Abstract
This article sets out to trace the progression of early silent film star Florence Turner from that of an every-woman matinee idol found in her early promotions as ‘The Vitagraph Girl’ between 1908-1912, to examine the motivations behind her decision to break with Vitagraph in 1913 to develop her own production company in the United Kingdom, and eventual re-branding as a self-promoted ‘superior emotional actress.’ The story of Turner’s ill-fated efforts to achieve creative freedom at a time when the emerging Hollywood studio system set out to stifle just such attempts, presents a timely exploration into the ways in which an actor’s persona is developed, maintained, and whether or not it can transform over time.

Introduction: The Screen Stars’ Shop

In the 1930s the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant was among the most sought after locations in the city for star sightings. Each day hundreds of fans patiently stood outside the restaurant in eager anticipation of receiving an autograph or to take a picture of their favourite matinee idols. Less than a block away on Cahuenga Boulevard, an entirely different scene could be found at a seldom-visited thrift store called “The Screen Stars’ Shop”. Compared to the Brown Derby, this unassuming little building likely did not make much of an impression on the passers-by, let alone any would-be star-chasers. In an April 1931 issue of Picture Play Magazine William McKegg explains that while “no fans wait at the entrance” and that “no celebrities pop in and out,” there was one head-turning exception to be found in the appearance of “a well-dressed woman, with snapping dark-brown eyes.”1 Standing at slightly under 1.5 metres, Florence Turner managed to maintain a commanding presence and vibrancy that would not have betrayed her forty-six years or the two decades of misfortune which took her from being one of the most recognisable faces of the silent era, to her latest role as an obscure saleswoman at a second-hand thrift store.

The Screen Stars’ Shop was organised by Mary Pickford as her contribution to the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF), a charity organisation where she served as Vice President. Pickford’s goal was to create a store so that up-and-coming actors “not over-flush with money can buy discarded clothes of stars at moderate prices.”2 When a series of personal and financial setbacks left Turner destitute in the late 1920s, she was ultimately forced to seek assistance from the MPRF. As a condition of her pension, she was hired by Pickford to work as a hostess at her store. Florence Turner’s reversal in fortune is all the more bittersweet since in 1910s she and Pickford were perennial box office rivals. 19 years earlier in a 1912 poll conducted by Moving Picture World, Turner was voted as “America’s Favorite Movie Actress”, and received nearly twice the number of votes as Mary Pickford.3 One year later the results of The Motion Picture Story Magazine’s “Popular Player Contest” places Florence Turner second overall among a list of 70 actors and actresses with 1,330 ballots, while Mary Pickford is listed at 33rd with 170 ballots.4 A similar “Motion Picture Artists” poll from the same year places Turner first overall with 79,143 votes, and Pickford sixth with 21,613.5 At the height of her career Turner was well known by her contemporaries for her compassionate and attentive nature. Fellow Vitagraph actress Norma Talmadge once said of Turner, “I would have rather kissed the hem of her robe than shaken hands with Saint Peter.”6 Pickford’s decision to place Turner in a role that required her to routinely interact with struggling actors seems to have been well calculated. As McKegg notes, “Any disheartened extra must surely feel brightener after speaking to her. She disregards her own misfortunes and sympathizes with those of others. She always had and perhaps always will.”7

The Vitagraph Girl

Mary Pickford (left) gives Florence Turner (right) a dress to be sold at The Screen Stars’ Shop.

Although no longer the matinee tour-de-force she once was, by 1931 Mary Pickford had long since cemented her legacy as “Queen of the Movies,” and remained an influential force in Hollywood through her role as co-founder of United Artists Studios. In observing the above image of Pickford and Turner, it is hard not to dwell on the diverging paths these two women took. This article sets out to explore whether if under different circumstances, the roles of these two women could have been reversed. What conditions would have needed to happen in order for Turner to be the one handing the dress to Pickford instead of the other way around? In order to address such questions, an examination into the conditions brought about the creation of the nascent studio star system during the decade of 1900 and early 1910s. During the period known as cinema’s transitional era (1907-1913), the motion picture underwent a series of changes from single-reel to multi-reel films, an evolution in editing techniques, as well as an overall improvement in camera aesthetics, which led to the regular use of the close-up and by consequence allowed audiences to see film actors up close and personal for the first time. This transformation allowed the conditions for the studio star system to take hold and for audiences to project an emotional connection to the actors on stage for the first time. In assessing the career dynamics of Florence Turner during this particular moment in film history, a greater understanding of the development of early movie fan culture can be accomplished.

The Vitagraph Girl

The Many Faces of Florence Turner

Constructed and Manufactured Picture Personalities

The discussion on how star personas are created arises from a question of agency. In this sense, who determines the way in which an on-screen persona is developed: the producer, the audience, or the actor? Siegfried Kracauer applies a seemingly nightmarish vision of a star’s personality being essentially lost as soon as it enters into the soulless capitalistic Taylorised studio system. According to Kracauer the actor is reduced to a small component of the larger mass ornament where all that’s left of the actor is “as a tiny piece of the mass that the individual can clamber up charts and can service machines without any friction.”8 Richard Dyer challenges the notion that the producer has absolute authority over the manner in which a star is presented to their audience. Instead Dyer sees the role of stars as a phenomenon of consumption in which a “…more determining force in the creation of stars is the audience, that is, the consumers, rather than the producers of the media texts.”9 Richard DeCordova delves further into the producer/audience dynamic in arguing that the initial appeal of early film actors came from their ability to function as “picture personalities”. His approach builds on Roland Barthes’s conception that star making is in actuality produced as a result of the underlying tension that exists between the producer (the studio) and consumer (the audience). With this perspective in mind, DeCordova arrives at the conclusion that “the individuality of the star is never irreducibly outside of the star system since the system is geared toward producing such individuality.”10 While DeCordova’s perspective does grant a greater degree of agency toward the actor than either Kracauer or Dyer, each author is ultimately subscribed to the overarching view that star personas are in the end manufactured by forces outside of the actor’s control. This certainly seems to be the case by the time the studio system becomes the dominant mode of production in the late 1910s and early 1920s. I would argue however, that the period leading up to the studio system’s dominance, especially during the transitional period, brought about a series of circumstances that ultimately permitted stars to construct their own unique brand and approach toward audience engagement in a manner that would not be replicated again until the New Hollywood movement in the mid 1960s.

According to Janet Staiger, the star system in the United States predates the emergence of cinema by at least eighty years. As early as the 1820s the first traveling theatre circuits promoted their vaudeville performers, actors, and singers through an integrated network of newspaper promotions and direct marketing to churches, theatres, and community organisations.11 The direct-to-market approach applied by traveling theatre circuits and itinerant film exhibitors relied heavily on the personality of the players or showman in order to successfully connect with their audience. This particular method of audience engagement remained successful as advancements in filmmaking techniques such as the introduction of close-ups started to appear in movies. As a result, as Tom Gunning argues, “it was only a matter of time before fans would begin to inquire about the lives of the actors when they were off screen.”12 The situation surrounding the origins of the indigenous movie star are steeped with folklore and mythology. In order to better understand how the audience construction of movie fan culture emerged during the transitional era, these myths must be reevaluated. Before audiences could realistically identify with screen actors, the camera first needed to get close enough to the actors for moviegoers to recognize them from one film to the next.

The Vitagraph Girl

Young Florence Turner on the Vaudeville Circuit

The ‘Bitagraph Girl’

There remains some uncertainty in regards to the behind the scenes activities surrounding Vitagraph’s activities during the early transitional period. Anthony Slide’s The Big V provides a useful overview of the key events during the period, but does not offer a significant exploration into the intentions and motives of the key players at Vitagraph at this time. Charles Musser laments that available documentation about Vitagraph “is fragmentary and contradictory; it does not illuminate the process with much precision or clarity.”13 Despite the difficulty in sorting through the fragments of Vitagraph’s activities during this time, something quite significant begins to emerge after taking a step back and examining the broader patterns that emerge in regards to the creation of the first screen personalities. Vitagraph’s role in turning out picture personalities during this time was so significant that the studio had become known among industry insiders “as the Vitagraph High School.”14 The collaboration between producer and performer that took place at Vitagraph during this pivotal period in the development of movie fan culture is a subject that merits further examination. Vitagraph’s transition from what Albert Smith described as a “handshake agreement policy”, with their actors to the formation of a highly stratified salary system, reveal further insights into the broader transition between constructed and manufactured picture personalities.15

At this time both General Film-affiliated studios and the burgeoning independent producers began to experiment with the growing number of fan letters sent directly to the studios inquiring about the identity of certain players. One of the prevailing myths from the transitional period involves the notion that studios refused to promote the names of their featured players out of a concern that if they were identified by name, actors would then expect higher salaries. Eileen Bowser claims this argument fails “because the star players got recognition and fan mail whether they were named or not.”16 This is further evidenced by the fact that Florence Turner’s salary increased from $22 a week in 1907 to nearly $10,000 in 1909 when she was still promoted simply as “The Vitagraph Girl.”17 If audiences had yet to learn Florence Turner’s name, then what factors determined her sharp rise in salary in such a short period of time? Although Vitagraph was inclined to hire actors with a theatrical background, Florence Turner’s early treatment does not seem to indicate such a preference. She was raised in the theatre and began her work on the vaudeville circuit at the age of three and her stage career was of little significance. In The Theatre of Science (1914), Robert Grau expressed a great deal of surprise over her eventual success with the Vitagraph Company, after reflecting on her ordinariness in theatrical circles. “During her stage career, Miss Turner appeared in the vaudeville theaters, and though the writer was long intimately associated with that field, he has no recollection of any upheaval created by her efforts in those days, hence it is interesting to observe that after six years posing before the camera in an effort to convert her fame as the Vitagraph Girl into the coin of the realm.”18 In several undated clippings from Turner’s personal scrapbook housed at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, there are several items that showcase a variety of other stage personas she developed while on the vaudeville circuit. Of particular interest are a series of short reviews that describe appearances made by “Eugenie Florence, the Mimic.” Under the stage name Eugenie Florence, Florence Turner made numerous appearances in theatres throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan between 1904 and 1906. The notes found in her scrapbook also indicate that during her stint as Eugenie Florence, she auditioned for the Vitagraph Company and was rejected several times.19 Eventually Vitagraph co-founder J. Stuart Blackton hired Turner’s mother as a wardrobe woman and Florence as an office girl and bookkeeper. She was soon transferred to assisting Blackton as a script supervisor, and by late 1907 she started to play small extra roles in various films.20 Even as she was given larger and more prominent acting roles, her original weekly salary also required her to work at various times as the company’s cook, secretary, accountant, bookkeeper, script supervisor, costume designer, and set painter.21 The supplemental jobs demonstrate the limited value producers placed on their actors in the period preceding the star system.

The turning point for Turner’s position at Vitagraph came in 1908 when by that time her increased screen presence had inspired thousands of fans to send letters to the offices of the Vitagraph Company addressed to “the girl with the big eyes”.22 In a retrospective article written in Photoplay in October 1919, Frank E. Woods, a former screenwriter for the Biograph Company recalled the countless letters he would receive asking for autographs from Biograph’s leading performer Florence Lawrence. He goes on to share how throughout the fall and early winter of 1908, he would come across letters from young girls who would often confuse Lawrence with Turner, or on occasion be unsure of which Florence they were asking for and direct their letters to “The Bitagraph Girl”.

The Vitagraph Girl, privately known as Florence Turner, and the Biograph Girl, otherwise Florence Lawrence, were the original moving picture stars. But no one among the exhibitors or public had ever heard their real names. Often the similarity of Biograph and Vitagraph would cause confusion, but just the same the Florences’ were moving picture stars, beloved by fans and valuable to the little box office of the nickelodeon of that day, because, when the manager himself, coming out in his shirt-sleeves in the morning, tacked up a roughly lettered sign announcing the Biograph Girl or the Vitagraph Girl, he was sure to play all that day and night the good old S.R.O., just like his big brother of the regular theatre with his posters announcing Mrs. Fisk or Maude Adams.23

What’s in a Name?

The next phase in the development of Florence Turner’s star promotion came when her name was widely disseminated in the popular press for the first time. Kathy Seeley-Fuller credits a January 1909 full-page feature article titled “The Strange Adventures of a Moving Picture Heroine” as one of the first promotions to address any motion picture actor by name. The article includes details surrounding Turner’s theatrical career, time with Vitagraph, and also detailed her near-drowning during a water-rescue scene filmed in Brighton Beach. Fuller-Seeley acknowledges, “Despite the reluctance that the Vitagraph and other General Film Trust Companies may have expressed toward identifying its players, this major article does not shy away from identifying Turner by name.”24 The notion of the power that comes with allowing an individual’s true name implies agency, and Vitagraph’s J. Stuart Blackton and Albert Smith did not take the decision to promote Turner by name lightly.

Unlike many of her contemporaries such as Gladys Smith who took the name Mary Pickford, or Florence Brigwood who became Florence Lawrence, or Theodosia Goodman who transformed into Theda Bara, ultimately Turner rejected her old stage name of Eugenie Florence in favour of her actual name when it came time for Vitagraph to roll out their promotional campaign. The reason why she decided at this particular point to keep her name are uncertain, but it could be argued that her pre-existing notoriety as “The Vitagraph Girl” may have given her a stronger position to negotiate the way in which she was marketed, compared with her contemporaries whose status as unknown entities had left them as essentially wet clay ready to be moulded by their respective studio executives. One such example of a production company’s deliberate promotion of a picture personality surrounds a publicity stunt carried out by the Independent Motion Picture Company (IMP) shortly after they acquired “The Biograph Girl”, Florence Lawrence. After her acquisition, IMP producer Carl Laemmle needed a way to wipe the slate clean for Lawrence who was still publicly known as “The Biograph Girl,” so he decided to fabricate a story in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she had been killed after being hit by a trolley car in the streets of St. Louis. Although Laemmle was the one who planted the story to begin with, he also made sure to place a suspiciously well-timed advertisement in The Moving Picture World the following day denouncing The St. Louis-Post Dispatch story as a “vicious lie”. This was the first time Florence Lawrence’s name was publicly used, and many scholars subsequently and often improperly associated this particular stunt as the first time an actor’s name was used in the popular press. This story first originates in Terry Ramsaye’s seminal history of the film industry A Million and One Nights, in which he credits Laemmle’s stunt as the moment in which movie fan culture began. 25

This anecdote has since been used the basis for their argument that the first star personas were producer-constructed. Richard Dyer described this promotion as “the first occasion that a film actor’s name became known to the public. It is the first example of the deliberate manufacture of a star’s image.”26 Richard DeCordova called this campaign “the most masterful and probably the most significant early promotion.”27 However this narrative is misleading in that it ignores the role Vitagraph’s promotion of Florence Turner’s played in deliberating the first movie star promotions for several reasons. First, although not overbearing in its significance, the chronological argument that Turner’s name appears in popular presses as early as January 1909 adds a substantial challenge to Lawrence’s designation as the “first” movie star. A closer examination into Turner’s early promotions further muddles the provenance of Florence Lawrence’s fake death narrative as well. In a 1911 “Answers to Inquires” in The Motion Picture Story Magazine states, “Miss Florence Turner has been killed by rumour more often than any other player, but she is still very much alive.”28 Whether Vitagraph’s perpetuation of false death claims for Florence Turner were influenced by Carl Laemmle’s publicity stunt for IMP can certainly be debated, however as the previous statement demonstrates, the prevalence of this specific strategy was not limited to the ingenuity of Laemmle alone. An even more significant insight can be gleaned from examining the development of Florence Turner’s star persona is in regard to the way she and J. Stuart Blackton openly collaborated on the design of her origin story. According to a retrospective in the Hollywood Filmograph from the mid-1930s, Blackton openly discussed how throughout 1907 and 1908 he and Turner carefully “followed the gage of the audience reaction at the box office in the production of new ‘Vitagraph Girl’ pictures.”29 It appears that by late 1908 Turner and Blackton started to develop the origin story that they planned to describe in forthcoming star profiles. The magnitude of their collaboration was reiterated further in a copy of the Los Angeles Times “Society and Clubs” column, which described the pair as “the father and daughter of the film industry”.30

The Vitagraph Girl

Florence Turner portrait she distributed to fans after public appearances.

The Girl From Sheepshead Bay

Another contributing factor to Turner’s early star presence was her regular personal appearances at theatres throughout the greater New York City area. To further contribute to these personal appearances, the Vitagraph Company composed a theme song for Turner aptly called, “The Vitagraph Girl”. Meanwhile on her own volition, Turner also made sure to order thousands of photo prints, which she then handed out to fans at her public appearances. This early multi-media promotional approach was widely conveyed in the press. During one such appearance in April 1910 at the Saratoga Park Theatre in Brooklyn, after she had handed out her signed prints to fans the entire audience serenaded her with a spontaneous rendition of “The Vitagraph Girl”.31 Turner’s presence in the public consciousness increased further in June 1910 when a New York Dramatic Mirror article titled, “A Motion Picture Star” was published, which provided a full spread article that included a printed picture and full-column profile. Eileen Bowser emphasises the significance of this article as potentially being “the first time this title was awarded in print”.32  Between 1910 and 1913 such star profiles started to increasingly appear first in local and nationally syndicated newspapers, as well as the newly founded trade journals. As Vitagraph continued to cultivate its “Constellation of Stars”, which included matinee-idol Maurice Costello, comedian John Bunny, Norma Talmadge, and Anita Stewart to name but a few, it appears that J. Stuart Blackton and Florence Turner became increasingly at odds with one another in regards to which aspects of Turner’s life and personality should be promoted in the press.

This underlying tension plays out extensively in newspapers and trade presses over a period of three years, and culminates in Florence Turner’s departure from Vitagraph to form her own company in the United Kingdom at the end of 1913. Although the precise reason for her leaving remains uncertain, from reading the contrasts in the way she represented herself in press interviews and the manner in which she was showcased in Vitagraph promotions, there seemed to have been a growing disagreement in regards to how her star persona would be represented to fans. When given the opportunity to promote her live appearances at Vitagraph-affiliated film exhibitions, Turner tended to downplay her star status and describe herself as a “girl from the neighborhood,” her neighbourhood being Sheephead Bay, a working-class community on Brooklyn’s south shore.33 In an interview for The Film Index following a screening of her film The Wrong Box (1910), she modestly explained, “Most people are anxious to see in reality or person what the participants in moving pictures look like. You will find the ‘Vitagraph Girl’ a person very much like ourselves – just an ordinary, everyday young lady.”34 In addition to presenting herself as an accessible everywoman, the theatrical talent she most commonly discussed during interviews, revolved less around her serious dramatic roles, and instead placed an emphasis on her abilities as a skilled impersonator and work as a comedienne. 35

The Vitagraph Girl

Rags to Riches

Conclusion: A Casualty of Respectability

Florence Turner’s constructed picture personality as a working-class heroine, worked quite well early in her collaboration with Vitagraph. However this started to change in February 1911 when J. Stuart Blackton introduced The Motion Picture Stories Magazine (MPSM), the first publication to promote films in a print format.36 Turner was essentially guaranteed she would feature prominently for much of the publication’s run. In the early editions of MPSM, Vitagraph did not provide the names of its actors in its “Notable Bits from Photoplays” section, however at the end of each photoplay summary they provide a picture and brief actor biography of one of the film’s stars. On the last page of their promotion for Dixie Mother (1911), they show two images of Florence Turner, the bottom right shows her as a young girl in a ragged dress and ballet slippers in a theatrical pose, while the top left shows Turner in full regal splendour. The transformation of Turner from a young street-urchin into royalty, demonstrates Vitagraph’s efforts to adopt the “myth of the Cinderella chorus girl,” a promotional tactic prevalent in publicity carried out for Broadway performers of the period.37

The Vitagraph Girl

“Caricature”

It can be argued that this promotional strategy was an attempt by Vitagraph to extend Turner’s appeal to the growing middle class audiences, as major studios sought to achieve a greater degree of middle class respectability. 38 The shift in Vitagraph’s representation of Florence Turner during the early 1910s is reflective of William Uricchio and Roberta Pearson’s statement that “during the transitional period, the array of ‘acceptable’ engagements, that is, those encouraged by the authorised interpretive communities with which the film industry wished to ally itself, were often associated with uplift and assimilation.”39 Ultimately it was this underlying shift not necessarily in audience preference, but the emerging studio system’s increased emphasis on escapism and efforts to appeal to middle class audiences that caused Turner’s career to become an early casualty of the cinema’s efforts toward respectability.

Though it is uncertain how Turner responded to Vitagraph’s efforts to dictate how her personal biography would be presented in the press, what is known is that shortly after this run-in with Smith and Blackton, it was announced that she had been stricken with exhaustion and left New York to spend seven months in California.40 When she returned to New York in April 1912, her presence at the studio was tremendously diminished and in less than a year Turner broke with Vitagraph to form her own film company in the United Kingdom. This would turn out to be an ill-fated venture which, following the wartime collapse of the British film industry, left Turner destitute. Minor newspaper clippings between 1921-1924 tell her experiences through a series of poor investments, studio robberies, and her surviving a brief kidnapping that left her psychologically scarred. In 1924 William Randolph Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies volunteered to pay for Turner’s passage back to the United States and even offered her a contract at Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Productions and later an unfilled contract between her and Louis B. Mayer at MGM.41 She used her “rediscovery” by Marion Davies to launch a heartfelt appeal to return to acting.

The Vitagraph Girl

Turner Kidnapped

In a July 1924 Photoplay article that featured Turner among other “Stars of Yesterday”, the desperation of her situation becomes readily apparent, “I want so to work! It is all so tragic because my work has been my very life; I have lived for it and my mother, and it was taken from me before I was thirty years old!”42 Although she appeared in several films during the latter part of the 1920s, her only noteworthy role was a small part as Buster Keaton’s mother in College (Buster Keaton, 1927), this in spite of a less than ten year age difference between the two. By this point in her career she was no longer able to play the leading roles she once commanded, nor was she really old enough to convincingly perform the matronly roles that silent stars like Lillian Gish would later take on. Unable to choose her roles, or her portrayal on or off the screen, Turner was resigned to her work at The Screen Stars Shop and the charity of the MPRF. The tragedy of Florence Turner is perhaps a less dramatic figure than the better known and histrionic matinee idols of Hollywood lore, yet her story offers an insightful contribution toward reevaluating the narrative surrounding cinema’s transitional period. Her disappearance from the limelight was not as overstated as the transition from silent to sound or the collapse of the studio system, but demonstrates a quiet passing over of an individualist approach to star culture in favour of another more broadly constructed and interchangeable one. In the end, when investigating the elements that comprise a star’s persona, whether it be by design or by accident, one cannot help but all at once appreciate and despair over the ultimate cost movie stardom requires of those who pursue it.

This article has been peer reviewed.

 

Endnotes

  1. William McKegg, “Buy a Star’s Gown,” Picture Play Magazine, April 1931, p. 84.
  2. McKegg, p. 85.
  3. Hugh Hoffman, “Florence Turner Comes Back,” Moving Picture World, 19 May, 1912, p. 622.
  4. “Popular Player Contest,” The Motion Picture Story Magazine, (April, 1913), p. 172.
  5. Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Seaver Center, Los Angeles, California: 06 May 2016. Florence Turner Collection: Scrapbooks, 1913-1916 – 1016 (P-90) Box 1:  Newspaper Clippings.
  6. Anthony Slide, Silent Players (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2002) p. 586.
  7. McKegg, p. 131
  8. Siegfried Kracauer, The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. Trans. Thomas Y. Levin. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 78. In this essay Kracauer makes reference to Fredrick Winslow Taylor’s Principles of Scientific Management (1911), which outlines the fundamental principles and practices of the assembly line method perfected at the turn of the twentieth century.
  9. Richard Dyer, Stars (London: British Film Institute Publishing, 1980), p. 19.
  10. Richard DeCordova, Picture Personalities: The Emergence of the Star System in America, (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1990), p. 9-10.
  11. Janet Staiger, “The Hollywood Mode of Production to 1930,” in The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film and Style Mode of Production to 1960. Eds. David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, Kristin Thompson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 101.
  12. Tom Gunning, D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film: The Early Years at Biograph (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1991), p. 74.
  13. Charles Musser, “Pre-Classical American Cinema: Its Changing Modes of Film Production,” in Silent Film, ed. Richard Abel (London: The Athlone Press, 1996), p. 106
  14. Kevin Brownlow, The Parade’s Gone By (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1968), p. 14.
  15. Albert Smith and Phil A. Koury, Two Reels and Crank (New York: Garland Publishing, 1952), p. 186.
  16. Eileen Bowser, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), p. 111.
  17. Bowser, p. 112-113.
  18. Robert Grau, The Theatre of Science: A Volume of Progress and Achievement in the Motion Picture Industry (New York: Broadway Publishing Company, 1914), p. 210.
  19. Florence Turner Collection: Scrapbooks, 1913-1916 – 1016 (P-90) Oversize 1: (Los Angeles Natural History Museum, Seaver Center, Los Angeles, 06 May 2016).
  20. Rex H. Lampman, “Commodore Blackton Takes His New Job, Like His Former Great Ones, Seriously,” The International Photographer (September, 1935), p. 18
  21. Anthony Slide, The Big V: A History of the Vitagraph Company (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1987), p. 38.
  22. “The Editor Gossips,” Motion Picture Magazine (August, 1924), p. 53.
  23. Frank E. Woods, “Why is a Star?” Photoplay 26 No. 5 (October, 1919), p. 71.
  24. Kathy Fuller-Seeley, “Local Promotion of a ‘Picture Personality’: A Case Study of the Vitagraph Girl,” in Watching Films: New Perspectives on Moviegoing, Exhibition, and Reception, eds. Albert Moran and Karina Aveyard (Bristol, UK: Intellect Ltd., 2013), p. 111.
  25. Terry Ramsaye, A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture (New York: Touchstone Books, 1926), p. 523-524.
  26. Dyer, p. 10.
  27. DeCordova, p. 57.
  28. “Answers to Inquiries,” The Motion Picture Story Magazine 2 no. 8 (September, 1911), p. 141.
  29. MPPA Margaret Herrick Library: Vertical File Collection – Folder 298 J. Stuart Blackton Material. Sylvia Graeber, “Commodore J. Stuart Blackton at Dominos,” Hollywood Filmograph.
  30. MPPA Margaret Herrick Library: Vertical File Collection – Folder 298.
  31. Cezar Del Valle, The Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I: Adams Street to Lorimer Street (New York: Theatre Talks LLC, 2010), p. 379.
  32. Bowser, p. 113.
  33. Slide, 385.
  34. “Vitagraph Night on Newspaper Row,” The Film Index, October 8, 1910, p. 8.
  35. Turner Scrapbooks.
  36. David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film and Style Mode of Production to 1960 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 90.
  37. Susan A. Glenn, Female Spectacle: The Theatrical Roots of Modern Feminism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), p. 196.
  38. Sumiko Higashi, “Vitagraph Stardom: Constructing Personalities for ‘New’ Middle-Class Consumption,” in Reclaiming the Archive: Feminism in Film History, ed. Vicki Callahan (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2010), p. 270.
  39. William Urrcchio and Roberta Pearson, Reframing Culture: The Case of Vitagraph Quality Films, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 197.
  40. Hoffman, p. 622.
  41. Turner Collection.
  42. Fredrick James Smith, “Unwept, Unfilmed, and Unhonored: The Results of a Remarkable Search for the Stars of Yesterday,” Photoplay, (July, 1924) p. 64.

About The Author

David Morton is a Ph.D. Candidate in Texts and Technology and Instructor in American History at the University of Central Florida. His research interests range from Stardom in Silent Cinema, Film and Memory, as well as the intersection between cinema with national and regional politics.