Aspects of American Film History Prior to 1920

By Anthony Slide | Go to book overview

9. THE PARALTA COMPANY

Little as may be the notice afforded film companies from the early 'teens, it is more than many short-lived companies from the later 'teens have received. Few historians have displayed even passing interest in the Paralta Company, yet during its one year of existence it boasted a number of major stars, including Henry B. Walthall, J. Warren Kerrigan, Bessie Barriscale and Louise Glaum, under contract, not to mention five directors of very differing skills: the artistically inclined Rex Ingram, the commercially successful Wallace Worsley, the pioneer Oscar Apfel, and the former Ince contract directors, Raymond B. West and Reginald Barker.

Paralta Plays, Inc. officially came into being on March 22, 1917, with Carl Anderson as president, Herman Katz as treasurer, and Robert T. Kane as vice-president. Nat L. Brown was secretary and general manager, and Herman Fichtenberg chairman of the board of directors. Anderson had previously been involved with the Lasky Company, while Fichtenberg owned a chain of motion picture theatres in New Orleans. Robert T. Kane was named head of production, and the new company opened its first offices at 729 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

When Paralta was formed, it was announced that its main purpose was to give the exhibitor a fair deal. How this was to be done was explained in an article in the April 14, 1917 issue of Motion Picture News. The important point was that the exhibitor would acquire a film not for a week or a split-week, but for a whole year. The exhibitor had the exclusive right to a Paralta production in his territory for a full twelve months, and could screen it as many times as he wished during that period. "Buy for the year; not for the day," was the Paralta slogan. "Do not rent feature films, but buy them for a territory for a specific time." The Paralta plan was explained to Southern and Western exhibitors on

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Aspects of American Film History Prior to 1920
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Dedication iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • 6 - Mr. Edison and the Edison Company 63
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Evolution of the Film Star 1
  • 2 - Comediennes of the 'Teens 7
  • 3 - Child Stars of the 'Teens 16
  • 4 - Ethel Grandin 27
  • 5 - Forgotten Early Directors 36
  • 7 - Katherine Anne Porter and the Movies 65
  • 8 - The Thanhouser Company 68
  • 9 - The Paralta Company 79
  • 10 - The O'Kalems 87
  • 11 - Early Film Magazines: An Overview 98
  • 12 - The First Motion Picture Bibliography 105
  • 13 - Film History Can Also Be Fun 122
  • Appendices 135
  • Source Material 149
  • Index 153
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