Looking for Mabel Normand

Madcap Mabel Normand

 

 

 

 

Creighton Hale

 

aka

 

Patrick Fitzgerald

 

(1882-05-24)May 24, 1882 [1] - August 9, 1965(1965-08-09)

 

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Marilyn Slater

Looking-for-Mabel

July 22, 2016

 

Creighton Hale was almost born on the stage; as a baby he was carried onto the stage by his father, Dan Fitzerald as part of his father’s repertory company.  By the time he was five he was playing in “East Lynne” on the London Stage.  He was born in County Cork, Ireland, billed as Patrick Fitzgerald with the Lady Forbes-Robertson's touring company’s production of “Dawn of a Tomorrow.” the company toured the UK and the US. He had the lead in Ben Greet Players in the US; he did summer-stock in Indianapolis in 1908. As the theater season began he was on Broadway in “Indian Summer”; under the management of Charles Frohman, Creighton is said to have toured in almost every state in the US; he started using the name Creighton Hale at the age of 24...

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It appears that Creighton was free-lancing on stage and early film including “The Taint[2].  He played an extra at Famous Players film company using an assumed name where Theda Bara was also working as an extra[3] With his friend House Peter, Creighton started to make a regular income from the movies although he did prefer spoken drama, however "Such prosperity was not to be slighted” by  the young Irish lad.  He wasn't at all sure he would like pictures nor that he would be a success in them.  By 1914, Frank Powell of Pathe casted Creighton in the serial “The Exploits of Elaine[4] with the fabulous Pearl White. His future in film was secure with the recognition with Pearl White in the 14-part 1915 serial, and its sequel the 12-episode serial, “The Romance of Elaine”.  The Iron Claw (the Pathé-Feature Film Corporation serial, 1916), Mrs. Slacker (1918) Waifs (1918), The Seven Pearls (serial, 1918), For Sale (1918), and The Love Cheat (Albert Capellani Productions, 1919). Creighton tells of being thrown into Lake Cayuga near Ithaca, N.Y. for a scene in Pathé's The Warning; the silk cords were supposed to slip from his wrist but water tightened them and Hale nearly drowned before being rescued.

 

 

 

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Creighton also appeared in the Thanhouser’s serial the 1914 “Million Dollar Mystery[5]and was on stage in the production ofMoloch”in 1915. He was still doing free-lance moving from and to studios and stage wherever he could earn money to support his family.

The 1918 edition of the Motion Picture Studio Directory noted that he was 5'10" tall, weighed 140 pounds, and had light hair and blue eyes. For recreation he enjoyed aviation, motoring, and swimming. At the time his address was 324 West 84th Street, New York City[6]

 

The fan magazine[7] mentioned he played poker, tennis, enjoyed swimming but didn’t play golf and even owned an antique shop on the side[8].  Creighton often played meek or diffident comedy roles with round glasses. In 1919 Creighton’s early career was dropped off his resume and is being called a “new star” [9] under the direction of D.W. Griffith inThe Idol Dancer”. “Way Down East” and “Orphans of the Storm”.  He was living at 18 Windsor Road in Great Neck, Long Island[10].

 

 

 

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By 1924, he preferred screen acting to that of the stage, for he "hated the waste of evenings on stage, the best part of a man's lifetime." [11] that year he declined to tell reporters that he 42 years old still player the young romantic leads. In answer to the question, "What is your great ambition," he stated: "To make enough money to be independently wealthy and be an electrical engineer and scientific experimenter."

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His first marriage in 1912 was to a "non-professional.", Victoire Lowel came to an end with an acrimonious divorce in 1926, he was charged with failing to pay child support or visiting his two sons; the boys were eventually adopted by Victoire’s second husband John Miljan.

 

 

The divorce created awful press[12] for the 44 year old actor, his career on a decline by the time he appear at the Hal Roach Studio in the "Our Gang" serials as the older brother, Jack, to Miss Crabtree.  It was during this period that Creighton starred with Mabel Normand in two comedies, “One Hour Married” and “Should Men Walk Home? 

 

 

 

 

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In July 2016, Kerr Lockhart saw “Should Men Walk Home?” at Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York at the Leo McCarey Program, it was Leo that directed the 1927 Roach comedy that Kerr described as “a really marvelous film, and Mabel still had her comedy chops”.  Steve Massa also was at the show last week at the Museum of Modern Art with live accompaniment by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks reported that “everyone loved Mabel and the film”.  And Ron Hutchinson wrote that “it was an unbelievably wonderful night with Vince accompanying 4 silent Roach shorts, including this one. He used contemporary twenties tunes where appropriate, like "Following You Around" when they are running through the house in Mabel's short. He also played "Oh! Mabel" at the opening. Thanks to Steve Massa, Dave Kehr and Vince Giordano for making this memorable evening happen. The place was packed!!

 

 

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Dangerous! Never stop your car on the highway to give a strange girl a ride – They’re always hungry”

 

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In the following years, his parts became smaller but the quality of his work did not drop.  He often appeared un-credited in films: “The Thin Man” 1934; “Becky Sharp” 1935. “Till We Meet Again”, 1936, “Nancy Drew” 1939, “All This and Heaven Too” 1940 and yes indeed in 1941 “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca” 1942. “Johnny Belinda” 1948, “The Fountainhead” 1949, “Sunset Boulevard” 1950; Creighton also worked in early TV, like “The Abbott and Costello Show” 1953. “My Little Margie” 1954, “Our Miss Brooks” 1956, “Cheyenne” 1957 and so much more.  

 

There was a role in “Time, The Comedian”, in which Creighton was in the cast with Mae Busch and Lew Cody, the year before Mabel Normand married Lew.[13]

 

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In 1930 he lived for awhile at 3159 Lake Hollywood Drive, Los Angeles[14]. Creighton had married Kathleen Bering in 1931 and they remind together until his death in 1965[15].  Creighton lived in Burbank for more then 20 years at 451 South Fairview[16] Creighton Hale lived the last years of his life at Motion Picture Country Hospital and died August 8, 1965 at the Motion Picture Sanitarium in Pasadena. Creighton was survived by his two sons, Patrick Fitzgerald and Robert Miljan, three grandsons and a granddaughter[17] after cremation his sons placed their father’s ashes at Duncans Mills Cemetery in California[18].

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Notes:



[1] Photoplay, March 1916, gave the date as 1892) in Cork, Ireland.

[2] The Taint (Eclectic, November 1914).

 

[3] Motion Picture Classic, June 1919, He played in a Virginia Pearson production in which Theda Bara was also an extra

 

[4] The New York Dramatic Mirror, Aug. 4, 1915: the Pathé actor appears as Jameson in “The Exploits of Elaine

 

        [5] Thanhouser Career Synopsis. 1914

 

 [6] The 1918 edition of the Motion Picture Studio Directory

 

         [7] The Moving Picture World, May 5, 1917

 

         [8] Photoplay, October 1918, noted that sales were poor.

 

         [9] The New York Times, August 24, 1919

 

        [10]  Bob Siler Collection  

    

        [11]  Preserved in the Robinson Locke Collection

 

[12] IMDb It was purported that Hale made a 1923 stag film but photos show it wasn’t him but whispered tales tarnished his reputation.

 

        [13]   Moving Picture World, June 27 1925

       

        [14]   Bob Siler Collection

     

[15]  Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

        [16]   Burbank Daily Review, August 11, 1965

 

        [17]   Hollywood Reporter, August 11, 1965

 

        [18]   According to Jose Barnada at Find a Grave  

 

 

Special thanks to:

Kevin Cloud Brechner

William M. Drew

Delores Hanney

Ron Hutchinson

Kerr Lockhart

Steve Massa

 

 
 

Third Member of Pearl White-Warner Oland Triangle Couldn’t Keep Fans Fancy

 

By James S. Pooler

Page 16, Detroit Free Press August 9, 1938

 

Pearl White, the heroine of those serials of yesterday – such as “The Perils of Pauline” – is gone.

 

Warner Olans. The villain in many of those same serials of the movies’ young days, died only a few days after she did.

 

But what about the hero – the lad who used to save Pearl from the evil things Warner Oland was supposed to have schemed?  You must remember the young alert and slim Creighton Hale who saved Pearl from death in many fashions.

 

If you’ll watch the movies very closely you may glimpse him now and then.  Pearl made a fortune and went away to Paris for the long rest she needed.  Warner Oland piled villainy on villainy for many years in the pictures and finally emerged as a hero in the Charlie Chan series after a quarter of century of work in the movies.

 

But the hero of those early serials got the shabby deal from fate.  The hero fared the worst.

 

The last time we saw Creighton Hale was just two weeks ago.  He came to town in one of those B pictures, a thriller called :One Wild Night” at the Adams.  The big names in it were Dick Baldwin and June Lang.  You could hardly call Creighton Hale’s part a walk-on role.  For just one instant did he come within the camera’s range as a bank teller who had discovered some of the counterfeiter’s cash.  We think he spoke one line and then he dropped into the background of the picture.

But we remembered him.  Here was that gallant movie hero of our boyhood days.  The Fellow looked nearly as young as he did 20 years ago. 

 

But whatever it takes to reach real movies success – maybe a personality to grip the fans – Hale never had it.  After a quarter of a century he is still toiling in the field in which he once was a star, a character to emerge for only an instant before dropping into the background again.  There must be something symbolic in that.  The smallest kids in the audience when he was a great hero now are stars.  And he’s just working for coffee and cakes.

 

Maybe while we feel sad about the heroine and villain who prospered we can spare a little sympathy for the hero who never made good.

Transcribed by

Marilyn Slater

Looking-for-Mabel

July 21, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Should Men Walk Home (Roach 1927)

 

 

 

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