All These Haunted Things

The Haunted Lounge
R: Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson. D: Ben Turpin. P: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1909

“How to Disguise Yourself as Furniture and Fool Your Friends
This is an instance where two types of routines blended together to form a new type of routine. The first type of routine was derived from an inanimate object being propelled forward by a living creature hidden inside. The Lubin comedy The Haunted Hat (1909) involved a crowd of people breaking into a panic when they see a hat moving down the street, apparently under its own power. A city official is summoned immediately to address this crisis, but the official picks up the hat only to find a common house cat underneath. The second type of routine had to do with characters hiding inside of furniture or, even stranger, disguising themselves as furniture. The Commedia dell’Arte routine ‘Lazzo of Hiding’ finds Arlecchino trapped in a woman’s bedroom with the woman’s lover at the door. Arlecchino, unable to find a place to hide, is persuaded by the woman to pose as a chair. Arlecchino extends his arms to form the arms of a chair and bends his knees to form a seat just before the woman throws a sheet over him. The lover enters and, unheeding of the woman’s warning, sits down on Arlecchino.
These routines eventually combined into a single routine where a person hiding inside of furniture makes it look as though the furniture has come to life. In Georges Méliès’s The Tramp and the Mattress Makers (1906, see below), workers take a break from sewing together a mattress, at which time a drunken man crawls inside the mattress for a nap. The workers return, unaware of the tramp, and finish sewing the mattress together. The tramp awakens, finds himself trapped, and goes into a panic. The mattress suddenly sprouts legs and runs off, with the mattress makers in pursuit. A similar comedy produced by Essanay was The Haunted Lounge (1909), in which a tramp (Ben Turpin) escapes from a police officer by running into a secondhand shop and hiding inside a folding lounge. An old woman purchases the lounge and arranges for it to be delivered immediately to her home. The tramp has a bumpy ride inside the back of the express wagon. He gets banged up even more when the lounge falls out of the wagon. A car then slams into the lounge, which goes rolling down the street. Once the lounge is finally delivered, the old woman becomes frightened upon seeing the lounge move around and decides to get rid of the lounge by giving it to a neighbor. The neighbor has a similar experience with the lounge and brings it back to the secondhand dealer, who is able to sell the item to the police officer who chased the tramp into the shop earlier in the day.”
Anthony Balducci: The Funny Parts. A History of Film Comedy Routines and Gags. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers Jefferson, North Carolina, and London 2012, p.135

>>> more about Ben Turpin

>>> Le matelas épileptique by Alice Guy

Éclair’s Travelogues

R: Unknown. P: Éclair. Fr 1914 (?)
Print: EYE collection
Dutch titles

“Various recordings from Portugal. Bullock carts in the mountains, a little ox-cowgirl, field workers, shepherds, guards horses, traditional costume and dance from the Minho region. Children from the same region, oxen from the Douro region, coffee, sardines-packers from Setubal, orange vendors, fishermen repairing nets, farmers, fishmongers, ‘bearers’ (women with food and the like on their heads).”
EYE collection / YouTube

Le Lac Majeur (La Suisse merveilleuse)
R: Unknown. P: Éclair Scientia. Fr 1913
Print: EYE collection
Dutch titles

“Travelogue filmed from a boat passing different places in Italy and Switzerland, in and around Lake Maggiore. Images of the gardens of Isola Bella, Isola dei Pescatori (‘Fishermen’s Island’) with old buildings and a small boat. The boat then sails past ‘Buino’ (= Luino?), Maggia, Ascona, Locarno and along the Madonna del Sasso.”
EYE collection / YouTube

Van Bingen tot Coblenz
R: Unknown. P: Éclair. Fr 1910
Print: EYE collection
Dutch titles

“Recordings made during a boat trip on the Rhine with images of the river and surroundings, in particular of the surrounding castles.”
EYE collection / YouTube

>>>  Find more Travelogues here: EARLY DOCUMENTARY FILMS II

Red Wing

Little Dove’s Romance
R: Fred J. Balshofer. K: Arthur C. Miller. D: Red Wing, Charles Inslee, J. Barney Sherry, James Young Deer. P: Bison Motion Pictures / New York Motion Picture. USA 1911

“Native Americans are chief among the casualties of American westward expansion, and their depiction in Westerns remains a serious point of contention among critics of the genre. Critic Jane Tompkins contends that there are ‘no Indian characters, no individuals with a personal history and a point of view’ in the Westerns; she believes that Indians function as ‘props, bits of local color, textural effects…a particularly dangerous form of local wildlife.’  There is an abundance of film which supports Tompkins’s point of view. However, to suggest that there are no films which attempt to treat the subject in a serious manner ignores some of the evidence, particularly during the silent film era. The Indian, not the cowboy, was the first subject of silent Westerns. Interestingly, most of these early films were not violent tales of battle with white soldiers or massacres of pioneer families, but rather stories of life within the Indian community, albeit as white directors imagined that life. William Everson comments that most of the early Westerns which centered around Indians were idyllic love stories. Titles included Grey Cloud’s Devotion, Silver Wing’s Dream, Little Dove’s Romance, and A Squaw’s Love. Everson writes, ‘during this period the Indian became accepted as a symbol of integrity, stoicism, and reliability, with the Indian figure and the Indian head used constantly as an advertising trademark on fruit, tobacco, and other goods.’ At this point in silent film, the Indian was the noble savage, and his interaction with whites was sympathetically portrayed.”
Indians and Mexicans. Alternative Cultures in the Silent Western (

Princess Red Wing and JamesYoung Deer
“This husband-and-wife team, both of the Nebraska Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe, became an influential force in the production of silent one-reel westerns between 1908 and 1913. Though their American film careers were short-lived, they intervened in the industry at a particularly crucial moment in the formation of a genre that would dominate Hollywood production for decades.  Princess Red Wing (the stage name for Lillian St. Cyr) was a graduate of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and a professional actress. A recognizable presence in cinema, she starred in the first feature-length film — Cecil B. DeMille‘s western, The Squaw Man (1914) — and over thirty-five other films between 1909 and 1921, including Donald Crisp‘s Ramona (1916) and an early Tom Mix picture, In the Days of the Thundering Herd (1914). When James Young Deer took over the West Coast studio operations for the French-owned film company Pathé Frères, he was already a veteran entertainer. He had performed with the Barnum and Bailey circus and the Miller Brothers’ 101 Ranch Wild West Show and had acted, directed, and written scenarios for several film companies including Kalem, Lubin, Vitagraph, and Biograph. He also worked at one of the first independent film companies, the New York Motion Picture Company, under the Bison trademark.

With trade journals calling for more authenticity in westerns and Native American and other moviegoers protesting the inaccuracies and negative stereotypes of Indians onscreen and threatening industrywide censorship, Young Deer and St. Cyr were able to leverage their cultural identity and industry experience. From about 1909 to 1913 they used the early flexibility of the industry to exert unprecedented control over popular images of Indians. Both behind the camera and in front of it, Young Deer and St. Cyr rewrote the racial scripts of the western, commenting on racism, assimilation, racial mixture, and cultural contact. Many of their films revisited and revised the wildly popular ‘squaw man’ plot involving a crossracial romance between an Indian woman and white man. Young Deer and Lillian St. Cyr systematically undermined the ‘vanishing Indian’ trope by giving the plots a new political center of gravity.”

>>> The First Native American Director

>>> DeMille’s First Motion Picture

The Manaki Brothers (2)

“Only ten years after the birth of the film in world cultural centers, the brothers Janaki and Milton Manaki bought the Bioscope 300 film camera and shot the first film shots in the Balkans. Their appearance in Bitola was not accidental and their marks right here were more mission and chronology of a more significant and comprehensive move of history. They were not just cinematographers, photographers, filmmakers, they were a kind of historical archivists, collectors of all the endless manifestations of life. Their fate, predetermined and set by the overall genesis of this city was in fact the fate of two dreamers who preserved the total immortality of humanity seen through all their photographic and film paintings with light. (…) Between 1898 and 1905, the Manaki brothers frequently traveled and photographed more than 40 settlements. In Bitola, which at that time was an important socio-political, trade and cultural center, Janaki had a wide circle of friends from the time of his schooling. In 1904, the Manaki brothers bought a shop on the main street ‘Shirok Sokak’ and hired builders to adapt it to a photo studio, which they opened in December 1905.”

“In 1904 both brothers started to work on the construction of their independent workshop, which they named Atelier for Photographic Art. Janaki permanently moved to Manastir (= Bitola) in 1905. Milton initially worked as a cleaner in the studio, maintaining the equipment, but later he studied photography and quickly showed expertise. It is assumed that Milton began to participate in the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization during this time. Milton took approximately fifty photographs of Aromanian revolutionaries in the organization. It is also believed that Milton helped transport arms from Albania to Macedonia for the 2nd Revolutionary Committee of Bitola.”

“The ‘Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising’, or simply the Ilinden Uprising of August–October 1903 (…) was organized revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was prepared and carried out by the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization,with the support of the Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee, which included mostly Bulgarian military personnel. (…)  The revolt lasted from the beginning of August to the end of October and covered a vast territory from the western Black Sea coast in the east to the shores of Lake Ohrid in the west. (…) The reaction of the Ottoman Turks to the uprisings was one of overwhelming force. The only hope for the insurgents was outside intervention, and that was never politically feasible. (…) The waning Ottoman Empire dealt with the instability by taking vengeance on local populations that had supported the rebels. Casualties during the military campaigns themselves were comparatively small, but afterward, thousands were killed, executed or made homeless. Historian Barbara Jelavich estimates that about nine thousand homes were destroyed, and thousands of refugees were produced. According to Georgi Khadziev, 201 villages and 12,400 houses were burned, 4,694 people killed, with some 30,000 refugees fleeing to Bulgaria.”

>>> The Manaki Brothers (1)