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Broncho Billy and the Essanay Film Company…
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Broncho Billy and the Essanay Film Company

by David Kiehn

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0972922652, Hardcover)

Before Clint Eastwood, before John Wayne, before Gary Cooper, William S. Hart and Tom Mix, there was Gilbert M. Anderson.

In 1910 Anderson created and portrayed a screen cowboy named Broncho Billy, the prototypical good/badman with a strong sense of moral right and wrong. Billy was often an outlaw, but he could also be an honorable sheriff struggling to maintain law and order, a crafty gambler with a sympathetic heart, a poor rancher fighting the hardships of western life, or just a plain old cowboy roaming the range. Whatever his occupation, Anderson infused Broncho Billy with a winning personality, and it made him the first western movie star.

His Essanay stories of the old west were filmed in the real west, and set the pattern for western movies as we know them today. Anderson and a skilled troupe of technicians, actors and real cowboys visited Denver, Golden and Morrison, Colorado, El Paso, Texas, and the California towns of Santa Barbara, San Rafael, Redlands, Los Gatos, San Diego, Santa Monica, Lakeside, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Fairfax and Los Angeles before finally settling in Niles to take advantage of its scenic canyon. A state-of-the-art studio was built and they made over 300 westerns in four years, as well as many comedies with the likes of Ben Turpin and Charlie Chaplin.

Here is a rare, inside look at a silent-era movie company in action, told in an engaging manner. The book includes 270 photographs, personnel biographies, a complete filmography and index.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:50 -0400)

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