News flash ! Trotsky was an extra at Vitagraph circa 1910
June 24, 2008 § 2 Comments
Yes, you’ve read it right. Leon Trotsky. The one and only.
That’s what we learn thanks to Vitagraph founder, Hollywood veteran, and Motion Picture Magazine founder J. Stuart Blackton, in an article he wrote on his magazine’s 14th birthday (Feb. 1925). Blackton is reminiscing about the differences between cinema in 1910 and cinema in 1925. Ah, the good old days before the star system when all hands were on deck to help out:
Except for Cos [Maurice Costello], every actor, cameraman and director hammered sets, ran errands, rummaged the neighborhood for props, and generally took the place of the
machinists, carpenters, architects, designers, interior decorators, animal trainers and efficiency experts we have today. Anybody who wasn’t needed as a lead in a picture cheerfully played as extra. Perhaps, on the whole, this is the greatest difference between then and now ! I have stills in my desk showing Earle Williams, Norma, Constance and Anita [Talmadge] as a part of the mob. There was one silent, foreign chap who often worked in mob scenes for two dollars a day, who is now the ruler over fifty-million people. His name was Leon Trotsky.
Nothing is too good for Hollywood lore.