Gilbert Warrenton, A Centennial Look at the Captivating Cinematographer

Motion Picture Studio Directory And Trade Annual 1918

Motion Picture Studio Directory And Trade Annual 1918

 

Gilbert Warrenton, noted cinematographer, who according to film-historian Kevin Brownlow (many others agree as well), was a principal exponent of the moving camera and the ‘German’ style in Hollywood. Warrenton was considered shoulder to shoulder with Karl Freund, until he arrived in California himself. Gilbert used revolutionary camera techniques in such films as The Man Who Laughs (1927), The Cat and the Canary (1927) and Lonesome (1928), but he was known for a distinctive stylization from his earliest days in 1914-1917.[1] Warrenton enjoyed six decades in the film industry, often photographing B-Westerns, TV series and late in his career, Science Fiction pictures. Within this first paragraph I have added nothing new to the memory of Mr. Warrenton, and making an addition to his work-history is my goal, therefore I will confine myself to his early days in cinema, and his personal life, which in the modern era remains undocumented. It is my intention to provide the reader with a clearer picture of who Gilbert Warrenton was, and what motivations led him to film, and in film.

Gilbert Chapman Warrenton was born in Lake View (near Peterson) New Jersey, on March 7, 1894, to Harry Hertzler and Ida May Kelley. Gilbert had blue eyes brown hair (adding some gray as he matured) and would grow to six-feet in height, with a ruddy complexion. Hertzler was an accountant, as well as the buying and selling of mortgages, he later would specialize in exports, while Ida May was a, singer, a music teacher, dramatic-reader and actress. Their names were well known in Paterson, New Jersey, with Hertzler and Warrenton appearing often in the local newspapers.[2] His sister Virginia, was born in 1887, and she too was influenced to the arts, at the early age of 5.[3]

Gilbert’s preoccupation with film, we now know, did not appear out of the blue, for his mother was somewhat of a noted singer and of course an actress both on stage and in celluloid, as well as writing at the least, one scenario and acting as producer and director on a handful of projects.[4] Ida May Kelley was known as Lule Mae Warrenton (she took that name no later than 1889[5]) on stage and before the camera, and her true success began once she was based in Los Angeles; that proved a perfect fit for motion pictures when first the Dream-Makers began their weaving in the area. Ms. Warrenton, had divorced Gilbert’s father and had married Charles Bradley (circa 1900), they first moving to Squaw Valley, California, which sets to the north-west of Lake Tahoe. Ida May taught music in the area, while husband Charles was a Wool-grader.

Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, July 10, 1905

Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, July 10, 1905

 

Warrenton began his silver-screen career (by his recollection[6]) in 1913 and was officially announced as being added to the staff of Universal in early 1914.[7] Gilbert Warrenton, had a preoccupation with photography which went beyond capturing images for moving pictures. His first recorded professional film job came with humorist, novelist Homer Croy (When to Lock the Stable, West of the Water Tower, They Had to See Paris) in 1914; Croy, with Warrenton, set upon a world-trip to film short travelogues for Universal, departing for Japan, on the S.S. Hongkong Maru of the Toyo Kisen Kaisha Oriental Steamship Company, from San Francisco, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1914 (Tuesday, March 17); first stop being Honolulu.[8] What a way to celebrate one’s twentieth-birthday!

This excursion took Warrenton and his director Croy to Japan and to Egypt. The titles filmed for Universal on this trip around the world, were, Here and There in Japan, The Japanese Silk Industry, In the Land of the Mikado. Croy continued onto Egypt (who his cameraman is anybody’s guess) Warrenton stopped over in Honolulu, to visit his mother who, “making some very unusual pictures,”[9] for Universal. While in Hawaii, Gilbert took landscapes of the interior of the islands.[10] These Croy short films were released from December of 1914 through April of the following year. Unfortunately, none of the aforementioned educational films afford the young Gilbert Warrenton a credit, yet, it is clear from contemporaneous reports that he was the man at the camera while Croy was in Japan.

Upon Warrenton’s return to the States, he worked on A Modern Melnotte, which was released in September of 1914; he used four double exposures in the film for director Lloyd Ingraham.[11] Also, he did some still photo work for Universal that year, with the beautiful image below offering an early insight to the talent of young Warrenton, as he caught Universal star, Cleo Madison in silhouette.

Motography, August 1, 1914

Motography, August 1, 1914

 

In addition, Gilbert was responsible for the photograph of Edna Maison, posing as the Madonna with the Baby for, The Heart of a Magdalene, released in December of 1914. The still was enlarged and sent to exhibitors all over the country for promotion of the movie.[12]

Moving Picture World November 28, 1914

Moving Picture World November 28, 1914

 

1915 should be considered a banner-year for Warrenton, since he began as cameraman for director Frank Lloyd, although no titles are associated with this period for Gilbert. Lloyd and company left Universal, contemplating two offers, and while the Lloyd troupe were deciding, Warrenton accepted an assignment from Universal for the Louis Joseph Vance (author of, The Lone Wolf series) company, and headed for Needles, California to film.[13] What was intended to be filmed is unknown but a hint might be available from a report in April of 1915, that Vance had secured the photoplay rights to the works of Booth Tarkington, Stewart Edward White and Joseph Conrad.[14]

Camera-work, regardless of what type, continued to provide Gilbert with opportunities, when he made at least one, possibly two trips to Mexico, in the spring and summer of 1916 (with Beverly Howard Griffith) to cover the incursions by Pancho Villa into the United States and the retaliatory expeditions by the U. S. military, as well as gaining permission to follow Mexican General P. Elias Calles, on his southern expedition.[15] The news-film duo where in El Paso, prior to their trip south of the border, recording the enlisting of prominent citizens for the Citizens’ Training Camp; the camp was a part of the larger National Preparedness Plan.[16] During this period, Gilbert was able to film a meeting between U.S. General Hugh L. Scott and Mexican General Alvaro Obregon.

New York Dramatic Mirror, August 5, 1916

New York Dramatic Mirror, August 5, 1916

 

In early August of 16’, Beverley Griffith and Warrenton developed a, shall we say, innovated method for getting film and photographs of the Elephant Butte Dam, northwest of El Paso, Texas, by suspending the Dort automobile owned by Animated Weekly, by a cable 1461 feet long and 296 feet above the water level; at the time Elephant Butte Dam was the largest single block concrete construction in the world.[17]

By late summer of 1916, Warrenton was the photographer for the Juvenile division at Universal, under the direction of his mother, Lule Warrenton.[18] In the latter part of that same summer, nearing the first days of autumn, Gilbert rolled the camera for director Raymond Wells, for a special scene for, The Saintly Sinner (released in February of 1917), starring Ruth Stonehouse, Henri De Vries and Jack Mulhall. Warrenton and director Wells, rode in a car, while Mulhall took the train at Newhall (about 30-miles from Los Angeles), rolling camera at three points along the journey. The auto had to reach speeds of sixty miles an hour to keep up with the rail conveyance; Mulhall being captured on camera on the moving train.[19]

In the fall of 16’, Warrenton, busied himself in Hawaii, working the camera for director, Dr. H. G. Stafford, of the Aloha Film Company. The movie sported scenes shot on Oahu and Hawaii, with a night view of Kilauea. The film’s public premier (there was a private viewing on November 1, 1916) was held at the Hawaii Theater, in Honolulu, on Monday, November 6, 1916.[20]

Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2, 1916

Honolulu Star Bulletin, Honolulu, Hawaii, November 2, 1916

 

It was the aforementioned positions at Universal and the resulting product which afforded both Warrentons the opportunity to join a start-up film company, Frieder Film Corporation, which was based in Chicago; the concern featured Irene M. Frieder as president of the company; at the time Frieder being the only woman president of an American film corporation.[21]

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, April 12, 1917

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, April 12, 1917

 

The mother and son team finished their first movie for Frieder by May of 1917, with Lule as director and Gilbert at camera.[22] That initial Frieder offering, entitled, A Bit of Heaven, was based on the Kate Douglas Wiggin, story, The Bird’s Christmas Carrol.

Motion Picture News, April 7, 1917

Motion Picture News, April 7, 1917

 

The follow up for Frieder was, The Littlest Fugitive, with plans for the third Frieder film to be, Hop o’ My Thumb. All three starred the 5-year-old Mary Louise Cooper.[23] Lule Warrenton was the first (and as of 1917, the one and only) woman producer with a studio and company all her own; the focus was to be directed toward the child audience, with the longest films to no more than five-reels or one-hour-fifteen-minutes.[24] The studio was located in Lankershim, in what is now referred to as North Hollywood (just west of Burbank).[25] Contrary to what was written in the Silent Feminists, The Littlest Fugitive was a finished product, according to a report in Moving Picture World, in the April 28, 1917 edition and needed only to be edited according to the Motion Picture News of the same date; the third Frieder project, Hop o’ My Thumb stands without any supporting evidence as to completion.[26] In addition to Hop o’ My Thumb as unfinished, Star Dust was announced in June of 1917 as the next Frieder project, with Peggy Custer on loan from Universal to star, Irma Sorter, Chandler Honse, along with June Hovick (in her debut), Carl Miller, Louis Koch, Alexia Durant, W. S. Hooser and little Mary Louise Cooper, of course Gilbert Warrenton was slated to handle the camera-work.[27] As with Hop o’ My Thumb there is no proof that the Frieder production of Star Dust was completed.

 

Personal Warrenton Post 1917:

Gilbert Warrenton, was descendant of Andrew Adams (on his father’s side), and continued the long and proud heritage of military service for his country.[28] An interesting side note, but seemingly of no consequence, was when Warrenton applied for membership with The California Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution in 1967; Gilbert tried to demonstrate on the paperwork that he had always used the name Warrenton. He did indeed use the name Warrenton for all legal matters, including military service (which they accepted). Yet, in 1905 at the marriage of his sister Virginia, he was reported as Gilbert Hertzler.[29] Gilbert may have used his given name of Warrenton, but at least through the first ten or twelve years of his life he was Gilbert Hertzler.

 

Gilbert was a Major in the U.S Air Force during WWII, serving from September of 1942, into August of 1947. With this connection, he was offered the opportunity to make a photographic record of two Atomic Tests (Cross Roads and Greenhouse) in the Pacific.[30]

Major Gilbert Warrenton, this film was taken from the pages of the Needle, the McCornack General Hospital newsletter, Pasadena, California

Major Gilbert Warrenton, this film was taken from the pages of the Needle, the McCornack General Hospital newsletter, Pasadena, California

 

Warrenton, married Lucille Rhea Morrison on November 7, 1926; Rhea was nearly eight years younger than Gilbert, born in March of 1902.  The couple had two sons, William, in 1923, and Gilbert, Jr. two days after Christmas of 1930.[31] When Gilbert the senior was not working behind the camera, he was working the ground, citing his occupation as farmer in the Federal census.[32] Gilbert Hertzler Warrenton died on the 21st of August, 1980 in Riverside, California.

 

[1] Kevin Brownlow, Film History, Vol. 24, No.3, Behind the Camera (2012), pp.324-333

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) March 24, 1917

[2] Morning Call (Paterson, New Jersey) December 3, 1892; January 23, 187-97; May 24, 1894; September 11, 1895

The Evening News (Paterson, New Jersey) September 9, 1893; September 7, 1895

[3] The Morning Call (Paterson, New Jersey) November 19, 1892

[4] Freeborn County Standard (Albert Lea, Minnesota) January 1, 1896

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) September 16, 1907

[5] Owosso Times (Owosso, Michigan) July 26, 1889

[6] Kevin Brownlow, Film History, Vol. 24, No.3, Behind the Camera (2012), pp.324-333

[7] San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) March 12, 1914

[8] San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) March 12, 1914

Variety, March 27, 1914

Billboard, April 4, 1914

Seattle Star (Seattle, Washington) April 6, 1914

[9] Motion Picture News, June 6, 1914

[10] Motion Picture News, June 20, 1914

[11] Motography, August 29, 1914, page 322

[12] Motography, November 14, 1914

[13] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York), March 24, 1915

[14] Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) April 15, 1915

[15] Los Angeles Time (Los Angeles, California) April 12, 1916

Moving Picture Weekly, July 15, 1916

[16] El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) April 7, 1916

[17] Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon) august 15, 1916

[18] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) August 5, 1916

[19] Motography, September 16, 1916

[20] Honolulu Star Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) November 2; 6; 7, 1916

[21] Motography February 10, 1917

Motion Picture News, May 12, 1917

[22] Billboard, May 12, 1917

[23] Moving Picture World, April 28, 1917

[24] Moving Picture World, February17, 1917

[25] Moving Picture World, February17, 1917

[26] The Silent Feminists: America’s First Women Directors, by Anthony Slide, Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1996, page 48

Moving Picture World, April 28, 1917

Motion Picture News, April 28, 1917

 

[27] Motion Picture News, June 2, 1917

[28] The California Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution (Application for Membership), 1967

[29] Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) November 30, 1905

[30] The California Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution (Application for Membership), 1967

[31] The California Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution (Application for Membership), 1967

[32] 1940

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Beverly Griffith, Gaining Ground by Grit: a Hollywood Story

Beverly Howard Griffith, Motion Picture Studio Annual, 1916

Beverly Howard Griffith, Motion Picture Studio Annual, 1916

Beverly Beginnings:

Beverly Howard Griffith was born on September 27, 1887 in Butler, Georgia, to Benjamin Howard “Howdy” Griffith and Mary Burke Butt. Butler is located some one-hundred miles south of Atlanta, and is the county seat of Taylor County. The Griffith’s did not remain in Butler long, moving to 82 Spring Street at the corner of Collins (now the intersection of Currier Street NE and Courtland Street NE); after the death of Howdy Griffith (September 12, 1902[1]) the family moved to 488 Peachtree Street.

As a youngster, Beverly was a singer and a flautist (he, his brother William and sister L’ Ella, often sang as a trio);[2] he was considered quite the gifted lad.[3] Griffith was a multi-talented, multi-tasking person, with a natural ability to coordinate and delegate; and by all accounts a likeable individual. Griffith was a strikingly good looking man, with dark hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion; not overly tall, 5, 10½ and at one-hundred-seventy-five-pounds (although, later he would weigh-in at near three-hundred[4]), and moderate statured. Griffith enjoyed the outdoors, swimming and boating (yet, apparently prone to seasickness[5]) and had a genuine passion for auto-racing. To understand the man Beverly Griffith, it is enlightening to gain a better grasp of his early influences, his inherent familial traits and the environmental impact of his family…

Beverly Background:

Griffith’s mother, Mary Burke, was a music teacher (she began to advertise her lessons in 1899[6]), a true instructor to Atlanta, Georgia luminaries, with references from notables, including the Governor’s office, a local judge, and the president of a college.[7] Mrs. Griffith was the founder and Director of the Griffith School of Music, located for several years in their home at 488 Peachtree Street, in Atlanta;[8] she was the first woman chimes-ringer in America, and played at the 1893, Columbian Exposition in Chicago.[9] Her fame spread abroad, being mentioned by author Victor Hugo when he said: “the twentieth century is woman’s century’ and as a proof that there is nothing the brain of woman cannot grasp, or her skill manage, Mrs. M. B. Griffith of Atlanta is a living witness.”[10]

The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1895

The Times, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 15, 1895

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 18, 1917

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 18, 1917

 

This was truly a talented family, William, the eldest, born in 1880 played the mandolin, and served as secretary of the American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists.[11] He was a popular young gentleman in Georgia and was on the guest list for Annie Chandler, daughter of the Peach State Governor, Allen D. Chandler;[12] Will and all of the Griffith children rubbed shoulders with the high-society of Atlanta and Georgia.[13]

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 8, 1903

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 8, 1903

 

L’ Ella (Ella, Luella), the first Griffith daughter was welcomed in 1883, she was a pianist, and taught stringed instruments; in addition, she was a fourth-grade teacher at Formwalt Street School in Atlanta.[14] At one point L’ Ella was the Director of the American Guild of Banjoists, Mandolinists and Guitarists.[15]

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, April 8, 1917

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, April 8, 1917

 

Finally, Mary followed in 1890, she more gifted in organization and full of energy, almost tireless in her endeavors in encouraging children to learn history and the promotion of the mandolin, banjo and guitar. Ms. Mary Griffith established several fretted-instrument clubs and directed an Atlanta orchestra, which varied in size from twenty to seventy pieces;[16]  William, Ella and Mary each taught music, both privately and at the family owned music school.

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 22, 1918

Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 22, 1918

 

Benjamin Griffith was a salesman in Atlanta at the Chamberlin, Johnson & Company, dry goods store; this clothing concern was located at 65 Whitehall Street.[17]  Benjamin was heavily involved with the local Methodist Episcopal Church in Butler, sitting on a committee in that congregation;[18] his father was a Physician and minister, Dr. James Griffith,[19] as well, his older brother was a minister, the Rev. Ignatious F. Griffith, at one time the pastor of the Second Street Methodist Church of Macon, Georgia and president of the Methodist ministers of Girard and Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama (a suburb of Columbus).[20]  In retrospect, Benjamin Howdy Griffith seems lost in the commotion that was the abilities and personalities of his wife and children, with great local celebrity and some national recognition. In contemporary terms, Mr. Griffith was not overshadowed by his four children, since he passed away before his offspring became so well known.  Still, he was able to bask in the light of his famous wife, Mary, providing a stable income and in a time when many women were restricted by the egos and upbringing of their husbands, Howdy seemed to have relished Mary’s success. With the aforementioned background, fortitude and elbow-grease, Howard, with the help of his wife afforded an environment conducive to learning, and the opportunities to fail or succeed in their children’s explorations of life. That is what each good father hopes and prays to be able to give and be remembered for.

Beverly Before Tinseltown:

Unlike his siblings, Beverly Griffith had no involvement with the Griffith School of Music; instead, following his father’s professional footsteps in sales. Beverly’s first paid position was that of newspaper carrier, with his own route for the Atlanta Constitution.[21] When Beverly was seventeen (1904) he was a clerk in a store located in the Equitable Building on Pryor Street at the corner of Edgewood Avenue, Atlanta, GA. In 1905 Beverly and his brother William went to Los Angeles, whilst there they attended the Barnum and Bailey Circus in late September, then were the quests at a post circus party at the home of Judge Sale; Beverly evidently had a position in San Francisco, in shoe-sales, for a while.[22] He followed that position with another in sales (1907) at a business-building situated at 43 Peachtree in Atlanta. Griffith was a graduate of the Georgia Military College in Milledgeville,[23] which lies about one-hundred-miles southeast of Atlanta. Georgia Military is a junior college and at the time of Mr. Griffith’s matriculation, it was a conduit, enabling graduates to enter higher learning at the University of Georgia.

Beverly or “Speed” as he was known had a fascination with racing, which lead to a school days (or during his racing days, which and when is unclear) relationship with Eddie Rickenbacker,[24] who would prove himself in WWI as the “ace pilot;” this friendship would benefit greatly, Griffith, two decades hence.

When Griffith left Atlanta, in 1910, he made a short term stay in Parker, in the territory of Arizona,[25] then moving on to Los Angeles. There he worked at the New Broadway Hotel at 205-207 North Broadway (between West 1st Street and Temple Street), first as a bell-boy, then advancing to steward, by summer he was the engineer for the hotel, next moving ahead to assistant manager and finally acting as general-manager of the hotel.[26]

New Broadway Hotel, Los Angeles

New Broadway Hotel, Los Angeles

 

Beverly in Hollywood:

Griffith worked in the film-industry primarily in the administrative field and was a resident of Universal City. His beginning foray into the movies came in early 1913 when Griffith went to Pinecrest, near San Bernardino, CA,[27] with the Keystone Company; he was working as an assistant to the property-man, and found his way into three films, two of which were directed by Mack Sennett.

Beverly Howard Griffith followed up the property-man job by earning the position of assistant to Mack Sennett; where he was credited as the “original Keystone stunt driver.”[28]  Next he was the assistant to general-manager to F. J. Balshoffer at the newly organized Sterling Motion Picture Company; while there he was described as the director of comedian, Ford Sterling.[29] How many untold credits are lost in the director’s chair for Mr. Griffith? We will most likely never know.

Griffith’s preoccupation with car-racing unfortunately extended to high speeds on public highways; he faced a one-year suspended sentence for speeding. Friends were concerned when during his probation he bought a new Packard, and whether or not he and the car could behave.[30]

Carl Laemmle hired Beverly away from Sterling to be the business manager for five producing companies at Universal and the occasional location manager;[31] also Griffith managed Animated Weekly and was the director, correspondent and chief cameraman for the news branch at Universal; it was with Universal that Griffith hit his cinematic stride. The need for speed for Mr. Griffith found its outlet in stunt-driving which director Otis Turner availed him of, in the five-reel flick, A Little Brother of the Rich, based on Joseph Medill Patterson’s novel. Griffith, the location (assistant-director or second-unit-director) drove a seven-passenger Oldsmobile, which cost more than $1,500.00 (more than $34,000 as of 2015). The gag required Griffith to cross the Santa Fe Railroad, with an approaching train coming full speed, he and his passengers survived with nary a scratch, although, at least one of the occupants of the car were afraid that they were going to die.[32] While at Universal, Beverly Griffith worked as an assistant-director on action-pictures under veteran director Henry MacRae;[33] a copse, as it were, of films Griffith was attached to but without credit and has been cut down from our knowledge.

Also, this was the period when Griffith earned the nickname “Speed,” (one would have assumed the moniker was for his love of car racing) when, as director of Animated Weekly he began to scoop other film-news services in Los Angeles. Particularly, this was true on September 24, 1915, when his camera-crew shot footage of the memorial service where the last honors were paid to the Reverend Thomas J. Conaty (Bishop of the Monterey and Los Angles diocese). Within six hours after the service closed, the news-reel had been developed, printed and dried and then put into the caring hands of Beverly Griffith. He personally delivered the film to Quinn’s Superba Theater at 518 S. Broadway, in downtown Los Angeles.[34]

Beverly also was responsible for some scenarios at Kalem, Sterling and Universal;[35] the two titles that are known are The Bingville Fire Department, 1914 and The Diamonds of Destiny, 1917. With Diamonds of Destiny, real diamonds were supplied by the Los Angeles jewelry concern of the Montgomery Brothers (long time jewelers in the area); the stones valued at $325,000 were personally escorted by Monroe Montgomery.[36] Any other scenario work by Griffith, is lost to time and the vagaries of early cinematic attribution. In 1918 he was with Sunshine Comedies (a subsidiary of Fox), as an assistant manager.[37] Beverly Griffith when not involved with office politics and scheduling productions and overseeing location shooting, saw war first-hand. Universal sent Griffith to Mexico to be imbedded with the United States Army, in pursuit of Francisco (Pancho) Villa. His job was to secure actual photographs of the fighting and subjects that would prove interesting for Animated Weekly, the Universal news-reel. Beverly Griffith acted as correspondent for the eleven-week Mexico excursion into the battle fray with Gilbert Warrenton his cameraman; taking in scenes of both American and Mexican armies and expeditions. No sooner had Griffith returned to Universal City, that he and cameraman Robert Walters went back to the Mexican border and the footage sent home revealed they got the “close up” of the military actions.[38]

What is missing from Mr. Griffith’s résumé is that he directed for Universal, What Darwin Missed (AKA: The Missing Link), in 1916.[39] This movie and other credits that belong to Mr. Griffith have incorrectly been attributed to Beverly H. Griffith, an actress; this is a mistake and is cleared up by a press release seen in newspapers and trade-papers in 1916.[40] Mr. Griffith of Universal and it’s Animated Weekly, is directly connected to, The Missing Link or What Darwin Missed.[41] As stated before (I know, by now, ad nauseam) these titles in his work-history are lost by the thoughtless and sometimes capricious lack of onscreen credit.[42]

As with most in early Hollywood even if the work was behind the scenes or behind the camera, sometimes the opportunity arose to go in front and do a little acting. Griffith was no exception and appeared in, The Sleuths at the Floral Parade, Toplitsky and Company and Cohen Saves the Flag, each released in 1913. Making a Living was the next project for him before the camera in 1914 and finally his turn in Cheating the Public, which opened in 1918.

Sleuths at the Floral Parade, 1913Sleuths at the Floral Parade, 2 1913

 

During these years, through the onset of WWI and its conclusion, Eddie Rickenbacker and Griffith kept in close contact, even when separated by thousands of miles and the Atlantic Ocean. Of course Rickenbacker oft decorated, but Griffith acquitted himself well in the war effort, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major, stationed seven months in Seattle, Washington, as a master electrician, air service.[43]

Beverly Private and Eastern:

Griffith married actress Edna Maison, with the ceremony on Thanksgiving Weekend, of 1917 in Los Angeles.[44] Mr. Griffith traveled much during their marriage, with extended time apart, often taking a room at a boarding house rather than at a hotel. His business (various film exchanges) journeys took him to Hawaii, Cuba, England and China.[45] Contrary to popular belief, Maison and Griffith did not remain wed until her death; the couple was divorced in 1938, it being finalized in Dade County, Florida. This was year two for Griffith with Eastern and Miami International Airport was the headquarters for the airline company; which goes a long way explaining the reason for the dissolution of the Maison and Griffith marriage in Florida, since having been wed in California.[46]

Edna Maison

 

Subsequent to Beverly Griffith’s time in Hollywood, it was natural after the movie-industry (especially with his experience in sales and promotion), that he would accept a position in public relations. In a way this was a professional return of sorts for Griffith, having started in publicity prior to 1910. He became the director of public affairs at Eastern Airlines.[47] He was hired in 1936 by close friend and famed WWI Medal of Honor pilot Eddie Rickenbacker, who had recently been appointed as General Manager of Eastern.[48] Griffith’s tireless work and affability with all, garnered him the honor of being listed as one of the “Big Four,” of 1939, amongst airline publicity men.[49]  His hard work and ideas were not confined to promotion but thinking outside the box, being on the alert for novel ideas. He championed the proposal of transporting mail from Camden Airport to the Philadelphia 30th Street, Post Office by autogiro (10 minutes in transport) rather than by truck which needed about 45 minutes allowed for the transfer; realizing what faster mail delivery would do for Eastern.[50] On the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary (1957) in public-relations, seventy-eight of the nation’s prominent newspaper, radio, television and newsreel personalities signed a scroll to commemorate and honor Griffith’s long work in the field.[51]

eastern-logo-1950sEastern Air Lines Beverly Griffith

 

Beverly Griffith died in 1970 on April 17 and was interred at the Butler Memorial Cemetery, in Butler, Georgia. Eastern Air Lines in tribute to Griffith flew a jet over the cemetery.[52] Beverly Griffith lived life as he drove: fast, hard and with the purpose of winning.

 

By C. S. Williams

 

[1] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) September 12, 1902

[2] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) April 3, 1898

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) December 30, 1901

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) March 1, 1902

[3] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) April 3, 1898

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) September 13, 1900

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) December 30, 1901

[4] Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the twentieth Century, by W. David Lewis, Published by John Hopkins

University Press, 2005, page 324

[5] Moving Picture World, August 7, 1915

[6] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) August 30, 1899

[7] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) September 2, 1900

[8] The Musical Blue Book of America, 1921-1922

[9] The Atlanta Exposition, by Sharon Foster Jones, Published by Arcadia Publishing, 2010, page 16

[10] National Register of Historic Places, Continuation Sheet, Section 8, Statement of Significance

[11] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) May 28, 1920

National Register of Historic Places, Continuation Sheet, Section 8, Statement of Significance

[12] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) January 2, 1902

[13] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) August 31, 1902; January 18; September 11; 13, 1903; November 1, 1908;

October 22, 1922

[14] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) November 21, 1897

[15] National Register of Historic Places, Continuation Sheet, Section 8, Statement of Significance

[16] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) January 20; May 3; October 14, 1917; February 3; September 22; 1918

December 27, 1918; January 13; February 18;  21, 1919

[17]  Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) April 11, 1885; June 22, 1895; September 19, 1897

[18] Georgia and the Southeast Historical News

[19] United States Genealogy Web Project

[20] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) September 12, 1902

Macon Methodism From 1826 to 1903, Compiled by Orville A. Park, 1904, pages 65-66

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) December 20, 1905

[21] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) March 23, 1919

[22] Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) September 25, 1905

Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) October 1, 1905

Great Silver Fleet News, volumes 23-24, 1959

[23] Motion Picture studio Directory, Published by Motion Picture News, 1919

[24] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) March 23, 1919

Index-Journal (Greenwood, South Carolina) May 1, 1941

Eddie Rickenbacker: An American Hero in the twentieth Century, by W. David Lewis, Published by John Hopkins

University Press, 2005, page 324

[25] Brooklyn Daily (Brooklyn, New York) July 11, 1958

[26] Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) August 20, 1910

Los Angeles and San Diego Standard Guide Including the Panama California exposition at San Diego, Compiled

And published by the North American Press Association, 1914

Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) February 13, 1915

[27] San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California) June 15, 1913

[28] Mack Sennett’s Fun Factory: A History and Filmography of His Studio and His Keystone and Mack Sennett

Comedies, with Biographies of Players and Personnel, by Brent E. Walker, Published by McFarland & Company,

Inc., 2010, page 590

[29] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) February 13, 1915

[30] Motion Picture News, September 5, 1914

[31] Motion Picture News, June 26, 1915

[32] Macon Times-Democrat (Macon, Missouri) November 11, 1915

[33] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) January 22, 1916

Variety, March 31, 1916

[34] Winnipeg Tribune (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) October 23, 1915

[35] Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual, Published by Motion Picture News, 1916; 1918

[36] Sunday Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) October 22, 1916

[37] Photoplay, January, 1918

[38] Variety, March 31, 1916

Motography, July 8; 22, 1916

[39] Motion Picture News, July 15; 22, 1916

[40] Motion Picture News, July 15; 22, 1916

Portsmouth Daily times (Portsmouth, Ohio) October 5, 1916

[41] Motion Picture News, July 15, 1916

[42] Moving Picture World, June 22, 1918

[43] Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) March 23, 1919

[44] Variety, December 14, 1917

[45]Motion Picture News, May 10, 1919

Exhibitors Herald, February 4, 1922

Film Daily, September 9; December 18,  1923

Variety, March 22, 1932

Motion Picture Herald, February 10, 1934

[46] Florida Divorce Records, United States Genealogy Web Project

[47] Beverly Griffith Papers, Emory University, Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

[48] Eastern Air Lines: A History, 1926-1991, by David Lee Russell, Published by McFarland & Company, Inc., 2013,

Page 51

[49] Popular Aviation, March, 1939

[50] Realizing the Dream of Flight, edited by Virginia P. Dawson and Mark D. Bowles, Published by NASA History

Division, 2005, page 80

[51] Brooklyn Daily (Brooklyn, New York) July 11, 1958

[52] Find a Grave