MANAGEMENT CHANGES (1913-1915) The Thanhouser parade float in 1913. Features Jean Darnell, Helen Badgley, Marie Eline, Ethyle Cook, Grace Eline, stockholder Wilbert Shallenberger, Muriel Ostriche, Mignon Anderson, Florence LaBadie, Marguerite Snow, Leland Benham and C.J. Hite. (Courtesy of Ralph Graham, M.D.)

In March 1912, nearly a year before the studio fire, Edwin Thanhouser sold his interest to the Mutual Film Corporation, a large enterprise comprised of several other producing companies, and well financed by monetary interests from Chicago. Charles J. Hite, a Chicago film distributor, came to New Rochelle and assumed management, while Edwin Thanhouser, his wife Gertrude, and their two children departed to take an extended "grand tour" of Europe. In August 1914 there occurred two significant events: the first, the World War broke out in Austria, and within a short time Edwin Thanhouser and their family found themselves in danger, went through Switzerland to a port in Italy, and with a number of other frightened American refugees, succeeded in boarding passage on an old Italian ship. Soon they were back in America safe and sound, although not without some exciting adventures on the high seas.

Toward the end of the same month, Charles J. Hite, returning from a business trip to New York City, plunged through a bridge over a viaduct in Upper Manhattan, and was crushed beneath his car, dying a few hours later. From Hite's death through the next eight or nine months, the Thanhouser studio was in limbo. A number of players departed, and the quality of films suffered. The Mutual Film Corporation realized what a success Edwin Thanhouser had been in the years before he sold his interests, and they also realized that Edwin Thanhouser, who was casting about for a new business venture and was thinking of setting up a new film business, would be the logical person to resume management of the existing company which bore his name, what by that time was know as the Thanhouser Film Corporation. He was hired at a very attractive salary, and with enthusiasm returned to the studio in the spring of 1915. For the next two years or so, a number of very important films were released, mostly of the multiple-reel "feature" type. As before, Thanhouser subjects received many favorable reviews for their acting quality and dramatic content.


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