Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 Thanhouser Serials

In January 1915 the ill-fated Zudora continued to unreel on the nation's screens each Monday, although to a smaller number of patrons as each episode was released. The serial was confusing to viewers, exhibitors complained, and the studio promised to improve its product. However, this was not done, and numerous cancellations resulted, including that of the prestigious Loew chain of theatres. The Million Dollar Mystery, which had ended the preceding November, was still fresh in the minds of investors, who were continually reminded of the profits it generated, perhaps in the false hope that by association somehow Zudora would turn in the same record. The New Rochelle Pioneer on January 2, 1915 told readers: "The Million Dollar Mystery stock has paid a little under 107% to stockholders in the past five months."

In the meantime the studio continued to issue a stream of news releases to engender interest in Zudora, as this one in The Moving Picture World, January 2, 1915:

Miss Marguerite Snow has been insured by the Thanhouser Film Corporation for $150,000 as a guarantee against accident. Miss Snow and other members of the Thanhouser's Zudora company had a narrow escape from death last week. Miss Snow has been so widely heralded as the star of Zudora that the Thanhouser managers decided to protect themselves against loss in the event that she should meet with an accident.

Miss Snow, Miss Elizabeth Forbes, Helen Badgley, James Cruze and director Frederick Sullivan were driving along a country road on Long Island, returning from the taking of a scene, when the machine skidded, the rear wheel sliding over a stone bridge, balancing the car in the air. It was only the quick work of the men in the party and the coolness of the women that saved the situation. Had there been any commotion, the car would certainly have been loosed from its precarious position and sent downward, probably carrying with it death for at least some of the party. When the party reached the studio, Director Sullivan reported the near accident, and it was determined to insure Miss Snow's life, and a policy was subsequently taken out for $150,000.


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