Company town III

Robert Birchard writes:

    Saw your blog on Francis Boggs and early filmmaking in Los
Angeles
.

 
    Perhaps one of the reasons you’ve never found the laundry except in the
earlier fire reference is that it is nearly always misidentified as the "Sing
Loo" laundry, when in fact it was the "Sing Kee" laundry and it shows up in city
directories of the time. 
 
    The laundry, of course, was not part of the 1907 expedition, but was a
temporary Selig studio active in April and May of 1909.  Boggs left Los Angeles
for location work in Yosemite, the Hood River Valley and Oakland before
returning to set up a permanent studio in Los Angeles in Edendale in October
1909.
 
    The "rooftop" studio is somewhat problematic.  "Monte Cristo" has
recently been found and restored.  All of the film, except for the emergence of
Dantes from the sea, is shot on interior sets.  There is no Selig "Carmen," or
anything that might resemble it for that matter, in the release records of the
Selig Polyscope Company, and it is highly unlikely that Lillian Haywrd would
have worked with Boggs ca. 1906-1907 (although she certainly worked for Selig
after Boggs’s death) because they were just recently divorced and Boggs was
remarried to May Hosmer.  Hayward was also a new mother, having given birth to
an illegitimate daughter in Dec. 1906 and only returning to work on stage in San
Francisco later in 1907 after "a lengthy illness."
 
    The fellow who gave the photo of the rooftop studio to Hobart Bosworth
claimed it had been taken in 1906 when he was appearing in a show in Los
Angeles.  I need to do additional research on this to confirm the show (if
possible) and its play dates, but I suspect that the rooftop studio does indeed
date from 1906, but that Francis Boggs wasn’t involved at that time.  It is my
suspicion that Thomas Persons blurred the rooftop studio and the Monte Cristo
shoot in his memory many years later. 
 
    The first account I’ve found of the Monte Cristo shoot is in a 1916
article by Charles E. Van Loan that quotes Persons, but which may have been
slightly embellished for effect. 
 
Best,
 
Bob Birchard

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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