Eyes of the Underworld, Happy Anniversary! Opened on April 28, 1929, another Lost Film

Eyes of the Underworld poster

Eyes of the Underworld began production on May 1, 1928 at Universal Studios, under the direction of Leigh Jason; filming was completed by the middle of August of ‘28.[1] One month later, Eyes, was assigned the opening date of April 28, 1929, by Universal; this date remained the same in all Hollywood trade publication reports.[2] The copyright was granted on October 16, ‘28 and the description of the production received its copyright on October 19, 1928.

All modern assertions are that, Eyes of the Underworld, was silent, but in my research I found an advertisement in one New York State city, which included the tag-line: “With Sound.” Yet, this could have been a mistake on the exhibitor’s part or a false “hook” in desperation to pay the bills.

Troy Times (Troy, New York) June 18, 1929

Troy Times (Troy, New York) June 18, 1929


The Motion Picture News, in 1929, used symbols in their release listings to differentiate, synchronized scores, sound effects, dialogue, incidental songs, all-talkie, disc and sound-on-film; Eyes of the Underworld, received none of those symbols in its listing in the magazine.[3] The film was re-released on April 28, 1930;[4] in that, Exhibitors Herald World, entry, Eyes appears with an asterisk, which denoted either a silent film or a film with both silent and sound versions, but, Eyes, did not have any sound element symbol after its genre category, which Exhibitors Herald World was accustom to using. To further classify, Eyes, as a silent film we find the movie mentioned in, Music for Silent Films 1894-1929: A Guide, with the musical setting for the film compiled by M. Winkler, and the theme being, Rendezvous D’Amour, by Leo Edwards; the item referenced was marked in pencil with the date, Thursday 4/18. That was just a week prior to the first showings of Eyes of the Underworld.[5] If there was no sound elements at all, then this has, Eyes of the Underworld, falling into the “lost films” rare category of, “late silent lost.”

Eyes of the Underworld was produced by Universal Pictures (another Universal film considered lost) and was released on Sunday, April 28, 1929. Although this date has long been accepted as the premiere, it was actually seen nearly a week earlier in Schenectady, New York, at the, Happy Hour Theater, on Tuesday, April 23, 1929;[6] the theater was located at 138 S. Center.

Schenectady Gazette, Schenectady, New York, April 23, 1929

Schenectady Gazette, Schenectady, New York, April 23, 1929


Eyes was a silent black & white, 5 reel picture, directed by Leigh Jason (The Mad Miss Manton, 1938, Three Girls About Town, 1941) and Ray Taylor (serials, series-films, B-movies: Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery 1935, Flash Gordon (uncredited), 1936, Dick Tracy, 1937 and more than 150 other titles).

The rights to the story was purchased from William Berke, AKA, William Lester, a prolific director, producer and writer for forty years (1918-1958);[7] the scenario was adapted by Leigh Jason and Val Cleveland (AKA Carl Krusada, tons of western titles, with a significant amount of work in silent cinema), and Cleveland was also responsible for the titles. For too long Berke has went uncredited for his part in this one of the last gasps of the silent film era.

Photography duties belonged to Al Jones and Frank Redman (a lot of series work: Dick Tracy, The Falcon, The Saint); Eyes of the Underworld starred, Bill Cody (Pat Doran), Sally Blane (Florence Hueston), Arthur Lubin (Gang Leader), Harry Tenbrook (Gimpy Johnson), Charles Clary (John Hueston) and Monty Montague (Gardener).

Although saddled with the modern gagster title of, Eyes of the Underworld, the film was considered a western, yet involved a gang called the Racketeers,[8] and what do gangsters, islands, car chases have to do with a western, we may never know but the plot went as such… John Hueston is a wealthy newspaper publisher, who plans on publishing an exposé of a criminal gang, but before the article can go to press, publisher Hueston is shot dead. Pat Doran, a rich sportsman, consoles Hueston’s daughter Florence, at her home, when members of the gang break into the house in an effort to get the incriminating evidence that Florence’s father has accumulated. Pat chases the crooks off and then follows them to their lair; the criminals capture Pat, and they imprison him on a deserted island, but Pat escapes , manages to round up the gang, and wins the love of Florence.

I found no trace of photos or drawings for display advertising in the newspapers, and what little adverts were seen, were mostly one line or bold, large text in a box; not much to draw the attention of the movie patron. It seems ticket sales were low for this William Cody action flick; his other “underworld” film, The Price of Fear (October, 1928), was still playing when Eyes debuted, and overall received better advertising and a kinder reception.

Sedalia Democrat, Sadalia, Missouri, May 9, 1929

Sedalia Democrat, Sadalia, Missouri, May 9, 1929

Eyes of the Underworld article The_Mason_City_Globe_Gazette_Mon__Jun_17__1929_

Mason City Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, June 17, 1929


 The Underworld Eyes Cast:

Eyes of the Underworld Bill Cody

Bill Cody

Eyes of the Underworld Sally Blane


Eyes of the Underworld Monte Monteague

Monte Monteague


Eyes of the Underworld Charles Clary1

Eyes of the Underworld Arthur Lubin.php

Arthur Lubin

Eyes of the Underworld Harry Tenbrook

Harry Tenbrook


By C. S. Williams


[1] Film Daily, April 27, 1928

Exhibitors Daily Review, August 15, 1915

[2] Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, September 15, 1928

[3] Motion Picture News, May 4, 1929

[4] Exhibitors Herald World, November 15, 1930

[5] Music for Silent Films 1894-1929: A Guide, compiled by Gillian B. Anderson, published by the Library of Congress,

1988, page 40

[6] Schenectady Gazette (Schenectady, New York) April 23, 1929

[7] Film Daily, April 24, 1928

[8] Waterville Times (Waterville, New York) November 14, 1929


Rudolph Maté, Close-Up and Personal


Rudolph Maté

Maté Mystery: the Close-Up Shot… Rudolph Maté (Rezso Mayer) was born in Krakow, Poland, on January 21, 1898; a man self-described as of a ruddy complexion, one-hundred-sixty-pounds, five-feet-nine-inches in height, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Maté married Paula Sophie Hartkopko (born in Copenhagen, Denmark) in Paris on October 14, 1929 and the couple arrived in the United States in 1934. Their voyage was aboard the S. S. Europa, sailing from Cherbourg, France; the ship pulled into port in New York, on April 21, but they decided to continue on their trip and entered the States on foot from Mexicali, Mexico, to Calexico, California on June 26. In August of 1937 Paula Maté died and Rudolph would remain a widower for nearly four years. Maté next married a young lady (20 years his junior) named Regina Opoczynski, a fellow Pole, who had arrived in America in 1936. The ceremony was in Las Vegas on July 6, 1941; they would have a son, Christopher, born the day after Thanksgiving, on November 23, 1945. Their marriage ended in 1958 after Maté left his wife stranded in France for four weeks (this appears to have occurred in January of 1956); that point won her the divorce on March 31, 1958.[1]   Maté the Open Book: the Panoramic View… A storied career as cinematographer, a strong directorial resume and a vision for what appeals to the eye, faintly describes the work of Rudolph Maté. The Passion of Joan of Arc in 1928, started Maté’s rise in the film-world, almost meteoric in scope and with The Passion of Joan of Arc, Rudolph Maté was involved in shooting some of the finest close-up shots (if not the best example) in film history, this with director Carl Theodor Dreyer; his next unusual entry was the experimental, expressionistic Vampyr, 1932, again with master director Dreyer, offering some of the most eclectic use of moving- images ever put on celluloid. rudy220px-Passionarc giphypassion5PassionMaria-Falconetti-în-filmul-The-Passion-of-Joan-of-Arc passion-of-joan-of-arc-silent-film rudy1291965421-m peglegVampyr_1_L Vampyr_4_L Once in Hollywood we see his solid hand in Dodsworth and Come and Get It, both in 1936, Stella Dallas, 1937 and Love Affair, 1939. But it was to be in the 1940’s where Maté’s fame was polished (although no better quality than what had gone before, either in Europe or the States) with 5 consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography; in 1940 Foreign Correspondent with director Alfred Hitchcock; That Hamilton Woman, 1941, directed by Alexander Korda; in 1942, The Pride of the Yankees; Sahara, directed by Zoltan Korda in 1943 and Cover Girl (Best Color Cinematography shared with Allen M. Davey). Rudolph Maté’s activities as a cinematographer ended with his uncredited work on The Lady from Shanghai, 1947, while in the same year beginning the directorial phase of his artistic journey with the fantasy-comedy-romance It Had to Be You (starring Ginger Rogers and Cornell Wilde). rudydodsworth rudyPoster - Come and Get It (1936)_02 rudytumblr_lq8hlo599g1qkge9po1_500rudyLove+Affair+poster+1939rudyforeign_correspondent_xlg rudyThat_Hamilton_woman_(1941)rudyThe_Pride_Of_The_Yankees_1942 rudySahara_-_1943_-_-poster rudy3shtPosterrudylady_from_shanghai_ver3rudy220px-It_Had_to_Be_You_FilmPoster D.O.A. from 1950, starts with what has to be accounted as one of the most dramatic and memorable movie-opening-lines with the conversation between lead character Frank Bigelow and the Captain of Homicide Detectives: Frank Bigelow: “I want to report a murder.” Homicide Captain: “Where was this murder committed?” Frank Bigelow: “San Francisco, last night.” Homicide Captain: “Who was murdered?” Frank Bigelow: “I was.” D.O.A. stands as a hallmark for Film-Noir and was just the fourth movie directed by Maté. Not to be roped into the Noir or Thriller genres Rudolph Maté made When Worlds Collide, a taunt record into the Sci-Fi -history-roll.  The Black Shield of Falworth, a historical, adventure-romance tale, 1954, The Violent Men (a westerner with Glen Ford, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson), 1955, Miracle in the Rain (a fanciful wartime romance starring Jane Wyman and Van Johnson), 1956 and the Greek historical-actioner, The 300 Spartans (with such notables as: Ralph Richardson, Richard Egan and Diane Baker), 1962; these films stand as testament to the directing skills of the photographic-maestro. Get your DVD, your Blu-Ray or Stream yourself and yours a Maté matinée  or star-filled evening performance of any of the works of director and cinematographer Rudolph Maté. rudyDOA1950rudyMPW-28234rudyPoster - Black Shield of Falworth, The_02rudythe-violent-men-movie-poster-1955-1020434901rudy22+Miracle+in+the+Rain,+1956.rudythree_hundred_spartans_xlg   By C. S. Williams   [1] Independent (Long beach, California) April 1, 1958

Oscar Micheaux, Director, Producer, Writer and Film Pioneer: Happy Birthday! Born January 2nd; 1884-1951


Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux, Director, Producer, Writer, Presenter and film promoter with 42 credits as Director, 38 films as Producer and 39 movies as Writer was born on January 2, 1884. Micheaux was the first African-American to make a feature-length movie (The Homesteader) which was released in 1919, 2 years before Charlie Chaplin made “The Kid” (Chaplin’s first feature).

He made forays into nearly every genre: Social-Dramas, Comedies and Westerns, traditional Dramas, Mysteries, Musicals and Gangster films. In the spring of 1933, Phantom of Kenwood was produced, followed by a spring and summer release, what made this film stand apart from other projects was found in the production time. From the point the script was finished until the last scene was in the can, took just six days;[1] a case of a man staying within the confines of his financial constraints. What business at the box-office was accomplished by the Phantom of Kenwood will most likely never be known. Since the target audiences were in black neighborhoods, advertising would have been by word of mouth, flyers and theater promotions and what adverts would have been seen in the few newspapers that catered to black citizens, I can find no trace. One of the stars was song-writer and pianist Roland C. Irving (unlisted on Internet Movie Data Base) of New York City, who promoted the movie by touring with the picture, making personal appearances at the host theaters.[2] The Phantom of Kenwood is believed to be lost.

Many today are offended by some of the stereotypical casting decisions Micheaux made in certain of his films, but, like his work, love his work, respect his content and his methods or not, none of us can doubt that he was a true film pioneer.

I rejoice that Oscar Micheaux did not give in to the restraints and restrictions which legal racism constructed, nor give up under the great pressure laid upon his shoulders financially and socially, but that he continued to give out; for that, we are all blessed, not only as devotees of film but also as lovers of the human-race.

oscarThe_Homesteader_1919_newspaperadoscar withinourgatesoscar The_Brute_1920_newspaperadoscarGunsaulusMystery1921-filmoscarThe_Dungeon_1922_newspaperad


Directing star of stage in his film debut: Paul Robeson

oscar untitledoscar 86ca2b16195458f2c6bc0cf66b4592faoscarmigrating-veiledoscarmurderinharlem1oscar temptationoscaruntitledoscarswingoscar God's_Step_Children_Posteroscar280px-Lying_Lips_Poster_1939oscar betrayal


By C. S. Williams


[1] Film Daily, April 4, 1933

Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) July 22, 1933

[2] Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) July 22, 1933

A Thief in the Dark, Stolen by a Thief in the Night… Time?


Thief in the Dark slide from the Glenn Ralston collection at the Lilly Library of Indiana University


Thief in the Dark 1928 2

A Thief in the Dark, a Fox Film Corp., mystery-circus-comedy-romance,[1] is another of that not too rare breed of “lost film (or “status unknown” at best),” and belongs to that ignominious sub-class of “late-silents-lost,” maybe better put: “out-of-sound, out-of-mind.” These “late-silents,” made their debut and were whisked out of the collective film-goers memory by the onslaught of synchronized-sound and talkies.

It seems that the advertising budget was close to nonexistent, few display ads were seen and most announcements were confined to just a few lines. What articles and reviews were written, were positive, but were not enough in number to overcome the lack of sound and marketing dollars. It does beg to mention that at least on some occasions Thief was accompanied by an orchestra, [2] instead of the obligatory organ or piano.

Director Albert Ray had the helm for Thief, and per his idea that the number 13 was his lucky charm, he wanted to begin filming on the 13th of the month (which he did for Thief also), and started off Thief’s opening scene with 13 actors on set. Leading lady Doris Hill picked up on the unusual superstition and wore a black-cat stickpin in several scenes in the flick.[4]

Harry Oliver was hired for the production as Art and Technical director because of his unique experience with illusions, having been a backstage hand for magicians Harry Houdini and Harry Kellar. Oliver and the rest of the Fox art and technical team built thirty sets, each with a “trick’ up their sleeve;[5] by all accounts Oliver’s sets were topnotch and an integral player in the film.

There appears to be some confusion as to who was the writing partner with director Albert Ray, some going with Andrew Bennison, others Kenneth Hawks; the titles were written by William Kernell and scenario by C. Graham Baker. A Thief in the Dark was six reels, 5,937 feet or about 54 minutes long and starred George Meeker, Doris Hill, Gwen Lee, Marjorie Beebe, Michael Vavitch and Noah Young. Horace Hough was the assistance-director; the film’s editor was Jack Dennis and the cinematographer Arthur Edeson.

Unfortunately for us like a thief in the night, A Thief in the Dark has been stolen, by who or what? The answer can be varied: time, deterioration or maybe reclamation, turning our Thief into someone else’s ‘quick’ silver.


Thief in the Dark George Meeker

George Meeker

Thief in the Dark Doris Hill

Doris Hill

Thief in the Dark Gwen Lee

Gwen Lee

Thief in the Dark Marjorie Beebe

Marjorie Beebe

Thief in the Dark Michael Vavitch

Michael Vavitch


Thief in the Dark Noah Young

Noah Young


Thief in the Dark The_Capital_Times_ Madison, Wisconsin Thu__May_24__1928_

Thief in the Dark The_Post_Crescent_ Appleton, Wisconsin Mon__Jun_11__1928_Thief in the Dark Freeport_Journal_Standard_ Freeport, Illinois Thu__Aug_2__1928_ Thief in the Dark Lebanon_Daily_News_ Lebanon, Pennsylvania Mon__Jul_2__1928_ Thief in the Dark The_Escanaba_Daily_Press_ Escanaba, Michigan Fri__Apr_12__1929_ Thief in the Dark The_Ottawa_Journal_ Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Thu__Jul_19__1928_ Thief in the Dark Fitchburg_Sentinel_ Fitchburg, Massachusetts Thu__Oct_18__1928_Thief in the Dark The_Indianapolis_News_ Indianapolis, Indiana Sat__Jul_14__1928_

Thief in the Dark Film Daily May 20 1928Thief in the Dark Reading_Times_ Reading, Pennsylvania Mon__Oct_1__1928_



By C. S. Williams


[1] The Hamilton Evening Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Saturday, June 6, 1928 / Our Town (Narberth, Pennsylvania) Saturday, June 23, 1928

[2] Medicine Hat News (Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada) Saturday, December 15, 1928

[3] The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin) Thursday, May 24, 1928

[4] The Warren Tribune (Warren, Pennsylvania) May 16, 1928

[5] The Hamilton Evening Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Saturday, June 9, 1928

Oscar Micheaux, Director, Producer, Writer and Film Pioneer!


Oscar Micheaux

Oscar Micheaux, Director, Producer, Writer, Presenter and film promoter with 42 credits as Director, 38 films as Producer and 39 movies as Writer. Micheaux was the first African-American to make a feature-length movie (The Homesteader) which was released in 1919, 2 years before Charlie Chaplin made “The Kid” (Chaplin’s first feature). He made forays into nearly every genre: Social-Dramas, Comedies and Westerns, traditional Dramas, Mysteries, Musicals and Gangster films. Many are offended by some stereotypical casting decisions he made in certain of his films, but, like his work, love his work, respect his content and his methods or not, none of us can doubt that he was a true film pioneer. I rejoice that Oscar Micheaux did not give in to the restraints and restrictions which legal racism constructed, nor give up under the great pressure laid upon his shoulders financially and socially, but that he continued to give out; for that, we are all blessed, not only as devotees of film but also as lovers of the human-race.

oscarThe_Homesteader_1919_newspaperadoscar withinourgatesoscar The_Brute_1920_newspaperadoscarGunsaulusMystery1921-filmoscarThe_Dungeon_1922_newspaperad


Directing star of stage in his film debut: Paul Robeson


oscar untitledoscar 86ca2b16195458f2c6bc0cf66b4592faoscarmigrating-veiledoscarmurderinharlem1oscar temptationoscaruntitledoscarswingoscar God's_Step_Children_Posteroscar280px-Lying_Lips_Poster_1939oscar betrayal




By C. S. Williams

The Fire Detective, 1929, a Serial Gone Missing!

fire detectivePoster_of_the_movie_-The_Fire_Detective-



The Fire Detective, was a Pathé Exchange Chapter-play (10 two-reelers in length), directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet and Thomas Storey, from a story by Frank Leon Smith, adapted by George Arthur Gray; starring Gladys McConnell, Hugh Allan and Leo D. Maloney. According to the Exhibitors Daily Review,[1] The Fire Detective was set to be the first serial with sound sequences, not a talkie, but synchronized sound effects. Sadly, it seems the sound-effects for FD did not come to fruition, but, with or without sound, in The Fire Detective, we have lost another treasure from the cinema-trove.


Fire Detective On Location in Los AngelesHere is a link to learn more about Marc Wanamaker, and for more information on the work, mission and purpose of Bison, please visit Bison Archives. Please remember to get your copy of Location Filming in Los Angeles; it is a great read… enjoy!

Even though The Fire Detective is considered a lost film, yet, there might be hope. This optimism of one day finding a portion or a surviving copy is because of three sources: The New Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society, author Kalton C. Lahue and Robert Youngson. Let’s take a look first at Lahue’s research, he lists chapter information in his 1964 book, Continued Next Week and shows a screen shot of the title card from the presumed lost serial in Bound and Gagged, 1968;[2] the main title was taken directly from the 35mm print. Secondly, when we review the program by the New Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society,[3] we see that an extract of The Fire Detective would be seen in a Serial Cavalcade, compiled by John E. Allen, and edited by William K. Everson. What makes this compendium of serials so interesting is that Everson and Allen assembled and edited the project in 1955; there is no doubt that in 1955 there was at the least some amount of The Fire Detective extant. Now whether or not this is the same material (Serial Cavalcade, 1955) that Kalton Lahue used we do not know, if not, then we have a later date (1967-1968) for surviving footage from The Fire Detective. In 1961 Robert Youngson compiled Days of Thrills and Laughter, a 93 minute film featuring complete short-subjects, scenes and excerpts from silent comedies and thrilling serials. In the chapter with title The Thrillers, we see actress Gladys McConnell fall through a weakened floor to a waiting pool of debris filled water; clearly what appears to be a scene from The Fire Detective. All three of these sources make for a very exciting notion that somewhere, someplace, The Fire Detective is waiting to be re-discovered.

The story by Frank Leon Smith (he also prepared the continuity) and adaptation by George Arthur Gray, follows our hero, the son of a wealthy manufacturer of fire apparatus; so that he might learn the business correctly, he joins the fire department, in a large city. The mystery is deep, the stakes high, as the heroine of The Fire Detective, a newspaper woman, tries to unravel the twisted clues, that will not only save her father, but of course, will make a big story for her and her paper.[4]

Originally, The Fire Detective was to be released on December 30, 1928,[5] with filming set to begin on September 1, 1928.[6] There were delays in both filming and release, why? As mentioned above, it possibly was because Pathé had considered making Fire Detective with sound, since the narrative afforded “unexcelled opportunities for novel sound effects.”[7] In the latter part of October, 1928, super-serial-director Spencer Gordon Bennet was preparing to start work on FD, but Gladys McConnell as of October, 23, had not yet been cast as our heroine, the intrepid reporter, but was being considered for the lead.[8] Finally the decision was made and on Friday, October 26, 1928 McConnell was hired for the part of Gladys Samuels.[9] Quickly then, like dominoes falling, the parts began to be assigned… Leo Maloney was contracted to play the villain.[10]

The film did fine at the Box-office, gaining a 75% rating on June 8 and an 80% in June of 1929, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[11] The Fire Detective was still making the rounds into the spring of 1930.

The ten-chapter serial individual titles are as follows:

1 The Arson Trial (Copyright March 2, 1929)

2 The Pit of Darkness (Copyright March 5, 1929)

3 The Hidden Hand (Copyright March 5, 1929)

4 The Convict Strikes (Copyright March 12, 1929)

5 On Flaming Waters (Copyright March 13, 1929)

6 The Man of Mystery (Copyright March 16, 1929)

7 The Ape Man (Copyright March 12, 1929)

8 Back From Death (Copyright March 18, 1929)

9 Menace of the Past (Copyright April 2, 1929)

10 The Flame of Love (Copyright April 11, 1929)


On January 4, 1931, real life met fiction, when during a showing of The Fire Detective, during a fire-scene, while an electric piano was playing, Ah Sweet Mystery of Life, the actual film caught on fire. The theater was filled with smoke and flames were leaping from the film-projection-booth. Audience members left in an orderly fashion and the firemen brought the blaze under control. Damage was confined to just the walls of the projection-booth and one reel of film.[12] For that crowd, realism came too close to the film filled with fantasy fire.


firedetectiveBookReaderImages.php (3124×4132).htm_20140331123814Fire Detective The_Lincoln_Star_Lincoln Nebraska Sun__May_5__1929_ fire detective fire detective Publication1firedetective 5Publication1 Fire Detective The_Lincoln_Star_Lincoln Nebraska Sun__May_5__1929_(1)fire detective 10firedetective articlePublication1 firedetectiveMotion Picture News (Apr - Jul 1929).htm_20140331125913firetectivekiddie card2Motion Picture News (Apr - Jul 1929).htm_20140331130305 (2) - Copy

Gladys McConnell and Hugh Allan

Gladys McConnell and Hugh Allan




Short Biographies of the principals involved. 


Our Players 


Fire Detective Gladys McConnell

Gladys McConnell

Gladys McConnell (Gladys Samuels) with only seven pictures under her belt, she was getting publicity via checks. “Checks” you say? Quite the idea actually, McConnell (I am sure that an agent was involved in some way) had her picture put on her personal checks. The story proclaimed… “Her Picture Is Worth Money.”[13] But this seems too good to be true that she just happened upon such fame, and so it is too good to be true for we are lacking the full story, for Miss McConnell had already been in films prior to what most sources proclaim as her debut which was, The Feud, January 31, 1926. But that film and date is from our modern perspective, not from the contemporaneous news reports; by those news-bits, we know that McConnell was signed by Universal in 1923.[14]

By the time she was named a “Baby Star” by the Wampas (a screen-publicists’ organization) in 1927, McConnell was already a veteran trooper, her beginnings near storied, never having had to brave the Extras line,[15] but almost graduating from high-school into moving-pictures. She was dubbed a Fox Kindergarten member, along with Janet Gaynor, Richard Walling, Olive Borden, Gene Cameron, Barry Norton and Reata Hoyt. Our trail of unlisted, uncredited films begins with a credited appearance in Pigs,[16] (AKA The Midnight Kiss, 1926) an upcoming Fox release starring McConnell, Gene Cameron and Richard Walling (he was selected from the Fox still-camera staff). This article about The Midnight Kiss, points directly to earlier film experience for McConnell, I might look no further, save, here is mentioned that she had, had work in two-reel comedies.[17]

Harry Langdon when searching for a leading lady for his upcoming Three’s a Crowd, 1927, chose her after viewing some two-reel westerns (evidently McConnell had been in a dozen or more western and comedies; she easily adapted to the western genre because she had been riding horses since the age of six[18]) and knew that he had his gal.[19] We find this corroborated when in she was given her part in The Devil Horse, 1926, a Hal Roach film, Gladys McConnell is considered experienced as a western-leading-woman;[20] a remarkable statement, considering that it was made in August of 1925, yet according to modern sources, she was not seen until January of 1926 on the silver-screen. We further find that McConnell did her very first work in film on a desert location for a western.[21] This secret stash of two-reel films seems to have taken place in 1924, but she took a year off, after being disappointed by not being able to land anything beyond these two-reel westerns and comedies.[22] A local paper in Modesto, California reported that McConnell had been appearing with Tom Mix and Buck Jones; Jones we can track, The Flying Horseman, 1926, but Tom Mix, what Tom Mix movies? I can find not one listing for McConnell and Mix together.

What follows is one of the missing McConnell roles: she had the female lead role in the 1924 Phil Goldstone production of The White Panther, a feature film (56 minutes), directed by Alvin J. Neitz; McConnell is mistakenly listed as Gertrude McConnell. But, there is no doubt that it is Gladys because she is correctly identified in a film summery by The Film Daily.[23] As a cherry sits so nicely on the top of a sundae, so the fact that on top of all of that talent, Gladys McConnell was also a competitive aviatrix, flying in the first trans-continental women’s air-derby; the race was from Santa Monica, California, and ending in Cleveland, Ohio; McConnell did finish the race. There is some confusion because of another contestant Gladys O’Donnell, Ms. O’Donnell came close to winning the derby. So, if you do your own research on McConnell’s love of flying and her competing in the first women’s air derby, some list her, and some do not; I believe that is because of the similar last name.

Gladys McConnell had roles in around forty productions, (that is of course if we use our new information regarding her earlier unlisted works), she also supplied research for Angkor, 1935.

McConnell miscellany, take a moment and read this amusing bit from the Brisbane Courier.[24]


Fire Detective Hugh Allan pictureplaymagaz

Hugh Allan, (Captain Jeff Tarrant) it is difficult to ascertain exactly when Allan was born, he listed his birth date differently, throughout his life (hum, it’s as though this is a recurring theme in movie-land?), keeping the same date of November 5, but changing the year, as suited him, I guess? On different censuses, immigration lists for sailing, and publications he gave his birth-year as 1903, 1904, 1905… you get the picture. So we will simply go with what is on his headstone: 1903. In April of 1925, Allan was signed to play the leading man in Little Annie Rooney, starring Mary Pickford; not only signed, but Pickford personally selected him.[25] Clearly Allan missed the boat with Little Annie Rooney (mega hit for Pickford) and William Haines sailed away in the role of Joe Kelly. According to Allan himself, the following story of his broken arm was apocryphal,[26] and was issued to cover up a disagreement between Jack Pickford and himself: “Mr. Allan decided to celebrate the good news of being picked by Pickford, for Little Annie Rooney, by buying a new radio; while adjusting for a better signal on the roof (yes, those were the days), he fell off of the roof and broke his arm and changed casting history.”[27]

1929 had ‘very special’ written all over it for Hugh Allan, he had met reporter Catherine (Cathryn) Hoffman (she was interviewing him) the summer before, in Miami, Florida;[28] the two hit it off and were engaged and planning a 1929, June wedding.[29] But for some un-announced reason the wedding did not happen. In the autumn of 1930 Hoffman landed a job with the Miami News, as an ‘imbedded-reporter’ in Hollywood.[30] Most of her articles were fluff-work with some diary reports added in; as well, Hoffman appears to have gotten walk-on (uncredited, unlisted) work on a few films, Only Saps Work, released December 6, 1930, is the subject of one piece.[31] And her hand was used in Three Rogues, 1931, starring Victor McLaglen and Fay Wray.[32] Probably this Hollywood correspondent got her real start with that Hugh Allan interview and romance; yet her fame was confined to the Miami area and was short-lived.

October 26 of 1929 was the beginning of the end for Hugh Allan with regards to Hollywood. He had not married Catherine Hoffman, and now unbeknownst to him he was setting sail on a one way trip from the movie-making industry. Allan had contracted to film in Hawaii, with the S.S. Calawali being his transport. The ship arrived in Honolulu on November 2, 1929 and once there the production (Aloha) hit financial ‘rock-bottom;’ according to Allan, the director and producer put on a show for the actors by continuing the appearance of filming with no film in the cameras. This burnt Allan to the core, he went back to California on the S.S. City of Honolulu on November 30, 1929 and arrived in Los Angeles on December 4, promptly quitting the film business, thoroughly disturbed by the lack of character which he had seen.[33] Hugh Allan and co-star of Aloha, Gladys McConnell, filed a complaint against producer Eska Wilson; Wilson was arrested and released without bail.[34]

Wait a moment! If that is the truth, that Allan was through with films, then how do we explain a missing title? There is at the least one missing movie from Allan’s résumé and this is a post Hawaii production, which is the July 3, 1930 release, Holiday, directed by Edward H. Griffith.[35] The next unlisted (after the Hawaii disappointment) film is a two-reel comedy, Silence is Golden (announced at the same point as A Royal Flush), 1930.[36] Allan was shooting Silence is Golden in March of 1930, at Columbia Studios and was just one of a series of short-subjects being made.[37] One could make the assumption that when Aldous Huxley wrote his essay Silence is Golden, reprinted in Golden Book Magazine, for their April of 1930 edition, that he was writing a review (most refer to this piece as a specific-film commentary); Silence is Golden was originally published in a collection of essays with the title of: Do What You Will, 1929. That Huxley was writing a review of Silence is Golden  is not likely, the piece is more about his dislike of talkies and that silent-movies are golden.[38] Silence is Golden not only is missing from Hugh Allan’s profile, but is not listed for Columbia. The short comedy is mentioned in an Indiana newspaper as Allan having the juvenile lead, and that he provoked laughs in both Silence is Golden and The Royal Flush.[39] This snippet about Silence is Golden was included in the Screen Gossip section, Hollywood, California, dated April 30, 1930.

But now I move beyond whether Allan ended his acting career in 1929 or 1930 and I want to introduce another possible film lost from Mr. Allan’s work history, the independently produced Love Harmony, 1930.[40] Shot at Tec-Art Studios and an Exeltone Productions project (possibly, Excellent Pictures Corporation?[41]), with director Dallas Fitzgerald at the helm and starring: Hugh Alan, Thelma Hill, Ethlyn Clarie and Lee Moran; they began filming on September 8, 1929.[42] This is a film that has completely dropped off the radar; there is not a trace in any of the film-histories of any of the principal players, nor in the production lists of Exeltone (I can find no information on this company), Tec-Art Studios (it’s main offices were located at 344 West 44th Street, New York City), nor anything in the profile of director Fitzgerald for this film. If Exeltone (Excellent) ran out of funding for this project and left it incomplete, then surly there would still be some further mention, yet, nothing; if this was an Excellent Pictures project, it appears nowhere on any current or upcoming release schedule from 1928-1930 . If you, dear reader, have any information regarding Love Harmony, please contact me at classicfilmaficionados@outlook.com

Now, on to Allan’s post Hollywood career… with no announcement whatsoever, we find Hugh Allan married to Lois (Lou) Williamson, in 1932; they were living in Houston, Texas. By 1940 they had two children Carita (four years of age) and Hugh (one year old). Allan had landed a position as an executive with a whole-sale equipment business, making $5,000.00 per year. The couple lived in New York City, as late as 1935, (Carita was born in NYC) prior to moving to Memphis, Tennessee. This was home for Hugh Allan, the place of his birth. He seemed to thrive  in Memphis and in 1943 he was the vice-president of the Rotary Lift Company. By 1954, fortunes turned and Allan was specializing in rebuilding clutches for elevators and eventually becoming the president of an elevator equipment company.[43] Finally, in 1993, Hugh Allan moved into his family’s old home in Memphis on Caraway Cove and spent his final years there.

With or without the other films that Allan worked on, his career was short and his film appearances can nearly be counted on your fingers and toes.


Fire Detective Leo D. Maloney

Leo D. Maloney

Leo D. Maloney (Chief Carson) as late as 1910, our soon to be actor, stunt-coordinator, director, writer and producer was a produce dealer, in New York City. What a humble occupation for a summa cum laude graduate of Santa Clara College.[44] But the degree from the San Francisco Bay area school did little to help this young man, whose upbringing consisted of ranch living, replete with lariat practice, cattle-round-ups, line-riding, bronc-busting and bulldogging a steer.[45] All of this prepared Maloney for a successful career in films, especially in the action and western genres, where his natural and learned talents were best utilized. As with A Wild Ride, 1915, where Maloney performed a death-defying stunt, this according to the Moving Picture World;[46] his horsemanship was well known in the industry.[47]

In July of 1922, Maloney signed a distribution contract with Pathé for The Range Rider Series,[48] which lasted for twenty-six two-reel installments. The first Range Rider episode was His Own Law, released on September 3, 1922; the last of this series was Warned in Advance, which opened on August 19, 1923. The Range Rider series followed his work in another proposed Pathé character-cycle entitled: Santa Fe Mac. Santa Fe Mac was distributed by Clark-Cornelius Corp and was planned for twelve two-reel, weekly episodes.[49] But, it seems that this initial short-western was used as pilot, rather than the beginning of a series, for we have no other connection to any other film or character to Santa Fe Mac.

In the mid-1920’s Maloney purchased land in the San Bernardino Mountains, building a western-city for the purpose of making movies. The property was located in the Crestline, California, neighborhood,[50] specifically in the Huston Flat[51] area, about a quarter of mile west of Lake Gregory. The property is now the very center of Lake Gregory Village on Lake Drive; beginning at Alder Lane, on the south side, stretching east toward the lake.[52] This movie was called Skyland, with fifty buildings, its own lake and stream, along with fifty head of horses. At the time Skyland was the only studio devoted only to the making of western-movies and cost $100,000.00 to construct.[53]

Unfortunately Maloney and his second-wife (Genevieve) were not able to keep up the payments and they defaulted on the $1,500.00 promissory note, which was held by the Hellman Commercial Trust and Savings Bank, acting as Trustee for Charles S. Mann and H. W. Ramsey.[54] A very disturbing way to lose a $100.000.00 property, over a $1,500.00 note; all of this occurred just a half a year prior to his death.

In the early to mid 1920’s Maloney reached the pinnacle of his career. Pathé’s advertising for the thirty-something actor was “America’s Cowboy,” and in the same ad: “He knows the good old audience stuff the way Tiffany knows a watch.” Of course a cowboy hero needs his trusty side-kick, and Maloney had at least two of these Equus ferus caballus cohorts, Monty Cristo,[55] and Come and Get Me.[56]

What saddens me is the premature loss of Leo Maloney, all because he could not put the bottle down, acute alcoholism topped off by one long binge was his downfall; what a shame for his family, for the movie-goers then, and for us now looking back at what could have been. Maloney, had thirteen writing credits, he produced thirteen films, coordinated the stunts for The Hazards of Helen, 1914, directed fifty movies and acted in almost two-hundred flicks.


Fire Detective Frank Lackteen

Frank Lackteen

Frank Lackteen (Mr. Tarrant) what can one say about a man with nearly two-hundred celluloid appearances? So, I will begin at his beginning, because his beginnings molded his film future. He was born Mohammed Hassan Lackteen, in Labanon, 1897. He, his mother and father made their way from Marseilles, France aboard the Hamburg-American Lipe, in 1905, he was eight years old. They lived for a while in Kingston, Jamaica, before finally making the move to the United States. In 1928, Lackteen was still married to his first wife Sarah, but by June of 1932 he has married Muriel Dove and they had a daughter (Muriel Elizabeth) in 1936.

A swarthy 5’ 10½, with high-cheekbones, 145 pounds, gave this actor an edge in playing the exotic villain and or an everyday bad guy, often enough playing Native Americans, Hispanic, and even Asian characters. Once talkies arrived Lackteen was just that much better with his unusual, indeterminate accent. Lackteen made himself a student of Native American lore, and became familiar with the customs of the Navajo people by considerable time with them. For the filming of The Last Frontier, 1926, he had a ‘Hogan’ built which he used for his lodging while on location;[57] that is what I call dedication to the acting process and getting into the role!

For 1925’s Sunken Silver, Lackteen was the first actor hired for this Pathé Serial.[58] The engagement required Lackteen to make a cross country journey, at the time he was filming, Idaho, and made his way for the location shooting in Florida. The original title of the flick was to be Black Caesar’s Clan (Black Caesar’s Clan, was written by Albert Payson Terhune in 1922), later changed to what we now have. I do find it odd that in the writing credits the story’s author is not mentioned, only Frank Leon Smith, who of course adapted the book for the screen.

In Tom Weaver’s interview with SF, horror, B-picture -maestro Alex Gordon made it sound as though he had the aging Lackteen on most of his pictures (“I always use Edmund Cobb and Frank Lackteen”),[59] yet Lackteen only worked on three Gordon productions: The Atomic Submarine, 1959, Requiem for a Gunfighter, and The Bounty Killer, both in 1965 (all three pictures were directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet).  According to the Gordon interview, Lackteen was paid the daily minimum of $100.00 for his uncredited walk-on for The Atomic Submarine;[60] these Alex Gordon films were the last roles for Mr. Lackteen.


Fire Detective John Cossar

John Cossar

John Cossar (District Attorney Samuels) immigrated to the United States in 1866 (eleven years old), he became a naturalized citizen in 1879. Cossar and Fanny Cohen (AKA Fannie Cohen, Fannie Cossar) were married on June 15, 1896.

John Cossar was a well established actor long ere he first graced the silver-screen; as early as 1883 (he was 18), Cossar appeared in Pique, in the role of Arthur Standish,[61] which toured the Midwest. Then in 1885 he had good supporting work in Little Ferret, (playing, Howard, the detective) which played in Sedalia, Missouri.[62] While in 1886 Cossar was on a North American tour of Michael Strogoff (having replaced Frank C. Bangs, when he fell ill with severe bronchial trouble[63]), appearing in the title role.[64] By the time 1887 rolled around, audiences accepted Cossar as Michael Strogoff, with the production’s initial leading man Frank Bangs all but forgotten.[65] John Hay Cossar was considered a well-known actor, especially in the east, and in 1889, he was prominent in the touring company that presented Beacon Lights,[66] receiving accolades for his characterization.

By the middle of the next decade, Cossar was so well known that when local New York newspaper reports related that he and Miss Fanny Cohen were married, his replay (“simply engaged”) was printed in the New York Dramatic Mirror[67]; this a whole year prior to their nuptials and it speaks volumes to the popularity of the young actor in 1895.

He was in the tour of The Great Ruby in 1902;[68] The Great Ruby was written by Cecil Raleigh and Henry Hamilton, produced by Augustin Daly, at Daly’s Theatre, in New York. The original cast included Blanche Bates, Ada Rehan, Laura Burt, May Cargill, White Whittlesey, Marcia Von Dresser (replaced Miss Ada Rehan), which had a successful run on Broadway: February 9, 1899-.? That question-marked closing date need not be completely in the dark, for the play was still going strong (“unprecedented business”), as of April 8, 1899.[69] The play was scheduled to close on Sunday, June 18, but with the passing of Augustin Daly, on June 7, 1899, the manager of Daly’s Theatre, Richard Dorney, immediately closed the show; so the end date was either June 8 or June 9, bringing the total performances to over one-hundred-forty. [70] Also he appeared in Her Marriage Vow, in 1904,[71] and then we see the Cossar couple playing vaudeville in Montana, in early 1907; their act revolved around comedy-skits. For this trip to Anaconda, Montana the couple was included in a large advertisement.[72] On to Spokane for their next vaudeville stop, headlining the program;[73] moving south, they appeared at Empire Theatre, in Los Angeles, California. By September of the same year they had made the trek to Pennsylvania,[74] where they received a very warm welcome by the audiences for their interpretation of the skit Our Honeymoon (written, conceived, and originally performed by John C. Rice and Sally Cohen; the Cossars acquired the exclusive rights from Rice and Cohen, for their western-state tour).[75] By February 1909 and for the next two years, it was not uncommon to see the husband and wife team of Cossar and their sketch Our Honeymoon, at or near top bill;[76] John Cossar is made mention of in Variety-Weekly, more than 60 times from 1907-1912… a very busy man he was.

It was not John who first saw Cossar in flickering light, but Fanny who made the family’s first appearance in film, with The Love of Beauty, 1913 (Lubin Manufacturing Company). Fanny Cossar was only to make a handful of pictures and those numbered years apart; her last two movies were talkies: Girl Grief, 1932 and Opened by Mistake, 1934.

When John Cossar made his film debut he was fifty-nine years old, not exactly matinee-idol material, yet, he quickly gained admirers for his realistic portrayals. In 1914, after J. H. Cossar’s eighteenth role (A Gentleman of Leisure), he made another picture with Francis X. Bushman (their tenth time working together), The Plum Tree, which Cossar is not credited with, another of those missing links.[77]

Late summer through late autumn of 1915, causes us a little name identity problem for a Cossar film: The Whirlpool, which was released on September 4, 1915. But by December of 1915, Essanay had changed the title to The Vortex, with half-page advertising bought in Pictures and the Picturegoer magazine. Ah, the vagaries of AKA, one-hundred years removed.

Another autumn, proved important to Cossar, this in November of 1916 saw the Cossar name upon the silver-screen six times in five productions; the last of these five short-subjects was released on November 21, a week ahead of Thanksgiving: Unto the Least of These. The film is special for the reason that Fanny Cossar appears (uncredited, unlisted) in the film. As far as we know, this is the only time they were on the screen together; what a change after such a strong vaudeville presence, that saw the husband and wife team, together on hundreds of occasions. John Cossar appeared in more than one-hundred-fifty motion pictures, his last role was The Fire Detective.


Fire Detective Larry Steers

Larry Steers

Larry Steers (Charles Lewis) is an important part of the history of Hollywood, film-making in general and to the state of California. We may remember him most for his laundry-list of uncredited movie appearances; yet, from 1917-1929 he was well known by audiences, and was applauded as a sound supporting-player.

For the citizens of the Golden State, Steers was a Captain (during WWII) of the California State Guard, acting as a liaison between the State Guard and the local sheriff’s department and the highway patrol.[78]

For the members of the film-community at large, in 1934, Steers was named to the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG) standing committee on extras;’[79] also in 1937 he was the SAG Junior Guild President.[80] In 1939 he was part of the Hollywood delegation that appeared before the executive council of the American Federation of Labor. This group from SAG presented their side of the case against the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Stagehands’ union. Other representatives in attendance with Steers (the delegate for screen extras) were Mischa Auer, Edward Arnold, Binnie Barnes, Henry Hull, Wayne Morris, Ralph Morgan and Jean Muir. This argument was a territorial dispute, one not easily understood by the general public at the time or even amongst many actors. The issue reduced to its simplest terms was that The American Federation of Actors had been granted a charter by The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, prior to that the Federation had been part of the Associated Actors and Artists of America… The Screen Actors’ Guild demanded that the Federation be returned to their original sponsorship; as then President of the Screen Actors’ Guild, Ralph Morgan said” What does a stage hand know about the problems of an actor?”[81] A threatened strike by SAG won the day, and preempted a takeover by IATSE.

With more than five-hundred films under his belt, over a thirty-five year period, Larry Steers was a true ironman.


Fire Detective Bruce Gordon

Bruce Gordon

Bruce Gordon (part unknown) came to acting later than most. Born in South Africa (circa 1894), Gordon, at the age of twenty moved to England, to study medicine and surgery at London University. Now his first-tier interests were big-game hunting, and acting, but his father (a British Army Brigadier-General) spoke the word ‘doctor’ (as so many fathers have done, wanting the best for their child) and off young Gordon went. He was within one year of his medical degree, when the adventure and romance of moving pictures called.[82] His first work was with the Progress production company and then he directed and starred in The First Men in the Moon (1919) for Gaumont British Picture Corporation; Gordon had roles in two more English films before Commodore J. Stuart Blackton brought the South African native to the States with The House of the Tolling Bell, September 5, 1920. After the release of The House of the Tolling Bell (in which he co-starred with May McAvoy) Gordon commenced a nationwide tour, not only being introduced to the American-movie-going-public, but also to promote the upcoming opening of The Forbidden Valley (again with May McAvoy) in October of 1920. Bruce Gordon was so committed to this promotional opportunity, that when his wife arrived from South Africa, an hour was their reunion before leaving again on the personal appearance excursion. This was no small decision, for he had left Mrs. Gordon in England, shortly after their marriage;[83] Mrs. Gordon was able to move into their new home located in Brooklyn, New York, at 491 Willoughby Avenue.[84] Somebody has a piece of history and they may not know it.

Gordon’s star would shine brightly for a while, but soon the leading roles where behind him and he saw his film-billing drop to, third, fourth, fifth… Beginning with the hopes of a  matinée-idol, an action star, an adventure man, Gordon became instead a solid supporting actor, ending up with about seventy-five movies to his credit.


Fire Detective Carlton S King

Carlton S. King

Carlton S. King (part unknown) had a long career before his film days. In 1895 King was a soloist performing with a local church choir in Chicago.[85] At the age of twelve he joined The Hollywood Juvenile Opera Company, taking roles in such productions as The Mikado (Old Maid), H.M.S. Pinafore and The Mascot. Still only fourteen years old, he took a position with the Calhoun Opera Company, working his way up to second-comedy-part.[86]

All of this success brought him to the attention of Francis Wilson, for whom he would spend five years with, playing in The Little Corporal, Cyrano de Bergerac, Erminie and The Monks of Malabar. After Wilson, King was with the Rogers Brothers for a season, The Dearborn Theater Producing Company and a season with Richard Carle in The Explorers; then starring in The Golden Girl, a musical-comedy.[87]

Carlton King boasted seventy-eight credits amongst his varied stage appearances, which included musical-comedies, grand-opera and comic-operas.[88] In the second week of the grand-opera season at the Great Northern Theater, Chicago, King was cast as Sir Tristan;[89] just two weeks later and Alphons Czibulka and his opera Amorita was an important point in the young baritone’s[90] entertainment-path, for not only was he cast in the comedy opera, nor just mentioned in a review, with this production (presented by O. B. Thayer, at the Great Northern Theater, Chicago, Illinois, August of 1897) he was included in the advertising,[91] and this at just fifteen years of age. King toured with The Wizard of Oz, a musical extravaganza by Fred R. Hamlin, prior to its Broadway opening;[92] his was the part of King Pastoria II (the real king of Oz), a character not in L. Frank Baum’s book.

1904 was a big year for the young actor, he appeared in The Tenderfoot,[93] and then in the latter part of autumn, he was in the tour of the musical-comedy, The Isle of Spice, which had just closed its Broadway run at the Majestic Theater.[94] As if that were not enough he also was a comedian, and had roles in dramatic stock.[95]

With the La Salle Theatre Company, Chicago, King took the title role of The Umpire, in March of 1906.[96] He was with the La Salle Company two years, and then he moved on to Cleveland, Ohio, staying two years with the Cleveland Summer Stock Company.[97] King appeared as ‘Ainslie’ in Girl in the Kimono, in Chicago, at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in June of  1910.[98] While in Chicago, King made his initial foray into film (no information available as to roles or positions), with Selig;[99] how long he was with the Chicago film company, is anybody’s guess. We do know that he went back to the stage with the Hunt Griffin English Opera Company, and in May of 1910 he appeared in the Grand Opera attraction, Martha.[100] In the fall of 1911 the tour of the W. P. Cullen production of, The Golden Girl was in full swing, with stops in Montana and Utah.[101] In 1912, in New Orleans, Carlton King was the male-lead in Alma, staged at the Tulane Theater, which was in September.[102] Clearly King was a big draw in Alma, Where Do You Live.? His photo was used in advance notices in newspapers in Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina; and Jo Web production continued its tour in 1913, in the mid-east, mid-west, and into Canada (Vancouver and Winnipeg). In May of 1913, King once again found himself in New York at the Jefferson Theatre, in Joe Weber’s Shop Girls, of which he had the principal comedic lead. Unfortunately, King became ill, and the show closed, with no plans for the immediate future.[103] He appeared in many important roles, playing alongside the well-known stars of the stage of day: Joe Webber, Lulu Glaser, Pauline Hall, Jennie Weathersbie, De Wolf Hopper, Della Fox and Valeska Surratt.[104]

As with many of the silent-era actors, King’s résumé is not complete. It seems that at least two roles slipped through the proverbial crack. Our first title lost from his acting credits is an Edison production released in September of 1913: The Green Eye of the Yellow God.[105] This appearance is taken by remark rather than direct statement, from the local newspaper in Texas. He is listed amongst favorite performers at the local cinema; King was with the Edison Company in 1913. It is evident that his debut was not in The Stolen Models, but in the aforementioned The Green Eye of the Yellow God. The second movie that is missing from Carlton King’s film-history is Olive’s Greatest Opportunity, 1915. This was the last in a series of shorts (1914-1915) starring Mabel Trunnelle. What a film to not be accounted in King’s profile, for as the story goes, King nearly drown in the making of it. The scene in which he almost met death, necessitated his character the Gypsy jump into a hole in the ice, in a river. The crew members that prepared the hole did not allow for any momentum and King was carried beyond the aperture in the ice. If it were not for fellow actor Edward Earle who found and made purchase of the coat of King, he would have died then and there. But, Earl held on until others could assist by pulling on Earl, which in turn saved King. Whew! That was a close one. The camera man caught part of the rescue on film but it could not be used in the story for the Gypsy was supposed to die, unknown to the rest of the story’s characters.[106] Carlton King was almost a movie-star, very close indeed, but nigh unto forgotten today. He had parts in around seventy-five films.

King miscellany for his co-starring role in A Question of Identity, King portrayed a priest, Father Journet, who later becomes a Cardinal. He applied the make-up for his scenes as Cardinal Journet and he had a difficult time convincing an elderly lady that he was just an actor in make-up and not an actual spiritual-representative of the Catholic Church. This incident garnered a mention in Motography magazine, proclaiming he is “perhaps one of the greatest makeup artists in moving pictures.”[107] What a hoot! The Dixie Film Company (chartered and with offices in the Healey Building in Atlanta, Georgia[108]) selected Carlton King as a director (he had already directed three short-subjects prior to joining Dixie) for them;[109] Dixie Film Company produced two films in 1916 (Tempest and Sunshine and Just a Song at Twilight), but the production company was not successful, and folded quickly.[110]


Our Director


Fire Detective Spencer Gordon Bennet director

Spencer Gordon Bennet

Spencer Gordon Bennet, (sometimes spelled: Bennett) anyone familiar with serials (silent or talkies) know the work of Mr. Bennet, he has for a long while be considered the king of the chapter-play, and he may have more serial titles to his name than we thought! In September of 1928, a report on upcoming work by Bennet, the writer says that Bennet had already worked on twenty-two serials for Pathé. Well, by the end of 1928 Spencer Gordon Bennet is only credited with thirteen chapter-dramas.[111] In the Federal Census for 1920, Bennet lists his work as Director, Motion Pictures. The light-bulb truly comes on when we read a paragraph in the Behind the Scenes in Hollywood column by Dorothy Herzog, she illuminated that Bennet had been directing for Pathé for fourteen-years; the piece was written in 1929![112] Our further evidence is that we know that Bennet was in the film industry, for his first acting job was in The Perils of Pauline, in 1914. And yet more clearly becomes the “valley of unseen Bennet” in a column (Screen Life in Hollywood) by Robbin Coons, in early 1929, where confirms that Bennet had been directing at Pathé for fourteen years, excepting his nineteen-month service in WWI. Attributing fifteen serials that Bennet directed alone, while his work history through 1929 shows twelve, and twenty-two co-directing assignments through 1929, yet, Bennet had only shared directing duties three times; by my count that is a total of twenty-two (three as director, nineteen as co-director) missing directorial credits. I am going to assume that since Bennet’s first co-directing work was with George B. Seitz that is with whom the uncredited, unlisted co-directing jobs are hidden, hidden by time and a lack of proper cast and crew recording for projects; this was a common problem in that era.[113]

According to the interview by Robbin Coons, Bennet related his film beginnings, that he got his start with the old Edison Company in New York, as a stunt-man. Bennet said that his first work as a director came by accident, literally. While performing one stunt,[114] a co-worker set Bennet on fire; he received some serious burns and was not able to return to work right away. When he did get back, they tried to atone for the incident by giving him the task of assistant-director; then when the director resigned from the project, Bennet took the director’s chair.[115] Spencer Bennet in 1918, in the fan magazine, Photoplay, is referred to as “Sergeant Spencer Bennett, formerly assistant director of serials, now a dispatch-rider in France.”[116] Then to add fuel to the fire, in a two-paragraph blurb, in The Film Daily, in 1923, we read Spencer Bennett was chosen to direct four Charles Hutchison serials for Pathé[117]. What is remarkable about this, for us to take notice, is that the piece says that Bennett is Hutchison’s former director.[118] Sunken Silver, which premiered May 10, 1925, is considered to be Bennet’s first work directing on a serial, but this statement clearly confirms all of the aforementioned citations.

If we could get just one title to add to the résumé of Bennet, that would go a long way to rewriting his professional history, and in some small way, revising the history of Hollywood. And here it is: Galloping Hoofs, 1924. Sole credit is given to George B. Seitz, but in a Hollywood trade paper from 1924; we see a picture, with text below written as follows: “This happy group are the players and directors of the Pathé serial, “Galloping Hoofs.” I will stop the quote there and take notice that the write up uses the plural ‘directors,’ and Spencer Bennett is the last name given, which follows Seitz; all preceding names were the producer and a few of the actors.[119]  At the least Bennet should have received assistant-director mention, and most likely, co-director; very exciting news for us serial lovers and buffs.

Regardless of the need for specific titles for the works in which Bennet was involved, we have conclusive, documentary proof that Spencer Gordon Bennet, either directed, co-directed or acted as assistant-director twenty times or more, before his “official” directorial debut, in 1921.

Bennet amassed more than one-hundred-thirty directing credits (if we include those films missing from his history), he played producer eight times, acted in a handful of projects, he also was the second unit or assistant director on three occasions, and did one turn as a stunt double.



Our co-director or assistant-director

Thomas Storey, if we stay with the story provided by the Internet Movie Data Base, then our tale of Mr. Storey is over. Because he acquired only six credits as director, during what appears as a short career in film-making. By the by, all six movies that he sat in the directors’ chair, were as co-director. He wrote the stories for two flicks Man’s Best Friend, 1935 and Two in Revolt, 1936. Storey had an uncredited appearance in The Last Frontier, 1932, and was the cinematographer for The Girl of the Golden West in 1923.

Expanding upon Storey’s story, we begin with Hearts Are Trumps, with director Rex Ingram, while John Seitz gets the only listing for cinematography; Storey was considered a co-cameraman for this project.[120] For his following omitted piece of his résumé, once again Storey was sharing photography duties with John Seitz, on another Ingram project, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 1921.[121] An unknown position of Thomas Storey is that of laboratory expert,[122] dealing with the negatives in adverse weather; Storey obviously had very specialized talents with regards to the handling of celluloid. He did such work on “Where the Pavement Ends, 1923, again for Rex Ingram. For The Girl of the Golden West production, Storey was responsible for transporting the negative.

Later in 1923, Storey worked in Victorville California, on The Bad Man, directed by Edwin Carewe; here he is accounted with the photography crew.[123] Next on our list of missing credits is one more Edwin Carewe project, the 1924 desert film: A Son of the Sahara. The film was shot on location in Algiers, and Carewe expected climate problems for the actual film-stock, therefore, he hired Storey not only as a co-cinematographer with Sol Polito, but also to take charge of the laboratory work;[124] laboratory expert is just not a position that would show up on the credits-roll. Another project in which Storey worked but received no credit was on Spencer Gordon Bennet’s Melting Millions, 1927; Storey was hired as an assistant to Bennet and to fill the position of casting director.[125]

Following Melting Millions, Mr. Storey took the role of casting-director again in The Hawk of the Hills, 1927.[126] In 1932 Storey was set as the co-director with Spencer Bennet, and was given the added duty of production manager for the upcoming 1932-33 season of serials on which Bennet would work.[127]


Now to the writing

Fire Detective George Arthur Gray Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World (Apr....htm_20140626140821

George Arthur Gray was considered and expert on child psychology, a magazine writer and author;[128] Gray was announced as the new assistant manager of serial publicity for Pathé, in March of 1919,[129] By 1928 Gray had been named West Coast Scenario Editor;[130] 1924 saw the release of the ten-chapter-play, Leatherstocking, directed by George B. Seitz; now while Gray was not part of the crew, he did prepare the photoplay edition, with photos from that film, entitled: Leather Stocking.

A funny story is how Gray got his start in the picture business; he was working at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, newspaper. His editor sent him to review a film by Fox; Gray gave a glowing response (this was a first for the Cleveland, Ohio, paper, normally bashing Fox productions), and William Fox sent Gray a personal letter offering him a job.[131]

Gray saw work on ten films, most often paired with Frank Leon Smith and seeing his written word come to life under the direction of Spencer Gordon Bennet. In between writing for film, to make ends meet, Gray worked for Al Selig, in the publicity department of the Tiffany Company.[132]


Fire Detective Frank Leon Smith

Frank Leon Smith

Frank Leon Smith was a short story writer,[133] and he worked for the Adams Newspaper Service,[134] which was a syndicator of columns to various newspapers across the country.  Mr. Smith had nearly twenty short stories published before his first scenario was filmed. He was considered a man of perseverance; persistence was used as a moniker by Charles B. Driscoll in his column (New York Day by Day) describing Smith, primarily because he submitted stories to the Saturday Evening Post for thirty years before being accepted.[135] Much of Smith’s writing success came in the 1930’s and 40’s, capitalizing on his work in the movies. In 1945  Frank Leon Smith’s short story Venus Didn’t Diet, was produced for radio.[136]

In total as a writer Smith was involved with twenty-one movies, and he had a partial, albeit an uncredited turn as director, in Ruth of the Range, 1923; he replaced W. S. Van Dyke and the director of credit for the flick was Ernest C. Warde.



By C. S. Williams



[1] Exhibitors Daily Review, Wednesday, December 5, 1928

[2] Continued Next Week: A History of the Moving Picture Serial, by Kalton C. Lahue, published by the

University of Oklahoma Press, 1964, Page 272

Bound and Gagged, Kalton C. Lahue, A. S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1968, page 97

[3] The New Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society, film program advertising: August 16, 1955

[4] Exhibitors Herald, May 26, 1928, here I have used the pertinent points and plot-keys used in the announcement

[5] Exhibitors Herald, May 26, 1928

[6] Exhibitors Daily Review, Friday, July 6, 1928

Motion Picture News, July 28, 1928

[7] Exhibitors Daily Review, December 5, 1928

[8] Exhibitors Daily Review, October 20, 1928

Exhibitors Daily Review, October 23, 1928

[9] Exhibitors Daily Review, October 26, 1928

[10] Exhibitors Daily Review, November 17, 1928

[11] The Motion Picture News, June 15, 1929

[12] The Daily Independent (Murphysboro, Illinois) January 5, 1931

[13] The News (Frederick, Maryland) July 19, 1926

[14] Motion Picture Classic, June, 1926

[15] New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) March 7, 1927

[16] The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) June 6, 1926

The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 29, 1926

[17] The News (Frederick, Maryland) May 29, 1926

[18] The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) October 9, 1926

[19] The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa) May 29, 1927

[20] Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) August 6, 1925

[21] Ogden Standard Examiner (Ogden, Utah) June 15, 1927

[22] The Davenport Democrat and Leader (Davenport, Iowa) May 29, 1927

[23] The Film Daily, January 27, 1924

[24] Brisbane Courier, (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)  January 19, 1929

[25] The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) April 19, 1925

[26] Interview by Michael G. Ankeric, which may be found at: Close-ups and Long Shots

[27] Picture-Play Magazine, October, 1927

[28] New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) January 22, 1929

[29] Picture-Play Magazine, June, 1929

[30] The Miami News (Miami, Florida) October 11, 1930

[31] The Miami News (Miami, Florida) November 30, 1930

[32] The Miami News (Miami, Florida) January 8, 1931

[33] Interview by Michael G. Ankeric, which may be found at: Close-ups and Long Shots

[34] Berkeley Daily Gazette (Berkeley, California) February 24, 1930

[35] Hollywood Filmograph, May 31, 1930

[36] Hollywood Filmograph, May 31, 1930

[37] Hollywood Filmograph, March 29, 1930

[38] Hollywood’s America: Twentieth-Century America Through Film, Fourth Edition, edited by Steve Mintz and

Randy W. Roberts, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010, pages 113-116

[39] Hammond Lake County Times (Hammond, Indiana) April 30, 1930

[40] Picture Play Magazine , November, 1930

[41] Exhibitors Daily Review, August 1, 1928, Tec-Art Studios agreed to make a series of films for Excellent Pictures,

Beginning with The Passion Song, which opened on October 15, 1928

[42] Exhibitors Herald-World, September 14, 1929

[43] Interview by Michael G. Ankeric, which may be found at: Close-ups and Long Shots

[44] The Huntington Press (Huntington, Indiana) September 24, 1922 (article by George Arthur Gray)

[45] The Huntington Press (Huntington, Indiana) September 24, 1922 (article by George Arthur Gray)

[46] Moving Picture World, July 24, 1915

[47] Exhibitors Herald, September 2, 1922

[48] Exhibitor’s Trade Review, July 22, 1922

[49] Exhibitors Herald, May 6, 1922

[50] The San Bernardino Daily Sun (San Bernardino, California) April 29, 1929

[51] Crestline Chronicles, by Rea-Frances Tetley, History Press, 2012, page 38

[52] Crestline Chronicles, by Rea-Frances Tetley, History Press, 2012, page 38

[53] The Evening Independent (St. Petersburg, Florida) April 23, 1927

[54] The San Bernardino Daily Sun (San Bernardino, California) January 8, , 1929

[55] The Lincoln Evening Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) November 5, 1929

[56] Exhibitors Herald, September 2, 1922

[57] Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) November 26, 1926

[58] Exhibitor’s Trade Review, February 28, 1925

[59] Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers, edited by Tome Weaver, McFarland

& Company, 2003, page 103

[60] Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers, edited by Tome Weaver, McFarland

& Company, 2003, page 103

[61] The Lawrence Journal (Lawrence, Kansas, October 23, 1883

[62] The Sedalia Weekly (Sedalia, Missouri) January 27, 1885

[63] The New York Mirror (New York, New York) December, 1886

[64] The New York Clipper (New York, New York) November 13, 1896

[65] The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) March 22, 1887

[66] The Pittsburg Dispatch (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania) March 24, 1889

The World (New York, New York) April 2, 1889

[67] The New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) June 8, 1895

[68] The Washington Times (Washington, D.C.) October 16, 1902

[69] The National Police Gazette (New York, New York) April 8, 1899

[70] Logansport Daily Journal (Logansport, Indiana) June 17, 1899

New York Times (New York, New York) June 11, 1899

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) June 4, 1899

The New York Times (New York, New York) June 4, 1899

[71] Motion Picture Magazine, December, 1914

[72] The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana) January 27, 1907

[73] The Spokane Press (Spokane, Washington) February 4, 1907

[74] Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) September 16, 1907

[75] Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) September 17, 1907

The Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) June 6, 1912

Portland, Oregon, (newspaper unknown) March 1, 1907

Variety (New York, New York) August 10, 1907

[76] Evening Herald (Huntington, Indiana) February 15, 1909

The Eau Claire Reader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) October 11, 1910

The Daily Journal-World (Lawrence , Kansas) April 18, 1911

Springfield Republican (Springfield, Missouri) April 30, 1911

The Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) June 6, 1912

[77] Daily East Oregonian (Pendleton, Oregon) January 12, 1915

[78] Long Beach Independent (Long Beach, California) July 13, 1944

[79] The Film Daily Production Guide and Director’s Annual 1934, editor Jack Alicoate, The Film daily, 1934, page 53

[80] Chinese in Hollywood, by Jenny Cho and the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California,

Arcadia Publishing, 2013, page 42

[81] The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) August 9, 1939

The Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, Ohio) August 10, 1939

[82] The Milwaukee Journal (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) October 10, 1920

The Snyder Signal, (Snyder, Scurry County, Texas) March 25, 1921

[83] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) October 1, 1920

[84] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) October 1, 1920

[85] The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) December 21, 1895

Moving Picture World, March 27, 1915

[86] The Moving Picture World, March 27, 1915

[87] The Moving Picture World, March 27, 1915 (a short bio of the actor)

[88] Motion Picture News Blue Book, 1930

[89] The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) August 8, 1897

[90] Motion Picture News Blue Book, 1930

[91] The Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) August 22, 1897

[92] Picture-Play Weekly, April 17, 1915

[93] The Huntington Herald (Huntington, Indiana) February 18, 1905

[94] Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) November 14, 1904

[95] New York Clipper (New York, New York) January 7, 1905

[96] New York Clipper (New York, New York) March 17, 1906

[97] Picture-Play Weekly, April 17, 1915

[98] Variety, (New York, New York) July 2, 1910

[99] The Moving Picture World, March 27, 1915

[100] Daily Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) May 13, 1910

[101] The Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana) October 22, 1911

The Logan Republican (Logan, Utah) November 16, 1911

[102] Variety, (New York, New York) September 6, 1912

[103] New York Clipper (New York, New York) May 31, 1913

[104] Picture-Play Weekly, April 17, 1915

[105] The Bryan Daily Eagle (Bryan, Texas) October 7, 1913

[106] Picture-Play Weekly, April 17, 1915 (nearly a one-third page story)

[107] Motography, October 17, 1914

[108] The Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) September 23, 1916

[109] Motion Picture News, April 1, 1916

[110] The Editor, Volume 43, February 12, 1916

[111] The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington) September 8, 1928

[112] Morning News (Florence, South Carolina) March 23, 1929

[113] The Evening Record (Ellensburg, Washington) February 4, 1929

[114]  It is unclear which company was intended, Edison or Pathé, when the mishap took place, and whether it was

Coons or Bennet that was vague.

[115] The Evening Record (Ellensburg, Washington) February 4, 1929

[116] Photoplay, October, 1918

[117] By a quick glance, I see that Hutchison did not return to Pathé, but went to the UK for Ideal Pictures; who knows

know why?

[118] The Film Daily, September 4, 1923

[119] Exhibitor’s Trade Review, November 1, 1924

[120] Motion Picture News, June 12, 1920

[121] Motion Picture News, July 24, 1920

[122] Exhibitor’s Trade Review, February 10, 1923

[123] The American Cinematographer, August, 1923

[124] The Film Daily, October 1, 1923

[125] The Film Daily, November 12, 1926

[126] Motion Picture News, April 8, 1927

[127] The Film Daily, July 7, 1932

[128] The Moving Picture World, December 28, 1918

[129] The Moving Picture World, March 29, 1919

[130] Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, May 26, 1928

[131] The Film Daily, August 29, 1930

[132] The Film Daily, August 29, 1930

[133] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) January 2, 1921

[134] The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) March 15, 1940

[135] The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) March 15, 1940

[136] Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) October 27, 1945