Filming Florida’s First Locations

Kalem was the first to identify their actors by name, creating the first fanbase for the films they produced and distributed. Click to enlarge.

“When completed the film would be shipped express to New York to be developed and printed, and then sent back to use to be cut. A long enclosed gallery at the back of the house had been converted into a projection room, and here we would gather after supper, pencil and notebooks in hands, our number augmented by any outsiders who had worked in the film, as well as by friends. And as the film flashed by on the screen, a running comment of criticism and praise could be heard.

“That’s a great make-up, Jim.” “You were rotten there, Ben. I told you that business didn’t get over.” “Too many whiskers, Tommie. You look like an ape.” “Your side lines were off there, Max. You’d better see if your finder is right.” “Good Lord! The factory has murdered that scene. It’ll have to be done over.” And afterward came a discussion in Mr. Olcott’s room covering every little detail, praise and blame given where due, and last, final judgment was passed on the entire picture. Read More

Roseland, The First Studio

“Roseland, during the height of the season was the liveliest place imaginable. If the Webers, a family of acrobats, were not practicing their act on the lawn before the veranda, the man with the trained goats was putting his animals through their tricks, a juggler was practicing his stunts, or the trained dogs were perfecting […]

St. John’s River Locations

“Directly across the St. John’s River from Fairfield was a territory rich in locations easily reached by boat. The scattered homes were on the riverbank a mile or so apart and beyond them lay real wilderness. Strawberry Creek, several hundred yards broad and spanned by a primitive old plank bridge, played many parts in the […]

Jacksonville. Ready for a Closeup

“The company included besides Mr. Olcott and myself, James Vincent, Kenean Buel, Minerva Florance, Tommy Santley, Ben Owens the cameraman, Max Schneider and his wife who was sometimes pressed into playing bits although she made no pretense to being an actress. To this nucleus of a stock company we added our personal friends and acquaintances […]

Florida Silent Film Begins

“In the Winter of 1908-09, silent film began to be produced outside of the New York and New Jersey stages where they had been created till that time.  Kalem was the first film production company to send a company to Florida.  Arriving in November 1908 they rented the Roseland Hotel on the St. Johns River.  […]