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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, February 06, 1910, Image 4

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1910-02-06/ed-1/seq-4/

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Horatio F. Stoll
HE triumph of the moving pic
ture is one of the most striking
in the history of modern inven
tions. In every city practically
cf the civilized world moving pictures
ere being shown to crowds of spec
tators daily, and every one from the
tiniest child to the oldest man seems
to enjoy them thoroughly.
The dramatic periodicals are begin
ning- to recognize the serious value of
the motion picture drama by printing
eerious reviews and criticisms of the
new playe. Some plays are favorably
noticed while others are blamed for
Jack of technique, faulty construction,
poor acting- or stage management. The
actors, too, have to come up to a much
higher standard than formerly. The
c*U Is for a degree of excellence which
In one performance before the camera
\u25a0will stand tho test of performance in
all the countries of the world. Often
copies of one film must do for the
whole world. The motion picture drama
is the universal drama; It speaks no
Individual tongue but a universal lan
The uses to which these moving
pictures are now being put are varied
and novel. They are Intended not only
to amuse but to instruct as well, for
it has been found that even purely
commercial and the most scientific top
ics . can be treated in a popular and
educational way. For example, in
many of the large medical universities
of Europe it is the custom now to sup
plement lectures on the treatment of
various diseases and difficult operations
\u25a0with moving pictures, which show
every detail minutely and permit not
only the students of those universities
to see an actual demonstration of the
work but students in every part of the
world, since these films can be multi
plied indefinitely.
- It is said that the United States navy
department has been very successful
in securing recruits by illustrating its
lectures with moving pictures showing
the favorable features of a life on the
ocean wave.
The United States department of ag
riculture is using- moving pictures to
bring home to the farmers of the coun
try the necessity of modern methods in
sericulture. It has always been hard
to make them understand from mere
descriptions how to handle their crops
in this new era of agriculture. The
average man on the farm doesn't take
kindly to advice he hears or reads — he
wants visual proof of the soundness of
things. He sticks to the old ways un
til he actually sees the advantage of
the new.
It Is for this reason that the United
States department of agriculture is now •
adopting the motion picture machine to
educate the farmer. Films are being
made at the different experiment sta
tions throughout the. country showing
the new order of things In the way of
preparing the land, planting, cultivat
ing, harvesting, handling of the crop,
how to make roads, how to breed cat
tle, horses, sheep and farm animals,
and the thousand and one tasks that oc
cupy farmers. By exhibiting these
films at proper meetings of farmers
all over the country, the department
hopes to give them actual, visual con
vincing proof that -, the old order <
changeth, giving place to the new. and
the new agriculture means better
crops, better farms, better roads and
better animals.
Noting the Possibilities
It is only recently that the com
mercial bodies of California have be
gun to realize the possibilities of mov
ing pictures. -Through them it is easy
to convince any one outside the state
that California is the land of sunshine,
fruit and flowers. The easterner, watch
ing happy bathers enjoying a dip ;in ;
the sea or sunning themselves on the
sand at Corbnado, Long beach, Santa
Monica "or Santa Barbara, on New
Year's day can not but be convinced ''\u25a0
that the climate is mild." Glimpses of ; .
the picking of oranges in the, citrus
belt, the blossom festival In the Santa
Clara valley or the vintage season; in
Sonoma will give him a good idea of
the fruit industry, and if he wants to '.
Bee flowers his wonder can be aroused i
by showing him pictures of the Golden i
Gate park or the beautiful drive to <
Smiley heights, Redlands, where multi- 1
colored flowers and/ shrubs bloom* the'
year round. \u25a0 <
The prospective colonist is getting, to i
be a very wary person. He has been' .
deluged with literature , from every--]
portion of the south, southwest' andlj
\u25a0 i
Showing the
to the
the Pacific slope, each section claiming
to have a perfect climate and offering
unusual opportunities for acquiring:
wealth. So glowing are these • ac
counts and so different the realization
in many cases that those who have
had their eyes opened have advjsed
their relatives and friends at home to
go slowly and remain where they are
until they can secure unprejudiced ad
' vice and information.
Seeing is believing, it is said, and
when the various scenes of California
are flashed upon the screen, showing
conditions exactly as they exist, there
can be no doubt in the mind of the
spectator. He_can see for himself just
how the various Industries are con
ducted, how the land - looks and how
the people live, .for all this is graph
ically snapped by the camera.
I r never realized what a potent at
traction these moving pictures were to
the general public until I visited the'
Seattle exposition last summer, and for
'three weeks was identified with the
publicity work in the California build
ing.^ The special lecture room, where
talks on the resources and attractions
of the different" counties of California
were given every half hour during the
day, was popular. Each morning a bul
letin board at the entrance' announced
the time at which the different lectures
would take place and people would
come Into the California building, scan
the schedule' carefully, returning again
at the stated: time to hear some -special
section described. All day long people,
would ask to be' directed': to the lecture
room. - . • ' ~ ';.••'\u25a0
Once I asked several ladies from
Idaho which lecture interested them.
"Los Angeles," one replied.
"Have you any friends or special in-."
terest there?"
"No," she replied, "but we were told
that the young lady who talks about
Los Angeles, supplements -her talk, with
a very interesting moving" picture
showing :an ostrich ' farm, and !we • are -f
anxious /to see how they raise ' the
Another time a .white haired lady
came -in and" breathlessly "asked,' "Am* I :.
too late for the Santa Barbara talk?" , ;
And • when assured . that the speaker v
had only, begun she answered/. "I am' so . .
glad, because! want" to see 'the battle :
•-' . , ' •'-. '\u25a0'.'\u25a0' \u25a0\u25a0*.. '\u25a0 \u25a0 ' ; - '\u25a0'\u25a0•'. ..; '
- .. . \u25a0
of flowers.' This winter ' I am going
to visit my son, who lias recently be
come a resident of Santa Barbara. I
believe you, can see him plainly In the
picture, riding a spirited horse."
Following the success at Seattle the
grape growers of California began to
exploit California's viticultural indus
try by, means of a series of moving
pictures showing the vintage season,
the laborers 'at work and at play, the
homes and hospitality of the prosperous
grape growers. 'The scenes were taken
in Sonoma county, in San: Bernardino
county, in Fresno county and a bottling
plant at Livermore. '
Value of Moving Pictures
That these : pictures have a tremen
dous interest for prospective tourists
and colonists is proven by the experi
ence of Dr. Clarence :E. Ed words of the
California Promotion committee, who
recently delivered -a , series of 15 lec
tures, at \ the United States land and
irrigation <\u25a0 exposition held in the; Chi-"
cago auditorium. He stated that the
viticultural pictures had proven a reve
\u25a0 latlon to easterners. One scene in par
ticular delighted them. It showed the
novel .harvesting, of grapes at Cuca
monga. The whole .3,600 acre • vineyard
is covered with a network " of -.tracks .
and -the grapes 1 are -dumped by the
pickers into -small .cars, "which are
hau'ed . Into the yard of the- winery
by a tiny "engine. -All this is vividly
shown, in the moving pictures, the cli
max being reachedwhen a half dozen
carloads of grapes— tons \of luscious
berries— are one' by 'one dumped on a
concrete: platform^ to.be shoveled; on
an endless auger ' conveyor . that . rushes
the - grapes iupl to/ the^ crusher. These
quantities of : Juicy "grapes . made „-. the."
mouths of the spectators water and'im
\u25a0 . \u25a0
pressed upon them the vastness of the
As a result of the, illustrated talks
over 500 people made specific inquiries
regarding our grape land and the wines
produced in 'this state. Five times as
many more registered and asked for
information concerning other indus
tries and opportunities offered in Cali
fornia." In preparing pictures f or ' the
grape growers the photographer studied
a' Bynopsis carefully, stating- what was
practical ; and what was * not, and how
the matter should be treated in. order
to -coyer it in 1.000 feet of film. His
rejection of scenes suggested blue
penciling of superfluous material from
a- manuscript. He also' gave the
tempo, so to speak, for, in, the moving
picture scenes it is often necessary to
condense in a : minute what it ordi
narily takes five minutes to perform. V
'Much has been written about the me
chanical side of the picture production;
how the' camera takes, the little pos
tage stamp pictures tat the rate of 16
to the second; how the films are de
veloped, the scenes fastened together
and finally .made up Into a 1,000 foot
reel.; which twill take about. 20 minutes
tobe'shownrhow/the different scenes
are taken at different times "and dif
ferent places.'and welded. together into
>a • complete whole ; how the end of each
topic ..is manifested \u25a0\u25a0; not > by; the 'drop
ping of a curtain, but by, the" flashing of
a printed announcement of . the new
scene upon the ;t screen.
>;.Iri\ assisting: vin: the staking :of the
viticultural pictures -I. had a good
chance ito I study, the care^ necessary : to
achieve goodjresults. ;, Everything must
be worked out inadvance, so that there
Is :a^solutely v no I possibility; of any thing
going .wrong., In ; industrial pictures it
is;easy/ : enough;toiget' suitable-back
grounds and;light;effects,lbut it is often
difficult r~to -Tget i laborers, .who vdo not
realize the ,workings;ofa-moving = pic
ture/camera;: to. be; merely themselves
and act naturally.; .They usually work
a: little . and ..then stop . and ': await ,' in
structions.^;;lf fc you::shouti ; at them to
keep -- going .; they; s often • act .as -if j they
had ;been struck', with = a;,bullet, and be- :
gin to work furiously. i One stupid per
son ..will, of ten spoil the whole excellent
; effect; achieved by* a dozen intelligent
employes who know what is expected
of them. '
W« were very anxious to get some
pictures at Asti. showing the Italians
picking grapes, but we happened to
arrive. there when they were scattered
in small numbers throughout the large
vineyard, and it was necessary, there
fore, to be content with Japanese, who
were working near at hand. It was
explained to the Jap foreman that at a
given signal the pickers were to carry
their boxes to the end of each row of
vines and pile them one on top of an
other. The foreman, who had spent
many a leisure hour in nickelodeons,
was intuitive and quick, and grasped
the" idea in a moment. All the men and
women seemed delighted to have pic
tures taken and after stationing each
one In his proper place so as to be
within range of " the camera he an
nounced that we could proceed.
The machine was properly adjusted
and focused, and when the signal was
given the Japanese went about their
picking, working hurriedly, but acting
naturally, as if no pictures were being
taken. They were asked not to look
at the machine, and they followed their
Instructions to the letter.
Down in Fresno county, at the "Wak
toke vineyard. It was planned to snap
a number of Chinese laborers, as they
looked very picturesque with their
large, flat, sun hats and their peculiar
gourd water bottles slung over their
shoulders. The foreman refused abso
lutely to help. "My boys get paid by
the box; they no want waste time tak
ing pictures," he "remarked, and as his
decision was final there was no use
parleying with him longer. A close
range view was needed -to show how
heavily the vines bear, the dexterity of
the pickers' hands and the peculiar
little cutter used in separating the
bunches . from the ,v!nes.
"All right," the foreman was told,
"we won't bother you about the other
boys, but will you let us take a picture
of yourself picking?"
The Chinaman . agreed, and he cut
away the leaves exposing to view the
full bunches of grapes and knelt in
position ready to pick as soon as the
signal was given.
The Wise Chinaman
\u0084 When he was told to "pick like h—l"h — 1"
he worked "as if his life depended upon
it," and the grapes fell Into the basket
with such, rapidity that It was soon
filled to * the brim. One. of the oper
ators bemoaned the fact that the China-,
man's sun hat: covered -his face and
suggested that he be asked to' push it
back. But tho Chinaman intended that
the picture; should be lifelike and
showed his good • Judgment ' by remark-
Ing. 'fTou ; heap - big fool. No can pick
grapes quick and look at you. I no want
to, cut my fingers oft. This knife plenty
sharp." \u25a0'} V? ' "'.\V'.
There are often little .Incidents that
occur In > the taking of pictures that
are purely^ accidental, but help out the
atmosphere "v- wonderfully. Following
the picking, we photographed the haul-
In g and \u25a0 showed two sturdy men lifting
the; boxes' from the ground .upon the
wagon '.which was to carry the -grapes
to, theiwinery. . "With the 'regularity of
machines 'i they, grasped < the • boxes, gave
themVa.goodvswlng and landed them
on the wagon without the least ap
parent effortl Theidrlver in turn piled
,them>;on"topt;Ofi one -another 'so as \u25a0to
get as I many boxes, on the" wagon as
possible: v^As he ,-lif ted . one >of these
.boxes V the ;bottom: gave vway Vand ; there
was ' a = perfect j showerjof white \u25a0 berries,
which clun g \ to • tha .wagon r and i dropped
Tlia San Francisco Sunday Call
over the side on the ground. ThJs lit
tle accident proved very effective when
reproduced on the screen, for it gave
the eye something to consider besides
the boxes, which followed one another
In rapid succession.
In photographing a large cooperage
plant at Fresno an amusing: bit of side
business was also unconsciously^ intro
duced. 'It was arranged to take a.
panoramic view of the Immense yard
showing about 5,000 barrels. In the
foreground the various departments
•were to be represented by workmen so
that the spectator might get a good
idea of the different stages in the'man
ufacture of a barrel from the time it is
a buoch of staves until it comes out a
finished barrel. As the camera swung
around from the warehouse across the
railroad tracks to the manufacturing
plant it was planned that several
heads of the departments should come
into the picture, instruct the various?
employes, point to novel features and
wind up in front of the steaming plant
and engage in conversation.
Inasmuch as they were not familiar
with the working of the machine they
walked too rapidly. The operator did
not notice this until two- thirds of the
amount of film allotted to the subject
was exhausted. Then he called to one
of the men to get into the picture.
It so happened that he was at the
farthest end of the yard with about
200 barrels between. him and the other
men who had arrived at the steaming
plant. Quick as a flash the anxious
foreman Jumped on the nearest barrel
and hastened to reach the others. But
the barrels were wobbly and his prog- "^
ress reminded one of Eliza crossing
the Jce In "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Pres
ently as he neared his goal he lost hi*
balance, and after a struggle 'to save
himself went down- and out of sight
between two barrels. The expression
on his /ace and the oath he let loose
as he gathered himself together and
brushed oft his clothes, as well as the
mirth of his amused friends, who.
roared with laughter, are plainly dis
cernible in the picture. This accident
invariably . gets a laugh when It Is
shown, for somehow people are always
amused when a person slips awkward
ly, even it the resultant fall end 3
A pathetic Incident, on the • other
hand, was the photographing of Luther
Burbank and his aged mother. Mrs.
Olive Burbank, who only the other day
died at Santa Rosa at the age of 93
years. In order to attract attention to
Santa Rosa it was arranged to have a
aeries -of moving pictures taken of the
plant wizard, who kindly agreed to
walk about hi 3 garden pointing out
the unusual flowers and trees that
grew ..there. Incidentally It was plan
ned to -have his aged mother, assisted
by her faithful nurse. Miss Swanson.
come out Into the garden, seat herself
In (a •, rocker and admire a bouquet of
flowers "created by her gifted son. The
kindly old lady was very gracious about
posing for the photographer and en
tered into the spirit of the thing with
great enthusiasm. She followed the
instructions carefully and upon being
seated took the flowers from hsr nurse.
handled them fondly, breathed in their
fragrance and .then looking straight
into the camera smiled sweetly. The
little scene ended when she placed the j
flowers on her lap and engaged In con- ~A
versatlon with her nurse. "
a Mrs.. Burbank expressed a keen de
sire to see the picture, but unfortunate
ly her r ; strength -failed rapidly after
they "were taken and . sh» was unable
to have har wish gratified.

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