This next destination allowed me to make a pit stop in my old home of Jacksonville, FL. I’m just sorry it did not allow me enough time to contact any old friends, but you know how things go… hopefully next time.
Fun factoid that many people probably don’t know: Jacksonville, FL was a strong influence in the silent film industry. A lot of the film shooting used to take place in the northeast, but winter proved to be problematic (see, it’s NOT just me that hates snow!). They discovered that Jacksonville and the rest of northeast Florida had interesting and varied settings for most script demands. In fact, this locale helped Georgia born Oliver Hardy get his film start.
Because of this, you can still visit the LAST SILENT FILM STUDIO IN JACKSONVILLE- 6327 Arlington Rd., Jacksonville , FL.
The Norman brothers (Richard, Bruce, and Earl) were Jacksonville film makers that remained in the 1920s, even when the industry had mostly left the area. The industry was moving to Hollywood and then the first “talkie” came out in the late 20s. One died, one left the industry, leaving Richard to continue the endeavor alone. This Arlington location is where many of his films were made. Richard Norman recognized the need for non-derogatory films and often featured all-black casts.
The only indications of this past are two plaques inside the fence on the property.
In my research, I found http://www.normanstudios.org, the website stating they are hoping to turn the property into a silent film studio museum. Help their cause, go to the site and buy something from their online shop or donate towards the cause. Do it. Modern film would not be the beast it is today without these silent films.
Until next time, dahings…