It's Showtime

D.W. Griffith turns Central Park into a silent screen star

In honor of the grand re-opening of the Museum of the Moving Image this Saturday, we’re going all New York film and media here on the blog, posting some new stuff and re-printing some older ones pertinent to the city’s filmmaking history.

Above, you can watch ‘Father Gets In The Game’, a cheeky short from 1908 that is most likely the very first fictional movie ever filmed in Central Park. ‘Father’, a lark involving a lecherous old timer who hits the park to pick up ladies, is directed by D.W. Griffith, who would expand into feature length projects several years later, notoriously so with ‘The Birth of a Nation’ in 1916.

The crudely rendered ‘old man’ in the picture is played by Mack Sennett, himself a director of early comedies and founder of Keystone Studios. Charles Avery, who plays the butler here, will later become of the Keystone Kops.

(The movie only 8 minutes long. It’s followed in the YouTube clip above by another feature from the same year called ‘Romance Of A Jewess’, also directed by Griffith and starring Sennett.)

By the way, the first new Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast of 2011 will be available on January 21.

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