George Kirke Spoor

George Kirke Spoor (December 18, 1871 – 24 November 1953) was an early film pioneer who, with Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson, founded Essanay Studios in Chicago in 1907. He was a founding partner of V-L-S-E, Incorporated, a film distribution firm, in 1915.[1]

George Kirke Spoor
George Kirke Spoor - Mar 1919 MPW
Spoor in 1919
BornDecember 18, 1871
DiedNovember 24, 1953 (aged 81)[1]
Spouse(s)Ada May Thompson (1877–1951)
ChildrenGertrude Keith Spoor (1893–1975)
Parent(s)Marvin Spoor (1839–1927)
Catherine Stressinger (1853–1947)

Biography

Spoor and Anderson were responsible for discovering stars such as Wallace Beery, Francis X. Bushman, Ben Turpin, Gloria Swanson and Charlie Chaplin. Allan Dwan, who was hired as a screenwriter, went on to become a famous Hollywood director. Louella Parsons, also hired by Spoor as a screenwriter, later became a famous Hollywood gossip columnist.

In 1894, while box office manager of the Phoenix Opera House in Waukegan, Illinois, George K. Spoor teamed up with the inventor Edward Hill Amet (1860–1948) to build and exhibit "The Magniscope", the first practical 35 mm movie projector ever designed and used in a large audience display. Spoor and Amet made films and distributed them with this device before the 1895 device by the Lumière brothers of France. Thomas Edison's more famous Kinetoscope was exhibited in 1891, but was only able to be viewed by one person at a time through a peephole.

George Kirke Spoor & P John Berggren - Jan 1921 EH
George Kirke Spoor and P. John Berggren, 1921

Spoor and Amet are credited for having filmed: the world's first newsreel, a film of the first inauguration of President William McKinley in 1897; the first use of film miniatures (The Battle of Santiago Bay) in which tin replicas and cigar smoke created the illusion of live war footage; the first to experience local censorship (due to the graphic images of China's Boxer Rebellion); the first "fake newsreel" in which Spoor used neighbors to act out battles such as the Battle of San Juan Hill in a local park.

Spoor is also remembered for having produced, in 1918, the movie Men Who Have Made Love to Me by controversial feminist Mary MacLane, the first serious cinematic work to break the fourth wall. [2] and the first to unite writer, narrator, subject, and star.

In 1926, Spoor and P. John Berggren invented "Natural Vision", an early 65 mm widescreen process which was only used for a few films, including Niagara Falls (1926), Rollercoaster Ride (1926), The American (1927) and Danger Lights (RKO Radio Pictures, 1930). The trademark Natural Vision was later used for an unrelated system of making 3-D films in 1953.

In 1948, Spoor received an Oscar, specifically an Academy Honorary Award, for his contribution to developing motion pictures as entertainment.

He died on November 24, 1953.

Selected filmography

Spoor is credited with having been the producer of:[3]

References

  1. ^ a b "Biography for George K. Spoor," IMDb.com. Accessed: December 16, 2012.
  2. ^ https://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneer/ccp-mary-maclane/
  3. ^ "George K. Spoor", IMDb.com. Accessed: December 16, 2012.

External links

B. B. Kahane

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Danger Lights

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The plot concerns railroading on the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, and the movie was largely filmed along that railroad's lines in Montana. The railway yard in Miles City, Montana was a primary setting, while rural scenes were shot along the railway line through Sixteen Mile Canyon, Montana. Additional footage was shot in Chicago, Illinois. The film was the first ever shot in the new Spoor-Berggren Natural Vision Process.

Daniel J. Bloomberg

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Although his work was mainly confined to B pictures, Bloomberg did enjoy the distinction of winning five technical awards from the Academy, as well as eight Academy Award nominations. He also won an Honorary Award in 1945 for designing and building a musical scoring auditorium with state-of-the-art acoustics.

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Edward H. Amet

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Joseph A. Ball

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Josephine Rector

Josephine Rector (September 25, 1885, Indiana - October 1, 1958, Castro Valley) was an American scriptwriter and actress. Working for the Essanay company based in Oakland, Rector had a short career in the silent film period of cinema, with all her known films released from between 1911 and 1914 for the Essanay company. She is sometimes also referred to as Mrs. Hal Angus, after her second husband, Hal Angus, whom she married after leaving Essanay in 1914.She entered the film industry after discussing story ideas with the actor Jack O'Brien. She sold her first scripts to Essanay when it was located in Los Gatos in 1910-1911. She has also worked with George Kirke Spoor, distributor of screen equipment and Gilbert M. Anderson, or "Broncho Billy" Anderson, an actor, director and producer, who is the cowboy star in most of the films she worked in. Ultimately, Rector decided not to move to Hollywood, which became the centre of the film industry, and ran a flower shop in Hayward, California in later life. Most of her films are now lost, and none of her original scripts are known to survive.

Louis Mesenkop

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Nathan Levinson

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Ray Abrams (animator)

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W. Howard Greene

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William Garity

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Y. Frank Freeman

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1928–1950
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