Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 The Wreck of the Henrietta

Early in June the lineup of Thanhouser stars was as follows, per an illustrated advertisement in The Moving Picture World: Note Florence LaBadie, Boyd Marshall, Harry Benham, Morris Foster, Mignon Anderson, Morgan Jones, Riley Chamberlin, the Fairbanks twins, Arthur Bauer, Harris Gordon, Helen Badgley, and Justus D. Barnes. Leon J. Rubenstein, or whoever proofread Thanhouser publicity notices, was quite careless, for Chamberlin appeared as "Chamberlain" and Badgley appeared as "Badgely." Such misspellings would characterize Thanhouser advertising for the next year or more. Gone from the above roster were such familiar stars as James Cruze, Marguerite Snow, and Muriel Ostriche.

The Girl of the Sea, released in two reels on June 1st, starred Mignon Anderson and Harry Benham and was built around an accident, as described in the New Rochelle Evening Standard, April 5, 1915:

The schooner Henrietta, of the F.S. Fisher Navigation Company, which was bringing 65 tons of coal to the F.S. Fisher coal yard at LeFevre Lane, and sunk off Bonnefoy Point in the storm Saturday morning, is to be raised. It was thought the little vessel would be broken up by the wind and waves, but so far as could be seen by the inspection of her since the storm ceased, she is not greatly damaged. It is likely that the schooner can be raised by pontoons or, perhaps, by a simpler method. She is valued at $3,500. Speaking of the wreck, Mr. Fisher said the storm kicked up the heaviest sea he has ever seen in Echo Bay. Twice during the night, Capt. Anderson got up and lengthened the anchor cable. He said the accident was unavoidable. By 9 o'clock Saturday morning, only a short time after the schooner sank, Thanhouser actors, actresses and cameras were working about the wreck, making rescue and mutiny scenes.

A review of the the film in The New York Dramatic Mirror told the plot:

Edwin Thanhouser again stands sponsor for a picture that need cause him no worry about his guarantee written across each main title. While it is not a wonderfully unusual product by any means - indeed Mr. Thanhouser has ever disclaimed this very purpose - it tends to hold a sufficient interest to the end. One very commendable feature is that it is built to fill out its story and that sooner than pad, an extra subject is added to the second reel. It gives two welcome pictures instead of one. The girl from the sea first makes the acquaintance of the city reporter while he and she are fishing in the somewhat shallow surf. Then he returns, first, however, having learned of the girl's rescue from a child from a vessel run aground. In the city he is given the story of a millionaire's death to follow up, and he is soon able to establish the dead man as the father of the girl. He is also able to persuade her mother, by mental visioning, that the girl should not be given up to inherit the money, as that would mean a life to which she would be entirely unfitted. So strong is his warning that the woman acquiesces and the reporter is free to claim his - the girl.

As The Girl of the Sea did not completely fill two reels, a comedy filler, The Baby Benefactor, was added to the end.

Truly Rural Types, the Falstaff offering of June 4th, was reviewed by The Moving Picture World: "Riley Chamberlin is a much-deceived playwright who in search of 'truly rural types' discovers a couple of country lovers (so he believes), and after rehearsing them and bringing them to the city, where his play is a success, finds that they are well-known stock favorites. The comedy is an excellent one, built on a good situation."

A Freight Car Honeymoon, a one-reel comedy released on June 6th, was also favorably reviewed, as this notice in The New York Dramatic Mirror indicates:

There is no possible chance of so cute and clever an idea as lurks within these thousand film feet, if presented in so characteristic a manner, not getting over "big." There is hardly much to tell concerning a little comedy romance, that yet, with its idyllic phases, and its young married couple subject is filled, every foot of it, with romantic interest. The telegrapher is discharged on his wedding day by a boss revengeful because of the love of the girl the other man has won. Determined to have their honeymoon they camp out in the freight car, and the freight crew take the thing as a big joke. Then, after several days of travel, the man climbs the pole and telegraphs to the next station to cut out and sidetrack their particular car, and it is not until several days later that the "super" finds out about it, and also decides to right the matter of the lost position. Flo LaBadie played the girl.


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