22 June 2010

celebrating J. Stuart Blackton

the "star" of that short film is largely forgotten today. however during the run of "The Dissolve" he acquires a new sort of fame as his film is on a loop screening time after time day after day.

if Blackton is rememberd at all today it's not as an actor but as a director & "the father of American animation." 5 years after this film he directd Maurice Costello as Sherlock Holmes. he was on the streets of San Francisco filming after the earthquake. in 1908 in Central Park he directd Florence Lawrence -- considerd the 1st movie star -- as Juliet opposite the Romeo of Paul Panzer -- who some years later wd achieve film immortality as the villain in "Perils of Pauline."

in his 35-year directorial career Blackton was a frequent director of May McAvoy. he also directd such early film stars as Clara Kimball Young   Nazimova   Mae Marsh   Bessie Love   Myrna Loy. (& as a curious footnote for a few years his daughter was married to novelist Cornell Woolrich.)

he calld himself "the dean of the screen" but his end was another sad Hollywood tale. he was out of work & broke when he was run over by a bus.

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