Thomas B. Ricketts
15 January 1853
Greenwich, London, England
|Died||19 January 1939 86) (aged|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hollywood Forever Cemetery|
Thomas B. Ricketts (15 January 1853 – 19 January 1939) was an English-born American stage and film actor and director who was a pioneer in the film industry. He portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge in the first American film adaptation of A Christmas Carol (1908), and directed one of the first motion pictures ever made in Hollywood. After directing scores of silent films, including the first film to be released by Universal Pictures, Ricketts became a prominent character actor.
Thomas B. Rickettswas born in Greenwich, London 15 January 1853, the son of Rosa (née Penniall) Robert Ricketts. His father was a painter and when Thomas was 17 years old he emigrated to the United States, and initially worked as a painter himself. However he soon moved into acting in the theatre and directed plays on Broadway for Charles Frohman. He was a stage manager for the Shubert family, sang baritone with the Carleton Opera Company, and starred in his own play, Henri Duvar.
In 1906, after he had been with the Shuberts for four years, Ricketts was persuaded by a friend to join Essanay Studios in Chicago.He played Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (1908), the first American film adaption of the Dickens classic, then starred in The Old Curiosity Shop (1909). When Ricketts said he had toured with a comedy he had written, A Cure for Gout, the company asked him to make a 600-foot film of it—the length limit for a comedy at that time.
Ricketts became a director, taking over comedies and melodramas from Broncho Billy Anderson, who in turn took over Westerns. Ethel Clayton, Jack Conway, J. Warren Kerrigan and Bryant Washburn were among Ricketts's discoveries—along with Josephine Ditt, "the best-dressed woman on the screen", to whom Ricketts was married.Chief dramatic and general producer for two years at Essanay, he helped organize the American Film Manufacturing Company in 1910. He made six films for the Flying "A" before withdrawing and seeking another opportunity.
In 1911 Ricketts moved to California, together with Canadian film pioneer Al Christie, with thoughts of creating a new film company. "We arrived in Los Angeles with no idea of where to establish our studio," Ricketts remembered. "A real estate man who happened to overhear our discussion of a studio site suggested Hollywood. The next day we found our way out to Sunset and Gower, to a defunct roadhouse. The owner, a woman, wanted $60 a month rent for the entire block. We thought it was too much, but we signed a lease."The Nestor Film Company opened its studio October 27, 1911.
Ricketts directed one of the first Hollywood-made motion pictures, The Best Man Wins (1911), photographed by Charles Rosher.Its stars were juvenile leading man Harold Lockwood, ingenue Dorothy Davenport, vamp Josephine Ditt, juvenile ingenue Victoria Forde, male heavy Gordon Sackville, and character actresses Eugenie Forde and Alice Davenport. Allan Dwan was Ricketts's assistant.
Nestor made between 50 and 60 films—half of them directed by Ricketts—over the next 18 months. : 11On May 20, 1912, the company merged with the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, Nestor's distributor beginning with The Dawn of Netta (1912), directed by Ricketts.
In 1914, on an independent contract, Ricketts directed Richard Bennett in Damaged Goods back at American. When flower girls were needed for a wedding scene, Bennett's three daughters—Joan Bennett, Constance Bennett and Barbara Bennett—began their film careers."Its success made me a little egotistical," Ricketts recalled. "It cost about $25,000 to make and brought in a million and a half on its first run. I naturally thought it would put me in great demand as a director. But it didn't. I had to start all over again, this time going back to my old trade as an actor." However, Ricketts did direct several more feature films for American through 1916, including some with their major romantic team of May Allison and Harold Lockwood such as The Lure of the Mask (1915) and The Other Side of the Door (1916).
Returning to acting in 1919, in his mid-60s, Ricketts was almost always in demand for character parts.By 1935 he was described as "white-haired and bent with age … content with an occasional film role". His later films included Top Hat (1935), After the Thin Man (1936), Pennies from Heaven (1936), The Young in Heart (1938) and Son of Frankenstein (1939). He was regarded as the oldest working actor in Hollywood.
Ricketts died at Hollywood Hospital 19 January 1939, aged 86,of pneumonia, contracted the previous week when he went to work at Universal Studios despite a cold. "Mr. Ricketts left no funds," reported The New York Times, "and expenses of his funeral will be paid by the Motion Picture Relief Society." Josephine Ricketts, hospitalized in Santa Monica since suffering a stroke at Christmas, was not informed of her husband's death; it was reported that she would be told sometime before his funeral. Ricketts was buried in an unmarked grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
|1909||A Cure for Gout|
|1909||A Woman's Wit|
|1910||An Advertisement Answered|
|1910||A Fair Exchange|
|1910||The Hand of Uncle Sam|
|1910||His Only Child|
|1910||The Lure of the City|
|1910||The Stolen Fortune|
|1910||Vera, the Gypsy Girl|
|1911||The Best Man Wins||First motion picture made in Hollywood|
|1912||The Dawn of Netta||First film distributed by Universal Pictures : 11|
|1915||The Buzzard's Shadow|
|1915||The House of a Thousand Scandals|
|1915||The End of the Road|
|1915||The Lure of the Mask|
|1915||Secretary of Frivolous Affairs|
|1915||The Wily Chaperon|
|1916||The Other Side of the Door|
|1916||The Single Code|
|1918||The Crime of the Hour|
|1908||A Christmas Carol||Ebenezer Scrooge|
|1909||The Old Curiosity Shop|
|1919||His Official Fiancée||Major Montressor|
|1919||Please Get Married||Dr. Jenkins|
|1920||All of a Sudden Peggy||Major Archie Phipps|
|1920||The Desperate Hero||Butler|
|1920||The Great Lover||Potter|
|1920||The Paliser Case||Major Archie Phipps|
|1920||The Parish Priest||Dr. Thomas Cassidy|
|1920||The Spenders||Mr. Milbrey|
|1920||The Willow Tree||The Priest|
|1921||Beating the Game||Jules Fanchette|
|1922||The Killer||Tim Westmore|
|1922||The Eternal Flame||Vidame de Pameir|
|1922||Fools of Fortune||Milton DePuyster|
|1922||The Lavender Bath Lady||Simon Gregory|
|1922||Putting It Over||Arnold Norton|
|1922||Shattered Idols||The Reverend Doctor Romney|
|1922||A Tailor-Made Man||Anton Huber|
|1923||Alice Adams||J. A. Lamb|
|1923||Black Oxen||Charles Dinwiddie|
|1923||The Dangerous Maid||John Standish Lane|
|1923||Strangers of the Night||Lush|
|1923||Within the Law||General Hastings|
|1924||Cheap Kisses||The Old Man|
|1924||Circe the Enchantress||Archibald Crumm|
|1924||The Gaiety Girl||His Grace, the Duke|
|1925||Bobbed Hair||Mr. Brewster|
|1925||The Business of Love||Noah Burgess|
|1925||The Fate of a Flirt||Uncle John Burgess|
|1925||A Fight to the Finish||Cyrus J. Davis|
|1925||The Girl Who Wouldn't Work||The Rounder|
|1925||My Wife and I||Valet|
|1925||Never the Twain Shall Meet||Andrew J. Casson|
|1925||Oh Doctor!||Mr. Peck|
|1925||The Price of Success||Peter Van Teyne|
|1925||Sealed Lips||Joseph Howard|
|1925||Secrets of the Night||Jerry Hammond||: 50|
|1925||Steppin' Out||Henry Brodman||: 50|
|1925||Wages for Wives||Judge McLean|
|1925||Was It Bigamy?||Judge Gaynor|
|1925||When Husbands Flirt||Wilbur Belcher|
|1926||The Belle of Broadway|
|1926||The Cat's Pajamas||Mr. Briggs|
|1926||Going the Limit||Mortimer Harden|
|1926||Ladies at Play||Deacon Ezra Boody|
|1926||Ladies of Leisure||Wadleigh|
|1926||Love's Blindness||Marquis of Hurlshire|
|1926||The Nutcracker||Isaac Totten|
|1926||The Old Soak||Roué|
|1926||Poker Faces||Henry Curlew|
|1926||Stranded in Paris||Herr Rederson|
|1926||When the Wife's Away|
|1927||Broadway Madness||Lawrence Compton|
|1927||Children of Divorce||Secretary|
|1927||In a Moment of Temptation||Timothy Gage|
|1927||My Friend from India||Judge Belmore|
|1927||A Sailor's Sweetheart||Professor Meekham|
|1927||Too Many Crooks||Butler|
|1927||Venus of Venice||Bride's father|
|1928||Five and Ten Cent Annie||Adam Peck|
|1928||Freedom of the Press||Wicks|
|1928||Just Married||Makepeace Witter|
|1928||The Law and the Man||Quintus Newton|
|1929||The Glad Rag Doll||Admiral|
|1929||Light Fingers||Edward Madison|
|1929||Red Hot Speed||: 64|
|1930||Prince of Diamonds||Williams|
|1930||The Vagabond King||Astrologer|
|1931||Man of the World||Mr. Bradkin|
|1931||Side Show||Tom Allison|
|1932||A Farewell to Arms||Count Greffi|
|1932||He Learned About Women|
|1932||Love Bound||The Baron|
|1932||If I Had a Million||Guest at Mrs. Walker's dance|
|1932||Stepping Sisters||"Stock Market"|
|1932||Thrill of Youth||Grandpa Thayer|
|1933||The Eleventh Commandment||Henry|
|1933||Good-bye Love||Alimony jail inmate|
|1933||Mama Loves Papa||Mr. Pierrepont|
|1933||The Power and the Glory|
|1933||Secret Sinners||Pop, the stage doorman|
|1933||Women Won't Tell|
|1934||The Count of Monte Cristo||Cockeye|
|1934||The Curtain Falls||Hotel manager|
|1934||In Love with Life||Bookstore proprietor|
|1934||Forsaking All Others||Wiffens|
|1934||Friends of Mr. Sweeney||Old gentleman|
|1934||It Happened One Night||Prissy old man|
|1934||The Man Who Reclaimed His Head||Curly|
|1934||Manhattan Love Song||Rich man|
|1934||No Greater Glory||Old janitor|
|1934||One More River||Barrister and clerk|
|1934||Sons of Steel||Williams|
|1934||Springtime for Henry||Bookstore clerk|
|1934||Whom the Gods Destroy||Charlie|
|1935||Clive of India||Old member|
|1935||George White's 1935 Scandals||Old man|
|1935||Goin' to Town||Eligible bachelor|
|1935||The Great Impersonation||Villager|
|1935||Hi, Gaucho!||Don Salvador|
|1935||Let's Live Tonight||Millionaire|
|1935||Music Is Magic||Dancer, elderly man|
|1935||Now or Never|
|1935||The Public Menace||Old man|
|1935||A Tale of Two Cities||Tellson, Jr.|
|1935||Top Hat||Thackeray Club waiter|
|1935||Vagabond Lady||Department head|
|1936||The Case Against Mrs. Ames||Juryman|
|1936||The Crime of Dr. Forbes||Faculty doctor|
|1936||Daniel Boone||Attorney General's associate|
|1936||Gold Diggers of 1937||Reginald|
|1936||Little Lord Fauntleroy||Partygoer|
|1936||Gentle Julia||Old man at dance|
|1936||After the Thin Man||Henry, the butler|
|1936||To Mary - with Love||Waiter|
|1936||More Than a Secretary||Henry|
|1936||Pennies from Heaven||Mr. Briggs|
|1936||Song and Dance Man||Old theatrical couple|
|1936||We Went to College||Pop|
|1937||Maid of Salem||Giles Cory|
|1937||A Star Is Born||Servant|
|1937||The Lady Escapes||Uncle George|
|1937||The Prince and the Pauper||Sexton|
|1937||The Toast of New York||Member of the board of directors|
|1937||Personal Property||Elderly man|
|1937||Rhythm in the Clouds||Winter|
|1938||The Young in Heart||Andrew|
|1938||Bluebeard's Eighth Wife||Uncle Andre|
|1938||The Baroness and the Butler||Old man|
|1938||Young Fugitives||Tom Riggins||: 107|
|1938||Gateway||Old man||: 107|
|1938||Four Men and a Prayer||Station master|
|1939||Son of Frankenstein||Burgher|
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The Fourth Commandment is a 1927 American silent drama film directed by Emory Johnson and based on the short story "The Fourth Commandment" by Emilie Johnson. The film stars Belle Bennett, Henry Victor, June Marlowe, and Mary Carr. The film was released on March 20, 1927 by Universal Pictures. The Fourth Commandment is - "Honor your father and your mother.. ."
Stranded is a 1916 American silent drama film produced by Fine Arts Film Company and distributed by Triangle Film Corporation. The film stars DeWolf Hopper with newcomer Bessie Love in a supporting role. The film is considered lost.
The Dawn of Understanding is a lost 1918 American silent Western comedy film produced by The Vitagraph Company of America and directed by David Smith. It stars Bessie Love in the first film of her nine-film contract with Vitagraph. It is based on the short story "The Judgement of Bolinas Plain" by 19th-century Western writer Bret Harte.
Miss Brewster's Millions is a 1926 American silent comedy film produced by Famous Players–Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Clarence G. Badger directed and the ever-popular Bebe Daniels starred. It was based on the 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon and a 1906 play adaptation of the same name by Winchell Smith and Byron Ongley, which had been filmed before in 1921 with Roscoe Arbuckle.
The Amateur Gentleman is a 1926 American silent drama film produced by Inspiration Pictures and distributed through First National Pictures. It was directed by Sidney Olcott as a vehicle for star Richard Barthelmess.
Pleasure Before Business is a 1927 silent film comedy directed by Frank R. Strayer and starring Max Davidson and Virginia Brown Faire. The film was produced and distributed by then upstart studio Columbia Pictures.
Stranded in Paris is a 1926 American silent comedy film starring Bebe Daniels and directed by Arthur Rosson. The film was produced by Famous Players–Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
Rich People is a 1929 pre-Code talking picture directed by Edward H. Griffith and starring Constance Bennett. It was produced by Ralph Block and distributed through Pathé Exchange. It is based on a story by Jay Gelzer that was serialized from March to July 1928 in Good Housekeeping magazine.
Tom Mix (1880–1940) was an American motion picture actor, director, and writer whose career spanned from 1910 to 1935. During this time he appeared in 270 films and established himself as the screen's most popular cowboy star. Mix's flair for showmanship set the standard for later cowboy heroes such as Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. His horse Tony also became a celebrity who received his own fan mail.
Alfred Emory Johnson was an American actor, director, producer, and writer. As a teenager, he started acting in silent films. Early in his career, Carl Laemmle chose Emory to become a Universal Studio leading man. He also became part of one of the early Hollywood celebrity marriages when he wed Ella Hall.
Poker Faces is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by Harry A. Pollard starring Edward Everett Horton and Laura La Plante. It was produced and released by Universal Pictures.
Married ? is a 1926 American silent comedy film directed by George Terwilliger and starring Owen Moore and Constance Bennett. It was distributed by small silent studio Renown Pictures.
The Eternal Flame is a 1922 American silent adventure drama film directed by Frank Lloyd and starring Norma Talmadge, Adolphe Menjou, and Wedgwood Nowell.
Venus of Venice is a 1927 American silent romantic comedy film directed by Marshall Neilan and starring Constance Talmadge and Antonio Moreno. Talmadge's own production unit produced with distribution through First National Pictures.
The Big Noise is a lost 1928 American silent comedy film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Chester Conklin, Alice White and Bodil Rosing.
Alice Adams is a 1923 silent film drama directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring Florence Vidor. It was produced by King Vidor. It is based on the 1921 novel Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington, later made into a 1935 sound film.
The Devil Dodger is a lost 1917 American silent Western film directed by Clifford Smith and starring Roy Stewart. It was produced and released by Triangle Film Corporation.