Around the World in 80 Days, 1916; a Movie Completely Missing from Modern Film Encyclopedias and Data Bases

Moving Picture World, October 7, 1916

Moving Picture World September 23, 1916Moving Picture World September 23, 1916 2

 

In the first thirty days of autumn in October of 1916, a bright and shining movie debut happened, Around the World in 80 Days, starring Henry Garrick, Frank Bowers, Victor Sanders and Vivian Nichols;[1] the production cost about $250,000.[2] Obviously, this was a large sum for a film budget for the era; but particularly true for a brand new production company.

Hickory_Daily_Record_Thu__Feb_8__1917_

The quarter-million-dollar budget was proudly publicized

 

This film is not to be confused with the 1914, Hill’s Movie Company[3] production (adapted by Carl Werner[4]) and Lewis Pennant Features release, Around the World in 80 Days (Internet Movie Data Base has it listed as ‘Round, not Around) , but instead was produced by the Herald Film Corporation. Leo Rosengarten (formally of the Cosmos Feature Film Corporation) was the president of Herald;[5] Rosengarten, with Max Blackwell (the former general-manager of Favorite Players Film Company) and Julius C. Groshut (who had worked as the sales director for the Ambrosio American Company) collaborated to form the Herald Film Corporation in April of 1915.[6]

Hickory_Daily_Record_Fri__Feb_9__1917_

The only photo that I have found from, Around the World in 80 Days; and most probably the only picture available of whom I believe to be the movie’s star, Henry Garrick… Hickory, North Carolina, February 9, 1917

 

The official announcement came on September 16 of 1916 that the Herald Film Corp., would release Around the World in Eighty Days on October 1, 1916;[7] within a week that date was changed to the early part of October.[8] In February of 1917, The Moving Picture World reported that the film had been released on October 15, 1916, and that is what the trade magazine advertising stated.[9] But, the first play-date that is evidenced by an ad was October 25, 1916, when the film was shown at the Family Theatre in Batavia, New York.[10] The movie was viewed as late as the summer of 1919.[11]

Daily News, Batavia New York, October 25, 1916

First known play-date, Batavia New York, October 25, 1916

Reading_Times, Reading, Pennsylvania, _Thu__Jul_10__1919_

Last known play-date, Reading, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1919

 

When the young film concern decided to produce Around the World in 80 Days, they also resolved to retain the sole distribution rights to their six-reel adventure.[12] The company limited the number of theaters in which the movie would play; one theater for cities under one-hundred-thousand and if the city was over that mark, the number of days booked determined the number of theaters allowed to show the flick.[13] Once big business was finished ($50.00 per day flat rental) in certain territories (determined by the Herald Film Corporation), the larger cities especially, then the film was to be sold outright at a price that conformed to the territory; allowing small to medium sized cities to obtain this grand thriller.

This plan was not only instituted for Around the World in 80 Days, but for all Herald Corp., releases.[14] This was soon seen in effect as the rights to Around the World in 80 Days, were sold to Rogson Film Company for New York State,[15] which would have excluded New York City and all it s boroughs.[16] Rogson, sent representative Sherman Webster on a tour of New York State, as you can see with signs a plenty.

Moving Picture World November 11, 1916

In addition, hundreds of announcements were sent out by Rogson Co., to exhibitors state-wide.[17] Further, J B. Pennington purchased the distribution rights for Virginia and North Carolina.[18] Mr. Pennington’s efforts regarding Around the World in 80 Days may have been on behalf of the Piedmont Amusement Company, which had theaters in Virginia and North Carolina and for whom he worked no later than 1918.[19] To banish all thoughts that Around the World in 80 Days was hardly seen, we continue with the distribution of this epic-adventure with the E. L. K. Film Company, a mid-west concern, with offices in Minneapolis and Chicago, 80 Days, was contracted by Ben Rosenberg.[20] The Globe Feature Film Corporation of Boston had the state rights for New England for Around the World in 80 Days.[21] In December of 1917, the newly organized[22] Superior Film Exchange of Philadelphia purchased the rights to this deluxe version of the global thrill ride by Verne;[23] the Superior Film Exchange apparently operated in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.[24] Without a doubt, 80 Days was a well seen film, piling money up for the Herald Film Corporation, the smaller state-rights distributors and the exhibitors.

What is unique and sad about the four stars of this 1916 version of the classic story by Jules Verne is that, excepting Garrick, I can find no further information as to any other works in their careers. It is odd, that if they were unknowns that their names should be included in the advertising. Of the four, it is clear that Henry Garrick was the most publicly visible for his name is attached on several ads and notices. The only additional title that I have found regarding Garrick is, Scrooge, which played in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, in February of 1915. Since Scrooge is a Christmas story, I assume that the film was released at the Christmas-tide of 1914, but, although there was, Old Scrooge, which was produced and released in September of 1913 from the UK, and finding showings in January of 1914, this imported film starred Seymour Hicks. Scrooge, starring Henry Garrick seems more elusive than the subject of this article.

Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, February 1, 1915

Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, February 1, 1915

 

The plot of Around the World in 80 Days had a slight twist from the particulars of the book; Phileas Fogg is left heir to a fortune with the conditions that he goes around the world in 80 days and returns married.[25] The Jules Verne inspired film did not just perform well but it was breaking box-office records everywhere it played.[26] The following remarks about the production by Marion Howard of the Moving Picture World provides insight as to why Around the World in Eighty Days was such a smash hit: “Verne when he wrote it did not dream that time would show far greater stunts than his characters perform… The Herald Film Corporation deserves credit for immortalizing the famous book.”[27]

The_Oregon_Daily_Journal_Wed__Sep_20__1916_

Oregon Daily Journal, Portland, Oregon, September 20, 1916

Moving Picture World October 7, 1916

Moving Picture World October 7, 1916

The_Evening_Herald_Tue__Oct_23__1917_

Klamath Falls, Oregon, October 23, 1917

 

The most outstanding aspect of Around the World in 80 Days is that it is a film that we are unaware of. As though the earth were flat and the film simply sailed off the edge, not to be heard of again. Nothing has been written regarding the picture, no mentions in books, no articles or blogs have attempted to plumb the depths, to raise the memory of this film. And excepting the principals of the Herald Film Corporation and the business itself, nothing of the crew remains for us today. It is odd to think that not quite one-hundred years later that this large of a production, a huge box-office draw, is lost. Not only lost in the since that we may never see its flickering images, but any information of those actors, involved in the project is vanished; this is most troubling. Who are Henry Garrick, Frank Bowers, Victor Sanders and Vivian Nichols? And what other works did they participate in? How many films are truly lost that were produced prior to 1920? Will we ever know? Can we know? Or is the number untold? How many actors and actresses and the roles they portrayed have gone astray? How many members of how many film crews are we ignorant of? Again, this not knowing, it is troubling, most troubling.

Besides the footnotes below you will find more newspaper advertisements for, Around the World in 80 Days; I have not included the numerous text only listings which were seen during the promotion of the film.

 

By C. S. Williams

 

The Daily Argus, July 11, 1917Salisbury_Evening_Post_Wed__Feb_14__1917_(1)Reading, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1919

Asheville_Citizen, Asheville, North Carolina, _Fri__Mar_23__1917_

The_Oneonta_Star_Thu__Mar_29__1917_Elmira Star Gazette Elmira New York, February 9 1917

 

The_Indiana_Gazette_Thu__Mar_21__1918_

 

The_Courier_Sun Harrisburg, Pennsylvania__Jun_23__1918_The_Evening_Herald, Kalmath Falls, Oregon_Wed__Oct_24__1917_

 

 

Saratogian, Saratoga, New York,  May 28, 1917Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York,  May 10 1917

 

[1] Salisbury Evening Post (Salisbury, North Carolina) February 14, 1917

Evening Herald (Klamath Falls, Oregon) October 25, 1917

Allentown Democrat (Allentown, Pennsylvania) April 6, 1918

[2] Hickory Daily Record (Hickory, North Carolina) February 9, 1917

[3] Variety, February 6, 1914

[4] Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Volume 9, 1914

[5] Motography, February 20, 1915

[6] Motion Picture News, April 24, 1915

Motography, September 5, 1914

Variety, April 23, 1915

[7] Billboard, September 23, 1916

New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) September 23, 1916

[8] Moving Picture World, September 30, 1916

[9] Moving Picture World, February 17, 1917

[10] Daily News (Batavia, New York) October 25, 1916

[11] Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1919

[12] Moving Picture World, December 22, 1917

[13] New York Dramatic Mirror (New York, New York) September 23, 1916

[14] Moving Picture World, October 7, 1916

[15] Moving Picture World, November 11, 1916

[16] Moving Picture World, November 4, 1916

[17] Moving Picture World, November 4, 1916

[18] Moving Picture World, January 10, 1917

[19] Motography, October 21, 1916

Moving Picture World, May 11, 1918

[20] Motography, January 22;  October 14, 1916

Moving Picture World, January 20, 1917

[21] Moving Picture World, March 10, 1917

[22] Motion Picture News, October 13, 1917

[23] Moving Picture World, December 22, 1917

[24] Moving Picture World, February 22; March 1, 1919

[25] Courier (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) June 23, 1918

[26] Indiana Gazette, Indiana, Pennsylvania) March 15, 1918

[27] Moving Picture World, October 28, 1916

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