By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

ACADEMY ACQUIRES 70,000 VINTAGE PRODUCTION STILLS FROM BISON ARCHIVES

March 29, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has acquired more than 70,000 photographs from the Bison Archives, the private collection of renowned film historian Marc Wanamaker, Academy COO Ric Robertson announced today.

(Pictured) D.W. Griffith and others during production of WAY DOWN EAST, 1920.

The images document nearly every facet of film production between 1909 and the present day, focusing on the first half of the 20th century. Many of these images are the only known photographs of their subjects, including a group of eight behind-the-scenes color images of the filming of the opening sequence of Orson Welles’s 1958 noir classic, “Touch of Evil.”

Edwin S. Porter directs A COUNTRY GIRL'S SEMINARY LIFE AND EXPERIENCES, 1908. Interior, Edison Studio, Bronx New York. Henry Cronjager on camera.

“Marc’s dedication to preserving a historic photographic record of our industry has resulted in an extraordinary collection,” said Robertson. “We’re honored to add these images to our to our library’s holdings. His photographs, so many of which focus on behind-the-scenes studio activities, combined with the existing Herrick photographs, will provide unequalled coverage on all aspects of Hollywood filmmaking.”

Lon Chaney Jr. and Jack Pierce during production of THE WOLF MAN, 1941.

Bison Archives was named in tribute to the Bison Company, an early motion picture studio (formed in 1909) that produced Westerns featuring Native American casts.

Orson Welles and others during production of TOUCH OF EVIL, 1958.

Adding to the more than 10 million photographs in the holdings of the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, the collection features rare images from more than 100 major and independent studios, many of which ceased to exist past the 1920s, including Biograph, Edison, E & R Jungle Film Co., Essanay and Vitagraph.

“I felt very strongly that the collection should be with the Academy,” said Cecilia DeMille Presley, who helped the Academy acquire the Bison photographs on behalf of the Cecil B. DeMille Foundation.

Lillian and Dorothy Gish in ORPHANS OF THE STORM, 1921.

Other highlights from the collection include vintage set and location photographs of such legendary directors as D.W. Griffith, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, as well as many of their below-the-line contemporaries, including film editor Anne Bauchens, cinematographer Billy Bitzer, art director Ben Carré and costume designer Gwen Wakeling.

Wanamaker began amassing the collection in 1971, as he was researching a book on the history of the American motion picture studios. Over the years, the collection has been used by authors, historians and filmmakers from all over the world for hundreds of books, films, lectures, exhibitions, publications and other scholarly works. “The Herrick is one of the premier archives in the world,” said Wanamaker. “It is appropriate that much of my life’s work will have a permanent home there, including a photo album compiled by Ralph DeLacy, D.W. Griffith’s property master for “Intolerance.”

The photographs in the Herrick Library are preserved and cataloged, and made accessible to filmmakers, historians, students and the public.

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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners­—the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY
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PHOTOS COURTESY AMPAS.

AWARDS PUBLICITY
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5 Responses to “ACADEMY ACQUIRES 70,000 VINTAGE PRODUCTION STILLS FROM BISON ARCHIVES”

  1. Vincent says:

    For students of film history such as myself, wonderful news. Thanks to Bison, and thanks to the Academy.

  2. Liz Willis says:

    This is a phenomenal acquisition for the Herrick and Academy! Thanks to Marc Wanamaker and Bison for their generosity.

  3. Paul Spehr says:

    Wonderful. Marc has been a perceptive collector and the collection is exceptionally rich in photos from the early years of Hollywood and other film locations.

  4. Tyler St. Mark says:

    The Academy’s acquisition of the Marc Wanamaker collection is not just an extraordinary feat, it is an historical milestone. It is the passing of a unique torch; the safe transfer of arguably the greatest collection of antique and vintage images of Hollywood painstakingly and brilliantly assembled over many years by one of the foremost authorities and historians of this subject. By this generous act, Mr. Wanamaker has ensured that our future generations will be able to see and celebrate the Hollywood of yesteryear and its unyielding influence and magic on our nation and the world. Marc deserves the profound thanks of a grateful industry and public!

  5. Joseph Yranski says:

    The donation of 70,000 sill photographs to the Margaret Herrick Library is typical of the gererosity that Marc Wanamaker has always shown to serious film historians and documentarians over the past twenty years.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook