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The collection contains production material, clippings, contracts, correspondence, distribution reports, radio scripts, autobiographical manuscript material, and a photograph album.
James Stuart Blackton (1875-1941) was born in Sheffield, England, and emigrated to the United States when he was ten. He first met Albert E. Smith (who would later become his business partner) in 1894, when they formed a short-lived act on the Lyceum circuit. The act failed, and Blackton joined the "New York Evening World" as a cartoonist and cub reporter. He became interested in film while interviewing Thomas A. Edison in 1896, and in 1897 bought a Kinetoscope from Edison. Forming a partnership with Albert Smith, Blackton began presenting films in various theaters around New York. The pair quickly moved into production with THE BURGLAR ON THE ROOF (1898), starring Blackton, but their first major success was THE BATTLE OF MANILA BAY (1898). After encountering legal entanglements with the Edison Company, Blackton and Smith (joined by a third partner, William T. "Pop" Rock) formed the American Vitagraph Company in 1900. At this time Blackton was acting (in the "Happy Hooligan" series), drawing animated shorts ("Cohen and Coon"), and directing. By 1910 he had stopped directing and instead focused on supervising all Vitagraph productions. This continued until June 1917, when he resigned to go into independent production. Among the films he produced as an independent were DAWN (1919) and THE GLORIOUS ADVENTURE (1922). After the sale of Vitagraph in 1925, Blackton continued to direct for Warner Bros. His final film before his retirement was THE PASSIONATE QUEST (1926). He continued to work on various projects, including a history of silent films called THE FILM PARADE (1934), which he would later screen during his lectures on the early days of the film industry. Blackton served on the Academy Board of Governors from October 1927 to October 1929.
1.5 linear ft. of papers
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