Volume III: Biographies


DUNCAN, Albert Edward ("Bud")

Scenario writer (1913)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: "Bud" Duncan wrote the scenario for the 1913 Princess film, A Shot Gun Cupid. At the time he was working in films at the Thanhouser studio in New Rochelle, for Mutual (but not for Thanhouser).

Biographical Notes: Albert Edward ("Bud") Duncan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1886 (one account says October 31, 1883). From the age of six, Bud was often employed on stage as an assistant by his father, a ventriloquist. Young Bud Duncan was educated at the Berkeley Military School in New York City. It was said that the school had the only pony artillery in the United States, and that Duncan was selected to operate one of the two guns in the facility. Cavorting in the pony artillery set the pattern for his comic antics of later years.

After his schooling, Duncan followed a stage career, with one of his first jobs being that of assistant treasurer for the Grand Opera House in New York City. Soon thereafter, he landed a role in The Postmaster's Daughter, after which he worked with Lew Fields, Kolb and Dill, and others in vaudeville. In 1912 and 1913 he was before the motion picture camera at the American Biograph studio and was seen in numerous pictures. In addition, he wrote several scenarios for this pioneer producer.

In the autumn of 1913 he was working in films for Mutual (not Thanhouser) with Fred Mace at the Thanhouser studio in New Rochelle. The Photoplay Magazine and other periodicals carried notices of his comic antics there. His only known connection with Thanhouser films was as the author of A Shot Gun Cupid, a Princess Department comedy.

Around 1914 he toured the western coast of Mexico in a 40-foot boat to make scenic films, but cut his engagement short when revolution erupted. Coming back on the U.S.S. Justice, Duncan went to California, where he joined the Kalem Company, for whom he appeared as Bud with Lloyd V. Hamilton in the Ham and Bud comedies produced by Marshall Neilan. Duncan's diminutive size and Hamilton's large frame made a comic contrast on the screen, and the duo achieved wide popularity. His numerous Kalem comedy titles included In High Society, Romance a la Carte, The Merry Moving Men, and Raskey's Road Show. In June 1915, Ham and Bud visited the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco and filmed Ham at the Fair on location there.

A 1916 directory noted that he was 4'11" tall, weighed 122 pounds, and had a fair complexion, blond hair, and blue eyes. At the time his home address was 8013 Union Avenue, Hollywood, California, and he worked in Hollywood with Kalem. By mid-1918 he had appeared in such films as The Fatal Violin, Dukes for a Day, A Menagerie Mix-Up, A Jail Jam, The Onion Magnate's Revenge, Seaside Romeos, Rival Romeos, and Twin Caddies. In 1918 he was working with the California Cinema Company in Glendale, California.

In between his cinema engagements he often appeared on stage. Thus in the autumn of 1919 he toured with a vaudeville troupe and, for example, was seen at the Miles Theatre in Detroit during the first week of October. By this time, his nickname "Bud" was so well known that virtually no one knew what his real given name was. Bud Duncan died of respiratory failure in Los Angeles on November 25, 1960.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1913: A Shot Gun Cupid (Princess 11-21-1913)

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