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Fred J. Balshofer
Who's Who in the Film World, 1914
|Born||November 2, 1877|
New York City
|Died||June 21, 1969 91) (aged|
|Resting place||Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery|
Fred J. Balshofer (November 2, 1877 – June 21, 1969) was a pioneering silent film director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer in the United States.
A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound. In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system.
A cinematographer or director of photography is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.
Balshofer was born in New York City and became interested in the photography business at an early age. He eventually worked as a stereoscopic-slide photographer and was drawn to the fledgling motion picture business. From 1905 to 1908, he worked at Lubin Studios in Philadelphia. In 1909 he was hired by Adam Kessel of the New York Motion Picture Company and directed his first film, "Disinherited Son's Loyalty", on which he also served as cinematographer. That same year he directed Davy Crockett – In Hearts United , believed to be the first Davy Crockett movie ever made. Filming at the time centered mainly around facilities and locations in the Fort Lee, New Jersey area but within a few years Balshofer moved to the West Coast as General Manager of the New York Motion Picture Company, directing western films for their subsidiary, Bison Motion Pictures until Thomas H. Ince joined the studio.
Photography is the art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing, and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication.
Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.
The New York Motion Picture Company is a film production company which lasted from 1909 to 1914, though its name changed to the New York Picture Corporation in 1912. It released films through several different brand names, including 101 Bison, Kay-Bee, Broncho, Domino, Reliance, and Keystone Studios.
In early 1914 Balshofer left NYMPC and became the head of the Sterling Motion Picture Company, a subsidiary of Universal Pictures.Sterling ceased production in early 1915 and a few months later Balshofer joined Quality Pictures, a subsidiary of Metro Pictures. By 1916, Balshofer was president and general manager of the Yorke-Metro studios at 1329 Gordon St. in Hollywood. In the 1920s, he produced and directed films for his own production company.
Metro Pictures Corporation was a motion picture production company founded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company produced its films in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes at leased facilities in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was purchased in 1919.
During his career, Fred Balshofer produced and/or directed more than eighty silent films then, after an unsuccessful attempt at age fifty directing a Spanish language talkie, he spent the better part of his remaining career working as a studio executive. In 1967 he teamed up with friend and acclaimed cinematographer Arthur C. Miller to write a significant book on the film industry under the title "One Reel a Week." Published by the University of California Press, the book chronicled the early history of the motion picture industry, including the shift in location and facilities from the East Coast to Southern California and the rise of the western film genre.
University of California Press, otherwise known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. It was founded in 1893 to publish scholarly and scientific works by faculty of the University of California, established 25 years earlier in 1868, and has been officially headquartered at the University's flagship campus in Berkeley, California since its inception.
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, the Atlantic Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard, is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean. The coastal states that have shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean are, from north to south, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Davy Crockett – In Hearts United is a 1909 American silent film starring Charles K. French as Davy Crockett, with Evelyn Graham, Charles Bauman, Charles W. Travis and Charles Inslee. The film was directed by Fred Balshofer and distributed by New York Motion Picture Co. It was commercially released on June 4, 1909 in the United States. This is believed to be the first movie ever made about Davy Crockett. The fictional romance depicted frontiersman Crockett rescuing a woman named Anna in mid-ceremony from marriage to a man she didn't love. She and Crockett rode off on his horse. They went directly to a minister who married them, and he brought her home to his mother.
Charles K. French was an American film actor, screenwriter and director who appeared in more than 240 films between 1909 and 1945.
An Indian Love Story is a one-reel silent short film about personal relationships in a Native American community. The film is about two married couples, each of the partners of which are involved with the spouse of the other couple, a former lover. It is a western drama released in 1911 and directed by Fred J. Balshofer and was produced by Bison. It was also titled An Indian Love Affair.
The year 1916 in film involved some significant events.
Harold A. Lockwood was an American silent film actor, director, and producer. He was one of the most popular matinee idols of the early film period during the 1910s.
Mutual Film Corporation was an early American film conglomerate best remembered today as the producers of some of Charlie Chaplin's greatest comedies. Founded in 1912, it was absorbed by Film Booking Offices of America, which evolved into RKO Pictures.
Marshall Ambrose "Mickey" Neilan was an American motion picture actor, screenwriter, film director, and producer.
The Last Command is a 1955 Trucolor Western film directed by Frank Lloyd starring Sterling Hayden, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Richard Carlson, Arthur Hunnicutt, Ernest Borgnine and J. Carrol Naish based on the life of Jim Bowie and the Battle of the Alamo.
Thomas G. Lingham was an American stage performer and then a film actor during both the silent and early sound eras. He appeared in over 100 motion pictures between 1914 and 1934, often portraying villains, which in the film industry at that time were also called "heavies". During his 20-year screen career, Lingham was cast in productions for Kalem Company, Signal Film Corporation, Pathé, Universal Pictures, Mascot Pictures, Lone Star Film Company, and for other studios in and around Hollywood.
Davy Crockett is a five-part serial which aired on ABC from 1954–1955 in one-hour episodes, on the Disneyland series. The series stars Fess Parker as real-life frontiersman Davy Crockett and Buddy Ebsen as his friend, George Russel.
Thomas Harper Ince was an American silent film producer, director, screenwriter, and actor. Ince was known as the "Father of the Western" and was responsible for making over 800 films. He revolutionized the motion picture industry by creating the first major Hollywood studio facility and invented movie production by introducing the "assembly line" system of filmmaking. He was the first mogul to build his own film studio dubbed "Inceville" in Palisades Highlands. Ince was also instrumental in developing the role of the producer in motion pictures. Two of his films, The Italian (1915), for which he wrote the screenplay, and Civilization (1916), which he directed, were selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. He later entered into a partnership with D. W. Griffith and Mack Sennett to form the Triangle Motion Picture Company, whose studios are the present-day site of Sony Pictures. He then built a new studio about a mile from Triangle, which is now the site of Culver Studios. Ince's untimely death at the height of his career, after he became severely ill aboard the private yacht of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, has caused much speculation, although the official cause of his death was heart failure.
The L-KO Kompany, or L-KO Komedies, was an American motion picture company founded by Henry Lehrman that produced silent one-, two- and very occasionally three-reel comedy shorts between 1914 and 1919. The initials L-KO stand for "Lehrman KnockOut".
The World Film Company or World Film Corporation was an American film production and distribution company, organized in 1914 in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
William J. Bowman was an American stage and film actor, writer, and director noted for his work in the early 1900s on silent productions for studios in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and in Los Angeles during the first decade of filmmaking in and around Hollywood. His direction of a series of films with matinee idol Francis X. Bushman in 1915 and his direction of the serials The Invisible Hand in 1920 and The Avenging Arrow in 1921 form only a small part of Bowman's extensive filmography.
Frank D. Williams was a pioneering cinematographer who was active in the early days of the motion picture industry. He developed and patented the traveling matte shot.
The Farmer in the Dell is a 1936 American comedy film directed by Ben Holmes from a screenplay by Sam Mintz and John Grey, adapted from Phil Stong's 1935 novel, which was similarly titled, Farmer in the Dell. The film was premiered by RKO Radio Pictures in New York City on March 6, 1936, and released widely later that month on March 27. It stars Fred Stone, Jean Parker, and Esther Dale.
Pidgin Island is a 1916 American silent romantic drama film directed by Fred J. Balshofer and starring Harold Lockwood, May Allison, Pomeroy Cannon, Lester Cuneo, and Fred L. Wilson. It is based on the 1914 novel of the same name by Harold MacGrath. The film was released by Metro Pictures on December 25, 1916.
The Masked Rider is a 1916 silent film drama directed by Fred J. Balshofer and starring Harold Lockwood and May Allison. It was distributed by Metro Pictures.
Gilbert P. Hamilton as a film company executive and director. He worked at Essanay as a cinematographer, headed the St. Louis Motion Picture Company, and then launched the Albuquerque Motion Picture Company.
IMDb is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos, video games, and streaming content online – including cast, production crew and personal biographies, plot summaries, trivia, fan and critical reviews, and ratings. An additional fan feature, message boards, was abandoned in February 2017. Originally a fan-operated website, the database is owned and operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon.