Hollywood in the Klondike: Dawson City’s Great Film Find

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When new technology takes over, it’s worthwhile hanging onto anything that may later tell a wholly unexpected story. Historian Michael Gates’ chronicle of Hollywood in the Klondike reveals a startling find: the recovery in Dawson City of several tons of silent movie reels from the Family Theatre, hauled to the waterfront in 1933 by proprietor Fred Elliott and then trashed and burned.

Gold Rush prospectors, entertained in saloons, gambling halls, and theater live-shows, welcomed the first moving pictures in the town’s theaters, wooden buildings that frequently fell victim to fires and were then hastily rebuilt. The silent movies enjoyed only a few years of novelty and thrills before the “talkies” came in. Yukon Territory, far from Hollywood, was eager always to watch movies even two or three years after release.

The Klondike Gold Rush is a familiar story, captured in books and movies by many authors and actors. Discovering hundreds of silent movies, many undamaged, is virtually unknown. Gates develops parallel stories of the prospecting and the film discovery. They send a shiver of excitement even today, no less many characters in the story like “Diamond Tooth” Gertie and Beatrice Lorne, the “Klondike Nightingale,” whose later lives took a dignified turn.

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Author Michael Gates
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd.
Publish Date 11-Apr-2023
ISBN 9781550179965 Buy this Book
Issue August 2023
Category History