Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monrovia and the Movies

Pure air and good light were big draws for Rufus M. Francisco, self-styled agent, and Henry Kabierski, self-styled director. Together, these men swept into town to create a motion picture company in the autumn of 1915. They raised money, named the enterprise Monrovia Feature Film Company, made two feature films and created high hopes. I didn't take long for the venture to collapse in losses for all the star-struck investors.

The Argonauts of '49 and The Daughter of the Don were the first films made in Monrovia, but not the last.
Monrovia is still a thriving motion picture town. Commercials, TV shows and rock videos are frequently filmed in an around town.

The town has been dressed up to look like New York City in winter (Ally McBeal), a small town in the Midwest (Grosse Pointe Blank), and the backdrop for a Smashing Pumpkins hit song, among others.

The Heritage Room has a collection of newspaper articles about Monrovia's flirtation with film: Monrovia's Venture with Motion Pictures 1915-18. This is found in the Film file. There is also a short chapter about the film venture in History of Monrovia by John L. Wiley, pp. 150 - 155.

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