Friday, August 12, 2011

The Vagabonds - 1915

The Vagabonds: One reel of 1,000 feet, August 29, 1915
A series of flashbacks where a penniless, friendless tramp and his dog relates the story of his downfall due to drink.
Print source: The Library of Congress, 12 minutes 58 seconds.
Scenario (uncredited) based on the poem “The Vagabonds” by J.T. Trowbridge (the poem was sometimes known by the title “Roger and I”).
Cast: Morris Foster (Tim), Grace DeCarlton (Amelia), Arthur Bauer (Grossbeck Upham), Carey L. Hastings (Tim’s mother)Music by Raymond A. Brubacher (​people/​Rayb.htm).
The Vagabonds source is a different kind of classic—a poem by an influential and prolific writer of inspirational and cautionary stories for children, particularly boys. The author J.T. Trowbridge (1827-1916) had also been a well-known pre-Civil War abolitionist. His poem “The Vagabonds” was first published in 1863.
This relatively fine print shows the rapid improvements in camera lenses in the mid-1910s, and independent studios like Thanhouser finally had access to the best cameras and equipment with the breaking of the Patents Trust in 1915.
The variety of camera setups and fluidity of editing is quite modern compared to just a year or two earlier.
Thanhouser Film Corporation was almost in disarray following the 1914 death of its brilliant manager Charles J. Hite and the subsequent departure of many employees. In addition, big studio competitors were realizing big profits from lengthier films and celebrity-star promotion that Mutual’s Thanhouser was not keeping pace with.
The turnaround began when Edwin Thanhouser returned as general manager in early 1915 and the company was soon reorganized. He also was made an executive and a director of Mutual.

For futher information on films by Thanhouser, visit the site above. Let’s keep memories of this great studio alive.

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