Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 January Releases

The first Thanhouser release of 1915 was distributed on New Year's day. Shep the Sentinel, a one-reel drama directed by Jack Harvey, featured the Thanhouser Collie. "Incidents are nicely contrived to make good use of an exceptionally well-trained dog," commented The New York Dramatic Mirror. Also released on January 1st was the Princess film, When Fate Rebelled. "Muriel Ostriche makes an attractive heroine," commented The New York Dramatic Mirror. Then came The Bridal Bouquet on the 3rd, Her Menacing Past on the 5th, and the Princess film, Check No. 130, on the 8th, followed by An Inside Tip on the 10th, The Speed King, Arthur Ashley's first Thanhouser film, in two reels on the 12th, and Pleasing Uncle, a Princess film, on the 15th.

A Yellowstone Honeymoon, with Mignon Anderson and Morris Foster, was released on January 17th and was filmed in Yellowstone National Park the preceding summer. The review in The Morning Telegraph is typical of the brief notices given by that publication to one-reel films of the era and is nothing more than an extremely abbreviated synopsis: "In the Yellowstone, May is frightened by a bear, and she and Jack become separated. After a long search he finds her, and they swear never to be apart again." It is doubtful if the reviewer saw the film. Around this time at least six one-reel documentary pictures were prepared of Yellowstone, with a filmed introduction by Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior. It was intended to release these as part of the "Our Own Country" series, but the author has not been able to locate any information that the pictures ever saw distribution.

Graft vs. Love, released in two reels on January 19, 1915, featured Florence LaBadie and Sidney Bracy, both late of The Million Dollar Mystery. Nearly all advance publicity was distributed under the erroneous title Craft vs. Love, and most synopses, articles, schedules, and reviews appeared under this heading. On January 22nd the Princess film, An Innocent Burglar, with Boyd Marshall and Reenie Farrington, was distributed through the exchanges. The Dog Catcher's Bride, with comedian Riley Chamberlin as the pursuer of canines. was screened on the 24th. "An amusing conceit with laughable moments," commented The Moving Picture World. Next came the two-reel Finger Prints of Fate on the 26th, a drama with Florence LaBadie, Riley Chamberlin, Harris Gordon, Sidney Bracy, and Arthur Bauer. The Moving Picture World found that "it has pretty scenes, it is well acted and, on the whole, a very fair offering." The Volunteer Fireman, a comedy issued on the 29th, included in the cast Minnie Berlin, who took the role of the village belle. Minnie Berlin, who was Mrs. Samuel Marx, also known as Minnie Palmer Marx, was the mother of the famous Marx brothers, Chico, Groucho, Gummo, Harpo, and Zeppo, and was a well-known vaudeville player in her day.

The month's films concluded with The Home of Silence, a Princess release on the 29th, with Reenie Farrington and Boyd Marshall, and Helen Intervenes, with Helen Badgley in the title role, distributed on the 31st.

In January, Edwin Thanhouser was sued by Mark M. Dintenfass. A member of the Association of Independent Film Manufacturers and a stockholder in the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, Dintenfass related that Edwin Thanhouser was named by the Association of Independent Film Manufacturers to take a seat on the board of the Motion Picture Distributing Company, a group with which the Association had reached an agreement after much bickering. According to the complaint Thanhouser received four shares of Motion Picture Distributing Company stock, and all dividends and profits accruing therefrom were to be turned over to the Association. However, it was asserted that Edwin Thanhouser turned over his shares to the Thanhouser Film Corporation in violation of the agreement.


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