Mrs. George A. Hunt

It’s not often that one can find the image of the “strong, independent woman” anytime before the 1960s. However, the film industry trade magazine Moving Picture World features a Medford woman in September 1921. The feature emphasizes how much work she does, and the fact that she doesn’t need help to do it. She “not only runs the publicity for five theaters in two towns but she does it all ‘on her own’.” The choice of placing the quotations around the phrase “on her own” seems curious and a bit degrading in modernity, but the implication this article held when it was published could easily be completely different. She ran publicity for theaters in both Medford and Grants Pass with those being The Page, Liberty, Rialto, Bedford, and Rivoli. The feature claims her focus is on newspaper advertising, with her preferred journalist being George Bleich.

“Woman Press Agent Rolls All Her Own.” Moving Picture World, vol. 52, Sept. 1921, p. 59. Media History Digital Library.

She is said to be, in some ways, the equal of men in her field, like Amike Vogel, a man featured in multiple newspapers in California at the time. One of the specific achievements noted is that she bartered a deal for the film Brewster’s Millions (1914) that  any male professional would be proud of. Upon researching the film, this story was a book-turned popular Broadway play before it was a film. Then it was remade into several films up until the 1980s, all this implies that the film she bartered for would have been very popular and therefore expensive.

In modernity she would be praised as an independent woman who “don’t need no man,” however that proved difficult as the feature never giver her name. She is known by her husband’s name. While we are not given her name we are given her face. Her photograph is the same size as the text of the feature. While the text builds her up as a hard-working self-taught publicity manager, the poised and styled woman in the photo contradicts that in a way. It seemingly acts as a reminder that this feature is about a woman, who is pretty and feminine.

“Brewster’s Millions (1914 Film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Apr. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewster%27s_Millions_(1914_film).

Passion Play

This is a newspaper advertisement for a film titled “The Passion Play” from the Morning Astorian published January 15, 1908. It is an advertisement solely comprised of text. Its focus is on the film itself, advertising the length and content of the film.

The reference to the length of the film being “nearly a mile long” could easily be an exaggeration, yet it is quite impressive. Then the article immediately returns to objective fact by telling the reader how many minutes the film is, giving multiple answers to the question “How long is the movie?”. This is possibly to first impress the reader with the sheer length and impressive quality of the film and then let them know in terms they can understand how long the film is.

The content of the film is however the major selling point for the film. And yet there are very few details provided about the film itself. The reader is told the film is about the life of Christ. But there are no details as to which studio produced the film, who directed it, and who stars in it. The audience may at least be curious as to who will portray Christ. This leads to the assumption that it is a low-budget film and studio without any recognizable names attached to it. The theater is relying on the topic of the film to be the main selling point. This is also emphasized by the vague word choice used in reference to the film, by simply calling it “this wonderful exhibition” no details are made known about it.

Another interesting aspect is the date of publication. This was published in the middle of January. It would make a lot more sense for a film like this to be shown before Christmas or Easter or any other significant Christian holiday. This is reflective of the religious devotion found in this time, even the most pious could allow themselves to go to the movie theater to watch a film about Christ.

“The Passion Play.” Morning Astorian, 15 Jan. 1908