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Flickering EmpireHow Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry$
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Michael Glover Smith and Adam Selzer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174497

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174497.001.0001

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The Golden Age of Essanay

The Golden Age of Essanay

(p.89) Chapter Eight The Golden Age of Essanay
Flickering Empire

Michael Glover Smith

Adam Selzer

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the success of Essanay Studios and the role it played in the development of Chicago's film industry. Essanay Studios had its first big success with An Awful Skate in July 1907, after which it produced more than a dozen additional short films before the end of that year. In 1908, Essanay managed to manufacture and release no less than seventy-two films, whose production values were much better than the 1907 shorts. The most significant extant Essanay movie following An Awful Skate is probably the 1909 production of Mr. Flip, directed by Gilbert M. Anderson. Essanay unexpectedly ran into trouble when a new independently owned rival studio, the American Film Manufacturing Company, set up shop in Chicago. Rather than crumple, Essanay responded to this new challenge by rebuilding itself and rising to even greater heights. Essanay production in Chicago continued throughout 1913 and 1914; it was only a matter of time before the studio would establish its own permanent facilities in California.

Keywords:   film industry, Essanay Studios, Chicago, An Awful Skate, short films, Mr. Flip, Gilbert M. Anderson, American Film Manufacturing Company

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