Volume III: Biographies


HALE, Albert W.

Director (1912)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Albert W. Hale was a director with Thanhouser in 1912.

Biographical Notes: Born in Bordeaux, France on January 1, 1882, Albert W. Hale was educated in Paris. He came to America around 1901, having no knowledge of the English language. He studied intensely and before long was successful in the theatre. His first important activity in America was for Ringling Brothers Circus, for whom, according to an early account, he was a "producer of spectacles," including The Crusade of Jerusalem. His stage career included producing and stage directing for several management companies, including Henry W. Savage, Charles B. Dillingham, and Liebler & Co. He directed Mlle. Modiste for Fritzi Scheff and The Vanderbilt Cup for Elsie Janis.

Albert W. Hale's screen career included directing for Pathé in Europe and in the United States, for a total of three years. Later, he was with Vitagraph for nine months, after which he went in 1912 to Thanhouser, then to Reliance for a brief period, then to Majestic (where he was situated in 1913 and early 1914), then to Famous Players (with Edwin S. Porter in The Prisoner of Zenda), Kalem, and, by autumn 1916, to Gate City Pictures Co. (of Greensboro, North Carolina). According to the Motion Picture News Studio Director, April 12, 1917, in early 1917 he was associated with Famous Stars Picture Corporation, 149 Broadway, New York City.

Gordon Trent, in The Morning Telegraph, August 25, 1912, noted: "My good friend, Albert W. Hale, has left the Vitagraph Company and taken up his work as director for the Thanhouser Company. Mr. Hale's success with the Vitagraph Company is too well known to need calling attention to. His reputation is an enviable one. The Thanhouser Company is to be congratulated upon having secured the services of one so able as Mr. Hale. Good luck to you A.W., and I shall deliberately say 'I told you so' when I see your first Thanhouser."

He directed the 1912 Thanhouser releases of The Birth of the Lotus Blossom, For the Mikado, and Miss Taqu of Tokio, which featured Japanese casts, and Letters of a Lifetime.

Gordon Trent, in The Morning Telegraph, October 6, 1912, told what happened next: "Albert W. Hale becomes director of the Majestic Company tomorrow, having laid down his tools at the Thanhouser plant yesterday. Previously he has directed for Pathé and Vitagraph. During his association with the latter concern he has been responsible for such productions as Letters of a Lifetime and The Birth of the Lotus Blossom. Mr. Hale takes with him the best wishes of Mr. Thanhouser, Mr. Hite and the entire Thanhouser Company. The best of good fortune to you. Brother Hale, and may it be long and prosperous."

The switch from Thanhouser to Majestic was an internal one, for both firms were managed by Charles J. Hite. On Saturday, October 12, 1912, Hale reported for work at the Majestic plant. He remained with Majestic for a very short time, for the November 9, 1912 issue of The Moving Picture World advised its readers that Hale had left Majestic, had undergone a successful operation at the Neurosurgical Hospital, and would be joining Famous Players in two weeks. For Famous Players, he produced J.K. Hackett's The Prisoner of Zenda, with Edwin S. Porter.

His activities early in 1913 involved several studios, and from existing records the chronology is unclear. In April 1913 he was a director with American ("Flying A") in Santa Barbara, California. The April 19, 1913 issue of Motography stated that he had just started directing for Universal comedies under the Powers brand, having recently left Famous Players. By mid-May of the same year he had relocated to the Majestic studio in Los Angeles. He was 5'1-2" tall, weighed 210 pounds in 1916 (220 in 1918), had a light complexion, and had brown hair and brown eyes. In January 1916 his address was Golden Apartments, Los Angeles. In 1918 his address was care of the Screen Club, New York City. Albert W. Hale died in Hollywood, California on February 27, 1947.

Note: He is sometimes confused with Alan Hale (1892-1950), a better-known actor and director.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1912: The Birth of the Lotus Blossom (9-13-1912), Letters of a Lifetime (10-1-1912), For the Mikado (10-18-1912), Miss Taqu of Tokio (11-19-1912)

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