Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 On to Florida

Foremost in Edwin Thanhouser's mind in November 1915 was the impending opening of the branch studio in Jacksonville. On November 5th The Florida Times-Union told of progress being made:

Following preliminary work which has been accomplished already, announcement was made yesterday that the finest motion picture studio in the South at least will be that of the Thanhouser Film Corporation at Eighth Street, just east of Main Street. The plant will be ready by early December, and at that time some of the world's greatest stars will be in Jacksonville to act before the cameras of that concern. An expenditure of $25,000 or more is being made in renewing the building of the old Rico Laundry property which has been secured.

It is stated that when the producing season opens there will be a payroll upwards of $1,000 per day. Parts if not all of some of the best films of this season will be made in this city. In the visit here of Robert Holpen, chief carpenter, with Alfred H. Moses, technical expert of the corporation, some days ago they expressed themselves as well pleased with the chances offered. Over a month ago Edwin Thanhouser, president of the company, paid a call to Jacksonville and looked over various sites. Mr. Thanhouser states that climate conditions here are ideal for a large number of important pictures which he has in the planning. A payroll of 75 or so will be the case here at all times with the studio, among the stars being Florence LaBadie, Gladys Hulette, Mignon Anderson, Morris Foster, Harris Gordon, Boyd Marshall, Thomas Curran and Wayne Arey.

An article in The New York Dramatic Mirror, November 13, 1915, told of Harry E. Aitken's severing of his relationship with the Mutual Film Corporation: "A final step in the realignment of forces in the Mutual Film Corporation is indicated in the announcement made during the week of the purchase of $720,000 of the stock of the corporation by John R. Freuler, president of the concern. The stock acquired by Mr. Freuler in this deal was that held by H.E. Aitken, former president of the Mutual, and by the Majestic Motion Picture Company and the Reliance Motion Picture Corporation. This constitutes an important addition to Freuler holdings in Mutual stock. It is the financial sequel to the operations which culminated in the election of Mr. Freuler to the presidency of the corporation succeeding Mr. Aitken in June." At the time the Mutual Film Corporation released through 68 exchanges.

Among other news, it was reported in The Moving Picture World, November 20, 1915, that Frederick Warde, a well-known stage actor, had been signed by Edwin Thanhouser for his first role in motion pictures, a misleading statement, as Warde had appeared in several films earlier.


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