Category Archives: Posts by Janelle Vreeland

The Diamond from the Sky: American’s Crown Jewel: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 7)

  The Diamond from the Sky: American’s Crown Jewel The serial film was nothing new when the American Film Manufacturing Company released “The Diamond from the Sky” in 1915. In fact, just months before, the Thanhouser Film Corporation had wrapped … Continue reading

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Flying High With Flying A in the Windy City: The American Film Manufacturing Company: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 6)

  Flying High With Flying A in the Windy City: The American Film Manufacturing Company Formed by Samuel Hutchinson and Charles Hite, the American Film Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1910 and held the distinction of being the only independent … Continue reading

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The Little Colonel Meets Poe: Henry B. Walthall at Essanay: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 5)

  The Little Colonel Meets Poe: Henry B. Walthall at Essanay Henry B. Walthall is widely remembered today for his performance as The Little Colonel in D.W. Griffith’s controversial “The Birth of a Nation,” and for his work under Griffith … Continue reading

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S & A and the Windy City: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 4)

  S & A and the Windy City Though not the first film studio to be built and based in Chicago, Essanay grew to be one of the largest and most popular of the Chicago-based studios. The sheer number of … Continue reading

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Lions and Tigers and Colonel Selig: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 3)

  Lions and Tigers and Colonel Selig In the early days of silent cinema, Chicago was responsible for 20% of the total output of the US film industry. One of the biggest contributors to this staggering statistic was Chicago’s own … Continue reading

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The Selig Polyscope Company and the Birth of Film in the Windy City: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 2)

The Selig Polyscope Company and the Birth of Film in the Windy City “Colonel” William Selig By the time William N. Selig died in 1948, he had produced thousands of films via the Selig Polyscope Company, discovered a number of … Continue reading

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Before there was Hollywood, there was Chicago: The Chicago Silent Era (Part 1)

  Before there was Hollywood, there was Chicago Dancing Annabelle Whitford The city of Chicago and the film industry have shared a connection since the days of Thomas Edison. Chicago-based dancer Annabelle Whitford was chosen as one of Edison’s first … Continue reading

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A Star is Born – Gloria Swanson at Essanay

  A Star is Born – Gloria Swanson at Essanay “You ought to screen wonderfully, if you don’t screen terribly,” the director challenged the young woman touring the studio. The petite young girl was not intimidated. “Try me,” she fired … Continue reading

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Gilbert M. Anderson and the Rise of the Western Star

  G.M. Anderson and the Rise of the Western Star ‘Max Aronson’ might not be a name that you immediately recognize, but chances are very good that you would recognize his professional name. And chances are even greater that you … Continue reading

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Charlie Chaplin at Essanay

  Charlie Chaplin at Essanay A celebratory dance and a hefty paycheck signaled the start of Charlie Chaplin’s stay with the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company, but his year-and-a-half stay with the studio produced more than that. It was the start … Continue reading

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