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Silent Serial SensationsThe Wharton Brothers and the Magic of Early Cinema$
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Barbara Tepa Lupack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748189

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748189.001.0001

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Bringing Essanay’s “Special Eastern” to Ithaca

Bringing Essanay’s “Special Eastern” to Ithaca

Chapter:
(p.41) Chapter 3 Bringing Essanay’s “Special Eastern” to Ithaca
Source:
Silent Serial Sensations
Author(s):

Barbara Tepa Lupack

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501748189.003.0004

This chapter describes Ted Wharton's brief stay in Ithaca, wherein he shot Football Days at Cornell (1912), the picture that would prove to be a turning point in his career. Convinced that the town would be an ideal location for a full season of summer shooting, he pressed George K. Spoor, cofounder of Essanay, to allow him to establish a temporary Ithaca studio facility. Spoor agreed to authorize the venture, and in May of 1913, Ted returned to Ithaca with the “Special Eastern,” a complete company of some twenty crew members and photoplayers, including the studio's biggest star, Francis X. Bushman, and his frequent leading lady Beverly Bayne. The Hermit of Lonely Gulch was the first of the pictures the “Special Eastern” would produce that season, and it proved to be an excellent start. Other pictures produced that season include Sunlight, For Old Time's Sake, A Woman Scorned, Tony the Fiddler, and Dear Old Girl. The chapter then considers assistant director Archer MacMackin, who—working under Ted's close supervision—kept himself and the company busy throughout the summer with rehearsals and production. The Toll of the Marshes would be the last picture filmed by Ted's Essanay “Special Eastern.” After the company decided against opening a permanent eastern studio, Ted terminated his contractual association with Essanay and moved to Ithaca to form his own independent production company.

Keywords:   Ted Wharton, Ithaca, Essanay, Ithaca studio facility, Special Eastern, Francis X. Bushman, Beverly Bayne, Archer MacMackin, film production

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