Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 Mutual Recognizes Edwin Thanhouser

The Morning Telegraph, April 25, 1915, stated:

One of the most important moves in filmdom during the week was the official reception accorded Edwin Thanhouser by the executives of the Mutual Film Corporation. Following his re-entry into the field as the head of the New Rochelle organization, the Mutual officials realized the importance of securing Mr. Thanhouser's co-operation in shaping the policy of the central institution. On Tuesday he was invited to a meeting, and very much to his surprise was made second vice president of the Mutual. Following this he was also elected to the board of directors; then they made him a member of the executive board.

Mr. Thanhouser's experience in film affairs proves him a man of keen foresight, for in the days of his success the waters of filmdom were turbulent. He was forced to take a great deal of time to study the political aspects of the field, and his progressive strategy won him the admiration of his competitors. He mastered the exchange problem in an incredibly short time, and his perception and personality won him phenomenal success. Perhaps the story is best told by the fact that after only a few years of work he was able to retire.

Leon J. Rubenstein was grinding out a constant stream of publicity blurbs about Edwin Thanhouser, the studio, and its players, such items ranging from the significant to the trivial. In the latter category was a filler published in The Morning Telegraph on May 2nd:

Barked Himself Out of Job: Lorraine Huling, the latest addition to the ranks of the Mutual leading women, has a liking for dogs. But as for watchdogs - her affection for the animated alarm clock of the species is something which has lapsed noticeably since.

However, the story begins with being afraid to come home in the dark. This fear of Miss Huling's required a - well, counter irritant, as it turned out - and Miss Huling hied herself, in consequence, to some well-known kennels near the Thanhouser studios and bought what was glowingly described to her as a perfect watchdog, a thoroughbred spitz. A sizable amount of money changed hands, and Miss Huling took the spitz home, comforted by the guarantee that went with him - one that assured her that he would bark at anything that moved in the night.

That evening Miss Huling had the dog sleep in her bedroom. Every time she moved in her sleep doggie barked. Every time she woke and spoke to him about quieting the noise doggie barked. When Miss Huling removed him to the front room doggie barked, and he was still barking when Miss Huling took him back to the kennels next day.

Edwin Thanhouser continued to seek new personnel for the studio, often with success but sometimes otherwise. Variety reported on May 7th:

Robert Milton is said to have refused an offer of $12,000 annually from Edwin Thanhouser to become principal director of dramas at the Thanhouser studio. Milton has not directed a picture as yet, but is one of the best known stage directors for farce and drama in New York.


Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.