Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio – Book Giveaway (June)

“Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio
We have Four Books to Giveaway this Month!

CMH is happy to announce our next Classic Movie Book Giveaway as part of our partnership with University Press of Kentucky! This time, we’ll be giving away FOUR COPIES of “Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio” in celebration of the book’s release on June 9th!

And — stay tuned right here on the CMH blog, because in a few days we’ll be announcing our next Screen Classics Discussion Video Series Event with University Press of Kentucky and co-host Aurora from Once Upon a Screen, in which Vitagraph author Andrew Erish will be discussing the book! It will be a live Facebook Chat, so you’ll be able to comment and ask questions!

In the meantime, please don’t forget to check out our other author discussions in the series, embedded for your convenience way down near the bottom of this post: “Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend” and “Growing Up Hollywood”.


Vitagraph America's First Great Motion Picture Studio


In order to qualify to win this book via this contest giveaway, you must complete the below entry task by Saturday, July 3 at 6PM EST. Winners will be chosen via random drawings.

We will announce our four lucky winners on Twitter @ClassicMovieHub on Sunday, July 4, around 9PM EST. And, please note that you don’t have to have a Twitter account to enter; just see below for the details.

To recap, there will be FOUR WINNERS, chosen by random, all to be announced on July 4th.

vitagraph studios aerial view
Aerial view of Vitagraph’s Brooklyn studios, ca 1915. Motion Picture News, August 19, 1922. (courtesy University Press of Kentucky)


And now on to the contest!

ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, July 3, 2021 at 6PM EST

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

2) Then TWEET (not DM) the following message*:
Just entered to win the “Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio” #BookGiveaway courtesy of @KentuckyPress & @ClassicMovieHub – #EnterToWin

What intrigues you about Vitagraph and/or its history. And, if you’re unfamiliar with this historic studio, why would you like to win this book?

*If you do not have a Twitter account, you can still enter the contest by simply answering the above question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog — BUT PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ADD THIS VERBIAGE TO YOUR ANSWER: I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

NOTE: if for any reason you encounter a problem commenting here on this blog, please feel free to tweet or DM us, or send an email to and we will be happy to create the entry for you.

ALSO: Please allow us 48 hours to approve your comments. Sorry about that, but we are being overwhelmed with spam, and must sort through 100s of comments…

vitagraph theater 1914
Vitagraph Theatre, February 1914. Motion Picture Magazine, April 1914. (courtesy of University Press of Kentucky


If you missed our other chats in the Screen Classics Discussion Series, you can catch them on Facebook and YouTube:


About the Book:  Andrew A. Erish provides the first comprehensive examination and reassessment of the company most responsible for defining and popularizing the American movie. This history challenges long-accepted Hollywood mythology that simply isn’t true: that Paramount and Fox invented the feature film, that Universal created the star system, and that these companies, along with MGM and Warner Bros., developed motion pictures into a multi-million-dollar business. In fact, the truth about Vitagraph is far more interesting than the myths that later moguls propagated about themselves. Established in 1897 by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith, Vitagraph was the leading producer of motion pictures for much of the silent era. Vitagraph established America’s studio system, a division of labor utilizing specialized craftspeople and artists, including a surprising number of women and minorities, whose aesthetic innovations have long been incorporated into virtually all commercial cinema. They developed fundamental aspects of the form and content of American movies, encompassing everything from framing, lighting, and performance style to emphasizing character-driven comedy and drama in stories that respected and sometimes poked fun at every demographic of Vitagraph’s vast audience. The company overcame resistance to multi-reel motion pictures by establishing a national distribution network for its feature films. Vitagraph’s international distribution was even more successful, cultivating a worldwide preference for American movies that endures to the present. For most of its existence America’s most influential studio was headquartered in Brooklyn, New York before relocating to Hollywood. Finally, here is a historically rigorous and thorough account of the most influential producer of American motion pictures during the silent era. Drawing on valuable primary material long overlooked by other historians, Erish introduces readers to the fascinating, forgotten pioneers of Vitagraph.

Click here for the full contest rules. 

Please note that only United States (excluding the territory of Puerto Rico) and Canada entrants are eligible.

Good Luck!

And if you can’t wait to win the book, you can purchase them on amazon by clicking below:


–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

This entry was posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio – Book Giveaway (June)

  1. Claudia Moorefield says:

    I know that Vitagraph was absolutely huge in the early years of moviemaking, but I don’t know the whole origin story and would like this book to find out about that. I do know that Vitagraph was eventually sold to Warners. I am currently reading the book “Round Up the Usual Suspects” about the making of Casablanca by – Warner’s! Happy coincidence!! Perhaps this book will give me additional information about Casablanca and it’s filming.

    I do not have a twitter account so I am posting here but cannot tweet the message.

  2. John Shawe Williams says:

    I would love to win this book, because I love to learn about early motion picture history. Plus, I know Shemp Howard did star in some films there, and I’m a huge fan of him.
    : I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message

  3. Jack Cibrian says:

    I love film history but sadly lack the knowledge of Vitagraph Studios. My film history knowledge tends to start in the 1920s, when Vitagraph was sold to Warner Brothers. I’d love to fill in some missing pieces from the birth of film. I’m intrigued by anything from that time period.

  4. Carl says:

    Even though I was previously unaware of the importance of Vitagraph Studios in the history of American film I would love to have a copy of this beautiful book in order to know more about the people involved and their stories. Thanks very much for the chance to win a copy.

  5. Richard Rommeney says:

    I’ve always been interested in the history of movies, especially the early days of the silent era. At one time, I understand that Vitagraph had a studio in my home town of Bay Shore, NY. The building still stands and several years ago was converted into apartments. I’d love to learn more about the history of Vitagraph Studios!

  6. Stuart Cook says:

    I would enjoy reading the history of this studio. Vitagraph would become the Vitaphone arm of Warner Brothers, who produced sound shorts in Brooklyn. Vitagraph players included many of the early great stars of film, including comedian Larry Semon.
    I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

  7. Sara Stewart says:

    I honestly don’t know much about them, only they were one of the first studios out there, and I would love to learn the history and how it was all achieved.

  8. Destiny Drake says:

    I don’t know much about the subject, so the reason I would like to win this book is so I can learn about it, so I can know about it.

  9. Destiny Drake says:

    I don’t know much about the subject, but if I won this book I could learn about what it is

  10. Richard Mason says:

    I was aware that Vitagraph was one of the big studios in the silent era, but not of the claims made in this book, so this would be an eciting new area of discovery for me in my exploration of Hollywood history.
    I was also aware that it was taken over by Warner Bros. my favourite Golden Age studio, so I would love to get into the details of how that came about.
    I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter, but cannot tweet the message.

  11. Joseph Migliore says:

    I love silent film comedy, so I assume John Bunny, Flora Finch, Larry Semon, and the Big V Riot Squad will all be covered. In any case, it will be a fascinating read! I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

  12. I have no absolute logical reason to win this book. It’s all purely emotional. I have been there. I stood in the spot of this great old studio before they tore the buildings down to put up this apartment building.

    I’m a native New Yorker. This is part of NY history. And awww hell I’m a classic film fan: its studios, its stars, its legacy.

    You’ve got to be innit to win it. I throw my hat ( motorcycle helmet ) in the ring for this book.

  13. Samantha Cipolla says:

    If you’re going to learn the history of movies, you need to know that there were more studios than RKO, Warner Bros and MGM… So many little things effected the big studios, and how would you know unless you KNOW!? I haven’t known much about Vitagraph, but the more I learn about movies the more I can recommend and spew out later to unsuspecting friends for them to know!

  14. Bruce Baldwin says:

    I have seen Vitagraph references and some silent clips, but I am curious about the connections between Vitagraph and Santa Barbara (my home town) which had a burgeoning film industry contemporaneously with Vitagraph. I really look forward to reading about Vitagraph and it’s interaction with Sennet, Chaplin and deMille!
    : I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

  15. steve carmody says:

    I’ve been intrigued by the film industry’s early years ever since I read Kevin Brownlow’s The Parades’ Gone By. The foundation of the industry began with Vitagraph, Biograph, IMP and all the other studios lost to time.

    I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.

  16. Judy Clymens says:

    I’m interested in Vitograph Studios history, and especially any information regarding early female pioneers in the industry. I would hope the book would shed light on this.

  17. David Hollingsworth says:

    Vitagraph seems to be almost forgotten in the annals of film history. I would love to read about its legacy and its eventual resurgence. Movies can from Vitagraph, so it would be great to give it the credit it deserves.

  18. Gloria Elizabeth says:

    I do not have a Twitter account, so I am posting here to enter but cannot tweet the message.
    Having recently become fascinated by silent films I am interested in this book in order to learn more about their history and find suggestions for films to seek out.

  19. Bianca Bonifacio says:

    I am unaware about Vitagraph’s history in the movie industry. If I won the book, I’d be well informed. I’m the kind of person who takes an interest in learning something new.

    Twitter: melodyfayre

  20. Jason Schroeder says:

    Many are familiar with MGM, Fox, Warner Bros. These are the studios that people think of as the “old” or original studios. So much so that it is easy to forget the studios that were around before their time and didn’t make it, like Vitagraph and RKO. It would be a blast to learn more about one of the studios that got the movies started.

  21. Kelly Ambrosius says:

    I associate Vitagraph Studio with the beginning of the movies as we know them. IAM familiar with some of its directors & stars & would like to learn more about this studio.

  22. Christopher Sidor says:

    The early beginnings of motion pictures are most interesting. Not knowing much about Vitagraph only makes me to learn about the history. Sure, Google could help, but it definitely sounds like this book would bring a wealth of knowledge for me to read about!

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