NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- New Rochelle was the site of a nationally-famous, pioneering movie company from 1909 to 1918. The Thanhouser Company produced over 1,000 films that were seen from coast to coast, and their studios put New Rochelle “one the map,” On the weekend of April 26 – April 27, the fascinating story of this unique film company, its famous actors and actresses and the films themselves will be explored in programs offered by the New Rochelle Public Library.
On Saturday, April 26th at 1:00 pm, the celebration will begin with the 2014 Induction of Honorees into the New Rochelle Walk of Fame, on Library Green. Fifteen renowned Americans with distinct ties to New Rochelle will join 35 other living and late legends who were inducted in 2011 and 2013. Among this year’s honorees are Edwin and Gertrude Thanhouser, who founded and led the silent movie company. The public is invited to join City and State officials, honorees and their families, for this auspicious occasion.
Immediately following, at 2:00 pm, a Thanhouser Film festival will be led by Ned Thanhouser, grandson of the founder of the Thanhouser Company and president of the Thanhouser Film Preservation Society. Mr. Thanhouser will present samples of the movies that were filmed and produced in New Rochelle, as well as a documentary on the pioneering film producers, Edwin and Gertrude Thanhouser. As part of the New Rochelle Shakespeare Festival, the Thanhouser Film Fest will include a showing of Cymbeline (1911), starring the beautiful Florence LaBadie as Imogene. The films will be accompanied by Ben Model, silent film accompanist for MOMA. A donation of $2.00 is suggested at the door. The program is made possible by the Friends of the New Rochelle Public Library.
For a special program honoring actress Florence LaBadie, the library has organized a bus trip to the Historic Green-Wood Cemetery on Sunday, April 27, from 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm. Miss
LaBadie, who was with Thanhouser from 1911 until 1917, was the company's most prominent player during that span. She appeared in leading roles in dozens of Thanhouser film. Tragically, she died of injuries suffered in an automobile accident, making her the first major “movie star” to die at the zenith of her popularity. Florence was buried in an unmarked grave at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. A recent on-line effort of the Florence La Badie Memorial Fund Campaign, matched by the Green-Wood Historic Fund, has provided for the installation of a proper headstone at Florence's grave site. Those who wish to attend the gravesite ceremony, a reception in the chapel, and a 90 minute private tour of this historic cemetery, can purchase tickets for the round-trip bus that will leave from and return to NRPL. Cost of bus trip and tour is $35, made payable to “Friends of NRPL”. Please call 813-3706 to make a reservation before April 11th.