’t predict the illicit trade in alcohol and the rise in organized crime.

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Sid Grauman

Optimism in the future of the film business affected one local theater owner who was increasing his empire:

Sid Grauman yesterday [May 28th] made known the fact that he is about to build a theater in Hollywood. The new picture house will be a palatial affair costing more than $200,000 and will seat 2200…Every possible convenience and comfort will be provided to patrons in the new theater, work on which will be begun within a short time.

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Construction of the new theater took longer than he’d probably thought it would, but the Egyptian was finally ready in 1922 and Grauman had a huge gala opening on October 18th. The first film shown was Douglas Fairbanks’ Robin Hood. It was an impressive event, with speeches delivered by everyone from the mayor to Charlie Chaplin as well as an elaborate prologue featuring over 200 performers in costumes borrowed from the Fairbanks Studio on a duplicate of the Nottingham Castle set.

Edwin Schallert, then the LA Times film critic, attended, and he remembered to mention the new theater in his glowing and florid review of the film (which was “the great picture of the year”):

There is nothing of garishness about the interior. There is naught to distract the eye from the shadowy stage which is the playhouse raison d’etre. Lights and decorations all contribute to the spell of reserved grandeur. The sphinxes that adorn the proscenium imply that silence which is the tribute of appreciation for the visual drama. The Egyptian inscription, perhaps, suggests that mystic incantation of light which gives life to the shadowed surface of the silver sheet. Over all hangs a glorious jeweled sunburst that heralds perhaps the new dawn of the fluent art of the film.

The Egyptian Theater is still there, and has been the home of the American Cinematheque since 1998. The building is staying current with the times: as of April 2019 Netflix is in negotiations to buy it.

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Dorothy Gish

This week Kingsley gave us an idea of just how popular Dorothy Gish was — teenaged girls were imitating her:

You have heard of the Gibson girl stride, of the Laurette Taylor slouch, and now we have the Gish gambol. All the girls are doing it! It’s a combination of a new form of physical exercise and a social accomplishment—like dancing that way. So when you observe a cutie dancing about like a kitten on a hot griddle, expressing nothing except youth and pep, she isn’t really troubled with any nervous disorder, she’s merely gishing, in her artless, girlish way.

In particular, they were imitating her “Little Disturber” character in Hearts of the World. There were age restrictions (between 16 and 20) and there was a uniform too: bobbed hair covered by a tam-o-shanter, a plain skirt and a shapeless little sweater. But the main attribute was “you never, on any account, stand still for a minute.” I feel tired just reading the description. However, if you’d like to try gishing, you can find a pattern for the proper hat at Movies Silently.

Kingsley included a snapshot of how they made films then this week. At the Goldwyn studio:

Geraldine Farrar and Mabel Normand are both acting in the same glass studio. Miss Farrar, at one end of the stage, is playing tragedy to the music of a moaning cello, ever and anon slipping over the organ which is always a part of a Farrar set, and sitting down to play snatches of grand opera. On the other end of the stage Mabel Normand is playing comedy with a jazz band accompaniment. So far no casualties are reported.

Hollywood was able to mix all sorts of art together.

 

*While the Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution prohibiting alcohol sales went into effect on January 17, 1920, the temporary Wartime Prohibition Act banning the sale of beverages with more than 1.28% alcohol went into effect on June 30, 1919, even though the war was over. So Prohibition effectively started then.

 

“Prohibition Coming—We Should Worry!” Moving Picture Weekly, February 1, 1919.

“What of Prohibition?” Wid’s Year Book, 1919.

Edwin Schallert, “Robin Hood a Superb Film,” Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1922.

“New Theater Policies are Announced,” Los Angeles Times, October 8, 1922.

“Workmen are Busy,” Los Angeles Times, September 28, 1922.

Week of July 13th, 1918

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Sid Grauman, 1927

One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley had a big news flash:

An announcement of much importance to the film world was made yesterday [July 16th], when Sid Grauman announced the fact that he and his father, D.J. Grauman, are on the eve of incorporating as motion-picture producers, and also that they are building a new theater here.

They planned to incorporate as the Grauman Feature Players Company within the next three months, and renovate an existing studio. Sid Grauman told her that by being a theater owner, he’d learned a lot about what the public wanted in films. He outlined his plan for success:

In the first place, he declares he means to give all the time possible to the making of his pictures, producing only three or four a year; and, while he states he does not have in mind the engaging of any well-known stars, he means to select first-class actors and actresses, but will lay stress on the directorial end. In fact, he believes that the director and the role make the star. In the second place, he means that all his picture stories shall have the quality of timeliness, and, therefore—providing the war lasts so long—his first picture will have a war background.

As to his stories, Mr. Grauman states his present plan is to buy widely-read novels and stories, rather than depending on original scenarios, as he has discovered from experience that stories which have been widely read have much greater drawing power and box-office response than pictures founded on the so-called original scenarios. The length of pictures will vary form five to seven reels, or may even be shorter, depending on the nature of the story.

Sid Grauman never did become a film producer. Maybe he learned it was easier said than done, or the postwar recession put a damper on his plans.

However, he did build that new theater. It just took longer than he’d hoped. In 1918 he was negotiating a site in downtown Los Angeles, and he promised Kingsley it would be even more palatial than his Million Dollar Theater. By 1919 he had bought a lot at Sixth and Hill Streets in downtown Los Angeles. There he built Grauman’s Metropolitan Theater, which opened on January 26, 1923. Just a year later he sold it to Paramount. There’s lots more information about the Metropolitan at the Historic Los Angeles Theaters website.

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The show she described was a little different from the Sunday ad.

Or perhaps he skipped becoming a producer because he didn’t need more work. From Kingsley’s description of his theater’s show this week, it seems like he was already busy enough booking entertainment:

As usual, the Grauman bill offers a tremendous lot for your money. In addition to the feature there are a Keystone comedy Ladies First, a vocal offering by a lovely brunette lady whose name does not appear on the program, a war sketch with stage setting in which a handsome tenor first sings about “Going Over the Top,” and then does it to the accompaniment of war fireworks, a snappy little set of war epigrams from the Literary Digest’s cullings from various newspapers, and a stunning travelogue which somehow manages, while showing wild mountains and wild animals, to have a flavor of intimacy through the introduction of some people which reach right out from the screen and carry you along with them in their travels.

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The feature she mentioned was The Kaiser’s Shadow, which Kingsley called “a felicitous combination of war play and mystery drama.” It starred Dorothy Dalton and Thurston Hall as “spies spying on spies.” 15-35 cents (plus 10% war tax) bought plenty of entertainment!

Kingsley mentioned that Polly Moran, “one of Sennett’s main standbys,” was returning to vaudeville for a sensible reason:

“Me for the easy job,” said Polly the other day. “Half my front teeth are missing as a sacrifice to art, and due to the same cause I’ve got a phony knee. I’m tired of having my eye kicked out and my ears torn out by the roots. I’m going back to the easy life where all you have to do is two or three shows a day!”

Sennett was tough on actors! Moran did do a tour of the Orpheum circuit and Sime Silverman of Variety caught her twelve-minute act in New York City that November.* He enjoyed it and wrote a detailed summary. Earlier on the bill they showed one of her Sheriff Nell shorts, then

Polly herself showed next to closing, all dressed up, with a velvet slouch hat of the tammy style and a wig. When Polly grew tired of it, she took it off. Then she was a brunet. Meanwhile she sang parodies, mostly, set to familiar and popular melodies. She also kidded her pictures, after chasing the spot around the stage. In a parody on “My Rosary,” Polly brought out some knitting, and, holding it up, sang to “My Hosiery.” Her last number was a straight song, probably called “The Folks that Won the War.” It’s an excellently written lyric and misses no one in the mention. The song gave Polly a big getaway….Polly Moran, in her semi-nut impromptu way, makes a good single, with or without her celluloid rep. She can get across big time.

In 1920 she returned to film, making more Sherriff Nell two-reelers for National Film. She continued in film until 1940; her career high point was the eight popular MGM feature-length comedies she co-starred in with Marie Dressler from 1927-1933.

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Al Jolson

Kingsley had a story about one of the biggest vaudeville stars at that time:

Al Jolson is to stop off and so some pictures in this city, it is rumored, during his western tour of the Coast. He is said to have been offered $50,000 for one picture.

This turned out to just be some producer’s wishful thinking. Jolson had appeared in an untitled 1916 film for Vitagraph made for the Policeman’s Benefit Fund. He didn’t have anything to do with the movies again until 1923, when he agreed to make a film with D.W. Griffith. However, he backed out before filming was finished. He kept busy as a singing star until 1926 when he appeared in a Vitaphone sound short, A Plantation Act, which led to The Jazz Singer (1927) and the end of cinema. Oh well, if it hadn’t been him, it would have just been somebody else.

 

*Sime., “Polly Moran. Songs and Talk,” Variety, Nov. 22, 1918.

Week of February 23rd, 1918

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One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley visited the set of the next Mary Pickford film, M’liss. The twenty-five year old star did a good job of reminding fans that she was an adult who only played the part of a child:

“There are such a lot of stunts I always wanted to do when I was a youngster, and mother wouldn’t let me. Now she can’t help herself, when it’s in the cause of art, and whenever I get a new picture, I beg them to put in some of these stunts. I always wanted to ride bareback, and when I was a little kid, and used to visit my aunt in Canada, she let me go out to the ranch and ride to my heart’s content, but as soon as mother came, it was all off. I’m doing some wild bareback riding that I learned in my childish days in Canada, and I’m also getting the sling-shot fever out of my system.

You see when I was little, they always used to let Jack, my brother, have a sling-shot, and we used to play Goliath and David. He wanted awfully to be the giant, but he also wanted to keep the sling-shot, but finally, though torn between the two desires, I got him to let me be David, and we cracked mother’s new mirror and I accidentally killed a bird—I couldn’t have hit it if I had tried—and after that no more sling-shots for me until this picture.”

Her childhood was firmly in the past. This is also much rosier picture than what her life was actually like when she was young. Her father died when she was six and her brother was 18 months old, and she had been an actress to help support her family since she was seven. But that story wouldn’t have helped publicized M’Liss. Pickford knew what the public wanted to hear.

Unfortunately, Kingsley still wrote about her as a child:

M’liss is being rushed through to completion on account of some mysterious mission which Miss Pickford has in the East in connection with Red Cross activities, and which promises to be quite the biggest mission such a little girl ever had to perform.

That ‘little girl’ was embarking on the third Liberty Loan drive and according to her biographer Eileen Whitfield she outsold Chaplin and Fairbanks. Moreover, “a single speech in Pittsbugh was reported to have raised five million dollars.” (p. 180)

M’Liss is available on DVD, and Fritzi Kramer has a modern review of it on Movies Silently. She found it “a curious mix of humor, death and jaw-dropping inappropriateness.”

At the Million Dollar Theater, owner Sid Grauman experimented with a new way to get customers in the door:

Almost the entire cast of Flare Up Sal, a Thomas Ince production starring Dorothy Dalton, has been engaged to appear in a special prologue to the play. This prologue, arranged by Mr. Grauman and rehearsed under his direction by the original company with the big orchestra and organ, will reproduce scenes in the ‘Loo-Loo Bird,’ the notorious dance hall of the old mining camp of Jimtown…Many of the stage settings for these scenes have been obtained from the original sets in the Ince Studios, and the members of the company wear the costumes in which they appeared before the camera.

This was Grauman’s first prologue. He continued to feature them at his theaters because they worked: he stayed in business when so many others didn’t.

Flare Up Sal told the story of a dance hall singer in a California gold rush camp. She falls in love with a bandit disguised as the new town minister. Complications ensue, but after the saloon burns down they leave town, resolving to reform. L.A. Times film critic Antony Anderson commended its “wild midnight rides, escapes, gunfights, fires, adventures that stir the blood and quicken the pulse.” The film survives at the Library of Congress.

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Kingsley told a humbling story from Roscoe Arbuckle:

While crossing the continent recently Fatty was enjoying life and everything in the prospect of getting back to his native sunny California. Shortly after leaving New York along came a sour-visaged conductor in his ticket expedition. Fatty extracted one of those lengthy strips of paper which the railroads are pleased to call tickets and handed it to the conductor. As that worthy individual glanced at the name he remarked:

“Oh your name is Arbuckle?”

“Yes,” acknowledged Fatty, trying to appear modest.

“Well, I’ll declare,” said friend conductor, “this is the first time I’ve met up with that Arbuckle coffee name in years.”

Arbuckle concluded, “fame is not all it’s cracked up to be.”

With this little story I stumbled into the history of American coffee. It seems that before the 1860’s when John Arbuckle invented a glaze that allowed roasted coffee to stay fresh, people had to buy green coffee beans and roast them at home. This wasn’t just another chore in the morning: coffee burns easily so people were drinking some horrible stuff. Arbuckle’s Coffee other innovation was selling it in convenient one pound sacks. The company is still in business.

Week of January 26th, 1918

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One hundred years ago this week, Grace Kingsley offered a preview of yet another movie palace to open in downtown Los Angeles, Grauman’s Million Dollar Theater:

The moment you step out of the work-a-day world into the outer foyer the charm of the place is upon you. There, lining either side wall, are two immense mural paintings in pastel shades but of heroic design. Then there’s the handsome lobby, from which lead wide stairways to the mezzanine, which is heavily carpeted and which yields visions of tapestries, statuary and mural panting in bold and brilliant design.

Ah, but it is the long vista of Gothic arched galleries which will charm you into some age-old dream. And a surely as you have imagination, this dim, beautiful vista, whose somewhat severe beauty is relieved only by the classic sweep of its arches, the soft carpets and half a dozen niched bronze statues, will carry you back to some feudal castle of long ago, and you’ll forget that butter has gone up and that street assessments are due.

The carvings, murals and statuary together re-told John Ruskin’s “The King of the Golden River,” which she thought was quaint and delightful, and it gave “a romantic quality to the whole decorative scheme.” The story, written in the style of a fairy tale, told of two greedy brothers who abuse their kind younger brother and grow rich through their evil enterprises. The younger brother inherits the money when the elder ones get what they deserve. Ruskin wrote his only work of fiction for his future wife Effie Grey when she was 12 years old (their story has been told many times, most recently in Effie Grey (2014)).

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William S. Hart and Sid Grauman in the new theater

The opening film was The Silent Man with William S. Hart, who made a personal appearance. There was also had a special musical program for that night, with a thirty-piece orchestra, a guest organist, Jessie Crawford, and a coloratura soprano from La Scala named Lina Reggian, who was beginning an engagement of several weeks. All the stars in Hollywood turned out for the event, including Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Roscoe Arbuckle and the Gish sisters. The line to get in was four abreast, jammed like sardines, and it stretched more than two blocks down Broadway.*

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From the bad old days

It’s remarkable how much movie viewing had changed in a very short time. Kingsley included a picture of what theaters were recently like:

Remember the picture houses we used to attend only four short years ago? Dark, smelly little holes in the wall, most of them, at the door of which a mechanical orchestrion ground out a dreary round of tunes which didn’t pretend to have any relation whatever to the picture or its theme…and where seats on the sawdust-covered aisle were much sought by the tobacco-chewing fraternity.

Nowadays, cell phones in theaters are bad, but at lest we don’t have men spitting in the aisles! She contrasted this with a trip to the cinema in 1918:

It’s getting so nowadays when a friend asks you to go and see a picture, you take for granted the invitation includes a lot of other things. There’s a concert by a symphony orchestra, a loitering trip through long vistas of gallery fitted up with pictures and statuary, a smoke (if you wish) and a bit of a flirtation in the luxurious lounging parlor, even a nice dish of lady-like tea if you desire.

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Grauman needed lots of customers

The Million Dollar Theater was the third 2500-3000 seat venue to open in the previous year at a time when the population of Los Angeles was only 576,673, according to the L.A. Almanac. While people went out to the movies more often then now, that was a lot of seats to fill. It’s no wonder that the owners of the other recently opened big theater, the Kinema, couldn’t make a profit and sold it in 1919.

 

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Sid Grauman, 1920

Sid Grauman had much better luck. The Million Dollar (reports were that it cost that much) was his first theater in Los Angeles. He had gotten his earliest experience as a theater builder in Dawson City during the Klondike Gold Rush (as you probably saw in Frozen Time), and he and his father went on to operate several more in the San Francisco area. He was to build the Egyptian Theater (1921) and the Chinese Theater (1927) in Hollywood.

Grauman was busy with his Hollywood theaters so he sold the Million Dollar to Paramount in 1924. It had a variety of owners until 1950, when Frank Fouce bought it and made it a Spanish-language film and stage venue. Grace Kingsley was still writing for the Times, and she attended that grand opening too:

Like a blooming matron with lifted face and full of vitamins, the handsome, durable Million Dollar renews her youth. Beautiful decorations and furnishings make the place glamorous. It recalls that first opening on February 18, 1918**, when Sid Grauman brought myriads of stars to the theater…On that occasion, too, just like last night, crowds blocks long waited to get into the theater. The late Antony Anderson, critic, fairly lifted this reviewer out of a crowd that threatened to crush her.***

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She also really enjoyed the Cantinflas film that opened it, Puerta, Joven. (aka El Portero) Even without English subtitles, “so vivid is his pantomime that it is likely the story can be traced even by non-Spanish speaking spectators.” The film was Cyrano crossed with City Lights.

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The theater became a church in 1993 and was closed in 1998, but it was restored and reopened in 2008. Now it’s available for film shoots, special events, and even occasional film screenings. What’s really amazing is that much of what Kingsley described is still there: the murals are just waiting behind a drop ceiling and covered walls, according to the L.A. Conservancy. Somebody with big bags of money could restore them.

 

 

 

*”Opening’s Brilliant of Million-Dollar Theater,” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 1918.

**It was actually February 1, 1918. Ooops!

***Grace Kingsley, “Gala Premiere Reopens Million Dollar Theater,” Los Angeles Times, August 31, 1950.

 

 

 

Week of October 28th, 1916

 

One hundred years ago this week, on Thursday Grace Kingsley reported that Sid Grauman was planning an “added attraction” on election night at his theater, the Majestic: the presidential election returns (gathered from a private telegraph wire) would be displayed during the musical production, A Night at the World’s Fair. The next day, the Mason Operahouse announced that they would also have a direct wire, and patrons would be able to enjoy orchestra music from seven to midnight while the returns flashed on the screen. By Sunday, all of the theaters announced they would include election news in their programs.

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The crowd at the L.A. Times building, election night, 1916

In 1916 there weren’t many ways to hear the results of the presidential election. People who lived close enough to New York could have heard the first radio broadcast of election results from Dr. Lee De Forest’s lab. But in Los Angeles, besides the theaters and a few restaurants with telegraph lines, people could go to the L.A. Times Building at First and Broadway or to the branch office on Spring Street to see the results projected on screens, or they could telephone the newspaper office for them. The next day the paper reported immense crowds of nearly seven thousand people at each location had gathered to read the bulletins. They also put out multiple editions of the paper throughout the night. Their rival, the Evening Herald, also had a stereopticon bulletin board in front of their office as well as extra night newspapers.

However, this year all of the election watchers were disappointed: it was a very close race between the incumbent Woodrow Wilson and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and nobody knew the final results until the following Wednesday, November 15th. In the November 8th 5 AM edition of the Times, they reported that Hughes had apparently been elected, but they warned that people should wait until more of the returns had been counted. This turned out to be good advice, because the election wasn’t decided until California finished counting ballots. When they did, Wilson won by the state by 3800 votes so he got the state’s 13 electoral votes and won the election.

Kingsley herself wasn’t allowed to vote. California women got the right to vote in local and state elections in 1911, but federal female suffrage didn’t come until 1920.

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J. Warren Kerrigan

Kingsley reported that star J. Warren Kerrigan quit in the middle of filming Lois Weber’s  The Mysterious Mrs. Musselwhite when his contract with Universal expired. They hadn’t come to an agreement about a new contract because Kerrigan wanted more money than they were offering. Universal said that there was “an understanding” that he’d complete the film but Kerrigan said that he’d given twenty days notice and he warned them that they probably wouldn’t finish it in time. According to Variety, Universal sued Kerrigan for $8,000 for breach of verbal agreement, but they never reported on the outcome. The suit was probably dropped.

Kerrigan’s hardball negotiation paid off: he left Universal and got his own production company with Paralta Plays. While his new studio was being built in early 1917, he went on a four month long tour of the United States to keep his name before the public. That’s when he made a comment that damaged his career. In Denver, a reporter asked if he was going to serve in the military and Kerrigan said no, because first “the great mass of men who aren’t good for anything else” should go, not artists like himself. He did continue to make films until 1924 (and he wasn’t drafted), but it hurt his popularity. He had invested in real estate and annuities, so he was able to live comfortably with his partner, James Vincent.

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The Mysterious Mrs. M. with Harrison Ford and Mary MacLaren

Lois Weber recast her film with up-and-coming actor Harrison Ford and re-shot all of Kerrigan’s scenes. It was re-named The Mysterious Mrs. M; Motion Picture News thought it was “a delightful business builder” when it opened in February 1917. The first two reels survive at the Library of Congress.

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Enid Markey

Kingsley’s favorite film this week was War’s Women, (aka The Despoiler or The Awakening) which was a melodrama about the horrors war inflicts on women that was “simple and elemental in its appeal and told with luminous clearness.” Enid Markey starred as a girl who sacrifices herself for the safety of the other women in her community, and Kingsley thought she “raises herself to the topmost rank of screen actresses.”

Markey didn’t get to be at the top rank of actresses, but she did have an exceptionally long career, from originating the role of the Jane in Tarzan of the Apes (1918) to playing Gomer Pyle’s grandmother in television. War’s Women is a lost film.

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Stuart Holmes

Kingsley’s funniest review this week was for Love and Hate, a melodrama about a homewrecker:

Stuart Holmes, the villain de lux of the films, has the proud distinction of being hated and knocked about by more fascinating screen ladies than any other film villain…By the by, Mr. Holmes now wears a toupee, probably the result of always loving the heroine, who, while a sweet woman in other ways, invariably spurns his affection. He’s a good-looking fellow, too, with lots of brains. If he could just keep from falling in love with the heroine, who is usually some other man’s wife, and get a girl of his own, he’d not always have to die in the last reel.

Coincidentally, Mary Murillo wrote Love and Hate and just a few weeks ago she’d written Kingsley favorite film of the week, which shows that a screenwriter can’t win ‘em all. It’s a lost film.

Like Markey, Stuart Holmes also had an exceptionally long career. He played villains through the silent era then moved into bit parts in talkies and television, appearing in over 500 films. He was also a sculptor and his work was on display at the Masquer’s Club and at the Oceanside, Bell and Claremont post offices.