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Classically Speaking:
Promoting Classic Movies in a Jaded World!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Please Don't Forget...GILBERT M. "Broncho Billy" ANDERSON!

Broncho Billy Anderson

GILBERT M. "Broncho Billy" ANDERSON (1880-1971) was born Max Aronson in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Anderson worked as a photographer's model before he drifted into acting. He performed in Vaudeville and soon became interested in the newly emerging moving pictures. He worked with Edwin S. Porter at Edison's studio, both behind the scenes and on camera.

The Great Train Robbery (1903)
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
He played several roles in The Great Train Robbery (1903). In 1907 he teamed with George K. Spoor to form Essenay Pictures. In 1909 Anderson starred as "Broncho Billy", a character created by writer Peter B. Kyne. Soon he made other films (one reel movies running about 10 minutes) with the character and became the first cowboy star in motion pictures. Anderson continued to write and direct, in addition to acting. Anderson retired in 1916, ran a theater for a while, and drifted back into films in the 1920s, producing a series of comedies with Stan Laurel. He continued to produce films as the owner of Progressive Pictures into the 1950s before going into permanent retirement. In 1965 he did a cameo role in The Bounty Killer. He was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1957 as "a motion Picture pioneer." He died in 1971.

Broncho Billy Anderson
Anderson was indeed a film pioneer whose films as actor, writer or director ran into the hundreds. All cowboy stars who came later owe Broncho Billy a debt. A few of his films still exist, but are hard to find. I watched several on 8mm film years ago and found them enjoyable, but they were definitely a product of their time. Broncho Billy Anderson deserves to be remembered for his contribution to the art.

Broncho Billy AndersonWhen I think of GILBERT M. "BRONCHO BILLY" ANDERSON, I cherish his work in the following:

Broncho Billy's Word of Honor (1915)
Broncho Billy's Vengeance (1915)
Broncho Billy and the Greaser (1914)
Broncho Billy and the Rustler's Child (1913)
The Indian and The Child (1912)

These were as actor. He also wrote and directed them.

He also produced several comedies with Stan Laurel:
The Soilers (1923)
Mud And Sand (1922)
These were parodies of The Spoilers and Blood And Sand.
A Lucky Dog (1921) This features the first screen appearance of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, although they do not work as a team. Still, it's a nice hint of things to come. These films are still available.

*Contributed by: "Eric Jamborsky" Date: Fri, Nov 4 2005 / 20:36:36 PST

Autographed photo contributed by: Eric Jamborsky
Inscription reads:
"Broncho Billy" Anderson.

Academy Awards®
© A.M.P.A.S.®
1957 Honorary and Other Awards: Motion picture pioneer, for his contributions to the development of motion pictures as entertainment. Winner presented a Statuette.