Wilbert Melville, Photographer, Journalist, Director, Writer, Producer, Innovator 1873-1937

Moving Picture World, August 9, 1913

Fade In:

Wilbert Melville proves to be a very interesting character to investigate; a man who at least on the surface, appears exactly as history records him. His professional acumen was never brought into question, always measured as at the top of the movie making mountain. Today, Melville is little remembered outside the province of film-students and cinema-historians, and with a lack of extant films by Melville, he is a man in Hollywood history that in many senses is forgotten. Melville was, as many of us are, secretive and protective of his personal life and to a great extent successful (much more so than most), in his endeavor to keep at least the reasons for difficult circumstances in his life at bay. This idea of anonymity seems a contradiction, considering his national “name” recognition beginning at the turn of the twentieth-century through 1916; anyone familiar with photographs of the political scene in Washington, D. C., and with many of the military-themed movies, which began showing up regularly in 1910 at the local movie-house, knew the name, Wilbert Melville. Melville, as so many tens of thousands have done upon entering the entertainment industry, took a stage name;[1] the reasons for such alteration, myriadly differing to the myriads before and after Melville who took a pseudonym. For many it has been because the family name was not glamourous enough, or the individual was protecting the family’s “good’ name and social standing in their home-town; sometimes the name change was to avert from any conception of favoritism, nepotism or unfair comparison because of the surname.[2]

Why the change, for Wilbert Melville, is lost in history, for he kept no journal and he authored no autobiography; and no book has been written expressly about him. For that matter, no article has explored the depths of his life, reporters accepting the studio press-releases and his word in interviews. Most of these publicity reports, and conversations with journalists, were not contested nor examined for their validity; thereby, Melville remained a figure, exactly as he designed, a man enveloped by the mists of distance, time and technology. Although there was no collusion in the journalistic realm regarding covering up the past of Melville, yet, no archival research, besides date, title, assessment of talent and film-criticism has ever been attempted (to my knowledge) on Melville. The absence of an investigative essay on Melville stands in contrast to the man whom he directed, who became a contemporary in the field of film-directing, Romaine Fielding. While it is true that there were no concomitant reports on Fielding, the decades have provided at least three rather revealing biographical exposés on him.[3] And with none attending Melville, I find it remarkable that no one has written such, bearing in mind his position in the fledgling film industry into which he entered in 1909-1910.

In the subsequent paragraphs and sections of this article, many films that Wilbert Melville, directed, wrote or produced, for which he has went uncredited or unlisted (frequently both), will find fresh-air, being reconnected with their creator. Most of these findings will be based on hard facts, with demonstrable documentary evidence; where a connection is implied, I will do my best to alert the reader to the circumstance.

Film names relating to Mr. Melville will be in bold, so that you may differentiate between them and the surrounding text affording you a quicker reference lookup.

Wilbert Melville the Early Years:

Wilbert Melville was born, Wilbert Robert Lount, on July 31, 1873; the birthdate (1892, even that is incorrect) that is so universally attributed to Melville, actually belongs to his son Wilbert Lount Melville, who was born on November 6, 1894. Lount (soon to become Melville) was a child of Washington, D. C., and through 1911 remained in the area, with the exception of theatrical travels. 

1892-1899

The Stage Years:

The earliest verifiable work for Wilbert Melville in the entertainment industry was that of the 1892-93 season, with the Clarence Bennett Company in a leading role; Bennett had started in theater as a scenic artist, and painted scenery for, The Peerless Dramatic Company in 1883.[4] Wilbert R. Lount and Constance M. Davenport were wed on Thursday, November 2, 1893, in Washington, D. C.;[5] Constance had been in stock companies prior to her relationship with Melville.[6] This marital contract happened in the midst of the 1893-94 stage season, where Melville was with the Jean Voorhees (she was the niece of Indiana Senator, Daniel Voorhees[7]) Company; what his position was is not clear. Ms. Voorhees and her New York Company, laid claim to sixteen consecutive successful years, under the management of C. R. Gardiner; one of the main productions of the Voorhees Company that season was, Only a Farmer’s Daughter.[8] In the late spring of 1894, Melville was appearing at Harris’ Bijou Theater (a vaudeville venue), in Washington, District of Columbia; his sister-in-law, Edith Davenport also performed with the company.[9] Early in 1895 Melville was “at liberty,” a metaphor for unemployed; he advertised his skills, in acting and singing, his manner and dress, reliability and the fact he was appropriate for light-comedy and drama.[10] 1896 had Melville as manager of, Prof. H. A. Graham; Graham reproduced physical tests performed by the leading spiritualists of the day. Mr. Graham claimed no spiritual aid, but his exhibition of mental telegraphy was said to approach the supernatural. As well, Melville had handled Graham through the 1895-96 theatrical season;[11] this as far as I can ascertain was the first managerial position for Melville.

Evening Times, Washington, District of Columbia, June 4, 1896

Evening Times, Washington, District of Columbia, June 4, 1896

 

1896 proved a difficult year for the Melville’s, when they lost their infant son, Roland Lambert, on May 14; they would carry the loss closely and dearly over the coming year.[12] Melville, by 1896-1897 was a well-known comedian and wife Constance Davenport co-starred in, Only a Farmer’s Daughter, in January of ‘97, in a touring revival of the well-known comedy-drama.[13]

Morning Times, Washington, District of Columbia, January 24, 1897

Morning Times, Washington, District of Columbia, January 24, 1897

 

In the 1897-1898 season the Melville’s were in H. C. Miner’s production of, Human Hearts (authored by Hal Reid); Wilbert also acted as the advance man for the traveling troupe.[14] Melville’s son, Wilbert Lount Melville, was a bright child, able to learn lines at the age of three-years-two-months; he played the role of Little Grace Logan, in, Human Hearts.[15]

Topeka State Journal, Topeka, Kansas, February 15, 1898

Topeka State Journal, Topeka, Kansas, February 15, 1898

 

Later in life Wilbert Melville would often be referred to as “Captain,” this because of his service as an Army Captain in the Spanish-American War of 1898 (he leading a company of infantry);[16] he was referred to Captain Melville from his earliest days in film.[17] The Spanish American War, began on April 25, 1898 and ended on August 12, ’98, and with the exception that Melville was in the last full month of his engagement with H. C. Miner, in Human Hearts (which saw the season end, around May 20[18]), the period fits perfectly with the American skirmish with Spain. Mr. Melville is absent from newspaper reports for the remainder of 1898, and we pick up the Melville trail again, in 1899…

Moving Picture World, July 10, 1915

Moving Picture World, July 10, 1915

 

Photo-Journalism the Beginning:

Where, when, why and how Wilber Melville transitioned from managing acts and stage acting to photography appears untraceable; whether he studied photography prior to acting or if this was a new-found interest he followed, will remain a mystery until such information might rise to the surface as more historical documents relating to him are found. For now we must be satisfied with the data available. Melville’s first work when once again he was a civilian, was photographing a military proceeding. In February, 1899, Mr. Melville was present at the Court of Inquiry for General Nelson A. Miles; the issue was regarding food quality during the 1898 Spanish-American War. Instead of the army procuring local fresh beef (Miles wanted to follow this normal army practice) for the service men, those above Miles insisted on transporting beef from Chicago; which beef turned out to be an inferior product at best, and downright disgusting and inedible at the worst. In fact 1899 turned out to be a productive year (unfortunately, with no further photos to show for it, only copyright information) for Melville, besides the Miles photographs, he was snapping shots of the French Ambassador Jules Cambon delivering the peace treaty (Treaty of Paris) to Secretary of State John Hay receiving the peace treaty, officially ending the war with Spain.[19]

Life of William McKinley, by P. F. Collier and Son, 1901

Life of William McKinley, by P. F. Collier and Son, 1901

 

1900-1910

Melville in Multiplicity:

April of 1900, Melville was retained by the Senate Committee investigating Senator William A. Clark for electoral misconduct in the form of bribery. Melville was hired (he made $32.00) to photograph the physical “evidence” which was used in the hearings;[20] Clark, prior to the Senate voting on his right to retain his Senatorial seat, resigned.[21] Melville had several photos that were seen in print in 1901; D. C. notables golfing, and a photo titled: Shadows on the White House. In autumn of 1901, Melville was present and photographing the Court of Inquiry of Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, regarding his actions during an engagement during the Spanish-American War, of 1898.[22]

Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5, 1901

Minneapolis Journal, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 5, 1901

Boston Post, Boston, Massachusetts, October 26, 1901

Boston Post, Boston, Massachusetts, October 26, 1901

Boston Post, Boston, Massachusetts, October 26, 1901 Court of Inquiry

Boston Post, Boston, Massachusetts, October 26, 1901 Court of Inquiry

 

Melville and Financial Scandal, One:

1902 saw the first financial scandal for Melville; the trouble began with the incorporating (November 6, 1902) of the, Illustrating News Syndicate, of Washington, D. C… The business originally launched around 1896, with Melville trading under various names during the interim, twixt ’96 and 1902. The Illustrating News Syndicate, presented Melville as President of the company; the Managing-Editor was, W. Francis Thomas (a D. C. politician, coal-yard owner, a summer resort manager in and around the Capital, and a Notary Public[23]), with A. W. Fogel (not widely known locally) acting as Secretary. One of the company names used during the years of non-incorporation was the, Illustrating Press Association; the company had offices at 1415 G St., N. W., Washington, D. C…[24]

More Photographs by Wilbert Melville; Harper's Weekly, January 11, 1902

More Photographs by Wilbert Melville; Harper’s Weekly, January 11, 1902

 

Melville and the Peak of Photography:

It was in 1904-05, that we find Wilbert Melville employed as the manager of the art department at the, National Press Association; he becoming quite well-known within professional-photographic circles.[25] Certain of his duties as manager of the art department at National Press Association was to obtain photographers for the Association. Melville placed ads in Camera Craft Magazine to build membership from the amateur photographers of the country.[26]

Camera Craft Magazine, September, 1905

Camera Craft Magazine, September, 1905

 

Wilbert Melville had the opportunity to travel with the members of the Panama Canal Commission,[27] on their first trip of inspection to the Isthmus; of his own words, he was Photographer-in-Chief and Correspondent extraordinary to the National Press Association. [28] In his letter of endorsement for Kodak, Melville mistakenly wrote that he sailed on the S. S. Allianca, on March 28, of 1904; the actual date of departure was March 29, at 1:00 P.M…[29]

The American Amateur Photographer, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, Canal Commissioners, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, Canal Commissioners, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, Canal Commissioners Private Car, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, Canal Commissioners Private Car, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, At Work, December, 1905

The American Amateur Photographer, At Work, December, 1905

 

Melville wrote a short piece (entitled: The Shortest Telegraph System in the World) that appeared in, the, Washington Times, in November of 1905;[30] a digest version of the story was seen in the February, 1906, edition of, The Technical World Magazine, under the title of: Dictating Letters by Telegraph. The article that ran in the Washington Times, was a marvelous meshing of mixed-media by Melville; the commentary recounted the habit of, Fourth Assistant Postmaster General of the United States, Peter V. DeGraw dictating letters to his stenographer via an interoffice-telegraph system. Postmaster DeGraw had his visitors announced by the same telegraph; Mr. DeGraw found the system practical, satisfactory and a time saving mode of communication.[31] Mr. Melville would repeat this type of work through, 1907,[32] possibly beyond, but no later than 1909, for he was too busy in other ventures to be involved as an active news-photographer.

Washington Times, Washington, District of Columbia, November 5, 1905

Washington Times, Washington, District of Columbia, November 5, 1905

 

Melville and the Consternation of Constance:

Constance and Wilbert were divorced in 1907, Constance filing in the District Supreme Court (not to be confused with the U. S. Supreme Court) on, Tuesday, April 9, 1907, citing desertion and infidelity as cause. Wilbert had left his family on August 15, 1906 and had not returned and refused support to Constance or the children. On May 16, 1907, her absolute divorce was granted by the Chief Justice, Harry M. Clabaugh. Wilbert Melville was granted permission to visit his son, and a lump cash settlement was agreed upon instead of alimony;[33] this led to financial strain for Melville, juggling the cash-payment to his ex-wife, Constance Davenport and the support of his new wife, Pearle —- who had a penchant for fast cars. Wilbert married Pearle on January 9, 1908. Constance Melville, after the divorce, would off and on, change her name from Melville to Lount and back again, even going as far as to list herself as the widow of Wilbert Lount, in the 1911, Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia.

Melville’s Financial Scandal, Two:

It was during the summer of 1908 that Melville filed for bankruptcy;[34] the discharge of debts was set for late September, ‘08. The financial straits, would follow him into, and through the next year (unsecured debt from the bankruptcy), when he was sued for $515.00 in December of 1909.[35] Melville tried a little of everything to provide funds for he and Pearle; he went into business with Guy L. Seaman (Melville & Seaman) as publishers in 1908.[36] Seaman, it seems, took the occasional investment opportunity; what became of the publishing company is left to our conjecturing.[37]

The poor fortunes aforementioned would not last long for Pearle and Wilbert Melville, within eight years after marrying, and just six years after settling the final unsecured debts from their bankruptcy, the industrious pair were worth over $500,000. Hard work and sound investments in Los Angeles real estate afforded the Melville’s an early retirement; which began in part in 1917, and complete by 1920.[38]

The Bridge to Solax:

While searching for a conduit to span the gap between his stage, journalistic and photographic careers to his position as director with the Solax Film Company in 1910, I was surprised to find that not only had he worked in movies prior to Solax but had produced and personally shown his product. In July of 1909, Melville along with Charles F. Sandworth and some other investors, incorporated a film business named the: Capital Producing Company (the incorporation was in Statesville, North Carolina);[39] by January of 1910, Melville was on the outs with the Capital Producing Company, and sued the movie concern. Mr. Melville was represented by the law firm of, McNeill & McNeill and C. T. Hendler; the case drug on through February of 1912.[40] Unfortunately, I am unable to find any further information on the nature and results of the case of Melville vs. the Capital Producing Company.

Billboard, December 4, 1909

Billboard, December 4, 1909

 

Yet, Melville had produced more than one film prior to his being part of the Capital Producing Company; which work he introduced in Newport News, Virginia, in a vaudeville setting. Wilbert would show his moving-talking-singing pictures; Pearle performed “illustrated songs, and was a feature act of the entertainment bill.[41]Melville began with Solax in autumn of 1910, making his jump from his own company (Capital Producing Company) to Solax in a little over a year.[42]

Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia, April 16, 1909

Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia, April 16, 1909

 

Renouncing Renunciation:

A point of interest is the 1910 Vitagraph release, Renunciation, starring Florence (The Vitagraph Girl[43]) Turner, and is considered by most modern sources to be directed by Wilbert Melville. Yet, there are three reliable sources, the American Film-Index: 1908-1915, the British Film Institute, and, The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures 1893-1910, that do not include a credit for director.[44] Seeing that I have found no evidence to contradict these three aforesaid, usually reliable sources, I will lend my voice to the small crowd that do not associate, Renunciation, with Mr. Melville.

The Film Years:

Melville at Solax:

In 1910 the “Captain” joined, Solax, he was with the motion picture company from their beginnings, handling nearly all movies with a military plotline, while the president of Solax, Alice Guy Blaché, directed the comedies.[45] The announcement of arrival for Solax appeared in the form of a press release on October 8, 1910, there followed by advertising to the exhibitor of their first release: A Child’s Sacrifice, on Friday, October 21, 1910.[46] The second release from Solax, was, The Sergeant’s Daughter (October 28, 1910, opening), an Army and Navy picture set in the Philippines; since Melville was hired because of his military background, we may assume that he directed this film.[47] Other military features produced by Solax (those made at Fort Meyer, Virginia, and after, I will reference later) that in all likelihood were directed by Melville are: The Sergeant’s Daughter (the second film made by Solax), October 28, 1910; Across the Mexican Line, April 28, 1911; Between Life and Duty, May 12, 1911; In the Nick of Time, May 19, 1911; An Officer and a Gentleman, May 26, 1911; Never Too Late to Mend, June 2, 1911; A Mexican Girl’s Love, June 9, 1911; A Daughter of the Navajos, June 16, 1911; A Greater Love Hath No Man, June 30, 1911 (there is some debate with regards to who directed this title; Melville or Alice Blaché); The Silent Signal, July 7, 1911, and, Sergeant Dillon’s Bravery, July 21, 1911.[48]

Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Moving Picture News, June 17, 1911

Moving Picture News, June 17, 1911

Melville on bended knee; Moving Picture News , June 17, 1911

Melville on bended knee; Moving Picture News , June 17, 1911

 

Some clarity is brought to the absence of titles belonging to Mr. Melville in the first quarter of 1911 for Solax, by understanding he was busy on the road in February and March, traveling with Dr. Frederick A. Cook, promoting the latter’s film. Melville was responsible for directing a retelling of Dr. Cook’s side of the Arctic controversy (whether Cook or Robert Peary reached the North Pole first), entitled: The Truth About the Pole. The film, dealt with Cook’s idea of the, Peary Arctic Trust (a real organization), a collection of nefarious individuals (again according to Cook) whose purpose it is to see that Peary is credited with the North Pole discovery. Principal filming was complete prior to February 10, 1911, most likely finished in January. Not only did Melville direct the film but, he owned the rights to the movie, and used his connection with Alice Guy Blaché, whose husband, Herbert Blaché was the head of the Gaumont Company in the States, to handle distribution in Canada and Europe. In addition, Melville acted as personal-manager for Cook, scheduling lectures for the Doctor, at select theaters. Cook, placed all of his affairs dealing with his version of the North Pole finding, into the hands of Melville, including the publication and circulation of his book, My Attainment of the Pole, and all of his resulting personal bookings and public appearances.[49]

Moving Picture World, April 22, 1911

Moving Picture World, April 22, 1911

Dr. Frederick Cook

Dr. Frederick Cook

Melville would open the, Truth About the Pole, program, introducing the film and Dr. Cook; typically along with the two-reel drama, thirty-slides from Dr. Cook’s expedition were made available for the exhibitor. The largest and most enthusiastic crowds, that saw this “Great North Pole Controversy,” were seen at the, Manhattan Opera House in New York, but the tour of Cook, Melville and movie, went west, drumming up business for “state rights” distribution, via the vaudeville circuit.[50] Melville had no sooner resigned his position with Solax in September of 1911, that he picked up the mantel of promotion again for, The Truth About the Pole, traveling to California for dates at the, Temple Theater, in Santa Ana, with Dr. Cook.[51]

In late June (the week of Monday the 26th) of 1911, Melville went to Washington, D. C., to Fort Meyer, for the purpose of producing “military” pictures; he, his crew and company of actors (Solax president, Alice Blaché, was there as well) would stay in D. C., for three weeks.[52] The films completed at Fort Meyer, in order of release were: The Mascot of Troop C, August 4, 1911; An Enlisted Man’s Honor, August 11, 1911; The Stampede, August 25, 1911; The Hold-Up, September 1, 1911; The Altered Message, September 15, 1911; Nellie’s Soldier, September 22, 1911; His Sister’s Sweetheart, October 6, 1911 and His Better Self, October 20, 1911. It was the personal efforts (doubtless, it was because of Melville’s individual friendships and connections provided by his service during the Spanish American War) of Melville that secured access to Fort Meyer, and the participation of government troops.[53]

Meville with Camera in Hand, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Meville with Camera in Hand, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, three, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Behind the scenes from Fort Meyer, Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

 

Alice and Herbert Blaché left for Europe aboard the Kronprinzessin Cecilie, on Tuesday, July 25, 1911;[54] while Alice and Herbert were abroad, Melville was in full charge of the production end of Solax, while George Magie handled the business portion of the film concern.[55] Based upon a sixty-day window for the end of production until the release date of a film, no other Solax movies fit into the work-history of Mr. Melville, except possibly, A Heroine of the Revolution, which was released on November 3, 1911. Since we know that Melville quitted his position as managing-director of the Solax Company, toward the middle of September, 1911 (Alice Guy Blaché returned to the States via the same ship on the evening of September 12),[56] for the purpose of accepting a situation as a director with the Lubin Company,[57] that would put, A Heroine of the Revolution, at release in ten-weeks instead of eight-weeks beyond the end of filming. This is not out of the realm of possibility, because, His Better Self (directed by Melville), also went about ten-weeks from in the can to in the theater.

Moving Picture World, October 14, 1911

Moving Picture World, October 14, 1911

 

It seems probable that Melville left off directing during the Blaché vacation (actually part pleasure and part business[58]) and concerned himself more with overseeing the projects scheduled for production. No titles are attributed to Mr. Melville as director during this two months sans Alice Blaché. Speaking to his position as supervising-producer, all titles that during Mrs. Blaché’s absence belong in that category for Melville; he tendered his resignation just as soon as Alice Guy Blaché returned home.

And so ended Melville’s relationship with Solax, which proved to be very profitable, propelling him forward with Lubin, where he would truly make his cinematic mark. Oddly enough, in Ms. Blaché’s memoirs, she spent less than forty-words on her association on Melville, speaking of him being a co-worker and because of her lack of command of the English language, Melville was a valuable help. Not much information proffered by Blaché for a man who was with her company for one-fourth of the company’s life. Of the nearly three-hundred-fifty films produced by Solax, Melville was there for a hundred or more; in defense of Madame Blaché, she did not begin writing her memoirs until 1941, some thirty-years after Melville left Solax.[59]

Alice Guy Blaché

Alice Guy Blaché

 

Melville at Lubin Philadelphia, 1911:

After the Melville defection from Solax, Lubin, almost immediately exploited the connections and military familiarity of the director; Wilbert attained admission and assistance from those at Fort Meyer, as he had done for Solax. These Lubin films were shot over the course of multiple visits instead of a single stay, such as Solax had done.[60] The Lubin Company’s hope (one would assume, and is hinted at in a contemporary article) was for the same popular acceptance by movie patrons, as had been seen with the Solax Fort Meyer releases.[61] Titles that I nominate (owing to their military nature in title) to the directing hand of Wilbert Melville and to the Fort Meyer experience are: Sergeant White’s Peril, December 23, 1911; The Soldier’s Return, December 28, 1911, and, A Noble Enemy, January 4, 1912.

Moving Picture World, December 30, 1911

Moving Picture World, December 30, 1911

 

Films that may firmly be accredited to Mr. Melville as director, which previously have went wanting of his mark are: Love’s Victory (AKA: Love Finds a Way; the majority of modern lists, credit the directing to Romaine Fielding), October 28; A Romance of the 60’s, November 18, 1911; The Teamster (often misattributed to Romaine Fielding as director), December 9, 1911, and, A Mexican Romance (AKA: The Senorita’s Courtship), May 15, 1912.[62]

Moving Picture World, November 18, 1911

Moving Picture World, November 18, 1911

 

Of course, The Blacksmith, released on January 11, 1912, was filmed by Melville, and the only other titles accredited to Melville during 1912, are, A Mexican Courtship, March 2, 1912, and, Juan and Juanita, which was available on November 4, 1912. Careful examination of film-industry magazines and papers, along with data gleaned from local newspapers and copyright catalogues reveals a sizeable number of films that belong to the directing talent that was Wilbert Melville. Some of these “newly discovered movie-titles” (which should have spent the last one-hundred years as a testament to Melville’s expertise), I have already discussed, yet, other titles while he was in the directors’ chair at the main Lubin studio in Philadelphia and while in Washington, D. C., are now lost to us and possibly always will be.

Moving Picture World, March 2, 1912

Moving Picture World, March 2, 1912

 

Melville at Lubin Southwest:[63]

Some sources have this western branch of Lubin arriving in El Paso in December of 1911, but I cannot find any confirmation to support this theory; in Joseph P. Eckhardt’s book, The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, he has the company leaving Philadelphia at the beginning of January.[64] This statement by Eckhardt is supported by a one-paragraph blurb in the Dramatic Mirror saying that the Lubin Western Company had just left; this report came in the fourth week of January, leaving little doubt that the company headed by Wilbert Melville did not venture on their journey west until after the first of the year.[65] And if we are to take seriously the contemporaneous witness of a reporter from the Bisbee Daily Review in late February of 1912,[66] then the Lubin Western Branch movie company could not have left Philadelphia any later than the middle of the second week of January; on or about the 10th. Coupling these three “founts of knowledge” together gives a firm stance of the departure date-range for the traveling-western-branch of the Lubin Film Company.

El Paso, Texas: January?-February 22, 1912

While in El Paso Melville staged scenes in the local Mesilla Valley, on the banks of the Rio Grande, and also the company went northward to the Organ Mountains, filming at the San Augustine Ranch, in New Mexico, which was less than fifteen-miles (as the crow flies) east of Las Cruces, NM and about fifty-miles north of El Paso. It was at the San Augustine Ranch that the Lubin crew, brought to life the stories of cowboys and the western lifestyle.[67]

There are two movies to take note of that were made while the Lubin Company was in El Paso. The first we will learn of is, A Mexican Courtship, which opened on March 2, 1912. Among the notable scenes taken for the film were at the Juarez Bull Ring; the bull-fight was the drawing card for this film. Extolling the virtues of the favorite pastime of Mexico, A Mexican Courtship, with onscreen deaths of bulls, horses and men, was a romance with a bull-fighting presentation.[68] The second of the El Paso Lubin films that I have mentioned was, The Handicap (March 7, 1912), with a scene filmed at the Juarez, Mexico race track. Great horse race action was the selling point for this short film; and the fact that the jockey was a woman was a novel idea for 1912. The family Gordon (Grace Gordon our heroine), owing back rent, an insulting landlord, a protective brother, a pet horse ridden by a young woman and a $1,000 prize summarizes this scenario.[69]

Moving Picture World, March 9, 1912

Moving Picture World, March 9, 1912

 

Revolution, Permit and Jail:

Manager and director Wilbert Melville, and the remainder of the Lubin Western stock company were finishing up their sixth-week in El Paso, Texas; abruptly, they would pack and leave, continuing on to Douglas, Arizona. The motive for the exit from El Paso to Douglas, was due to the arrest of three of the Lubin Company (W. J. Wells, P. F. McCafferty and Richard Wangermann), on Tuesday, February 6, 1912, along with thirty-two Mexicans (extras for a large group scene) for vagrancy; [70] this after the movie company had been issued a permit to film (according to Lubin western-branch manager, Wilbert Melville) on the streets of El Paso. A local reporter wrote that a “young riot” started on Oregon Street and that a band of Mexicans, were armed, and heading in the direction of the Mexican Consul. Accounts started coming in throughout the business district, that the Mexican band were marching on Juarez, then that the Maderista soldiers had been routed out of Juarez and were retreating to the foothills of El Paso; others rumored that an armed guard was sent to protect the Mexican consulate.[71] Of course all of the concoctions were based upon those that had seen the Lubin actors and extras parading down Oregon Street on Tuesday morning the 6th of February, in full costume and arrayed with belts, guns, straw hats and visages of anger. Much of this story related was misunderstood or misinterpreted and the revolution was reported as fact, rather than as a fiction, gone wrong; this false narrative saw publication in New York, Chicago, Kansas and as far away as Australia.[72]

I do not wish to be too quick to criticize the citizens of El Paso of 1912, forming an opinion that they were naïve or ignorant. When these scenes were staged by Wilbert Melville, with his actors involved, hiring more than thirty Mexicans for the battle tableau, was like re-enacting a news item for the denizens of El Paso. Just a few days before the rebel soldiers had agreed to turn Juarez back over to the control of the Mexican Federal authorities, for guaranteed back pay, and transportation to their homes in Mexico upon their discharge from the Mexican military.[73] In fact, the streetcars had just begun running again between El Paso and Juarez and refugees were in the midst of returning.[74] For those residents of El Paso on that morning on February 6, 1912, the rebellion must have to them appeared to have started again. Even though Melville probably did obtain a permit for the filming on Oregon Street, most likely he did not divulge the exact nature of the scenes to the Mayor; leaving the people of El Paso astir, concerned and frightened in many cases at the parade of revolutionaries, regardless, with that said the “revolutionaries” were doing nothing more than making believe.

The title of the film which had Lubin employees incarcerated and fined was, The Revolutionist (March 23, 1912; some sources referred to this flick as, The Revolutionists); a contemporary story of the revolution in Mexico in 1912. It was reported that nearly everyone in town saw the scene of the imitation soldiers returning and the actors in portrayal arrested for parading without permission; El Paso Wigwam Theatre patrons were encouraged to come early or to the late showing to get seats, as they expected sellouts for the 7:30 and 9:30 PM viewings. The battle which in the storyline took place prior to the parade of soldiers, was filmed at the smelter and offered good battle scenes.[75] It was at that point an invitation from the Chamber of Commerce of Douglas arrived and Wilbert Melville the director of this Lubin clan accepted.[76]

Moving Picture World, March 23, 1912

Moving Picture World, March 23, 1912

 

Douglas, Arizona: February 23-March 30, 1912

While arriving on February 23, it was on Saturday, the 24th, that the carpenters started erecting the stage in the Open Air Dime Theatre, with plans for the first film to start shooting the following day. Only ten days before the arrival of the Lubin Company had Arizona become the 48th State; President Taft signed the statehood papers on February 14. The Lubin troupe in Douglas consisted of Mr. Melville’s assistant Webster Cullison, with W. J. Wells acting as superintendent of the crew and Harry A. Allrich along as interpreter. Other non-actors with the west traveling Lubin group, included, P. F. McCafferty as cinematographer, O. O. Jascoby, the carpenter, the property man, Dewey Crisp; a Monsieur Latour was the scenic artist and C. L. Burgess his assistant, Arthur “Buck” Taylor took the duties as hostler for the mounts needed for filming. In front of the camera, the leading-man for this Lubin troupe was Bert L. King; Romaine Fielding was cast as the heavy; Richard Wangermann, a character actor, Eml Berger for juvenile characters, Harry Ellsky in the light comedic roles; Edna Payne and Belle Bennett feminine leads and ingénues; Lucie K. Villa the female heavy; Adele Lane the soubrette and ingénue as well; with Mses. Maguire and McCafferty, and Mrs. Payne in character studies. [77] Two specially equipped train cars hauled the scenery and effects, wardrobes for forty men, as cowboys, soldiers, Mexicans or Indians. Twenty-five outfits for the ladies to appear as cowgirls, Mexicans or Indians; Saddles and bridles and other horse accoutrements for fifteen horses were also included in the traveling costume shop.[78]

One of the pictures completed in Douglas was, Captain King’s Rescue (April 20, 1912; AKA: Captain King’s Peril), Mr. Melville utilized the military camp at Douglas, showing the enlisted men of troops E and F, of the Fourth Cavalry, and he gave parts to several officers; a well-known captain was involved in a comedy bit in the flick.[79]A Romance of the Border, was another of the movies produced in Douglas, which was based on, Arizona, the 1899 play written by Augustus Thomas. Production for the movie took place in Douglas and Agua Prieta, the Mexican town directly across the border from Douglas.[80] Melville intended the film company to stay at least for two-weeks and possibly as long as four to six-weeks; the latter being the closest of the time periods for the stay in the Douglas, Arizona area. In total, four movies were produced in Douglas, and some locals made it into the movies; the landscapes of the Douglas-Agua Prieta area were used to great advantage, revealing the beauty of the southeast corner of Arizona to movie patrons, both nation and world-wide;[81] the movie opened on June 3, 1912.

Moving Picture World, June 1, 1912

Moving Picture World, June 1, 1912

 

Who’s in Charge of Tucson?

While many of the titles originating from Tucson, Arizona, are in dispute as to who was directing the features, Melville or Fielding; contrary to popular modern renditions, Romaine Fielding was not made the manager of the Lubin western branch of Tucson, in March of 1912. Even as late as April 24, Wilbert Melville is still referenced in the position of manager. Fielding was still regarded only as a star of the Lubin Film Company, not yet the “manager” of the group; which publicly he would first be referred to as in July of 1912.[82] According to authors Linda Kowall Woal and Michael Woal, Fielding was made director when Melville was sent to Los Angeles to open a Lubin studio there in May.[83] When exactly Melville left is uncertain, for numerous reports still place him in Tucson at the middle of May, 1912, with no publicity releases stating the contrary.[84] While Woal and Woal have Melville leaving Tucson for Los Angeles in May, Joseph P. Eckhardt has Melville heading to Philadelphia in June and then proceeding to Los Angeles;[85] Mr. Eckhardt’s statement seems the most concrete, since, by the middle of September it was said of Melville that he was headed southwest, with stops in Arizona on the planning table.[86] To further establish this late summer venture to California, for the Melville’s, Wilbert and Pearle were guests at the Hotel Braddock, in Frederick, Maryland, on August 28, 1912; noticeably Melville was not on the West Coast at that time and reports in 1913 had he and the Lubin troupes arriving in Los Angeles in December.[87]

Moving Picture World, May 18, 1912

Moving Picture World, May 18, 1912

 

Terminating Tucson:

It was in May that Lubin was considering building a permanent studio in Arizona, the choice of location had not been determined, leaving the Tucson Chamber of Commerce in a state of courting,[88] along with Phoenix and Prescott. Phoenix was in the hunt for the Lubin Company, making a “strong bid” for this moving picture troupe; this proposed Lubin Arizona Studio was of course looked upon as a largess for the winning locale. Melville was interested in obtaining permission to use an ostrich-farm in Phoenix for one of the Lubin movies; hopes were high in the Valley of the Sun, when the manager of the Lubin Company asked about hotel rates in the city.[89] Manager Melville planned a trip to Prescott with his wife, for May 15, for the purpose of seeing the local features of Prescott; Mr. Melville had had the opportunity to see over fifty photographs of Prescott and Yavapai County, and was promised by the Prescott Chamber of Commerce that Indians and other features needed for their filming would be available.[90] This had been an ongoing correspondence with the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Malcolm Frazier that had possibly begun while the Lubin Company was still in Douglas or soon after arriving in Tucson.[91] This would be the last decision (to move the company to Prescott) by Melville as it related to his position as manager of the Lubin Western Branch Company; in a matter of a few weeks he would be on a train heading east.

Melville, 1912 ½:

Leaving for Lubinville in June, Melville, having been called home by Mr. Lubin, left Arizona behind, with hopes of a more significant challenge;[92] with a minimum of ninety-days before him (before setting out for sunny California) to receive his instructions, gather a competent company of actors and crew, and to set aside time to plan his strategy, Melville set out for his future.

Siegmund Lubin

Siegmund Lubin

 

Location, Location, Location:

Melville was responsible for the scenario for, The Moonshiner’s Daughter, an October, 1912 premier, with Edwin Carewe and Edna Payne.[93] According to a listing on the, Internet Movie Data Base, the location used for, The Moonshiner’s Daughter, was Big Bear Lake, Big Bear Valley, San Bernardino National Forest, California. As well Tucson, Arizona, is said to have been the filming location of, The Moonshiners Daughter.[94] Here in lies a problem, that of location. Considering that Melville and the rest of the company left Philadelphia in September it is very unlikely that Big Bear Lake was used. This idea of California serving as the location for, The Moonshiner’s Daughter, is unrealistic, especially bearing in mind that the Melville unit was reportedly somewhere in Arizona in late October, and would move to Los Angeles in about a month. This of course turned out to be very near the truth, as the Melville Lubin Company were in Los Angeles before the end of the year.[95] To add a further impediment to the film being shot in the Big Bear Lake environs, coverage of the Lubin Company said that there was no one in Los Angeles to confirm or deny the story, seeing that the former Western Lubin Company had vacated their studio at 1425 Fleming Street, some months prior.[96]

Tucson is a possibility, but that would have required herculean efforts to accomplish. The Lubin troupe would have had to travel directly to, The Old Pueblo, with no stops in between, finish filming, send the celluloid back to, Lubinville, for processing and making prints, and have, The Moonshiner’s Daughter, available for an October 8, release.[97] It is most probable that the film was shot in Washington, Fort Meyer or in Philadelphia.

Moving Picture World, October 12, 1912

Moving Picture World, October 12, 1912

 

With, Juan and Juanita (a November 4, 1912 premiere), there is no confusion regarding the author and director of it, he being Wilbert Melville. The misunderstandings lie in where the movie was filmed. More than one modern film-history has Tucson, Arizona laying claim to, Juan and Juanita being produced there, while Betzwood, to the northwest of Philadelphia, proclaims the movie was shot there. And, yet another says that its frames were taken in Washington, D. C… This last appears most authoritative, in that the source is concomitant with the making of, Juan and Juanita, and issues from, The Motion Picture Story Magazine section: “Answers to Inquiries.”[98]

Melville Leaving Lubinville:

Upon this excursion westward, Melville left Philadelphia with a new troupe of performers and behind the scenes crew; a sleeping coach, a day coach and a 70 foot baggage car filled with scenery and props for the upcoming projects. This traveling Lubin Company, was to make stops as Mr. Melville’s first Western Branch company had done in January, at the important cities, the garrisons and reservations of Arizona. Edwin Carewe was on the trek with Melville, who began this road-trip by making some pictures in the Washington, D. C., Fort Meyer, Virginia, area. Then the crew of movie-makers ventured to points west as yet undetermined, with a final destination for this Lubin Company, of Los Angeles; the movie group left in early September of 1912.[99]

Melville in Los Angeles, 1912-1913:

As above mentioned, Melville journeyed to Southern California, and there he established the Lubin Studio around Christmas of 1912.[100] The Lubin Western Branch took up residence at 4550 Pasadena Avenue, in Los Angeles (a lot sized at: 150×450 feet). Although Melville purchased five acres in South Pasadena in 1913, the residents disliked the idea of a movie business in their town, and Melville decided against the move and sold the property.[101] The permanency of the Lubin Studio on Pasadena Avenue was assured after Melville, returned from a month long visit to Lubinville in April-May of ‘13. While in Philadelphia he brought congratulations and a birthday gift from those of the Lubin West Branch; upon arrival in Los Angeles (the week of May 12) the signs were changed to indicate that this location would be the permanent headquarters of the Lubin Western Branch Studio. Further, a large campaign, had been hatched and mapped out, with plans for an additional, complete company; Military, Western and Mexican scenarios would preponderate the shooting schedules, while adding some big pictures with navel scenes.[102]

Once settled in Los Angeles, Melville promptly put into service his management plan for the studio; this efficiency system was termed “Scientific Management.” Utilizing a common sense approach, Melville with thrift of time in mind (which equaled money), grouped closest to the stage, the most used departments of the moving making process. The stage was 80 feet square, surrounded by the property room, wardrobe, scene dock, and the paint-bridge. Next to this were the stables and corrals, along with tack rooms for equestrian equipment. At the front of the studio grounds was a Colonial style building, which housed offices, dressing rooms and the green room; at the rear of the studio was the Salt Lake Route, a private train station for the departures and arrivals of film-characters. The station carried the name, Lowry, this in honor of Mr. I. M. Lowry, the general manager of Lubin Manufacturing; the set was built for, A Perilous Ride, a May 22, 1913 release.[103] Some expansion occurred at the Pasadena Avenue Studio with a 80×35 foot shed, a garage measuring 20×45 and an office was also erected, being a small, 16×38; all of this at 4560 Pasadena Avenue.[104]

Moving Picture World, May 24, 1913

Moving Picture World, May 24, 1913

 

At this scientifically managed studio, scenarios were not brought to the directors as propositions or treatments, but fully finished products ready to be filmed. Each director had his own property-man, working only upon those projects related to his director; and the director dealt directly with the scenic-artists before the project started. Business was not as usual for Lubin in California, cost-data was kept for each feature, keeping a running total, available at any time; affording a comparison of what was profitable or wasteful for future reference. Melville had originated the system (at the least the beginning of it) as he went to work for Solax in 1910; this type of studio-management was a portent of the studio systems that would usher in the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1930’s, but particularly true of the 1940’s.[105]

While not afforded as much of a free schedule as he would need to give his full attention to the making of his own films, still, Melville had the necessary time to catalogue twenty movies directed in 1913 (from his earliest work with Lubin Melville was considered a prolific director[106]) and a few additional scenarios written. There is little dispute over titles commonly associated with this period of his career; I said “little dispute,” for the November 14, 1913 release of, When Brothers Go to War (the working title was: The Amber Cross), was a Melville directed one-reel drama. Despite bad weather, principal filming was complete by mid-June; cloudy conditions were persistent during daylight hours in the Los Angeles area, from June 14th through the 19th. [107]

Melville in Los Angeles, 1914:

Melville, being not only a director for the Western Lubin Studio, but acting also as its Managing Director, gathered to him a group of ex-newspaper men, as scenario writers. Paul Powell, (formally the city editor of the Los Angeles Express, as well as a political writer there), W. M. Dunbar, (who filled the position of city editor at various newspapers) and Robert A. Rinehart (who had worked at the New York Sun) were three of his bright and shining star journalists turned scenarists; of the three, Powell was the most successful.[108]

The role of producer for Melville became more and more frequent, overseeing the fifteen-episode serial, The Beloved Adventurer (a September 14, 1914, release; based upon the novel by Emmett Campbell Hall), directed by Arthur V. Johnson, and written by Hall.[109] There stands glaringly missing from the producing résumé of Mr. Melville, a film that was considered at the time to be a picturesque and powerful melodrama: Toys of Fate, which was available for exhibition on September 23, 1914. The two-reeler was written by Will M. Ritchey, and featured a cast of: Velma Whitman, Julia Scott, W. E. Parsons, George Routh, L. C. Shumway and Melvin Mayo.[110]

Moving Picture World, August 29, 1914

Moving Picture World, August 29, 1914

 

Melville in Los Angeles and San Diego, 1915-1916:

1915

As the San Diego Studio (Coronado) opened, Henry Kernan was chosen as director, D. L. Davis on camera, with Melville supervising.[111] Melville, always on the outlook for those with newspaper experience, hired, B. C. Hayward (formally with Reliance-Majestic-Mutual), as cameraman in San Diego; Hayward had quite a few years as a photographer with Los Angeles area newspapers.[112]

Great pearls may be discovered by taking the opportunity to dive a little deeper than normal, and so it is when researching a catalogue of work by an individual or company. Wilbert Melville, whose work-history is not missing too much as relates to directing, proffers up several choice jewels when the depths of Copyright Entries are plumbed as writer and producer. Beneath the Sea (February 25, 1915), long thought to be the sole product of the pen of Mr. Melville, actually came from the concerted efforts of he and S. Rowland White, Jr.; The Power of Prayer (August 12, 1915), not only sported the scenario from Melville, but he also produced the two-reel short film.

I wish to tackle the subject of what by many is considered to be the last film project by Wilbert Melville: The Inner Chamber, 1921, for Vitagraph and directed by Edward José. Since Melville had done virtually nothing in Hollywood since 1917, the most obvious answer is that Melville had nil to do with this film, starring Alice Joyce and Holmes Herbert. It is of particular interest that Lubin produced a movie in 1915, entitled: The Inner Chamber (December 15, opening date);[113] the invaluable resource the, American Film-Index, 1908-1915, has Wilbert Melville as director.[114] This 1915, Inner Chamber, featured Ruth Hyatt, Melvin Mayo and L. C. Shumway; the scenario was a drama (penned by: Julian Louis Lamothe and Maude Thomas) about an actress and her ne’er-do-well husband.[115] This I believe clears up the conflict, why that Melville is not in any publicity announcements, nor reviews for the 1921, Inner Chamber. Notwithstanding, Melville is still mysteriously attributed with the producing credit for the Vitagraph release by many modern sources.[116] We may look to other volumes to assist in solving this mystery for, the, Vitagraph, Inner Chamber credit for Melville; he goes without an appearance in Anthony Slide’s, The Big V: A History of the Vitagraph Company, published in 1976; one would think that if Mr. Slide in his research had found Melville producing for Vitagraph in 1921, that he would have included that bit of information in his book.[117] The credible and go-to resource of the American Film Institute, the, Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-1930, does not include Wilbert Melville as producer of the 1921, Vitagraph production of: The Inner Chamber. No other books, newspapers or Hollywood trade or fan magazines are needed to fully put to rest the mistaken credit for the 1921, Inner Chamber, than the, Catalog of Copyrights Entries, for 1915. Within those pages, we find the Lubin, 1915, The Inner Chamber, produced by Mr. Melville, with its copyright on December 8, 1915.[118]

Moving Picture World, December 11

Moving Picture World, December 11

 

On Friday, December 10, 1915 Melville received news that his mother was dangerously ill, he and Pearle left that day; while in transit, a wire was received at the Coronado Lubin Studio that Mrs. Melville had died. Wilbert and Pearle made this an extended trip to Washington, D. C., mourning Mrs. Melville’s passing; the couple returned in early February, 1916.[119]

1916:

The first Melville release of ‘16, was a one-reeler, entitled, The Diamond Thief (AKA: The Diamond Thieves), but Melville actually shared directing duties with Melvin Mayo; filming was complete in October of 1915, and premiered on February 7, 1916.[120] The Return of James Jerome, was released on April 4, 1916, produced by Melville, written by Maude Thomas, and directed by Edward Sloman.[121]

Indeed, Melville reduced his output as director, while increasing his position as supervising producer; how many films were under his direct supervision, will continue to be unknown, but we may add to that list, None So Blind, which opened on May 4, directed by Melvin Mayo and written by C. A. Frambers. Nestled in between the two 1916 releases, Playthings of the Gods, and The Beggar King, resides the Lubin drama, The Wheat and the Chaff, directed by Melvin Mayo; this title needs to be added to the producer work-history of Mr. Melville. The story was written by Joseph McLoughlin, helmed by Mayo, “under the personal supervision of Captain Wilbert Melville;” The Wheat and the Chaff, debuted on May 11, 1916.[122] Prisoners of Conscience, a May 25 opening, with L. V. Jefferson and Josephine McLaughlin collaborating on the scenario, and Melvin Mayo directing, is another project which falls into that producing-camp for Melville.

Moving Picture World, May 13, 1916

Moving Picture World, May 13, 1916

 

More films (for 1916) added to the supervising-producer résumé of Mr. Melville, (by perusing the Catalogue of Copyright Entries) are: The Code of the Hills (June 1), Melvin Mayo directing the scenario by Millard Wilson; The Scapegrace, opening on June 8, penned by Josephine McLaughlin, with Jack Byrne in the director’s chair; Sons of the Sea (a June 15 release), with the scenario by Josephine McLaughlin, Millard Wilson directing; Love’s Law (AKA: Love is Law), premiering on June 22, directed and written by Melvin Mayo. The Stolen Master (July 6, 1916), is another of the films that Melville acted as producer; on the surface (if reading the trade-papers and magazines of the era) exactly what Melville’s role was in the production is confusing to say the least. The Motion Picture News, at the release of, The Stolen Master has it directed by Melville, while the, Moving Picture World attributes the directing to Jack Byrne; to further muddy the waters, the Motion Picture News Studio Directory of 1916, credits Byrne as director.[123] The Stolen Master was made under Melville’s watch, and was but one of the greater company of films which he supervised in 1916; this information is found by combing the pages of the 1916, Catalogue of Copyright Entries.[124] An additional credit for Melville in 1916, is that of writer for, A Lesson in Labor (made available to exhibitors on August 15; Robert E. Rinehart is listed as the scenarist on Internet Movie Data Base); Paul Powell was the director for this two-reeler.[125]

The End of All Things Lubin; The End of Melville?

In the last days of May, 1916 the Lubin Coronado Studio closed its doors for a reported six-weeks or two months; this due to contract relations. Reportage had all of the members of the company and the staff being released and most of the actors returning to Los Angeles attempting to network with the film companies in residence there.[126] Melville was not unaware of what was going on, since it was by his design, he reorganization plan, accepted by Mr. Lubin, in an attempt to save the Company. Meanwhile, Great Bear Lake, in the Northwest Territories of Canada, offered a home away from home for the Melville’s during a four-week stay from the middle of August through the middle of September, as they awaited for the Lubin Studio in Coronado to reopen.[127] This restructuring of Lubin which included the closing of the other units, and leaving only the home studio of Lubin and according to Melville’s plan, the California units, did not go according to Mr. Melville’s strategy. Instead of the operations at the three closed Lubin units, being transferred to Melville’s control, the power went home to Philadelphia. The assembling of the Big Four (V-L-S-E: Vitagraph, Lubin, Selig and Essanay), the eventual dissolution of the same, the unrealized reopening of the Coronado Studio, along with the closing of other Lubin units, were for anyone paying nominal attention, vatic goings-on and that the end was near for the entire Lubin Manufacturing Company was the message of such circumstances.[128]

Melville After Lubin, 1917-1918:

1917

Melville, in some ways fell off the movie-colony map after the Lubin Company failure in 1916; by the time the Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual of 1916 was printed, Melville was not included.[129] In 1917, Melville planned his own film concern; he would by spring build upon it and then have that dream of his own movie company vanish by summer of ‘17.[130]  His enterprise would carry his Name, the: Robert Melville Feature Co., his first step being to take an office in the, Joseph Story Building at 610 S. Broadway (located at W. 6th St. & S. Broadway), number 417; the Melville home was at 1000 S. St. Andrews Place, in L. A., about four miles from his office.

Walter P. Story Building, 1910

Walter P. Story Building, 1910

 

Enter Mr. Charles G. Paxton, a long-time resident of Los Angeles, who owned a four acre plot of land at 1323-1329 North Berendo Street (southeast corner of Fountain Avenue: currently the location of a parking structure, opposite the Church of Scientology). It appears from Los Angeles city directories that Paxton had owned the property for a considerable time;[131] he was a carpenter by trade, and built the studio (60×184 feet, with a roof of 24×168), which he finished in the spring of ‘17. On the face of it, it emerges that Paxton did what many property owners in the area did: sell their land for a high price in the mercurial rise of those celluloid-crafters in need of staging and sets. This at first glance seems true, but further investigation reveals that the money behind the construction of the studio belonged to: Wilbert Melville. Melville was responsible for this endeavor, with $900.00 spent on the roof, and another $600.00, (over $30,000 in total, allowing for 2015 inflation) on the remainder of the staging.[132]

Capt. Melville had signed a contract with Cleo Madison in May of ‘17 to be the star of his newly founded film company,[133] yet contrary to the press-releases about the upcoming production no films were made by Melville with Ms. Madison.[134] Unmistakably, Melville had a scenario written specifically for Madison, of which she considered it “an excellent and a timely story;” no title was given, and besides the vague reference by Cleo Madison about the story-treatment being “timely” there survives no further information. [135]

Cleo, Madison, Motion Picture Magazine, March, 1917

Cleo Madison, Motion Picture Magazine, March, 1917

 

What happened between the time the first planks were being nailed at the Melville film workspace, to the final finishing’s of the studio on North Berendo, there are no reports; we may look to Ms. Madison as the reason for Melville’s plans being swept away as so much dross. Prior to Melville’s offer to Madison, she was planning to start her own company, under her name; and by October of 1917, she had went back to that strategy.[136] Supposedly, Madison after her contract expired with Universal, began immediately acting in her own company, with Isadore “Izzy” Bernstein to produce (possibly to also write). We have corroborating reports to her film startup, in January of ’17,[137] when she formed the Cleo Madison Feature Film Company; yet no titles are available from this early 1917 venture, January through April.[138]

Without a doubt the summer for Ms. Madison was spent in San Francisco performing on stage; she appeared at the Wigwam Theater in, Common Clay, One Day, Our Mrs. McChesney, The Eternal Magdalen, The Silent Witness, and, The Frame-Up, with the Wigwam Stock Company.[139] She moved on from San Francisco, after a successful summer, assembling her own stage company and was seen in Bakersfield, in October at the Hippodrome, in, The Slacker, a one-act sketch.[140] Which came first, Madison leaving or Melville running short on fortitude? The answer to that question would go a long way in discerning the “why” of Mr. Melville retiring, but retire he did, and in all likelihood that question of “why” will remain unanswered.

Whatever the compunctions, the results of Madison not following through on the agreement with Melville was that Paxton sold the studio to the Mena Film Company of New Jersey in early July of 1917;[141] Melville would eventually move from the Story Building and would maintain an office at 453 S. Spring, room 337; this location was better known as the Crocker Citizens National Bank Building;[142] this office was just around the corner from the Story Building. Zero film credits were the sum total for all of the effort of Melville in 1917, although he was valiant in his attempts to maintain his brand, which consisted of his reputation that his name had gathered in the film-industry over the preceding six years, it was all for naught with regards to titles produced.

Formally the,Crocker Citizens National Bank, 468 S Spring St, Los Angeles, California

Formally the,Crocker Citizens National Bank, 468 S Spring St, Los Angeles, California

 

1918

Even though 1917 ended with no film work for Wilbert Melville, yet he had not given up hope of restarting his career as ‘17 was coming to a close and ‘18 was in the freshness of January. Melville traveled to the Bernstein Studios in Los Angeles (middle of January), he undoubtedly was meeting Isadore Bernstein to discuss the possibility of upcoming work for Adele Blood. Blood, was to start her own production company, with Melville to supervise the movies and Bernstein Studios to host the filming for the Blood Company.[143] Ms. Blood was primarily a siren of the stage, with just one movie under her belt as she began negotiations with Bernstein and Melville; Edwin F. Holmes (her aunt’s husband), was her financial backer. What happened to this venture, why did it not come to fruition? It might well have been a familial situation. Blood, in January (just days after the Melville-Bernstein summit) became involved with her aunt, assisting in the contesting of a will.[144] By September of ‘18, the, Adele Blood Pictures Corp., was established in Salt Lake City; so ending Mr. Melville’s film hopes. This was his last opportunity and as far as is known his last labors to work in moving pictures.

Moving Picture World, July 5, 1913

Moving Picture World, July 5, 1913

Adele Blood

Adele Blood

 

An oddity, that in hindsight seems indicative of the way things were going professionally for Melville, was, the incident of “Some Tank,” which occurred at that conference with Isadore Bernstein, in January, 1918. On the long, steep hill that led to the Bernstein Studios at the intersection of Stephenson Avenue (now Whittier Blvd) and Boyle Avenue (approximately 753 S. Boyle), Melville parked his Cadillac on Stephenson Avenue (front of the car directed up the incline), with that great slope beneath him; he set the parking brake, and proceeded to the Bernstein office to commence the meeting. No sooner had Melville entered than an actor rushed in saying that Captain Melville’s Caddy had gotten away. The Captain said that “I stepped to the door in time to see it crash into a pole at the foot of the hill at a speed that must have been fifty miles an hour.” The result of the wreck was a big dent in the rear of the car’s body, and a broken top bow; the spare tire was knocked off the carrier, but the rear axle was not bent, and amazingly, Melville drove the car back up the hill. Later, Melville learned that one of the Bernstein Studio employees was looking the car over, and inadvertently released the brake enough for it to begin to roll; the gentleman in question was so excited, that he was unable to take a seat and prevent the crash. Melville drove the Cadillac for several days prior to sending it the repair shop; truly, as the title of the article said: Automobile Wins Fight With Telegraph Pole.[145]

Bernstein Studio 1917, 753 Boyle Avenue

Bernstein Studio 1917, 753 Boyle Avenue

Bernstein Studio 1917 753 Boyle Avenue

Bernstein Studio 1917, 753 Boyle Avenue

Please take the time to visit our good friend, Marc Wanamaker at Bison Archives; we thank you so very much Marc for your kind permission in the use of these photos. Poverty Row Studios by E. J. Stephens and Marc Wanamaker, is published by Arcadia Publishing, and is part of the Images of America Series; click the link to purchase: Poverty Row Studios.

 

Melville Miscellany:

Melville and the Auto-Race:

An ex-Senator, a brother of a prominent D. C. businessman, Wilber Melville and a horse-race owner, were involved in, shall we say, illegal activities? The quartet of Frank Berens (younger brother of D. C. bank director, William Berens), Melville, thoroughbred stable owner, J. D. Hooe, and former Senator William E. Chandler (served: 1882-1885; 1887-1901), were part of a street race on the evening of Wednesday, November 19, 1902. The starting point was at Fifteenth Street northwest, south to H Street NW, west to Aqueduct Bridge, continuing north along Conduit Road (MacArthur Blvd NW), and finishing at Cabin John Aqueduct. Melville won the day (night) in his Oldsmobile, Mr. Berens came in 14 seconds behind, in a Rambler; Senator Chandler acted as starter and Mr. Hooe as timekeeper. As loser, Berens bought dinner (most probably at Bobdinger’s Hotel, at Cabin John Bridge); police (on bicycles) were unable to follow any great distance because of the speed of the autos. The policemen did record the names of the owners of the cars; Berens actually threw his license to the officers as he sped away. Upon returning to D. C., Berens offered himself for arrest; Melville and Berens suffered $5.00 fines, Senator Chandler and J. D. Hooe went without even a reprimand.[146]

Senator William E. Chandler

Senator William E. Chandler

 

Melville at the Dance:

Captain Melville assisted Miss Hulda Hanker with a “society reel,” which was filmed on November 30, 1915; the title of the movie was: The Evolution of the Dance in America.[147] Ms. Hanker was a long-time dance instructor, originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana (more than twenty years in dance at that city); she was a member of the Normal School Association of Dancing Masters, and at one point was the third-vice-president of the organization. Hanker was frequently seen at the national convention of the above named group.[148] In addition, Ms. Hanker was a member of the National Association of Dancing Teachers of America; after a trip to Europe in 1914, Hanker decided to take a position in San Diego at the Grant Hotel.[149] While in San Diego Hulda Hanker, choreographed the “Rose Dance” for the Panama-California Exposition and began a school of dance; [150] these San Diego involvements precipitated the Charity Ball and the filming at the Hotel Del Cororando on the last day of November, ‘15. Mr. Melville was given the task of teaching the dancers how to act before the cameras, while Hanker would direct the dances for the pageant that was to be recorded.[151]

Freeport Journal Standard, Freeport, Illinois, August 22, 1923

Freeport Journal Standard, Freeport, Illinois, August 22, 1923

 

Melville, After the Silver Screen:

Yachting was a pursuit that consumed much of the free time of the Melville’s, sailing the Atlantic and Pacific, utilizing the Panama Canal from coast to coast; in autumn of 1914, the couple left New York (with the newly purchased Vergena), traversed the Panama Canal and made it to the Pacific Coast in just thirty-one days.[152] The Vergena (alternately spelled: Vergana), was a steel-hulled (145-foot), single-screw, schooner-rigged steam yacht; the yacht was built in 1897 by T. S. Marvel of Newburgh, New York, and was first owned by the Governor of New York, F. S. Flower.[153] Melville sold the Vergena to San Franciscan, C. H. Crocker, in June of 1916; Crocker was well-known in San Francisco, the Vice-President of the, Italian American Bank, of the City by the Bay. [154]

New York Dramatic Mirror, September 9, 1916

New York Dramatic Mirror, September 9, 1916

 

The Lucero (a 92 foot steamer) was another Melville vessel (his second yacht), which had been built in 1895, in Seattle, and was in port in Los Angeles for the pleasure of the Melville’s. The first mention of the Lucero being owned by Melville was 1915;[155] in September of 1916 Melville sold the Lucero to Bryant Howard a San Diego millionaire.[156] In June of 1920, Melville continued his love for sailing by purchasing a 70-foot yacht (The Hawaii) built for ocean races.[157] Captain Melville, was a member of the regatta committee of the Los Angeles Yacht Club and considered to be one of the “livest wires” of the club.[158]

In Los Angeles, beginning in 1921, Wilbert Melville formed a close friendship with stock-broker, Charles B. Lorch; Lorch acted as the witness to identification for Melville’s U.S. Passport, which he applied for in 1924. Also an additional affidavit was listed, that of, Estella (Stella, as she preferred) McGeagh; Ms. McGeagh had known Melville since 1908. They had met after Pearle (Stella and Pearle were life-long friends) and Wilbert had married; McGeagh knew Melville’s mother and the McGeagh name was well-known (daughter of E. J. and Eliza) in the Washington D. C. area.

U.S. Passport Application, March 5, 1924

U.S. Passport Application, March 5, 1924

 

In 1924 the Melville’s embarked upon world travel, visiting, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and India; in Europe they ventured to: Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Italy and the British Isles. To say that Wilbert Melville was obsessed with sailing might be an understatement, for he was always in search of a new vessel, 1927, was the year of the, Talofa, and Melville purchased the Kaimiloa, in 1929. 1930-1931, saw the addition to the Melville fleet of vessels, with, Sea King; the, Spitfire, was the newest Melville yacht for 1931, and became his go-to ship through 1935. Mr. Melville would make his last voyages in his latest acquisition the, Seven Seas, a ship formally christened Abraham Rydberg; he bought the ship in February of ‘36. [159]

Fade Out:

These were the last years of Wilbert Melville, his golden years, sailing to and fro, he spent his days as he pleased, the only currency needed (a result of wise property investments): his time; of which he would spend much in this nautical pursuit.

On Thursday, October 21, 1937, Wilbert Melville died; the announcement of his passing was seen in the following day’s Los Angeles Times obituaries, with any reference to his film career omitted.[160] Services were held at Pierce Brothers Mortuary, in Los Angeles; his wife Pearle is the only survivor mentioned.[161]

Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, October 22, 1937

Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, October 22, 1937

 

By C. S. Williams

 

[1] Once Hollywood became “Hollywood,” “screen name” became synonymous with an assumed name.

[2] Joan de Havilland chose Fontaine as her screen name; she fitting into the “last name” association category.

[3] Romaine Fielding’s Real Westerns, By Linda Kowall Woal and Michael Woal, published in, Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 47, No. 1/3, The Western, Spring-Fall 1995, pages 7-25

Early Film Making In New Mexico: Romaine Fielding And The Lubin Company, by Robert Anderson, published in the New Mexico Historical Review, Vol 51, No 2: April, 1976

Famous and Forgotten: Romaine Fielding Author, Producer, Director, Actor, Realist. By Robert Anderson; his master’s thesis at the University of San Diego, 1977

[4] New York Clipper (New York, New York) April 9, 1892

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) October 1, 1892 (Theatrical Roster For 1892-93)

Worthington Advance (Worthington, Minnesota) April 26, 1883

[5] Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia) November 3, 1893

Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) April 10, 1907

[6] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) September 3, 1892

[7] Evening Journal (Jamestown, New York) March 4, 1893

[8] Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia) May 26, 1894

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) October 15, 1892

Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (Wheeling, West Virginia) May 6, 1893

[9] Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia) May 02, 1894

[10] New York Clipper (New York, New York) February 2, 1895

[11] Morning Times (Washington, District of Columbia) June 4, 1896

[12] Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) May 14, 1897

[13] Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia) January 23, 1897

Morning Times (Washington, District of Columbia) January 24, 1897

[14] Daily Herald (Delphos, Ohio) March 7, 1898

Morning times (Washington, District of Columbia) June 19, 1898

[15] Topeka State Journal (Topeka, Kansas) February 15, 1898

Morning times (Washington, District of Columbia) June 19, 1898

[16] New York Clipper (New York, New York) May 18, 1912

While I have been unable to verify Captain Wilbert Melville’s service record, I did find his name and rank listed in the “Personal Matters” section of the, Army and Navy Register, September 22, 1917, page 16

[17] Moving Picture News, June 17, 1911

[18] Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Pennsylvania) May 16, 1898

[19] Catalog of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles, Index of Copyright Proprietors, Vol. 19., Second quarter 1899.

[20] Annual Report of the Secretary of the Senate, 56th Congress, 2nd Session, February 1, 1900, to June 30, 1900, Receipts and Expenditures of the Senate, Statement of Disbursements from the Contingent Fund, ETC., page 59, printed December 4, 1900

Polk County Journal (Crookston, Minnesota) December 29, 1900

[21] United States Senate

[22] Boston Post (Boston, Massachusetts) October 26, 1901

[23] Washington Bee (Washington, District of Columbia) November 7, 1896

Evening Times (Washington, District of Columbia) December 6, 1898; April 14, 1902

American Newspapers Publishers Association Bulletin, 1903

[24]  American Newspapers Publishers Association Bulletin, 1903

[25] Printer’s Ink – A Journal For Advertisers (New York, New York) February 8, 1905

[26] Camera Craft Magazine, September; October, 1905

[27] The Panama Canal Commission consisted of: Rear Admiral John G. Walker, the president of the committee; William Barclay Parsons, Col. F. J. Hecker, C. E. Grumsky,  Gen. George S. Davis, Benjamin M. Harrod and H. Burr. New York Times (New York, New York) March 29, 1904

[28] The American Amateur Photographer, December, 1905 (Kodak, advertisement)

Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, December, 1905 (Kodak, advertisement)

[29] San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California) March 29, 1904

New York Times (New York, New York) March 29, 1904

[30] Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) November 5, 1905

[31] Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) November 5, 1905

[32] The photo of Senator Elihu Root, although found in the July, 1909, edition of National Magazine, was copyrighted in 1907; which copyright can be seen above Root’s title and name.

[33] Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) April 10, 1907

Washington Herald (Washington, District of Columbia) May 17, 1907

[34] Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) July 23;  24, 1908

Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) September 8, 1908

[35] Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) December 22, 1909

[36] Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia for 1908

[37] Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) May 29, 1912 (Deeds of Trust)

[38] Excepting his acting as producer for the 1921 production of, The Inner Chamber, based on the Charles Caldwell Dobbie novel, The Blood Red Dawn. The picture starred Alice Joyce and was directed by Edward José: Kansas City Kansan (Kansas City, Kansas) May 25, 1921

[39] Evening Chronicle (Charlotte, North Carolina) July 22, 1909

[40] Washington Post (Washington, District of Columbia) January 28, 1910; October 25, 1911; March 1, 1912

[41] Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) April 11; 16; 17, 1909

[42] Billboard, September 23, 1911

[43] Elwood Daily Recorder (Elwood, Indiana) October 13, 1910

[44] American Film Index 1908-1915 by Einar Lauritzen and Gunnar Lundquist, 1976

British Film Institute

American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures, Film Beginnings, 1893-1910, a work in progress, compiled by Elias Savada, 1995

[45] Moving Picture News, June 17, 1911

[46] Moving Picture World, October 8; 15; 22, 1910

[47] Moving Picture World, October 29, 1910

[48] Sources used to compile the list of “Military” films by Solax were the weekly editions of Moving Picture World and Moving Picture News.

[49]  Variety, February 11, 1911

Moving Picture World, February 25; March 18, 1911

Nickelodeon, March 18, 1911

Motography, April, 1911

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) April 26, 1911

Santa Ana Register, September 22; 23, 1911

[50]  Moving Picture World, February 25; March 18, 1911

Nickelodeon, March 18, 1911

Motography, April, 1911

Santa Ana Register, September 22; 23, 1911

[51] Moving Picture News, April 29, 1911

Santa Ana Register, September 22; 23, 1911

[52] Moving Picture News, June 24, 1911

Moving Picture World, July 29, 1911

[53] Moving Picture World, July 29, 1911

[54] Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

Brooklyn Life (Brooklyn, New York) July 29, 1911

[55] Moving Picture News, August 19, 1911

[56] On or about September 14, source: Billboard, September 23, 1911

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) September 11; 14, 1911

Moving Picture News, September 16, 1911

[57] Billboard, September 23, 1911

Moving Picture World, September 23, 1911

Motography, October, 1911

[58] Moving Picture News, July 22, 1911

[59] The Memoirs of Alice Buy Blaché, by Roberta and Simone Blaché, edited by Anthony Slide, The Scarecrow Press, 1986, additional material by Anthony Slide in the 1996 edition, pages 9, 67-68

[60] Moving Picture World, December 16, 1911

[61] Moving Picture News, November 16, 1911

[62] New York Clipper (New York, New York) May 18, 1912

[63] Much of this Lubin South West Branch Studios section was seen in my article: Romaine Fielding and The Lubin Western branch Film Company, January, 1912 through November, 1913

[64] The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, by Joseph P. Eckhardt, published by Associated University Presses, 1997, page 127

[65] Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) January 24; 31, 1912

[66] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) February 25, 1912

[67] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) February 15, 1912

[68] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) March 25, 1912

Fort Scott Daily Monitor (Fort Scott, Kansas) April 13, 1912

Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, North Carolina) May 29, 1912

[69] Mount Carmel Item (Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania) March 26, 1912

Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California) April 2, 1912

Fort Scott Daily Monitor (Fort Scott, Kansas) April 18, 1912

[70] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) February 7, 1912

[71] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) February 6, 1912

[72]  Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) May 11, 1913

Chanute Daily Tribune (Chanute, Kansas) May 23, 1913

Mullumbimby Star (Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia) June 13, 1913

[73] Allentown democrat (Allentown, Pennsylvania) February 3, 1912

[74] Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California) February 5, 1912

[75] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) April 8, 1912

[76] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) February 25, 1912

[77] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) February 25, 1912

[78] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) February 25, 1912

[79] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) May 8, 1912

[80] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) July 18, 1912

[81] Tombstone Weekly Epitaph (Tombstone, Arizona) March 31, 1912

[82] Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona) February 25; March 17, 1912

Tombstone Weekly Epitaph (Tombstone, Arizona) March 31, 1912

Weekly Journal Miner (Prescott, Arizona) July 17, 1912

Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) July 17, 1912

[83] Romaine Fielding’s Real Westerns, By Linda Kowall Woal and Michael Woal, published in, Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 47, No. 1/3, The Western, Spring-Fall 1995, pages 7-25

[84] New York Clipper (New York, New York) May 18, 1912

[85] Romaine Fielding’s Real Westerns, By Linda Kowall Woal and Michael Woal, published in, Journal of Film and Video, Vol. 47, No. 1/3, The Western, Spring-Fall 1995, pages 7-25

The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, by Joseph P. Eckhardt, published by Associated University Presses, 1997, page 128

[86] Motography, September 14, 1912

[87] Frederick Post (Frederick, Maryland) August 28, 1912

[88] Motography, May, 1912

[89] Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona) April 11, 1912

Weekly Journal Miner (Prescott, Arizona) April 24, 1912

[90] Weekly Journal Miner (Prescott, Arizona) April 24, 1912

[91] Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona) July 13, 1912

[92] The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, by Joseph P. Eckhardt, page 128

[93]  Journal News (Hamilton, Ohio) October 18, 1912

Moving Picture World, November 30, 1912

Motion Picture Story Magazine, June, 1913

[94] Lights, camera… Arizona! April 10, 2011

[95] Moving Picture World, April 12, 1913

[96] Moving Picture World, October 19; 26, 1912

[97] Moving Picture News, September 28, 1912

[98] Motion Picture Story Magazine, March, 1913

Lights, camera… Arizona! April 10, 2011

Borderland Films: American Cinema, Mexico, and Canada During the Progressive Era, by Dominique Brégent- Heald, published by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, 2015, Pages 52-52

[99]  Motography, September 14, 1912

Motion Picture News Booking Guide and Studio Directory, October, 1927

[100] Moving Picture World, April 12, 1913

[101] Moving Picture World, July 26, 1913

[102] Moving Picture World, May 3; 24, 1913

[103] Motography, May 3, 1913

Moving Picture World, August 9, 1913

Ogden Standard (Ogden, Utah) August 9, 1913

[104] Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer: Official Publication of the Engineers and Architects Association of Southern California, (Los Angeles, California), November 15, 1913

[105] Moving Picture World, August 9, 1913

[106] New York Clipper (New York, New York) May 18, 1912

[107] San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California) June 14; 15; 17; 20, 1913

Moving Picture World, June 21, 1913

Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) November 15, 1913

Motion Picture News, November 29, 1913

[108] Motion Picture News, July 25, 1914

[109] Allentown Leader (Allentown, Pennsylvania) October 3, 1914

[110] Allentown Leader (Allentown, Pennsylvania) October 3, 1914

Motography, October 10, 1914

Motion Picture News, October 10, 1914

[111] Motion Picture News, September 11, 1915

[112] Motion Picture News, September 18, 1915

[113] Motion Picture News, December 11, 1915

[114] American Film Index 1908-1915 by Einar Lauritzen and Gunnar Lundquist, 1976

[115] Wilkes-Barre (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania) December 16, 1915

Motion Picture News, December 25, 1915

[116] Internet Movie Data Base (the credible and go-to resource of the American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-1930, does not include Wilbert Melville as producer of the Vitagraph, 1921, The Inner Chamber)

[117] The Big V: A History of the Vitagraph Company, by Anthony Slide, published by, The Scarecrow Press, 1976, with the new and revised edition, published in 1987

[118] Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Volumes 9-10, page 588

[119] Motion Picture News, January 1; February 26, 1916

[120] Motion Picture News, November 6, 1915

[121] Moving Picture World, April 22, 1916

Motography, April 29, 1916

[122] Moving Picture World, May 13, 1916

Motion Picture News, May 20, 1916

[123] Motion Picture News, July 15; 1916

Moving Picture World, July 22, 1916

Motion Picture News Studio Directory, October 21, 1916

[124] Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1: Books, Group 2, Volume 13, page 774, 1916

[125] Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1: Books, Group 2, Volume 13, page 774, 1916

[126] Motion Picture News, June 17, 1916

[127] Moving Picture World, August 19, 1916

Motion Picture News, October 7, 1916

[128] Moving Picture World, September 2; 16, 1916

The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin, by Joseph P. Eckhardt, published by Associated University Presses, 1997, pages 67, 202, 216, 293

[129] Motion Picture News, Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, October 21, 1916

[130] Motion Picture News, May 26, 1917

Moving Picture News, May 26, 1917

[131] City Directory for Los Angeles, California, 1907; 1910; 1911; 1912; 1913; 1914; 1915; 1917.

Note: originally, the streets were named, Winchester (Berendo) and Benefit (Fountain), source: Hammond’s Map of Los Angeles, 1908, compared to the Google Map of Los Angeles, 2015

[132] Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer: Official Publication of the Engineers and Architects Association of Southern California, (Los Angeles, California), April 21, 1917

[133] Motion Picture News, May 26, 1917

Moving Picture News, May 26, 1917

[134] Moving Picture World, May 19, 1917

Moving Picture News, May 26, 1917

Motion Picture Magazine, August, 1917

[135] Moving Picture World, May 26, 1917

[136] Film Fun, May, 1917, released on April 25, 1917

Motion Picture Magazine, December, 1917 Issue, released on November 5, 1917

[137] The Review (High Point, North Carolina) January 18, 1917

[138] Motion Picture Magazine, February, 1917

[139] San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) July 15; 30;  August 6; 13; 17; 25, 1917

[140] Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, California) October 8, 1917

[141] Motion Picture News, July 7, 1917

[142] Moving Picture World, May 19, 1917

City Directory for Los Angeles, California, 1917; 1918

[143] Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) February 16, 1918

[144] Variety, January 18, 1918

Moving Picture World, February 23, 1918

[145] Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) January 13, 1918

[146] Evening Times (Washington, District of Columbia) November 20; 25, 1902

Washington Times (Washington, District of Columbia) August 14, 1902

[147] Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) November 18, 1915

[148] Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) June 19, 1902

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) November 18, 1915

[149] Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) September 8; 17,  1914

[150] Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) May 20, 1915

Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) September 12, 1915

[151] Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) November 18, 1915

[152] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) September 9, 1916

Palm Beach Daily News (Palm Beach, Florida) January 27, 1934

[153] Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Volume 3, edited by James L. Mooney, published by the Government Printing Office, 1981, page 484

Power Boating, Volume 16, No. 4, page 78

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) September 9, 1916

[154] San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) January 1, 1915; July 1, 1915; January 16, 1916;

June 14, 1916 (the sale of the yacht); December 31, 1916

Motion Picture News, July 1, 1916

[155] Fireman’s Fund Register, published by, Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, copyright, Commercial News Publishing Co., San Francisco, 1915; 1916; 1917

[156] Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, California) February 5, 1915

Motion Picture News, September 9, 1916

[157] Vancouver Daily World (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) June 11, 1920

[158] Pacific Motor Boat, October, 1920

[159] Merchant vessels of the United States, Year Ended: June 30, 1927; 1929; 1931; 1932; 1933; 1934; 1935; 1936

Radio Service Bulletin, March 31, 1930

Marine Progress, Volume, March, 1936

[160] Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) October 22, 1937. This date and location of the passing of Wilbert Melville is in stark contrast to the November 15, 1965, Cape May, New Jersey, death which is so commonly seen on the internet; that 1965 notice is for his son, Wilbert Melville.

[161] Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) October 22, 1937

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