Centaur Film Company
The Centaur Film Company is a defunct American motion picture production company founded in 1907 in Bayonne, New Jersey, by William and David Horsley It was the first independent motion picture production company in the United States In 1909 the company added a West Coast production unit, the Nestor Film Company, which established the first permanent film studio in Hollywood, California, in 1911 The company was absorbed by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company in 191212
The Centaur Film Company was the first independent motion picture production company in the United States It was formed in 1907 by David Horsley, operator of a successful bicycle business and pool parlor in Bayonne, New Jersey, with his brother William Horsley and Charles Gorman, a screenwriter for the Biograph Company34:945 The company's first production was The Cowboy's Escape, a one-reel short film released September 15, 1908 In 1910 Gorman sold his interest in the company back to the Horsleys,3 and William Horsley—a silent partner for Centaur's first three years—assumed an active role running the company's laboratory6
"The Horsleys had a studio in New Jersey," recalled cinematographer Charles Rosher, who went to work for Centaur in 1909 "Well, I won't call it a studio It was really nothing but a shop, with a lot of bathtubs for developing the film They used to go out and make pictures with an improvised camera—an infringement of the Motion Picture Patents Company This brought the Horsleys into the patents war, and they became the first independent producers"7:226
Actors working for Centaur included Francis Ford, who joined the company around 1908 and inspired his younger brother John Ford to also enter the film industry8:123 Motion picture industry pioneer Al Christie began his filmmaking career at Centaur in 19098:77
By 1910, the operation was producing three movies a week, including the Mutt and Jeff comedies
West Coast unitedit
"However, weather conditions on the east coast made filming an uncertain proposition because camera technology at the time relied on sunshine"
"Frustrated, and realizing that California afforded the opportunity to make films year round, David Horsley moved his operations to the west coast"
Company name changed to Nestor Motion Picture Companyedit
In the fall of 1911 Nestor Motion Picture Company opened the first motion picture studio in Hollywood in the Blondeau Tavern building at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street With Horsley was Al Christie, who served as general manager in charge of Christie Comedies, plus Charles Rosher, who lent his expertise as the studio's full-time cameraman
Merger with Universal Picturesedit
In 1912 the Horsley Brothers along with other independents, notably Carl Laemmle and his Independent Motion Picture Company, known as IMP, and Swanson and Ed Porter founded Universal Picture Company, succeeding in defeating the monopolistic hold on the industry of the Patents Company and General Film Company the famous Latham Loop controversy
Nestor Studio and Nestor Ranch ranch location were renamed by Carl Laemmle, becoming Universal Studios and the Universal Ranch First Universal City - see "Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Film History"
Nestor Studios name appeared on 844 films, from The Blazed Trail 1910 - Nestor Film Company to Ain't Nature Wonderful 1920 distributor: Universal Film Manufacturing Company 1920
In 1913 David Horsley sold his Universal shares and started David Horsley Productions, producing 17 films in 1916 to 1919, released by different film distributors Mutual Film 1915-1916 - Triangle Distributing Corporation
By 1915 Universal completed the move of its operations Nestor/ Universal ranch and studio to the new Universal City Lankershism, The Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street studio continued as the production location for Nestor Comedies Nestor production unit In 1916 the Oak Crest/Nestor/Universal ranch is leased by Lasky The Lasky/Famous Players/Paramountl Ranch remained as filming location until 1926
Hollywood Film Enterprises- Bill Horsley Laboratoryedit
In 1916 William Horsley withdrew from the Universal company and set up the Bill Horsley Laboratory, later known as Hollywood Film Enterprises, Inc, devoted exclusively to the developing and printing of 35 mm films
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Hollywood Film Enterprises diversified its activities into the 16mm and 8mm "home movie" area During those years, they were the exclusive distributor of Walt Disney's cartoons in 8mm and 16mm for home movie and "toy" projectors HFE also at various times offered Walter Lantz and Hugh Harman-Rudolf Ising cartoons as well; along with home movie reels of Laurel and Hardy, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, various Hal Roach and Al Christie comedies, and a Tarzan series edited from a silent era serial They left the home movie business in the 1960s when Disney withdrew their license and started their own home movie division The company was later known as Hollywood Film and Video, Inc
William was David's silent partner in "David Horsley Productions" 1916 to 1919 17 films between 1916 to 1919 listed in the Internet Movie Data base IMDB and possibly the 55 films 1916 to 1919 released using "The Centaur Film Company" Name "Centaur Film Company", as a film studio appears to have existed in Bayonne, New Jersey, until the opening of Nestor Studios Hollywood in 1912 The name used again 1916 to 1919, by David Horsley after he sold his shares in Universal Pictures
The Centaur Film Company Nameedit
The "Centaur Film Company" name appears on 55 films 1916 to 1919 - Pictures released by different film distributors Mutual Film 1915–1916 - Triangle Distributing Corporation
The "Nestor Film Company" name appears on 184 films 1910 to 1920 - Pictures released by Universal Film Manufacturing Company : Santa Monica Road Race 1912
The "Nestor Film Company" was used as the name of a UnIversal Studios Production units - 660 productions - Universal Film Manufacturing Company 1912–1920
- ^ "Centaur Film Company" The Progressive Silent Film List Silent Era Retrieved 2016-02-12
- ^ "Nestor Film Company" The Progressive Silent Film List Silent Era Retrieved 2016-02-12
- ^ a b Slide, Anthony 2015 Britain Comes to Hollywood and Hollywood Comes to Britain Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi ISBN 9781628460872
- ^ Middleton, Kathleen M 1995 Bayonne Arcadia Publishing ISBN 978-0738557250
- ^ Fleming, E J 2013 2007 Wallace Reid: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Idol Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc ISBN 978-0-7864-7725-8
- ^ "William Horsley Papers Collection 540" Department of Special Collections, Charles E Young Research Library University of California, Los Angeles Retrieved 2016-02-11
- ^ Brownlow, Kevin 1968 The Parade's Gone By Alfred A Knopf OCLC 805667246
- ^ a b Jacobs, Christopher P; McCaffrey, Donald W 1999 Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press ISBN 9780313303456
- Finding Aid for the William Horsley Papers, 1903–1947 at the Charles E Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles
- Nestor Studios 1911 - Universal City 1912 to Feb 1915 - 1916 Lasky Ranch
- Two Reel's of Laughter
- A Christie Comedy
- Demolishing the old Christy Film Studio on Sunset Blvd at Gower Street on February 2, 1937
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Centaur Film Company
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