Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Broncho Billy Film Fest Pays Tribute To "Baby Peggy"



The calcium light in today's 1PM matinee at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum shines brightly on author, historian and one of cinema's first child stars, Diana Sara "Baby Peggy" Cary. She willbe there in person for today's program.




This program is part of the museum's three day Broncho Billy Film Festival, which is always informative, fun - and chock full of historic film footage.

10 comments:

Trayna said...

This is the "height of cheek", I know, but I'm needing some help desperately, please.

I am related to the CATTO family - there appears to have been 2 sisters who were vaudeville / burlesque actresses - Rhea born 1886 who had the stage name "Rhea Catto Laughlin" or variations of that; and Nema born 1888 who used the names "Pudge Catto" & her own Nema Catto. I know very little about Rhea but she seems to have a short lived marriage to a George C Harvey in 1906 and eventually dies in 1978.

Nema has a much more convoluted life from what I can tell which is not alot :)
At some point before 1909 she marries a vaudeville actor/singer by the name of George T Davis. He may or may not be the actor George Davis born 1889, Amsterdam & dies 1965. They had twins Errol(l) Leroy & Anna H born in May 1909 and I've found one clipping saying ............Anna Davis and Enroll Davis are the
double-decker offsprings, furnished to burlesque by Geo. T. Davis and Mrs. Davis (Pudge Catto). of Pat White's Gaiety Girls.
They were fifteen months old on Aug. 4, and In about a month will join the show, as the official mascots. Erroll is named after Leon Erroll, and Anna Grant Is Anna's godmother...........

Nema & George divorce in 1912 and she then marries (abt 1914/15) a Frederick J Miles who is using the name "Frederick J Ireland" and is a movie producer apparently. (His father Patrick Miles was also apparently an actor). He owns? a film company Emerald Motion Picture Company in Chicago. They have a daughter Katherine in abt 1916. Fred dies in 1939 apparently and Nema lives until 1986.
The twin Erroll appears to have also gone into showbiz in some way as I have seen a publicity shot of him. What happened to Anna or Katherine I have no idea.

Can you help in any way to sort out this muddle? I would be very grateful if you could or even point me in the right direction to find some stuff myself. It would have to be online stuff as I'm in Scotland.

Thanks in advance

Trayna said...
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Trayna said...
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Trayna said...
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Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Trayna - here's some more info, courtesy of author, curator and film historian Steve Massa, who we refer to at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog as The Answer Man! Nema Catto was married to, and appeared in vaudeville with, Frederick J. Ireland who in the mid-teens was the founder of Chicago's Emerald Motion Picture Company. Emerald made films with Alice Howell and Billy West and in 1920 became part of the Reelcraft Pictures Corp. Nema Catto also appeared in some of the Emerald Films. I've seen WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY ('20), a terrific two-reeler that stars Ireland with Catto, and rotund Rose Burkhardt in support.
Rhea Catto Laughlin also appeared in Emerald Films. In mid-1916 the studio did a series of "Tom and Jerry" Comedies that starred Charles E. Huntington and Tom Keesey as a tall and short combo. Rhea Catto Laughlin played one of their wives, and is described in publicity items as "Rhea Catto Laughlin gained her experience on the vaudeville stage, and is seen in a "clinging, weepy" role in these comedies." As far as I know only one of these shorts survive on nitrate.

Trayna said...

Thank you SO much Paul - do you also happen to know the answer to the "Is George T Davis the same as the actor George Davis born 1889, Amsterdam & dies 1965?

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Pretty sure, Trayna, that George T. Davis and the George Davis who, among other things, appeared as a supporting player in Educational Pictures short subjects starring Al St. John, Lupino Lane and other top silent film comedians are, indeed, one and the same. Now, with the proviso that mistakes can and do frequently get into Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Davis_(actor)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone here have any more information on Frederick Ireland/Miles? As in, where his movies ended up since one can't really find them on sites like youtube. Are they locked away in a library somewhere? Also, I have a weird inquiry....whatever became of Enigmarelle? Does any remnant of that strange 'automaton' exist anymore?

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Well, Trayna, I don't know a lot that will answer your questions, but am aware that Frederick J. Miles A.K.A. Frederick Ireland was a prolific producer of comedy short subjects, first Emerald Comedies starring silent film slapstick queen and "wacky redhead" Alice Howell, then later very popular films at Century Comedies with both Ms. Howell and one of the first child stars in movies, Baby Peggy (Diana Sara Cary), who's celebrating her 96th birthday this very weekend. Whether about the Davises and the Catto sisters turn up in the book or not, it's noteworthy that "Vaudeville" by Joe Laurie Jr. is avaialble online via archive.org. https://archive.org/details/vaudevillefromth013372mbp

Paul F. Etcheverry said...

Anonymous - the overwhelming majority of the films produced by Frederick Ireland burned up in vault fires decades ago. Regarding what exists, my suggestion would be to e-mail The Library Of Congress - those folks know a lot more about this than I do. Good luck!