Some more facts this week of the golden silent era of film: Well, as movies became more and more popular, memorabilia from the stars of the big screen were sort after to an extent whereby there were thousands of requests for photographs of favourite actors. The actors were only delighted to oblige. They charged their fans 25 cents for a picture, and since they were originally charged just 10 cents for each picture, they made a 15 cents profit for each picture. This helped boost their weekly income with these picture sales totalling more than their weekly salary.
One film director, Allan Dwan had worked continuously in motion pictures from 1909 up to 1947, when the Hollywood’s Green Years article was published. During this time Mister Dwan’s salary had ascended $50 a year to earnings of $1,000,000 by 1947. He had made more than 1250 productions of all lengths and his productions had earned more than $500,000,000 up to 1947.
D. W. Griffith
Directors talked constantly during shooting in the silent era. The Hollywood’s Green Years article reported a typical scene went along these lines: “Come in, Kerrigan (J. M. Kerrigan was an early favourite of the silent era). Go to the table. Pick up a book. Look for something in it. You don’t find it. You’re mad. Put it down. Hard. Now turn toward the fireplace. Walk slowly. Still mad. Take out a cigarette. Light a match. Light a cigarette. Put out the match. Cross to the window. You see someone coming. Someone you love. You look at the door expectantly. All right, come in Jessalyn. (Jessalyn van Trump was one of the first leading ladies). Go to each other. You embrace. You kiss. Hold it. Hold it. You’re saying goodbye. Alright, Kerrigan, get out. Get out.“ If the hero didn’t get out fast enough, the cameraman simply slowed his cranking. Projected at normal speed on the screen, it looked as if the hero had being yanked out. How things change, in the silent era there was obviously plenty of talking during shooting, while nowadays it’s hugely important for silence on the set. That’s all for this week. Now I’m off to dig up some more facts for you for next week.