Answer: Who is the other man in Still 298-22

298-22 Kino HRHRC cap001 (L302-22)

Last year, I did a post, where I gave clues WRT who could be the other man in still 298-22.

The choices were Harry Houdini (Harvey Hanford), Thomas Jefferson (Dudley Cameron), Augustus Philips (Clifton Allison), Tully Marshall (Richard Raver), Arthur Hoyt (Dr. Tyson), or Unidentified actor (Old Servant Banks). We previously ruled out Harry Houdini, Arthur Hoyt and Tully Marshall.  So that left Thomas Jefferson, Augustus Philips and an unidentified actor.  Just solely based on the photos of the actors, it looks like it could be Augustus Philips or Thomas Jefferson; however there was no photo of the actor that played Old Banks to compare.  And if you read my blog, Thomas Jefferson Found, I made a statement: “That as far as I know, there are no movie stills of Thomas Jefferson from the Grim Game and I’ve seen and cataloged most if not all of the stills from the movie.”   So based on the above information if correct, would lead us to Augustus Philips or Old Banks.  I can tell you, it is not Augustus Philips.  So does that make it Old Banks?   Based on the circumstantial evidence previously presented, there was a strong case for Banks.  However, I have some additional evidence to present, that makes me think otherwise now:

During the scene when Cameron is scolding Houdini and telling him to get out, he seizes a large, old-fashioned revolver from top of safe and tries to get a shot at Houdini.  There is also another scene where Houdini mentions that Cameron has threatened to shoot him on sight.  And if we look at still 289-21 and 298-22, you will notice that Houdini and Ann Forrest outfits are the same in both stills; let me explain the events that led up to 289-21 and 298-22 which help make the case for Thomas Jefferson:  In an earlier scene, Cameron (Thomas Jefferson) asks Mary (Ann Forrest) if she can open a box – this is the  box seen in still 289-21; Mary is working at lock of box when Houdini unexpectedly shows up at the Cameron house. Mary and Houdini are in the library – Mary is worried that Cameron who is in the dining room might enter and discover them – Houdini opens the box – Cameron enters and sees the couple – Mary jumps in alarm at the sound of Cameron’s voice – Cameron gets gun – and voila, we have Still 298-22.  BTW, Houdini avoids the old man or disarms him and makes exit through window in comedy fashion.  [Paraphrased from Margaret Herrick Files]

The scene with Banks, Houdini and gun appears later, right after the scene depicted in still 298-80 which shows Mary (white dress) and Houdini in different outfits from still 298-22.

So based on the evidence now, I would say this is Thomas Jefferson (Dudley Cameron) as opposed to an unidentified actor (Old Banks) in still 298-22.

Case closed for the time being!

Thomas Jefferson Found

Last week, I posted a blog about the Old Man Jefferson Connection which looked at Houdini’s connection with Joe Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson.  Joe Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson were sons of actor Joseph Jefferson III who was famous for creating the role of Rip Van Winkle.  Houdini appeared on the same bill as Young Joe Jefferson during his vaudeville days and he appeared with Thomas Jefferson who played Old Man Cameron in The Grim Game.  In that blog, I posted a photo of Young Joe Jefferson but not Thomas Jefferson.   As far as I know, there are no movie stills of Thomas Jefferson from The Grim Game and I have seen and cataloged most if not all of the movie stills from the movie. So what did Thomas Jefferson look like; I combed the internet numerous times and finally found 2 photos at the website:

Thomas Jefferson
Birth: Sep. 10, 1856 New York, USA
Death: Apr. 2 1932 Hollywood Los Angeles County, California, USA

Son of actor Joseph Jefferson who was believed to be the earliest actor to appear in films. Married to actress Daisy Robinson, Jefferson followed his father’s footsteps as a stage actor for nearly half a century.  One of his greatest stage successes was playing Rip Van Winkle which he did for twenty-five years.  Jefferson was a member of D.W. Griffith’s stock company for a time during his career. Actor in numerous films, Jefferson passed away at his home in Los Feliz following a brief illness.

Burial: Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot: Section 20B, #168 (unmarked)

Old Man Jefferson Connection

The following correspondence from Houdini to Quincy Kilby intrigued me when I read it in Houdini, The Key on page 96:

Hollywood, California June 9, 1919

Dear Q.K.

Thomas Jefferson and myself frequently converse about you, and it was through an accident that I found out young Joe Jefferson was a friend of mine.

I thought that young Joe was an old man, but it appears that he was younger than I.

Worked with him in vaudeville, that is he was on the same bill, and very pleasant, and very pleasant weeks we had

So Mr. Thomas J. and I have lots to talk about…

It intrigued for a number of reasons:

First off the date of the correspondence is during the time that he lived in Hollywood and was filming the Grim Game.

Srapbook compiled by Quincy Kilby
Img: flickr/boston_public_library

Second, who was Q.K.? Quincy Kilby, was a personal friend of Houdini, who compiled a Houdini scrapbook which is in the Boston Public Library.  He also wrote a history of the Boston theatre, and another book on actor/assassin John Wilkes Booth.  He spent 20 years accumulating the items in his Houdini scrapbook.  These include letters, newspaper clippings, and a very exciting scene and prop list.  Houdini knew about Kilby’s project.  He sent his friend items marked “for your Houdini scraps book.”

Joseph Jefferson III as Rip Van Winkle

Third, who was young Joe Jefferson?  Let’s look at who his father was first. Joseph Jefferson III (1829-1905) was the 4th generation of a theatrical family that was established by Thomas Jefferson (1728 -1807), an English actor who managed several theatres.  Thomas’s son Joseph Jefferson I (1774-1832) came to America in 1795 on tour and remained to manage the John Street and Park Theatres in New York and the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia.  He played a comic actor.  Joseph Jefferson II (1804-1842) was an actor as well.  All three Jefferson’s were noted for playing old men.  Joseph Jefferson III was born 20 February, 1829 at Philadelphia United States of America, son of Joseph Jefferson, actor, and his wife Cornelia Frances Thomas Burke.  He began is stage career at 4, and, after his father died in 1842, relied on acting for a living. At 21 he married Margaret Clements Lockyer. On February 18, 1861 his wife died, leaving four children.  On December 20, 1867, he married Sarah Warren the niece of the actor William Warren. Fame came with his creation of the role of Rip Van Winkle. He died in 1905.

Young Joe

Joseph Warren Jefferson IV was a child of the second wife.  He was born July 6, 1869.  He was a member of his father’s company.  So at the time of the Grim Game, Joe Jefferson IV would have been 50 years old and Houdini 45 years old, making young Joe Jefferson five years older not younger than Houdini. Joseph Jefferson IV (1869 – 1919) performed at Macauley’s Theatre three times in Rip Van Winkle.

And last but not least, what was the connection with Thomas J and young Joe? Thomas Jefferson played Old Man Cameron in the Grim Game.  Like young Joe Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson was one of Joseph Jefferson III sons. He acted in his dads company in several roles opposite his father.  He became an actor in D.W. Griffith’s stock company appearing with Houdini in The Grim Game.