Looking for Mabel Normand

Madcap Mabel Normand

 With the ongoing celebration in Niles and the producing of the silent western as part of the 100th anniversary of the Essanay Films arrival in Niles, I found an article about a PARADE just a year after Broncho Billy came to the area, Both Broncho Billy and the great and glorious Mabel Normand went to ‘party’ in San Francisco … 1912 is also the 100th anniversary of Keystone. 


Remember you can be part of the party this year by going on Sunday, May 20, or contributing to the making of the one-reel silent western; they are using the hand cranked camera at  http://www.indiegogo.com/nilesfilm . You couldn’t be in Niles in 1912 nor Photo Players’ Day in San Francisco in 1913 but you can be part of the 2012 remembrance.  

For information at: nilesfilmmuseum.org/index.htm

THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD, May 1913 – page 1010

Transcribed by

Marilyn Slater

May 17, 2012






The Grand March Led by Mayor and Mrs. Rolph. Big Street Parade Led by Chief of Police White.

By W. A. Cory, Secretary


THERE was something doing every moment on Photo Players’ Day in San Francisco.  The Motion Picture Exhibitors’ League worked hard to make May 2nd, a day worthy of remembrance and they were paid for their efforts by a grand turn-out all along the line of the parade.  A fact worthy of note in passing was the general comment by everyone that there were three times as many people lining the curbs to watch the parade as there were the previous day to see the big circus parade.


Mr. Gilbert A. Anderson, the popular “Broncho Billy” 


The excitement began at 9:30 in the morning, with the arrival of Mabel Normand of the Keystone Company, Carlyle Blackwell of the Kalem Company, and Miss Anne Schaeffer and  George C. Stanley of the Western Vitagraph Company.  The players were met by State Secretary, W. A. Cory, and representatives of the Golden Gate and General Film Exchange, who took the players to their hotel, where they made ready for the pageant, which started at noon at Van Ness Avenue and Market Street.



Miss Anne Schaeffer 

Carlyle Blackwell 


Mabel Normand having been voted the most popular player in California was chosen queen of the occasion and occupied the first automobile with Carlyle Blackwell and W. A. Cory and wife.  Then came the two Vitagraphers, and following them, Mr. Gilbert A. Anderson, the popular “Broncho Billy” of the Eassanay Company, followed by twenty-four of Anderson’s daring cowboys and cowgirls in picture costume and mounted on their cow-ponies.  The famous old stage coach which we have seen “Broncho Billy” hold up countless times, was also there in all its glory.  Several beautiful floats, representing miniature picture shows, and other spectacular features followed.  Next came the members of the San Francisco and Oakland Exhibitors; Leagues in gaily decorated automobiles headed by a band of twenty pieces.  The parade made a beautiful spectacle and proved the best sort of advertising for the ball which opened at 9:30 that night, with Mayor and Mrs. Rolph leading the grand march.  Following Mayor and Mrs., Rolph, came the visiting actors and actresses, the committee in charge of arrangement and their ladies, with Anderson’s cowboys and cowgirls dressed in Wild West costume, followed by the different members of the league and the dancers.


The actors and actresses were introduce by Chairman Cory, and made happy little speeches, which were greatly appreciated by the great throngs present.  The only one to avoid making a speech was “Alkali Ike” who, owing to his diminutive stature was enabled to hide behind the skirts of some kind lady and could not be found until the dancing was well under way.


Motion pictures of the parade, which were taken by Miles Brothers, and were exhibited on a screen caused a great deal of merriment among the spectators as they recognized themselves in the photographs.


No expense was spared in the management of the affair; the aim of the committee being to boost the business in general, rather than make money out of this particular occasion.  The entire Scottish Rite Temple, which is the most beautiful building of its kind in San Francisco, was rented for the occasion, one floor being reserved for society dances, another for those who wanted to rag, large orchestras being provided in each hall.  This arrangement left everybody happy, and the crowd divided up according to individual taste.  The ball broke up about two o’clock Saturday morning, with everybody voting it a grand success, and eagerly awaiting next year’s second annual grand ball.