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February 10, 2017     Post-Gazette
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February 10, 2017

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PAGE 12 POST-GAZETTE, FEBRUARY 10, 2017 d ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso The Death of Thomas H. Ince, Father of the Western Thomas H. Ince, actor, producer, director, and Hollywood pioneer. The death of film director and later producer Thomas H. Ince was one of the last all-star scan- dals of Hollywood's early days and, once more, William Ran- dolph Hearst was a central fig- ure. It remains a peculiar case because of the many names involved and because, most uniquely of all, a murder may not have even been committed at all. In fact, the official cause of Ince's death was heart failure, and since he was cremated after his funeral it seems unlikely to change. But the case does show the delicate relationship be- tween media and celebrity and how fast it can change to one of adversary. It started off, in fact, with a proposal of partnership. Hearst had been negotiating with Ince for some time for use of Ince's studio to film his own productions. Luke William Normand Des- mond, Ince had been a central figure in the development of film as an art form. He had entered the film industry in 1910 when D.W. Griffith, then also a ris- ing director, was so impressed with his work as an actor that he offered him a position as pro- duction coordinator at the Bio- graph Company. But Ince's real breakthrough came later that year when, by a fluke chance, he was asked to finish directing a film at Independent Motions Picture Co. Ince's ambition grew and his uncompromising nature regarding his artistic vi- sion led to many disputes with studio heads. Partly because of this, Ince made his way to Cali- fornia to open his own film pro- duction company. The result of this was a spot soon christened Inceville, a large stretch of land in the Santa Monica Mountains. Here Ince built film stages, offices, sets, and prop storage. Accord- ing to historian Katherine La Hue, "Ince invested $35,000 in building, stages and sets; a bit of Switzerland, a Puritan settle- ment, a Japanese village. Be- yond the breakers, an ancient brigantine weighed anchor; cut- lassed men swarming over the sides of the ship, while on the shore performing cowboys gal- loped about, twirling their las- sos in pursuit of errant cattle. The main herds were kept in the hills, where Ince also raised feed and garden produce. Sup- ples of every sort were needed to house and feed a veritable army of actors, directors and subordinates." Ince's specialty was the Western and he used Inceville to house cowboys and Native Americans who offered to star in his pictures, but professional actors willingly traveled from Los Angeles to work. Having gained enough mo- mentum, Ince relocated his studio to what would later be- come Culver City. It was here he formed a partnership with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sen- nett which led to the creation of Triangle Studios. Though Ince directed one of that studio's big- gest hits, Civilization, he acted more as a producer here and the focus shifted from Westerns to high-budget epics. By all accounts, this was fine by Ince. He stayed with Trian- gle Studios for three years and may have stayed longer had Samuel Goldwyn not purchased the property in July of 1918. Ince took this chance to return to running a studio and this time, with a $132,000 loan from Harry Culver, moved to West Washington Boulevard to open William Randolph Hearst Hollywood and started a new life in Europe. "Do you think I would have done nothing if I even suspect- ed that my husband had been victim of foul play on anyone's part?" she said. Rumors persisted, however, including one started by Chap- lin's servant, Toralchi Kono, who was also on board. Kono claimed that Hearst had intend- ed to murder his employer, but The yacht where it all went down. Thomas H. Ince Studios. This was the studio that caught the eyes of William Ran- dolph Hearst as the filming lo- cation for his material. Hearst had been talking to Ince about his intentions for some time and on November 154 of 1924 invited Ince to join him on the following day on his yacht to work out the conditions of the deal. Ince accepted the invita- tion and arrived at San Pedro the following day to board the yacht It would be a big lavish boat cruise with many luminar- ies on board, including Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, Marga- ret Livingston, Theodore Kosloff, Arleen Pringle, Jacqueline Lo- gan, author Elinor Glyn, Seena Owen, and even a doctor, Daniel Carson Goodman. In honor of Ince's forty-fourth birthday, the group celebrated heartily that night, but Ince left early after a severe attack of in- digestion, likely caused by the peptic ulcers he suffered from. Ince left the yacht and traveled by train to Del Mar where he was seen by a doctor and his wife and son called over. The group returned to Ince's home in Los Angeles where Ince would be seen by his private physician and, ultimately, die at home. Ince's own physician signed the death certificate, naming heart failure as the cause of death. Here, however, is where the story gets bizarre. For no appar- ent reason, the following morn- ing, an early edition of the Los Angeles ~mes ran the headline, "Movie Producer Shot on Hearst YachtI" The evening edition re- moved the headline, but made no further mention of it. Nell, Ince's widow, certainly did not seem to believe that her hus- band had been murdered and by the following year had left shot Ince in the head by mis- take, confusing him for Chap- lin. His only evidence to this was that he saw a blood wound on Ince's head as he was carried from the yacht. The story didn't spread much beyond Califor- nia's Japanese community. In any case, it is more likely an urban legend as Ince was given an open casket funeral, attend- ed by many of Hollywood's rich and powerful, and no mention was made of a bullet wound. However, sensationalists went after William Randolph Hearst. One story involved Louella Par- sons, a movie columnist for the Hearst-owned New York Ameri- can. After Ince's death, Hearst offered her a lifetime contract and more power in the news- paper. Because people will read into things anything that will fit a preconceived notion, some speculated this was hush money and Parsons knew the truth. Unfortunately for them, the contract with Parsons was signed in December of 1923, al- most a year before Ince's death. Also disproven by facts was the theory that Hearst paid off Ince's mortgage before his wid- ow left for Europe, as Nell Ince had been left with more than enough to pay off the property. Hearst dismissed all rumors quickly with, ~Not only am I in- nocent of this Ince murder, so is everybody else." One cannot help but note the irony, however, that a man who ruined so many lives through the power of the press saw his own medium turn against him. It is likely that no foul play was involved, but the tragedy for Thomas H. Ince is similar to that of William Desmond and Fatty Arbuckle, the scandal at- tached to their names eclipsing their legacy. COPYRIGHT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BAKED SCALLOPS I pound scallops 25 Ritz or Hi-Ho-type crackers crushed 1 tablespoon chopped parsley 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 2 tablespoons white wine Paprika Salt Spread some butter or margarine at bottom of baking dish (10" x 12" x 2"). Wash scallops and drain excess water. Place scallops in baking dish. Blend melted butter into cracker crumbs. *Spread crumbs over scallops. Pour two tablespoons of white wine in a glass with two tablespoons of clam juice or water. Sprinkle gently over cracker crumbs and scallops. Sprinkle paprika over the cracker crumbs. Cover and bake at 4000F for fifteen or twenty minutes or until scallops are the right consistency to serve. Note: *When preparing the above recipe for my husband and me, I sprinkle garlic powder over the scallops before adding the cracker crumbs and remaining ingredient. We enjoy the garlic flavoring. I often bake this meal in my heated toaster oven set on broil. I cover scallops with aluminum foil before placing in toaster oven Broil for about eight to ten minutes. Then set the toaster oven to bake for the remaining time needed. I serve mashed potatoes or ricepilafalong with French-cut beans and/or carrot strips topped with butter or margarine. Parks Department Hosts The Boston Parks and Recreation Department will host a series of free Indoor Softball Clinics for girls ages 9 to 18 during the upcoming February school vacation week. The clinics will be held on February 21=t, 22"d, and 23rd from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Tobin Community Center located at 1481 Tremont Street, Roxbury Crossing. Instruction by UMass Boston collegiate softball team players will include the fundamentals of throwing, catching, fielding, pitching, and hitting. Please note that the clinics are free, but all participants must bring their own gloves. For more information, please contact Larelle Bryson at 617-961-3092 or email larelle.bryson@boston.gou. Stirpe Nostra (Continued from Page 2) cial prizes or gifts from his own purse. Many senators who were late arrivers were unable to find seats in many of the shows, so Augustus was responsible for a decree reserving the first rows Of seats at any theater or public event exclusively for senators. He also separated soldiers from ci%lians, assigned special seats to married males, and a special section to juvenile males. Sorry gals, but it is a fact of history that women were assigned the poorer uppermost seats, a spe- cial late admittance time, and were specifically excluded from athletic contests. I personally believe that this exclusion was due to the fact that early Roman athletic contests were patterned after the Greek Games where the male contestants participat- ed in the nude and I shall pass over this item without making another comment except to re- peat -- sorry gals. NEXT WEEK: Augustus The Colonizer From MYBakery Perch VH'~.x ()nI.ANI)O StNOPOt,! 1st Generation Italian-American Vita Orlando Sinopoli Shares with us a delighO~ul recollection of her memories as a child growing up in Boston's "Little Italy" and a collection of Italian family recipes from the homeland. Great as Gifts FROM MY BAKERY PERCH available on AMAZON.COM and in local bookstores -- ask for Hard cover #1-401 O- 9805-3 ISBN Soft Cover #1-4010-9804-5 ISBN