Volume 2: Filmography

 

JUST A SHABBY DOLL

 

 

a.k.a. LITTLE NELL

March 11, 1913 (Tuesday)

Length: 1 reel

Character: Drama

Location: New York City, including Washington Square.

Cast: Mignon Anderson (the wife), Harry Benham (the husband), Lila Chester (the governess), Helen Badgley (little daughter who listens to her father's tale), Marie Eline (little girl of long ago), David H. Thompson (drayman)

Notes: 1. Designated erroneously as The Shabby Doll in a review in The Moving Picture World, March 15, 1913. 2. An expanded story, based on the synopsis, was written by Virginia West and appeared in the March 15, 1913 issue of The Moving Picture News.

 

ADVERTISEMENT, The Moving Picture World, March 15, 1913:

Just a shabby doll - that's really all it was - a very shabby doll, but the memories it clustered about it meant much to one man. His little daughter found him in the library one evening with the disreputable-looking toy in his hands, and she asked him if dolls had again come to appeal to him. So he told her the true story of the shabby doll, and it interested her greatly, for she recognized as principals her very own parents.

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, March 15, 1913:

The little girl tripped into the library one evening 'to kiss papa goodnight.' She found him with a doll in hands, a shabby disreputable toy, which had never been of any great intrinsic value. It puzzled the little girl and she asked questions. The father was in a reminiscent mood that evening, so he took his little daughter on his knees and told her the wonderful history of this shabby doll. It seems that years before a friendless little newsboy met a little girl who was beautiful, kind and rich. The boy was able to do some favors for the little girl, and she was so kindly in her appreciation of them that the boy decided nothing was too good for her. Therefore at Christmas time he wasted an extraordinary amount of money, he thinks now it was 20 cents, in the purchase of a doll, which seemed to him to be a thing of beauty.

Well, the years passed, and the ragged newsboy grew up to be a fine, manly youth, while the young girl developed into a beautiful woman. They loved each other, but the girl's father pointed out that the young man did not have sufficient funds to support the girl in a station of life to which she was accustomed. The young man went West to make a fortune, and at first had many trials and suffered long from illness. When he made the fortune and came East with it the girl he loved had disappeared. He learned that her father had lost all his money, and that the girl had wandered out into the world to earn her own living, but he did not know where she was. Then one day while a guest at a house party, a child displayed the doll she had taken from the trunk of her governess, and the governess came in to reclaim it, and the boy recognized the girl he had sought and everyone rejoiced and the marriage bells rang soon afterward. The little girl who heard this story rejoiced when she found that her parents were the principals in it, and vowed she would cherish 'the shabby doll' as long as she lived.

 

REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, March 16, 1913:

It is a simple story but a delightfully wholesome one which is told in this reel, a story which goes straight to the heart. A father holds a shabby doll in his hands, and his little girl finds him with it and asks him about it; he takes her on her knee and tells her the story of his life. How, when he was a little boy, poor and friendless, he met a beautiful little girl, but could not marry her because he did not have enough money. So he went West and after a long struggle he made his fortune and returned East to find the girl. But her father had failed in business and was now poor, and the girl had disappeared. But he found her by accident through the doll, for she was a governess in a rich family. He married her and later she became the mother of a little girl to whom he told the story. It cannot fail to be enjoyed and is acted and put on in a most effective manner.

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, March 15, 1913:

Here is a clear-cut story with a strong heart interest. The father, with his child and her doll on his knee, tells the story of his rise in life from a newsboy. He rescued a little girl from peril and gave her a doll, which she always treasured. In later years the doll brings them together and they are married. Washington Square and other New York views appear in the film. A simple, natural story which will make friends for itself wherever shown.

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, March 5, 1913:

As a young father holds his baby girl and her dolly upon his knee, he tells her the story of his boyhood, struggles, and early romance. That this is a pleasing story, as told to the spectator, is due partly to the charm of the children and partly to the delicious climax given to the romance - where the boy meets the girl over the doll of their childhood. Perhaps a more consistent excuse might have been given for this boy's departure for the West. A temporary separation could, it would seem, be brought about in a more conventional way. The picture makes a small appeal.

# # #

 

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