Sidney Bracy, Marguerite Snow and Florence LaBadie look over thousands of fans' answers to THE MILLION DOLLAR MYSTERY, 1914. (Courtesy of Donald Collins)

As years went on, Thanhouser films became known all over the world. An office was set up in London, and on a contractual basis other agencies as far away as Australia released Thanhouser pictures to thousands of theaters. By 1912, postmarks from every country on the globe were found on mail arriving at the Thanhouser studio.

Several hundred actors and actresses achieved recognition under the Thanhouser banner. Best known were Florence LaBadie, who was the heroine in the 1914 serial, The Million Dollar Mystery, which lived up to its name and earned over a million dollars for its producer, thus making it the most financially successful serial to that point. Florence, a veritable daredevil, leaped from cliffs, jumped from ship railings, and narrowly escaped death dozens of times. Marguerite Snow, Muriel Ostriche, and Mignon Anderson were among other actresses who achieved great fame.

James Cruze, who also appeared in The Million Dollar Mystery, was the male lead in dozens of pictures. A decade after he left Thanhouser, Cruze achieved great recognition in Hollywood, and in the 1920s he received a reported stipend of $6,000 per week, "the most expensive director in Hollywood," according to news releases. William Russell, Morris Foster, Harry Benham, and other actors were well known to movie goers.

Several children achieved worldwide recognition with Thanhouser. At the top of the list was little Marie Eline, who at the age of eight was a true movie star. Reviewers likened the tiny actress' abilities to those of Sarah Bernhart, the grandam of the dramatic stage. Miss Eline was the first player to earn a nickname, "The Thanhouser Kid." Shortly there after, little Helen Badgley, barely six years old, was designated as the "Thanhouser Kidlet" and was seen in many sentimental roles. Then there was Shep, "The Thanhouser Collie," whose specialty was rescuing people from a wide assortment of disasters.


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