H. M. Horkheimer Purchases the California Motion Picture Manufacturing Company
April: Using his $7,000 inheritance, H. M. Horkheimer purchased from the California Motion Picture Manufacturing Company the studio site being leased at the time to the Edison Film Company. Fred Mace, comedian and director, had also purchased an interest in the Balboa company. Fred Mace would make comedies for Balboa at the Revier studio in Hollywood, until the Long Beach site was vacated. All the laboratory work for Mace would be done by Harry Revier. In the beginning, the Balboa Amusement Producing Company had but one director, six players, and a working staff of six.
Jack London and Balboa
April 28: Jack London was in Long Beach announcing that some of his stories would be produced by the Balboa Amusement Producing Company. This association between Jack London and the Horkheimers would test the limits of copyright and help rewrite some of the U.S. copyright laws, favoring authors who wanted to control their writings being transformed into the new motion picture medium.
September 8:The Balboa Amusement Producing Company was reported to be in a very precarious state. The Jack London suit plagued the new studio.
A Must-Read About This Suit:
Birchard, Robert S. “Jack London and the Movies.” Film History. Vol. 1. 1987, pp. 15-38.
October 1: The Daily Telegram announced that Jack London and Frank Garbutt proceeded with their attempt to enjoin Balboa Amusement Producing Company for alleged unlawful use of London’s publications. In winning this case, London helped found the Authors’League of America with Rex Beach, Booth Tarkington, Ellen Glasgow and other writers to extend protection of copyright into novel types of media. During this case, their united force helped influence the American Congress to change laws to favor writers.
Christmas Gala with Studio Folk
December 24: The Balboa Amusement Producing Company threw its first Christmas gala at the elegant Hotel Virginia. The program listed 43 members of the studio staff, including all aspects of production—actors and actresses, cameramen, directors, producers, scenarists, etc., but a total of 60 persons attended the ball after the dinner, including the staff and those not directly involved at the studio. After the London affair, the new password at the studio would be “loyalty.” During the dinner, Bertram Bracken, managing director, on behalf of the entire studio staff, presented H. M. with a silver loving cup.H. M. Horkheimer, in a short speech, thanked the loyal company for the beautiful gift. Then, after the dinner, more guests began to arrive for the ball, including Mary Pickford. By 10:30 p.m. the ballroom was full. Popular rag and tango music filled the air, with the orchestra under the baton of William Perlus. According to Press Clippings, vol. 1, encores followed each regular dance. During the dance that evening, a buffet was served.
Partial view of the Pike amusement park (left) with the Virginia Hotel (right)