“The Signal Tower” in Picture-Play Magazine.
In 1923, Universal Studios handed Clarence Brown an opportunity to return to his youth by assigning him the film “The Signal Tower” to direct. A story of a railroad man directing train traffic and trying to read the signals in his own marriage, the movie seemed perfect for a former engineer who grew up near the railroad in Knoxville, Tenn.
Born 1890 in Massachusetts, the precocious Brown displayed great interest in machines and technology, pulling them apart and repairing them. Theatrics also fascinated him, a perfect blend for a future director. He graduated from high school in Tennessee at 15 and by 20 earned a double degree in engineering and established his own business while also maintaining an interest in amateur theatrics.