Balboa Films

A History and Filmography of the Silent Film Studio


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SKU: 9780786430987 Categories: , ,

About the Book

From 1913 through 1918, Long Beach, California, was home to the largest independent film company in the world, the largely forgotten Balboa Studio. Founder Herbert M. Horkheimer bought the studio from Edison Company in 1913, and by 1915 Balboa’s expenses exceeded $2,500 a day and its output hit 15,500 feet of film per week. Bert Bracken, Fatty Arbuckle, Henry King, Baby Marie Osborne, Thomas Ince, and William Desmond Taylor began their careers with the studio.
In 1918, Horkheimer stunned the industry by declaring bankruptcy, shutting down Balboa, and walking away from moviemaking. The closing of the studio effectively ended Long Beach’s runs as a major film location and left many wondering about the true reasons behind Horkheimer’s decision. Most of Balboa’s films have been lost, and little has until now been written about the studio. This book first explores the history of filmmaking in Long Beach and then fully details the story of Balboa. The extensive filmography includes length, copyright date when available, cast and credits, and a plot summary.

About the Author(s)

Jean-Jacques Jura is the advisor and coordinator for Languages other than English at California State University in Long Beach.
Rodney Norman Bardin II is a radio talk show host. Both live in Long Beach, California.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Jacques Jura and Rodney Norman Bardin II
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 302
Bibliographic Info: 107 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3098-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0901-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Prologue: Setting the Stage      1

Reel 1 1893–1913: The Early Years      5

“Lights, Camera, Action-Long Beach”      10

Early Studios in California      12

The Edison Outpost      24

Reel 2 Something Ventured, Something Gained      31

The Inheritance      34

The Sea Wolf’s Bite      37

The Fruits of Loyalty and Troubleshooting      41

Reel 3 1913–1918: An Innovative and Productive Studio      61

Timeline of the Balboa Amusement Producing Company      62

Long Beach: Home of the Stars and Headline Stories      79

The Mystery Man, Director Extraordinaire      93

Reel 4 Major Stars and Their Box Office Hits      103

Henry King      105

Jackie Saunders      112

Ruth Roland      119

Daniel Gilfether      124

Mollie McConnell      128

Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle      132

Baby Marie Osborne      135

Reel 5 1918–1925: The Beginning of the End      145

Acts of God: World War I and the Long Beach Oil Strike      152

The Changing of Hands      159

Reel 6 Epilogue: Back to the Future      179

Filmography of Long Beach Studios      193

Bibliography      271

Index      275

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Theatre Library Association Award
“a solid and thorough investigation…. The breadth of the study, its detailed filmography…and its careful scholarship make this a very worthwhile book”—Choice; “includes a helpful timeline”—ARBA; “the life—and afterlife—of the studio is documented in quite incredible detail…most welcome”—Classic Images; “entertaining and absorbing…wonderful pictures…well researched”—Past Times; “the impact that this independent studio had upon this era of movie making [is] not to be taken lightly…a must read”—The Silents Majority.